Accounting cycle is the sequence of steps involved in the accounting process. Accounting cycle starts with the identification and recording of financial transactions of an organisation and ends with the preparation of final accounts for the accounting year. The cycle continues for the next accounting year with the opening balances of assets and liabilities which are the closing balances of the preceding year. The steps involved are:
The first step in the accounting process is identifying the financial transactions of a business. All the monetary transactions are recorded in the books of original entry called journals. Recording the transactions in the journal is called journalising. Entries are made in the journals on the basis of source documents in the chronological order, i.e., the order of occurrence of the transactions.
Transferring the entries from the journal to the ledger is called posting. In the ledger, entries are made in each account after classifying them under common heads. Finding the differencebetween the total of the debit column and credit column of all the ledger accounts is called balancing.
The list of ledger balances namely trial balance is prepared as the next step. On the basis of ledger balances the financial statements are prepared.
Next step is preparation of trading account for a particular accounting period. All the direct revenues and direct expenses are transferred to trading account. The balance in the trading account is the gross profit or gross loss.
Profit and loss account is prepared next for a particular accounting period. All the indirect revenues and indirect expenses along with gross profit or gross loss are transferred to profit and loss account. The balance in the profit and loss account is the net profit or net loss.
A statement showing the balances of assets and liabilities namely balance sheet is prepared as the final step in the accounting process. It is prepared on a particular date, normally, on the last day of the accounting period.
The closing balances of an accounting year are taken as the opening balances for the next accounting year. The transactions identified and recorded for the next year are followed by posting and other steps.
The results are communicated to the users of accounting information for the purpose of analysis and decision making.