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Accounting Manual

What exactly is an Accounting Manual?

It basically provides accounting rules and other information relevant to a firm or organization. It is an internally designed manual that contains information specific to the organization for whom it was created.

Accounting Manual

In-depth Understanding of an Accounting Manual

An accounting manual is a summary of all of an organization's accounting rules, methods, and guidelines. It is created and developed by the organization. It can be used as a reference tool for cross-training associates or training newly hired employees. Accounting manuals fluctuate in size and substance from one organization to the next based on the organization's kind and size.

The accounting manual of a company may include a list of positions or departments within the company, a list of accounts, specific instructions for maintaining ledgers or records of transactions, or other rules that the accounting staff must follow.

It often includes budgeting information or sample forms that must be filled and stored on-site for record-keeping or submitted externally for reporting. An accounting manual summarizes all the necessary accounting information and procedures for a corporation.

What are the Components of an Accounting Manual?

An accounting manual typically begins with an introduction that explains the objective of the manual, what individuals reading it should benefit from it, and management's duty in connection to the firm's accounts.

The next section usually focuses on the firm's many departments and how they contribute to the accounting process. This section outlines the structure of the company as well as the functions of each department.

Following that, the accounting procedures and policies are described as how reporting should be carried out. Following this section, the accounting manual goes over the planning process, reporting requirements, and the authorized persons in charge of these duties.

Following that, the procedure may focus on numerous accounting components, such as internal audits, cost accounting, inventory accounting, and cash accounting. The accounting manual usually concludes with a list of resources to help complete the process.

Example of an Accounting Manual

JTP Corporation is a company that manufactures and sells smartphones. JTP Corporation's accounting department manages all the facts and numbers that come with running a manufacturing plant, warehousing inventories, and sales and distribution operations.

JTP's accounting manual contains all the relevant corporate accounts for various business sectors, rules for keeping them, and the necessary paperwork to complete.

The accounting manual was created internally by JTP corporation's senior accounting personnel and is utilized as a reference tool for long-term employees and a training tool for new hires.

What are the Benefits of an Accounting Manual?

The benefits of having an Accounting Manual include:

  • Ensure Compliance Consistently: It reinforces regulations and best practices for the internal personnel and leadership.
  • Lowers the Possibility of Fraud: An Accounting Manual's internal controls, rules, and procedures are intended to reduce the chance of financial mismanagement and potential liability for the CEO and the Board of Directors.
  • Requires Compliance with Regulatory and Audit Standards: An Accounting Manual is required by auditors and the IRS Form 990.
  • Employee Training Efficiency: It can be valuable for new employee training and defining the organization's multiple functions and responsibilities. Being familiar with these will not only benefit new employees but will also aid in clearing any possible uncertainties.
  • Issues Resolve more Efficiently: With a full Accounting Manual, the solutions to many accounting and financial issues are at the fingertips, so individuals do not waste important time reinventing the wheel each time a problem arises.

What makes up an Accounting Manual?

It should be noted that an Accounting Manual does not consist of continuous standard operating procedures (SOPs.) SOPs should be created independently of the Accounting Manual and updated as ongoing processes change. An Accounting Manual documents high-level policies, information, and guidance such as:

  • An overview of the organization and its entities
  • General ledger accounts and definitions
  • Internal controls
  • Asset management guidelines
  • Accounting policies and high-level procedures
  • Financial statement processing guidelines
  • Accounting policies
  • Government reporting and tax returns
  • Budget processes and roles
  • Assurance and risk management
  • Reference to (or inclusion of) whistleblower, conflict of interest, and record retention policies

The Bottom Line

Accounting manuals are essential for all businesses, regardless of size. Creating an accounting manual may appear to be a challenging undertaking, but it is worthwhile. And doing so can assist individuals in analyzing the benefits and identifying the main components of an accounting manual, as well as figuring out and examining a typical accounting manual table of topics.

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