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One consequence of these events was the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley Act in the United States 2002, as a result of the first admissions of fraudulent behavior made by Enron. The act significantly raises criminal penalties for securities fraud, for destroying, altering or fabricating records in federal investigations or any scheme or attempt to defraud shareholders.
The history of accounting has been around almost as long as money itself. Accounting history dates back to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Babylon. For example, during the Roman Empire the government had detailed records of their finances. However, modern accounting as a profession has only been around since the early 19th century.
According to the University of Ohio, there are four types of accounting. Within each of these four major categories there are multiple specialities. For example, corporate accounting may be divided into for-profit and nonprofit accounting. Public accountants may provide auditing services or specialize in tax accounting. Government accounting may refer to employees of the IRS (who examine tax returns) or to local accounting departments who manage town, county, or state budgets.
Accounting research is carried out both by academic researchers and practicing accountants. Methodologies in academic accounting research include archival research, which examines "objective data collected from repositories"; experimental research, which examines data "the researcher gathered by administering treatments to subjects"; analytical research, which is "based on the act of formally modeling theories or substantiating ideas in mathematical terms"; interpretive research, which emphasizes the role of language, interpretation and understanding in accounting practice, "highlighting the symbolic structures and taken-for-granted themes which pattern the world in distinct ways"; critical research, which emphasizes the role of power and conflict in accounting practice; case studies; computer simulation; and field research.
Managerial accounting uses much of the same data as financial accounting, but it organizes and utilizes information in different ways. Namely, in managerial accounting, an accountant generates monthly or quarterly reports that a business's management team can use to make decisions about how the business operates. Managerial accounting also encompasses many other facets of accounting, including budgeting, forecasting and various financial analysis tools. Essentially, any information that may be useful to management falls underneath this umbrella.