In most cases, accountants use generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) when preparing financial statements in the U.S. GAAP is a set of standards and principles designed to improve the comparability and consistency of financial reporting across industries. Its standards are based on double-entry accounting, a method in which every accounting transaction is entered as both a debit and credit in two separate general ledger accounts that will roll up into the balance sheet and income statement.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
By 1880, the modern profession of accounting was fully formed and recognized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. This institute created many of the systems by which accountants practice today. The formation of the institute occurred in large part due to the Industrial Revolution. Merchants not only needed to track their records but sought to avoid bankruptcy as well.
Saving via a retirement plan is a popular way to efficiently reduce taxes. Contributing money to a traditional IRA can minimize gross income up to $6,500. As of 2018, if meeting all qualifications, a filer under age 50 receives a reduction of $6,000 and a reduction of $7,000 if age 50 or older. For example, if a 52-year-old male with an annual income of $50,000 who made a $6,500 contribution to a traditional IRA has an adjusted gross income of $43,500, the $6,500 contribution would grow tax-deferred until retirement.

No matter how complicated or simple your personal situation is, it's never too early to think about tax planning for the coming year. By getting an early start on the 2020 tax year and using and referring to this guide to 2020 taxes throughout the year, you'll be in much better shape to take advantage of all the favorable provisions that can result in a lower tax bill this year and beyond.


Keeping tax returns and the documents you used to complete them is critical if you’re ever audited. Typically, the IRS has three years to decide whether to audit your return, so keep your records for at least that long. You also should hang onto tax records for three years if you file a claim for a credit or refund after you filed your original return.

Just as managerial accounting helps businesses make decisions about management, cost accounting helps businesses make decisions about costing. Essentially, cost accounting considers all of the costs related to producing a product. Analysts, managers, business owners and accountants use this information to determine what their products should cost. In cost accounting, money is cast as an economic factor in production, whereas in financial accounting, money is considered to be a measure of a company's economic performance.
×