The word "accountant" is derived from the French word compter, which is also derived from the Italian and Latin word computare. The word was formerly written in English as "accomptant", but in process of time the word, which was always pronounced by dropping the "p", became gradually changed both in pronunciation and in orthography to its present form.[28]
Accounting firms grew in the United States and Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and through several mergers there were large international accounting firms by the mid-twentieth century. Further large mergers in the late twentieth century led to the dominance of the auditing market by the "Big Five" accounting firms: Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.[48] The demise of Arthur Andersen following the Enron scandal reduced the Big Five to the Big Four.[49]
An audit of financial statements aims to express or disclaim an independent opinion on the financial statements. The auditor expresses an independent opinion on the fairness with which the financial statements presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of an entity, in accordance with the generally acceptable accounting principle (GAAP) and "in all material respects". An auditor is also required to identify circumstances in which the generally acceptable accounting principles (GAAP) has not been consistently observed.[39]
Organizations in individual countries may issue accounting standards unique to the countries. For example, in the United States the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issues the Statements of Financial Accounting Standards, which form the basis of US GAAP,[1] and in the United Kingdom the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) sets accounting standards.[53] However, as of 2012 "all major economies" have plans to converge towards or adopt the IFRS.[11]

Accounting firms grew in the United States and Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and through several mergers there were large international accounting firms by the mid-twentieth century. Further large mergers in the late twentieth century led to the dominance of the auditing market by the "Big Five" accounting firms: Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.[48] The demise of Arthur Andersen following the Enron scandal reduced the Big Five to the Big Four.[49]

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For example, if an investor in a 25% tax bracket had $10,000 in long-term capital gains, there would be a tax liability of $1,500. If the same investor sold underperforming investments carrying $10,000 in long-term capital losses, the losses would offset the gains, resulting in a tax liability of 0. If the same losing investment were brought back, then a minimum of 30 days would have to pass to avoid incurring a wash sale. 


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.[66][67]
Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are accounting standards issued by national regulatory bodies. In addition, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issues the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) implemented by 147 countries.[1] While standards for international audit and assurance, ethics, education, and public sector accounting are all set by independent standard settings boards supported by IFAC. The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board sets international standards for auditing, assurance, and quality control; the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) [50] sets the internationally appropriate principles- based Code of Ethics for Professional Accounts the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) sets professional accounting education standards;[51] International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) sets accrual-based international public sector accounting standards [52]
For the salaried class of taxpayers, the responsibility of correct deduction of tax at source is thrown on employers. While in the case of a business or profession, they are responsible for declaring correct income. So, an employee may hide his other income and not declare to his employer in order to avoid taxes, and business owners also claim excess expense claims and deductions to reduce their tax burden. So in these cases, it takes backstage, and tax evasion/avoidance takes center stage.
Public accounting refers to a type of accounting firm in which the accountants provide services directly to businesses and individuals. These accountants often consult with small business owners and help them manage their taxes and finances. They prepare financial statements, audit financial statements, and advise clients on matters pertaining to finance, accounting, and taxes.
Professional accounting qualifications include the Chartered Accountant designations and other qualifications including certificates and diplomas.[59] In Scotland, chartered accountants of ICAS undergo Continuous Professional Development and abide by the ICAS code of ethics.[60] In England and Wales, chartered accountants of the ICAEW undergo annual training, and are bound by the ICAEW's code of ethics and subject to its disciplinary procedures.[61]

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A special thing about the earned income tax credit is that even if you don't owe anything in taxes, you can still get the credit amount back from the IRS in the form of a refund. As you can imagine from the chart, a credit of several thousand dollars for workers earning less than $56,000 -- in some cases, much less -- can make a big financial difference for families struggling to make ends meet.
Every year, tax season is an event so it makes sense to have a professional assist you in planning for that. Franklin P. Sparkman can take the worry out of tax season with services that work for you all year long. If you are in need of tax preparation for your business, or if you are just looking to file an individual tax return, Franklin P. Sparkman has a solution for you.

Accounting firms grew in the United States and Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and through several mergers there were large international accounting firms by the mid-twentieth century. Further large mergers in the late twentieth century led to the dominance of the auditing market by the "Big Five" accounting firms: Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.[48] The demise of Arthur Andersen following the Enron scandal reduced the Big Five to the Big Four.[49]
Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger Follow @DanCaplinger
Both the words accounting and accountancy were in use in Great Britain by the mid-1800s, and are derived from the words accompting and accountantship used in the 18th century.[26] In Middle English (used roughly between the 12th and the late 15th century) the verb "to account" had the form accounten, which was derived from the Old French word aconter,[27] which is in turn related to the Vulgar Latin word computare, meaning "to reckon". The base of computare is putare, which "variously meant to prune, to purify, to correct an account, hence, to count or calculate, as well as to think".[27]
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