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Accounting Handbook (Professional Edition)
Accountancy is the art of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management. It is the branch of mathematical science that is useful in discovering the causes of success and failure in business. The principles of accountancy are applied to business entities in three divisions of practical art, named accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing.
Accounting is defined by the AICPA as "The art of recording, classifying, and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of financial character, and interpreting the results thereof." Accounting is thousands of years old; the earliest accounting records were found in the Middle East which date back more than 7,000 years. The people of that time relied on primitive accounting methods to record the growth of crops and herds. Accounting evolved, improving over the years and advancing as business advanced.