12 Branches of Accounting: What They Are and What They Do

Different Branches of Accounting

What does an accounting branch do?

Accounting departments keep track of business activities and transactions, translate that data, and then present it to managers, stakeholders, or anyone else with a financial stake. Managers are helped by the information before, during, and after projects, and stakeholders are assisted in making business decisions.

Accounting departments adhere to specific accounting standards established by groups like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the US. The general accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are a set of ideas, customs, presumptions, and guidelines that accountants adhere to. GAAP helps to clear up any ambiguity and promotes consistency and uniformity in accounting practices.

Various accounting techniques are used by accounting branches to track and report on economic activity and business health.

Accounting branches typically perform the following tasks in addition to monitoring the flow of money:

What are accounting branches?

Accounting divisions measure, process, and communicate financial and non-financial data that has an impact on a company’s economic associations and interests. Most companies and businesses use accounting departments to gauge the impact of their economic activity. Accounting branches compile data and report results in a variety of ways to stakeholders like investors, creditors, management, regulators, and tax collectors.

Accounting evolved to broaden its branches and develop specialties in a particular area of finance due to the growth of global business and the expansion of tax laws and regulations. The growth of accounting specialties that concentrate on a specific economic interest is a result of technological advancements and the exchange of foreign currencies.

Why choose a career in accounting?

Those who love numbers and have an eye for detail may enjoy a career in accounting. Accountants are methodical, organized and display careful attention to detail. Due to the variety of accounting specialties, you can combine your love of numbers with enforcing tax regulations, working for a non-profit, or defending property or interests.

Some of the titles in accounting are:

The different branches of accounting

The field of accounting has grown to include numerous branches that each concentrate on a different area of business or law.

Here is a list of the 12 accounting branches, followed by an explanation of each area’s focus:

1. Financial accounting

Along with creating and presenting financial statements, financial accounting entails documenting and explaining business transactions. Financial accounting follows GAAP principles and focuses on historical data. For instance, a financial accountant may review the financial statements from the previous quarter and offer suggestions for improvement for the subsequent quarter. Accounting for finances examines the balance sheet of the company and creates profit and loss statements that give management or stakeholders advice on loans, investments, or acquisitions.

Financial accounting provides vital economic business information for:

2. Managerial accounting

Managerial accounting gives information to a company’s management, specifically. In contrast to financial accounting, managerial accounting tracks how money is used rather than the total amount. Managerial accounting prioritizes the requirements of management while not always adhering to GAAP accounting rules. Global Management Accounting Principles (GMAP), developed by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, are a set of accounting standards that are specifically relevant to this field.

Managerial accounting seeks to streamline operations, increase revenue, and give management financial information that has an impact on budgeting and planning. Forecasting is done in this area of accounting to advise management on the best ways to achieve objectives and maintain profits. Performing internal audits using cost to volume profit (CVP) or break-even point (BEP) analysis, as well as other factors that influence decision-making, are all part of managerial accounting.

3. Cost accounting

The primary goal of cost accounting, which is regarded as a subset of management accounting, is to assess costs. This branch accurately calculates the cost of a project or venture by taking into account all manufacturing-related factors. To create and present reports that inform decision-makers on how to reduce costs or when to spend more, cost accounting examines manufacturing costs. It monitors projects for waste and cost control. To determine future financial actions, cost accounting regularly analyzes actual costs that exceed the budget.

4. Auditing

Accountants frequently conduct both internal and external audits. Auditors check and keep track of a company’s financial integrity, compliance with tax laws and regulations, and accurate reporting. There are two specializations for auditors:

During a state or federal audit, an impartial, external auditor checks the accuracy of a company’s financial statements. GAAP-compliant auditing assesses the effectiveness of a company’s internal controls. External auditors may examine the effectiveness and integrity of the company’s policies, authorizations, and other management controls.

Internal auditing finds and averts tax problems or readies the company for an external audit. Typically, shareholders in this branch choose the auditors, preventing any potential conflicts of interest and guaranteeing their objectivity.

5. Tax accounting

When preparing tax returns or engaging in tax planning, tax accounting complies with all applicable state and federal tax laws. This division provides information on how taxes affect businesses and may provide advice on how to reduce taxes or deal with the effects of tax choices. Depending on the type of business, tax accountants determine income and other taxes. Tax accounting is knowledgeable about the tax laws governing sole proprietorships, corporations, and limited liability corporations (LLCs), as taxes and income brackets differ depending on the type of entity.

6. Fiduciary accounting

The accounts entrusted to the person in charge of property custody or management are handled by fiduciary accounting. Guardians or custodians frequently use the branch to track and report account receipts and expenditures to ensure proper fund allocation.

Fiduciary accounting typically serves:

7. Project accounting

Large projects in some industries, like those in engineering or construction, call for a dedicated accountant. Project accounting falls under the project management umbrella. This accounting tracks the financial progress of a project by analyzing costs and producing reports on a regular basis. It provides historical information to guide future project decisions, such as cost-cutting strategies or budget changes.

8. Forensic accounting

Legal accounting, also referred to as forensic accounting, deals with cases involving bankruptcy, fraud, or mismanagement. This branch manages dispute resolution, calculates damages, and conducts investigations for court and litigation cases.

Forensic accounting serves:

9. Fund accounting

Non-profit organizations (NPO) and fund accounting collaborate to ensure the accurate and proper allocation of funds. Fund accountants separate and distribute funds in accordance with the company’s policies or the laws governing NPOs to ensure that NPO funds are distributed as intended.

Fund accounting is frequently used by:

10. Government accounting

Government accounting supervises and keeps track of the distribution and allocation of federal and state funds. This can involve social accounting components as well as the estimation of human costs associated with federal land use, climate change, or the use of welfare funds. Government accounting keeps track of the flow of funds through various agencies and makes sure that spending limits are maintained or met. Government accountants are employed by state and federal agencies that run programs for housing, healthcare, and education.

11. Political campaign accounting

The creation and implementation of a political campaigns finance system are under the control of political campaign accounting. For the purpose of ensuring adherence to federal and state laws governing political campaigns, this may include transaction accounting or donation monitoring. Political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels all use campaign accounting.

12. International accounting

International markets and the demand for international accounting both grow as global business does. This area of accounting helps people conduct business ethically and fairly by teaching them about local laws and regulations in other nations. In addition to adhering to GAAP, international accountants are knowledgeable about IFRS, the accounting standard used in the majority of developed economies.


What are the 12 branches of accounting?

Here is a list of 12 branches of accounting along with a description of each area’s focus:
  • Financial accounting. …
  • Managerial accounting. …
  • Cost accounting. …
  • Auditing. …
  • Tax accounting. …
  • Fiduciary accounting. …
  • Project accounting. …
  • Forensic accounting.

What are the 8 branches of accounting?

The eight branches of accounting include the following:
  • Financial accounting.
  • Cost accounting.
  • Auditing.
  • Managerial accounting.
  • Accounting information systems.
  • Tax accounting.
  • Forensic accounting.
  • Fiduciary accounting.

What are the 4 branches of accounting?

Despite the fact that there are twelve different branches of accounting, there are only three primary types of accounting, according to McAdam & Co. These types are tax accounting, financial accounting and management accounting.

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