In the following treatise an attempt is made to present the principles of accounting. In doing so the details of technic, important though they are, are purposely omitted or treated with the scantest mention. The essence of accounting, from the author's view point, is the presentation, first, of a correct exhibit of the financial status of the concern at a given moment of time, and, secondly, a showing of the results obtained during a given period of time. The first is embodied in the Balance Sheet; the second in the Income or Profit and Loss statement.
In the ordinary routine of the accountant's toil there is, indeed, another function; that of keeping account of claims and property, in order to secure the concern against the loss which might arise from forgetfulness, carelessness or dishonesty. This phase of accounting attains its acme in governmental accounting where the essential thing is to insure the proper handling of vast sums. But this seems a matter of much less scientific interest and is not treated in this work.
The method of treatment, in general, has therefore been to consider how a given transaction is made manifest in the Balance Sheet, the goal which the accountant ever has in mind. The technical entries to be made in the journal or in other books of original entry are excluded.