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Asset and Liability Basics: Building Financial Clarity

It can be an effort to read accounts, but is it worth it? Yes. For whether launching a business; joining a long-established family business; applying for a loan; starting a marketing career; taking over a multinational group of companies; or even if all you are going to be dealing with are your own personal assets and liabilities, some familiarity with the accounting language is going to be essential.

Understanding Accounting Methods

Accounting's two most important methods would be considered cash basis accounting and accrual accounting. Used separately for different reasons, these methods are essential to understanding financial management.

Cash Basis Accounting

Cash basis accounting is always personal. Cash basis accounting is cash-based in the etymological sense of the word as it is about cash: notes and coins in your pocket, cheques in the bank account, credit cards in your pocket. A person who records her private economic transactions using the cash basis can list the in-and-out transactions she has made, incomings and outgoings: withdrawal of cash from a bank, payment or receipt. Cash basis accounting deals with the use of cash.

Accrual Accounting

A recording of the transactions in accrual accounting does not depend on whether physical cash was exchanged or not. For example, if you decide to buy a brand-new PC, you increase your expense account. If you sold your old laptop a few days earlier, you would increase your revenues. You can calculate a ratio of these two, for example $0.75 in your revenues for every $1 in your expenses. That is accrual accounting. If you’re just used to keeping the books on a cash basis, formulas like that can look very scary: at the moment you conclude your contract, you have not actually spent any money, so it could be tempting to think of it as a relatively unimportant obligation that could be set aside for later. But you actually owe a buyer of your laptop the money. The received accounting profit/ (revenue – expense) formula – is calculated on a cash-basis accounting principle! It’s calculated not based on if you moved a dollar from one hand to the other, but on the more profound concept of the incurrence on accounting expense when you bought that new PC. The difference between what you owe and what’s in your bank account can be huge.

Essential Accounting Terminology

To embark on an accounting journey, understanding key terms is imperative:

  • Assets: These are properties of great market value. They are categorized in three classifications.

    • Present Assets: That's something I can buy or purchase today, cash, securities or outstanding receivables, etc.
    • Fixed Assets: Comprises tangible valuables like property, machinery, and land.
    • Intangible Assets: Encompasses intangible items like copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
  • Liabilities: Liabilities refer to a company’s obligations to creditors; they are grouped as:

    • Current Liabilities: Debts due very soon in return for current assets. This category includes accounts payable, notes payable, and accrued liabilities.
    • Long-Term Liabilities: Debts with a tenure exceeding a month.
  • Financial Capital: All ways of registering wealth in liquid media or funds; administered by four means: treatises on capital goods for exchange; financial instruments as media of exchange; payments by bodies of gold in deferred payment; supplies of value, which in an opposite direction pertains to savings and recovery.

  • Petty Cash: Smallest cash account within a business used for minor expenses.

Kinds of Business

You must know about the prevailing forms of business:

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is a one-man firm.
  • Partnerships: Two or more individuals jointly own and manage the business.
  • Corporations: Multiple shareholders make collective decisions.
  • Limited Liability Companies: Business members aren't personally liable for business debt.


Payroll refers to the remuneration for the services of an organisation's employees, including business owners. The majority of businesses wish to avoid problems by paying their staff promptly and according to the contract. Some businesses choose to outsource the payroll to a payroll service provider to ensure transparency in the payroll application and to remain free from errors and misunderstandings.

The Importance of Learning Accounting

Why you benefit from learning to account is superlative: Accounting is the wisdom: learning to account is excellent for anything you do in your day to day activities. Accounting is an asset skill for every business person and a money manager tool you really need. The ADVANTAGES of learning accounting is an important skill to learn/gain because with it you are sure to gain the financial clarity you really need to your financial accounts and track records which will definitely help you stay on top of our finances which will enable manage your finances and business decisions required to be financially successful.

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Questions and Answers:

What are assets and liabilities in accounting?

These are called assets and are distinguished by types (good, that is, cash, securities, receivables) and by types of assets or physical capital (real estate, royalties, trademarks). Liabilities are debts to pay, divided by their maturities divides: current liabilities (these are payable within a certain time frame) and long-term liabilities (these are paid in more than a month’s time).

How does cash basis accounting differ from accrual accounting?

Cash basis: This is where you write down the transaction when the cash actually comes in (or goes out). Accrual: When you record a transaction when you incur the expense (even if there is no cash movement). Comparing to ahead of recording income helps you to find the financial ratios.

What is the significance of understanding financial capital?

By contrast, financial capital is deep wealth, associated with the dense relations of contracts, financial instruments, standing by, deferred payment (gold), and savings and recuperation.

What types of businesses should one be aware of?

The most common types of business structures are respectively called - sole proprietorship (one owner), partnership (co-owners), corporation (many shareholders) and limited liability companies (member not liable to pay off the company’s debt).

How does petty cash impact business operations?

Petty cash is the smallest cash account, that is money to cover minor business expenses, cash on petty purposes.

Why is knowledge of payrolls important in business?

Payroll is the payment to the employees of an organisation including company employers for their service. Most of the businesses don’t want to become controversial by delaying to pay their employees or paying them less than the signed contract. Some business in order to avoid this issue prefer to give their payroll in some another source, where the designed payroll application can be handle seamlessly by some outsourcing company termed as a payroll service provider.