Intermediate Accounting/Introduction

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See Intermediate Accounting wikibook overview

Intermediate Accounting is a course of study in financial accounting. In traditional universities it is often taught in a two semester sequence that students majoring in accounting are required to take, usually during their junior year. One might think the phrase "intermediate accounting" could apply to beyond-basic techniques in w:management accounting or any other area of accounting, too, but in fact the phrase is applied exclusively to the courses and textbooks in the financial accounting area. Financial accounting, beyond a beginner's introduction, is the topic of this wikibook.

The scope of the course is broad: to cover, in considerable detail, the accounting concepts, policies, and practices for most types of economic transactions of businesses. The material is organized by groups of transactions primarily affecting assets vs. liabilities vs. equities. The purpose is to describe how accounting for these transactions is usually done, or in some cases what are options in prevailing practice, and to give adequate preparation to accountants for treatment of most usual cases. Various specialized topics in financial accounting are not covered. Practices that are not Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) are not the focus of this work, but may be covered in order to illustrate basic ideas. Likewise practices which have become discredited and are no longer GAAP, and proposed methods that are arguably better than practices in current GAAP, are discussed where helpful.

Prerequisites are:

Note on Writing and Sources[edit]

The material in this textbook is meant to be written entirely as original work, from scratch, and is not to copy wording or general form from any source, except where explicit credit is given (by quotations explicitly noted by quotation marks and corresponding footnote references). Where quotations from any copyrighted source are used, only short quotes consistent with copyright fair use restrictions are to be included.

For a textbook, less specific attribution of material is ethically or legally required than for writing that purports to be original and to make new research contributions. This is a textbook and is meant to be non-original, and kept simple, although we also hope to provide really good explanations of material. Excessive footnoting would get in the way of learning, and the topics covered are generally standard material, covered in numerous textbooks which themselves are very imperfect in giving credit. Experienced teachers of accounting who have perspective about multiple textbook approaches can usually present material in their own words, and also can understand when, in one source, original ideas or idiosyncratic language is being used which would require specific attribution, if mentioned here. New teachers and students may not have the perspective required to know when they're restating original ideas or wording that should be attributed. Please take care, and give explicit attribution when in doubt. This is a collective work. Please note that it is easy for later editors to reword materials and remove footnotes where specific credit is not really due. But it is very hard for others, later, to identify the actual specific source for a given original phrasing or idea, if explicit crediting has been omitted or removed. So again, please be conservative and note specific sources when in doubt.

In broad terms, the source for material in this textbook is the corpus of material taught by many teachers and many textbooks, and which comprise the usual content of Intermediate Accounting courses taught in the United States. The following textbooks may serve as general background sources:

  • Intermediate Accounting, by Kieso, Weygandt, and Warfield, published by John Wiley & Sons, various editions (this is the most commonly adopted textbook at universities)
  • Intermediate Accounting, by Spiceland, Sepe, Nelson, and Tomassini, published by McGraw-Hill/Irwin, various editions

The material here is provided for use under the copyright terms of Wikibooks, which provides for broadly "free" licensing for any purpose including commercial purposes, subject to limitation (mainly that proper attribution to the authors here be provided, along with statement of the governing copyright terms).