The study of accountancy is growing in demand and importance with the growth of greater complexity in our business organization. Formerly, a record of day-to-day income and expenditure more than sufficed. The preparation of cash-balances was a simple affair. But today commercial business is a complicated affair. It involves paper transactions in which millions of rupees or sterling are involved. A business organization has to maintain a clear account of the resources it uses, the amounts that are owing to it, the amount that it owes to others, the profit or loss it has made, and the capital it employs. Proper adjustment of these is a guarantee and guide to the businessman. Large sums of money may be outstanding or may not be immediately adjustable, and without a scientific system of accounting, no business-man can be fully aware of his real financial position. Uncertainty in this respect may make the adventurous over-bold, and the hesitant too timid, and in business in investments neither timidity nor ventures menses is a virtue.
Accountancy involves thorough training, both theoretical and practical. Apart from the subject proper, a knowledge of economics, mercantile law as well as commercial relations is necessary and helpful. Hence a good accountant must have a sound educational background. It is not necessary to have knowledge of mathematics in all its aspects, but proficiency in arithmetic is essential. Nowadays, of course, different kinds of comptometers have come to the rescue of the accountant, and the mechanical part of his work has become swift and accurate. A general accountant must be well-posted in book-keeping-maintaining the ledger as well as other subsidiary books like the day-book, the journal, etc. here theoretical training has to be strengthened by practical training and experience. That is why a course of apprenticeship in some mercantile firm is always desirable.
Modern accountancy being a complicated system has its specialized branches. Among the more important of these are auditing and cost accountancy. The auditor must check up the different accounts and see that entries and adjustments have been correctly made, for only then will the financial picture be clear and convincing. It is usual to keep an internal audit department to ensure correct day-to-day accounting, and to appoint external auditors to conduct an impartial annual examination. It is only in this way that correct expenditure can be ensured and unauthorized expenditure avoided. He is a bad businessman who is afraid of the auditor or considers money spent thereon as wasted. Auditing is the very basis and backbone of the sound business.
Another essential and well-developed department of accountancy is that of the cost-account. In an industrial or production center, the cost accountant is essential to ensure sound investments. His usefulness comes to be realized during the war when large out-of-hand expenditure had to be incurred to step up production to maximum capacity. Cost accounting is related chiefly to manufacture and production. It helps to find out the correct ratio between investment, production, and profit, and to suggest to what extent one has to be stepped us or not to ensure maximum profits.
From the above, it follows that in the modern business organization, accountancy offers an important career to our young men and women. Every business firm, every government department needs its army of trained accountants of all kinds. Specialized training ensures superior prospects. Universities have responded to this growing demand, and their commercial courses are well-adapted to the needs of the business. The accountant is no longer the hard-boiled quill-driver poring over his cash and credit ledger such as Charles lamb was doomed to be, but a specialized and trained expert, enjoying the prestige and wielding authority, to whom even departmental managers must bow down in awe. For he is at once the monitor and the arbiter in all well-managed business organizations.