Accounting Is Science Or Art?


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Roger Clegg Profile
Roger Clegg answered
Accountancy is usually defined as the process of communicating financial information concerning a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is in the form of financial statements or fiscal terms that are clearly documented in monetary terms the economic resources which are under the control of management.

The art factor specifically lies in choosing the information that is relevant to the user. The principles of accountancy are applied to business entities in three divisions of practical art, which are accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing.

So accountancy for some is more of an art but can be interpreted in several ways. Some study degrees in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (majoring in accounting), which, according to academia, could further support that accounting should be considered a science.
In accountancy, debits should always equal credits, which is a type of a scientific formula. You need to understand that the balance sheet must always balance, a scientific conclusion. Numbers seem to overwhelm the accounting process and numbers are created within the science arena. Declining balance depreciation is computed very scientifically. The income tax computations are purely based on the scientific applications of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. So can we conclude that accounting is a science?

What is the time scale over which we should depreciate an asset or amortize an intangible? How should we compute our allowance for doubtful accounts? Is the estimated cost to complete a construction project set into a scientific and consistent formula? What percentage amount is that construction projected complete? What rate of tax rate should we need to use for deferred income taxes? Are these questions answered with a mind guided by the science of accounting or the art of accounting?

A fair conclusion to draw from this debate would be that, while the processes and methods used in accountancy can be considered scientific, the decisions and estimations needed to make the most choices can be considered an art.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
In simple words, science establishes relationship of cause and effect whereas art is the application of knowledge comprising of some accepted theories and rules.

Accounting is an art of recording financial transaction in a set of book; classifying in desired categories and summarizing the information for presentation in a suitable manner to the concerned persons for their benefit.

Accounting is also science in the sense that it comprises of rules, principles, concepts, conventions and standards. All these form body of knowledge which has recognitions all over the world. The term GAAP denotes generally accepted accounting principles. At present we have International Accounting Standards Committee also.

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