A definition of accounting that I have heard often is that ‘Accounting is the language of business’. I think that this is quite a good definition. The key use of language is communication. And the accounting process that culminates in financial statements is one way that a business communicates its business performance to the rest of the world including shareholders, investors, governments and lenders.
However, students often tell me that they unfortunately do not understand the language of business or accounting. I empathize with them! The point that I make is that the fault does not lie with the language of business or, in this case, accounting. The problem, when it arises, lies with the speaker. It is the users of accounting or the creators of financial statements that are responsible for clarity. If the management which creates the financial statements do not want the users to understand the language or to show the true picture of performance, they deploy various tricks to make it difficult to understand the financial statements. We invite you to learn the language of business with one of our accounting tutors online.
One really famous person who understands the language of business is Warren Buffett. He also knows how to do some ‘plain speaking’ ! He recently made his views on taxation clear. He has always maintained that he pays lower taxes than the poor. But his recent article and the timing of his comments have created a splutter! This may not have gone down well with the rich as illustrated by Joe Heller in the Green Bay Press! Joe Heller may or may not know accounting or the language of business but he definitely knows about communicating!
Copyright Joe Heller, Green Bay Press.