Oli Paterson

Basic Financial Accounting for Small Business: Part 5 – Comprehensive Accounting Cycle Review

Welcome back to our insightful series on financial accounting for small businesses! After exploring advanced topics like adjusting entries and year-end procedures, this fifth installment brings a comprehensive review of the accounting cycle, essential for understanding the overall financial picture of your business.

The Accounting Cycle: A Complete Overview Stages of the Accounting Cycle

The accounting cycle is a series of steps that companies follow to manage their financial transactions. From identifying and recording transactions to preparing financial statements, each stage is critical for maintaining the accuracy and integrity of financial records.

Key Accounts in the Accounting Cycle

Understanding the roles of various accounts is fundamental. This includes:

  • Cash: The lifeblood of any business, representing the company’s liquidity.
  • Accounts Receivable: Money owed to the business by customers for goods or services delivered but not yet paid for.
  • Inventory: Goods available for sale, a crucial asset for retail or manufacturing businesses.
  • Accounts Payable: Short-term liabilities, representing amounts the business owes to suppliers.
  • Accumulated Depreciation: Reflecting the decrease in value of assets over time.
  • Supplies: Essential goods consumed during business operations.
  • Salaries Payable: Outstanding employee wages that are due but not yet paid.


Putting It All Together: Running Through the Cycle Documenting Transactions

Every financial transaction starts with documentation, whether it’s a sales receipt, an invoice, or a bank statement. This documentation serves as the foundation for the accounting process.

Journalizing and Posting Transactions

Transactions are first recorded in journals and then posted to the appropriate ledger accounts. This step categorizes each transaction into its specific account, making it easier to track and manage financial data.

Trial Balance and Adjusting Entries

Preparing a trial balance ensures that debits and credits are balanced. Adjusting entries are then made for accrued or deferred items to align earnings and expenses with the correct accounting periods.

Financial Statements: The End Goal

The ultimate goal of the accounting cycle is to prepare accurate financial statements – the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These documents provide valuable insights into the financial health and performance of the business.


A thorough understanding of the accounting cycle is indispensable for small business owners. It not only helps in maintaining accurate records but also in making informed decisions based on financial data. As we continue our journey into financial accounting, these foundations will prove increasingly valuable in managing and growing your business.

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