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Accounting vs.

Accounting involves tracking, reporting, and analyzing financial transactions. It covers everything
from preparing individual tax returns to preparing financial statements for multinational corporations,
and is considered a fundamental discipline within the field of accounting.
An audit is an independent examination of accounting and financial records and financial statements
to determine if they conform to the law and to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). In
the U.S., the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting
Standards Board (GASB) set and maintain these principals.

The Origins of Auditing

Although records exist of government auditing in 11th century BC China and 4th century BC Greece,
the modern audit evolved in the 19th century when public activities involving the movement of large
amounts of money around the world made an independent and objective assessment of financial
management a prudent idea. In Great Britain, the Office of Comptroller-General was created in
1857, and in 1921, the U.S. created the U.S. General Accounting Office (which became the
Government Accountablility Office in 2004).
Auditing practices continue to evolve and have come under fire more than once, most recently after
the collapse of Enron, Worldcomm, and their auditing firm, Arthur Andersen, in the early 2000s, and
again after the Wall Street financial meltdown of 2008.

Types of Audits
Financial audits determine if an organization's financial statements fairly represent the results of an
organizations financial operations and the organization's financial position while conforming to
generally accepted accounting principles.
Compliance audits determine if the organization has followed the laws and regulations that may
materially affect the financial statements. Financial and compliance audits are often combined.
Economy and efficiency audits determine if an organization is economically and efficiently
managing and using resources, such as personnel, space, and property; the causes of any problems
in this area; and if the organization has followed laws and regulations relating to this area.
A program results audit looks at a specific program to determine if the desired results or benefits
are being achieved and if the desired results can be achieved at a lower cost.
Featured Undergraduate Programs

Capella University - Online BS-Accounting and a BS-Accounting CPA Pathway.

Maryville University - Online bachelor's degree in Accounting
Rasmussen College - Associate's and Bachelor's Degree Programs
SNHU - Online AS in Accounting and BS in Accounting with the option to focus in Finance or
Forensic Accounting

Featured Graduate Programs

Syracuse University - Master's in Accounting

Capella University - MBA-Accounting CPA Pathway Program
Seton Hall University - Online Master of Science Accounting
Saint John's University - Online Master of Science in Accounting
SNHU - Online MBA in Accounting and MS in Accounting with the option to add a focus in
Auditing, Forensic Accounting, Management Accounting, Taxation, or Finance

Internal vs. External Audits

External auditors come into organizations from outside for the purpose of providing an independent
opinion on accounting and financial records. All publicly traded companies are required by law to
have their financial statements externally audited.