When talking about the best business accounting software, you must first know the relationship between finance and accounting. Conceptually speaking, they are closely related to the extent that accounting is an important input in financial decision making and there are key differences in viewpoints between them. Accounting is a necessary input into finance. That is, accounting is a sub-function of finance.
Accounting generates information or data relating to the operations or activities of the firm. The end-product of accounting constitutes financial statements such as the balance sheet, the income statement (profit and loss account) and the statement of changes in financial position (sources and uses of funds statement). The information contained in these statements and reports assists financial managers in assessing the past performance and future directions of the firm and in meeting certain legal obligations, such as payment of taxes and so on. Thus, accounting and finance are functionally closely related.
But there are key differences between finance and accounting. The first difference relates to the treatment of funds while the second relates to decision making. The viewpoint of accounting relating to the funds of the firm is different from that of finance. The measurement of funds (income and expenses) in accounting is based on the accrual system. For instance, revenue is recognized at the point of sale and not when collected. Similarly, expenses are recognized when they are incurred rather than when actually paid. The accrual-based accounting data do not reflect fully the financial circumstances of the firm. The viewpoint of finance relating to the treatment of funds is based on cashflows. The revenues are recognized only when actually received in cash (i.e. cash inflow) and expenses are recognized on actual payment (i.e. cash outflow).
Finance and accounting also differ in respect to their purposes. The purpose of accounting is collection and presentation of financial data. It provides consistently developed and easily interpreted data on the past, present and future operations of the firm. On the other hand, financial manager’s major responsibility relates to financial planning, controlling and decision making. Thus, in a sense, finance begins where accounting ends.