Financial accounting is the process of gathering, recording, summarizing and reporting financial data relating to a business.  The ultimate goal is to accurately report the financial picture and performance of a business at a certain point in time and over a certain period of time. The product of financial accounting is a financial report that contains various statements and explanatory notes.  The statements include the balance sheet, the income statement and the cash flow statement. Explanatory notes follow the financial statements to explain or clarify issues such as the inventory method used, changes in owner’s equity, contingent liabilities and any other material line items in the financial statements. In the United States, financial accounting is done in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  Internationally, financial accounting is performed in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).  GAAP and IFRS standardize financial accounting so that the results are comparable between different companies.   Financial accounting is best performed by highly trained accountants who have passed rigorous tests to certify their competency.  In the United States, such accountants are called Certified Public Accountants (CPA).  In Canada and Great Britain, these accountants are called Chartered Accountants (CA).