ac·​count·​ing | \ ə-ˈkau̇n-tiŋ How to pronounce accounting (audio) \

Definition of accounting

1 : the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions and analyzing, verifying, and reporting the results also : the principles and procedures of this system studied accounting as a freshman
2a : work done in accounting or by accountants
b : an instance of applied accounting or of the settling or presenting of accounts
3 : account sense 2 They were required to provide a detailed accounting of their actions.

Examples of accounting in a Sentence

what accounting can you give for your bizarre actions on the night in question?
Recent Examples on the Web Worrell’s estate is seeking a declaration that the late keyboardist was a co-creator of the recordings in question along with an accounting of record sales and potential royalties. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 11 May 2022 What had been grand Victorian drawing rooms were serving as an accounting department. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 7 May 2022 The accounting firms also risk losing partners and junior staff. Jean Eaglesham, WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 That, McClure says, is not lost on the biggest accounting firms, whose outsize influence on the financial-services sector extends all the way to how the tax code gets written. Kelli María Korducki, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2022 Tatiana Perebyinis worked for SE Ranking, a Silicon Valley software company, joining its offices in Kyiv in 2016 and rising to become the head of the company’s accounting department, Ksenia Khirvonina, a spokeswoman for the company, told The Post. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 Files that have never moved across the internet, like the involved payroll spreadsheets a company's accounting department keeps on the internal HR server, will still have macros enabled by default. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 10 Feb. 2022 Lakritz has 20 years of professional finance leadership and accounting experience. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2022 That is Dyer’s own brief accounting of his subjects; in other words, everything up to the edge of death, that sheer cliff toward which all of us are ambling. Charles Finch, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accounting.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of accounting

circa 1676, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for accounting

Middle English acountynge "reckoning, calculation," from gerund of accounten "to account entry 2"

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best calculators.

Learn More About accounting

Time Traveler for accounting

Time Traveler

The first known use of accounting was circa 1676

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near accounting

account for (something)


accounting equation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for accounting

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accounting.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for accounting


ac·​count·​ing | \ ə-ˈkau̇n-tiŋ How to pronounce accounting (audio) \

Kids Definition of accounting

: the work of keeping a person's or a business's financial records



Legal Definition of accounting

1 : an often court-ordered presentment or examination of accounts a complete accounting would be necessary to determine the nature of the expendituresCase & Comment
2 : the settlement by judicial action of the assets of a partnership (as upon dissolution)

More from Merriam-Webster on accounting

Nglish: Translation of accounting for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accounting for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about accounting


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!