Canadian Business Accounting Software

What do businesses have in common? Well, the main thing is the goal of each company to generate income through legitimate transactions.

On the other hand, what is not common among businesses? There are a variety of things. It could be the way management runs the company. It could also be the kind of products or services offered. And it could also be the different laws that govern these businesses.

Yes, there are laws that govern business. If you look closely at each country, you will see that they have different laws and ordinances that govern how businesses are run. For example, imagine Product A, which is legally sold in Country A. However, the same product in Country B cannot be sold legally.

If you go to Canada and start looking deeper into its business situation, you will realize that there are unique conditions that can be found there and nowhere else. To assist Canadian businesses in their accounting and auditing work, computer techies, along with number and business experts, have come up with business accounting software that is meant for companies that operate in Canada. If necessary, this kind of software takes into consideration Canadian business laws for computing purposes.

Canadian business accounting software is the best companion business people can have. Once installed in the company’s computer system, all a person has to do is type in or encode the necessary information that needs to be processed. Afterwards, the software does all the necessary computations. There is no need to do manual computations that can take up large chunks of precious time. With Canadian business accounting software, computing is now an easier task.

If you are interested in purchasing Canadian business accounting software, try searching through the Internet. There are various companies online that offer this Canadian-specific software.

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What Are the Key Differences Between Forensic Accounting and Traditional Accounting?

Here’re some of the best known differences between a Forensic accounting and Traditional Accounting in a glance;

1. A very obvious and discrete key difference which one can identify between a traditional auditor VS a forensic accountant is that :

The former is someone who checks the math accuracy in the accounting department while the latter is someone whom are looking behind these financial numbers find out what’s not quite right.

2. The second differentiation is the “investigative intuition”.

Intuition refers to the gut instinct which one may have to guide you to the appropriate direction as of where your investigation should start from. This is not text book earned, but rather something which can be earned through massive experiences. Most of the time, no investigation intuition is found nor required in the traditional accounting scope.

3. Traditional auditing is a process of auditing others’ work to determine if they have followed the documented official policies, procedures and practices of the company. The determination is based on evidence. It is a matter of fact and not merely a matter of opinion. This kind of audits is required by financial intermediaries and the government depending on circumstances.

4. Traditional auditing focus on error identification and prevention. Prevention is the result of an effective internal control system. The auditor reviews the effectiveness of the internal control system by sampling transactions of some agreeable percentage. Materiality is the accounting way of designating the importance of a transaction or an event.

5. Traditional Auditors use statistics to determine the probability that material errors will or will not be identified and the possibility of its happening. This is a concern since only a sample of transactions and events will be reviewed. The system of internal control is evaluated. It is argued that If the internal control system is deemed to be highly effective, then material errors are not probable.

6. Traditional auditors typically adhere to the generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) as promulgated by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). External auditors are typically reviewing whether an organization is following GAAP. GAAP are promulgated by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) .This denotes that means that auditors are affected by all three of these organizations and must stay current with old, new and changing standards and principles issued by all three of these organizations.

7. Instead, forensic accountants use physical evidence, testimonial evidence, documentary evidence and demonstrative evidence to help identifying suspect and culprits.

8. For Forensic Accounting, any type of evidence can be used as information, be it documentary paper, a computer video or audio. However, it requires an expert to interpret the evidence and present it. Demonstrative evidence is not actual evidence. It is just an aid to understanding just like a model of a body part or pictures or other devices are used to help clarify the facts.

9. Forensic Accountant is often asked to serve as an expert witness for a lawsuit or criminal case in a court, the forensic accountant needs to have applied reliable principles and methods to sufficient facts or data. The expert witness is a recognized specialist relative to the principles and methods applied to the sufficient facts or data.

10. A forensic accountant typically need to possess the expertise and skills in these 2 fields : Private investigator and Accountings are what specifically required to be a great forensic accountant. On the other hand, there is no such requirement in the traditional accounting space.

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The Effects of Globalization on Both Accounting Profession and Education

Innovations in technology has catapulted the financial district into a global market. Globalization has had a large influence on the way businesses conduct business. Firms are not only responsible for being privy to information involving consumers in their own backyard but also understanding consumer culture as well as economic, political, and legal structures that exist in other countries. Due to the influence globalization has had on businesses, it has changed the expectations that are required of incoming business students and their education. More specifically, accounting students are being impacted by the changes globalization has influenced the market with. These students are challenged more particularly throughout their undergraduate years to understand not only the rules and regulations of GAAP (General Accepted Accounting Principles) but also the standards set forth by the IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Within the accounting sphere, the primary focus has been on external reporting which involve the preparation of financial statements and auditing. However, due to the ever changing world of the global market, future accountants are required to possess perspectives that influence both external and internal reporting. The market will continue to change due to the fast paced journey of information making globalization an important factor in accounting education.

Businesses in the United States have largely adopted GAAP which is a guide to how business are to construct financial information to produce statements. GAAP has been useful in the last couple of years because it facilitates the way businesses in the U.S. communicate with each other. However, in the global environment, GAAP proves to be burdensome for most companies. Overseas, they have adopted IFRS which is another guide to producing financial information which aids foreign companies with communicate amongst each other. Most countries use IFRS as a basis for the way business transactions are conducted. Since most of the world is using IFRS as the standard it leaves the U.S. with the tedious task of having to incorporate two different principles to conduct business. In the article, “How Globalization is Affecting U.S. Accountants” by Bruce Pounder, Pounder states that “U.S. accountants will find themselves at a severe disadvantage to the many foreign accounting professionals who have already mastered international accounting standards and who are therefore much better-positioned to take advantage of rapidly growing career opportunities in China, India, and other emerging economies” (Pounder, 2007, p. 3). He then goes on to predict that as GAAP becomes more overshadowed by IFRS, U.S. accountants will find their skills and knowledge becoming obsolete. Therefore, IFRS has become more integrated into the accounting curriculum for education. Students are required to understand not only GAAP but IFRS and the changes that occur when working with both. By involving IFRS into the learning process, students will be prepared to later take the CPA Exam which has recently been updated to include information about IFRS in the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section. Students are becoming better equipped with skills and information that will make them more marketable and efficient in the globalized business environment.

In the U.S. economy, a thriving financial sector is usually supported by a strong public accounting and auditing firms. Therefore, the focus over recent years has been to ensure that accountants excel at compiling information involving a company’s assets, liabilities, equity, investments, etc. However, due to globalization, external accounting practices aren’t as valued if internal practices are not also implicated. Internal practices are important because it shapes the way businesses reach their customers in the foreign market. Authors Paul Danos and Richard L. Measelle stated in their article, “Globalization of the Business Environment: Implications for Accounting Profession and Business Education”, that “In a competitive global market place, the internal accountant must be sensitive to what drives the costs of products and he/she must work with production and marketing people to rationalize all cost accounting procedures” (Danos, 1990, p. 79). The responsibilities of the internal accountant is becoming more critical to the success of businesses. For a business wanting to expand into foreign territory, cost accounting is used to accurately develop product price information, location of manufacturing facilities, picking suppliers, etc. Due to these factors, internal accountants have to be familiar with regulations across borders, tax treatments, and currency conversion costs. When it comes to public accounting, auditors must be heavily versed in global accounting standards because “the world’s economies are becoming increasingly interdependent… ” (Needles, 2010, p. 602) according to Belverd E. Needles Jr. author of the article “Accounting Education: The Impact of Globalization”. The author goes on to encourage global standards for auditors because it strengthens their practices by only having to be familiar with those regulations. In order to be well versed in the global market, accounting students are advised to take courses specifically designed to analyze different cultures, languages, and political factors that influence societies.

Globalization has influenced many changes that have taken place in both the accounting profession and education. Students are now exposed to problems that occur in the global market and how to go about solving them. Not only are these students expected to understand all the mathematics and jargon involved with the business world, but they are also expected to have a good sense of foreign consumer culture as well as the regulations bound to each country. Implemented with these skills, students will be able to excel in the new business world.

References

Danos, P., & Measelle, R. L. (1990). Globalization of the Business Environment: Implications for the Accounting Profession and Business Education. Human Resource Management, 29(1), 77-84

Needles, B. E. (2010). Accounting Education: The Impact of Globalization. Accounting Education, 19(6), 601-605. doi: 10.1080/09639284.2010.501578

Pounder, B. (2007). How Globalization is Affecting U.S. Accountants. Montvale: Institute of Management Accountants.

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Are Ethics Important For Professional Accountants?

Ethics in professional accountancy are of utmost importance. Now as the business and financial world is adopting international accounting and auditing standards, it is becoming all the more necessary to adhere to certain Code of Ethics prescribed by international and national accountancy bodies. Before arguing in favour of the topic, let’s have a look at some basic concepts:

Profession

A profession is an occupation that requires extensive training and the study and mastery of specialized knowledge, and usually has a professional association, ethical code and process of certification or licensing; for example engineering, medicine, social work, teaching, law, finance, the military, nursing and Accountancy etc. Classically there were only three professions: military, medicine and law. Each of these professions holds to a specific code of ethics and members are almost universally required to swear some form of oath to uphold those ethics, therefore ‘professing’ to a higher standard of accountability. Each of these professions also provides and requires extensive training in the meaning, value and importance of its particular oath in practice of that profession.

Accountant

Practitioner of Accountancy is known as Accountant. Qualified Accountant, Accountant, Professional Accountant or Accountancy Practitioner is a legally certified accountancy and financial expert. Accountants not only work in public practice but many of them are working within private corporations, in financial industry and in various government bodies. Accountancy (profession) or accounting (methodology) is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities, lenders and other stakeholders and decision makers to make resource allocation and policy making decisions.

Like many other professions there are many professional bodies for accountants throughout the world. Some of them are legally recognized in their jurisdictions such as British qualified accountants including Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA or FCCA), Chartered Accountant (CA, ACA or FCA), Canadian qualified accountants such as Chartered Accountant and Certified General Accountants (CA or CGA) and American qualified Accountants such as Certified Public Accountants (CPA) etc. Some other statutory and non-statutory accountancy qualifications are Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Associated Cost and Management Accountant (ACMA), Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) etc.

In Pakistan, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan is the sole professional and accountancy body with the right to award the Chartered Accountant designation. ICAP is the member of IFAC (International Federation of Accountants, IASB (International Accounting Standards Board), Confederation of Asian & Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). The members of ICAP have reached to 4,089 as of March 1, 2007 data.

Role of Professional Accountants:

Accountants are independent business advisors. Accountants can offer an extensive range of services. Accountants can be registered auditors, can set up client’s accounting systems, can be an advisor on tax planning, or a detector of frauds and embezzlements, can do budgeting and financial statement analysis, advise clients on financing decisions, provide specialist knowledge and can help maintaining an ethical environment.

After discussing the basic concepts and role of professional accountants we are in a better position to ponder on what professional ethics is and why it is important in the field of accountancy.

Definition of Ethics

The word ‘Ethics’ is derived from the Ancient Greek word ethikos; means customs and habits. A major branch of philosophy which is the study of values and customs of a person or group and covers the analysis and employment of concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil and do’s and don’ts.

Code of Ethics:

In the context of a code adopted by a profession or by a governmental organization to regulate that profession, an ethical code may be styled as a code of professional responsibility, which may dispense with difficult issues of what behaviour is ‘ethical’. A code of ethics is often a formal statement of the organization’s values on certain ethical and social issues relating to the profession and practice of the professional knowledge. This also includes the principles and procedures for specific ethical situations.

Ethics in Professional Accountancy:

The general ethical standards of society apply to people in professions such as medicine, law, nursing and accountancy etc just as much as to anyone else. However society places even higher expectations on professionals. People need to have confidence in the quality of the complex services provided by professionals

Ethics in accountancy profession are invaluable to accounting professionals and to those who rely on their services. Stakeholders including clients, credit grantors, governments, taxation authorities, employees, investors, the business and financial community etc perceive them as highly competent, reliable, objective and neutral people. Professional accountants therefore, must not only be well qualified but also possess a high degree of professional integrity. Because of these high expectations, professionals have adopted codes of ethics; also known as codes of professional conduct. These ethical codes call for their members to maintain a level of self-discipline that goes beyond the requirements of laws and regulations. Each of the major professional association for accountants has a code of ethics.

As mentioned earlier, professional accountants can be of two types. One who work in firms or independently run those firms that provide accounting, auditing and other advisory services to clients; these are called public practitioners. Others are those who are employees of organizations and may serve as internal auditors, management accountants, financial managers and financial analysts. Regardless of the role of accountants, they are adhered to code of ethics which are applied to their professional conduct although there are some special provisions for those in public practice [Reference: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants-International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)].

International Federation of Accountants-IFAC:

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is a federation of all accountancy bodies throughout the world. All the major international and national associations like ACCA, AICPA, ICMA, ICAP, IASB etc are all its member organizations. The mission of IFAC, as set out in its constitution, is “the worldwide development and enhancement of an accountancy profession with harmonized standards, able to provide services of consistently high quality in the public interest” [Ref: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants-IFAC]. In pursuing this mission, the IFAC Board has established the IFAC Ethics Committee to develop and issue, under its own authority, high quality ethical standards and other pronouncements for professional accountants for use around the world. The Code of Ethics establishes ethical requirements for professional accountants. A member body or firm may not apply less stringent standards than those stated in this Code.

The objective of setting this code of conduct is to harmonize these standards and practices on a global perspective. Public can only trust these highly professionals when it is made mandatory to observe and follow strict regulations and codes throughout the world. A professional accountant is required to comply with the following fundamental principles mentioned in this Code of Ethics:[Ref: Section 100.4 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants]

· Integrity: A professional accountant should be honest and straightforward in all professional and business relationship.

· Objectivity: A professional accountant should not allow bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments.

· Professional Competence & Due Care: A professional accountant has a continuing duty to maintain professional knowledge and skills at the level required to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional service. A professional accountant should act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards when providing professional services.

· Confidentiality: A professional accountant should respect the confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships and should not disclose nay such information to third parties without proper and specific authority unless there is a legal or professional right or duty to disclose. This information should not be used for personal advantage by professional accountant.

· Professional Behaviour: A professional accountant should comply with relevant laws and regulations and should avoid any action that discredits the profession.

Code of Ethics defined in ‘Members Handbook’ for members of ICAP Pakistan is in conformity with:

· IFAC Code of Ethics and International Auditing Standards

· International Accounting Standards

· The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan – ICAP

· Relevant legislation

[Ref: Members Handbook-ICAP]

This Code of Ethics has discussed in detail the role of Chartered Accountants in given situations. For example there are clear directives on prohibition of acceptance of gifts, long association with clients, advertising of firm’s name exceeding prescribed limits, holding client’s monies for no sound reason, disclosure of client’s records (except ones that are allowed), acceptance of fees offered by client which is less than that prevailing in market etc.

After discussing in detail the importance of ethics in accounting profession, we are to conclude the topic with this final note that accountancy as a profession is acceptable and relied upon only when ability to exercise professional judgment based on a foundation of ethics; broad but deep technical excellence and strategic awareness are exercised by a professional accountant. Only then general public can trust the integrity of this profession.

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Top 4 Services Performed by Chartered Accountants

1. Auditing

It involves the examination of financial statements and generally forms an important part of the work of a practicing CA. All limited companies must have their financial statements audited by an outside CA. The major duties of a company’s auditor are examining and verifying the company’s financial statements; appraising the company’s procedure for collecting, recording and reporting financial information; testing the controls by which the company protects its financial system from frauds and errors; and publishing an independent professional opinion as to whether company’s financial statements give a “true and fair view” of its financial affairs.

Auditing improves the reliability of monetary intelligences organized by an enterprise. By ensuring that the monetary declarations are correct and complete, auditing increase their reliability and usefulness for making financial results by investors, creditor’s, analysts and other usefulness for making economic decisions by investors, creditor’s, analysts and other. Credible financial reports are essential for society to have trust in public companies.

Auditors must be both technically competent in their work and independent of the enterprise whose financial statements they audit. A rigorous system of raining and examination certifies that auditors possess the requisite technical skill but it is not always easy for auditors to be independent of the enterprise that engage and pays them. At a minimum, auditors should carefully avoid transactions and client relationship that could compromise their ability to express an independent professional opinion on its financial statements.

2. Tax Services

Business enterprise has to consider the tax consequences of alternative courses of action. Tax services include not only preparation of tax returns and compliance with tax laws but also planning business activities with a view to minimize the taxes. It is possible to affects considerable savings in tax expense by appropriately arranging one’s business affairs. While evasion of taxes is definitely unlawful, it is perfectly legitimate for everyone to decrease their tax expense. To be successful in tax practice, an accountant should be up to date with changes in tax statutes, rules, notifications and circulars as well as court decision.

3. Management Advisory Services

A Significant part of the revenues of large accounting firms comes from management advisory services, an omnibus term for an extensive variety of consulting activities. These services go beyond the old-fashioned boundaries of accounting and auditing. Consulting Assignments include:

• Recruiting suitable personnel

• Reviewing costing systems

• Helping with the design

• Helping growing companies go public

4. Small Business Services

Many bookkeeping organizations provide a variety of services for small business. Setting up a bookkeeping system, compiling financial statements, preparing budgets and forecasts, assisting the client in obtaining a bank loan are examples of small business services.

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Accounting Development in Third World Countries

Most third world countries have nearly nonexistent accounting standards and lack the education to inaugurate a movement towards achieving their needs to at least sustain their positions towards global developments. Among these third world countries most of them have similar characteristics such as their low living standard for the vast majority of their populations, high levels of unemployment, and the governments tend to be more authoritarian opposed to a democratic approach. By the eighties it was well accepted that the Third World was no longer a single economic unit and at least four groups were distinguishable – OPEC member countries, Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs), Middle Developing Countries (MDCs) and Least Developing Countries (LDCs). These are evident from the literature dealing with third world countries (Zakari, M. 2013). The third world countries were placed in these four categories depending on their population density, per capita income, natural resources, economic development, exports, and economic dependency versus economic diversification. Characteristics of LDCs have a negative effect on their economic integrity; therefore, they are forced to alter their financial policies related to accounting practice that may impose certain constraints and restrictions towards specific opportunities.

It was found that the high-income oil exporting third world countries are able to maintain a fairly modernized accounting system due to their ease of affordability for modern computers, foreign exports, and other elements needed for a quick conversion. All oil dependent third world countries are directly involved and jointly owned by various multinational enterprises and governments of foreign countries such as the USA, UK, France, and the Netherlands. These companies virtually control the entire oil industry as well as pioneering organizations and they ultimately introduce new modern accounting systems in these third world countries. Due to these large enterprises, international accounting firms dominate accounting in auditing practices in the high-income oil export countries.

Businesses and enterprises located within the private sector of these least developed countries need areas of financial accounting and reporting, cost accounting, management accounting, tax accounting, and auditing. These countries need people who show sophistication, and be able to show how much profit their interest in the business will be worth now and in the future. In most third world countries their major export is normally internationally distributed, which allows natives of the third world county to work with accountants from large sustainable countries. Third world countries have been successfully using oil to teach their natives foreign accounting standards. Since oil is an international need and an international enterprise, third world countries learn accounting techniques while interacting with economically stable countries. This, in turn, also has influenced other business enterprises (non-oil companies) as employees move in and out of the oil sector. (Zakari, M. 2013)

In recent years, many Middle Eastern countries are dramatically changing their economy. These countries are attempting to denationalize the public sector and encourage foreign investment and establish Arab Stock Markets. According to Al-Qahtani (2005) and Marashdeh and Shrestha (2010) these systematic challenges have been aimed at: Removing official barriers that have blocked the market due to monopolistic or oligopolistic power. Liberating economic activities and allowing the forces of the market to take control based on the laws of demand and supply in production, commerce, and service. Reducing the government role in the national economy by giving the private sector more influence. Creating the appropriate judicial and institutional settings as incentives for both local and foreign investments. Since the stock markets have been in place most companies have had to adopt the IAS’s and ISA’s for preparing and auditing their financial statements.

Hassan (2008) concludes that the economic development of accounting in emerging economies depends mainly on the cultural and political motives rather than on economic changes. In addition, Hassan argues that both types of motives are interchangeable as cultural and political ones are hidden under the promoted economic benefits. Some third world countries recognize religion as the dominant law. Islamic Law bans transactions that involve uncertainties such as margin trading and Islam also requires business activities to be conducted in compliance with principles enshrined in the Sharia. According to Kamla et al. (2006), the Quran and Sunnah are the material sources of Islamic Law. Together, they are referred to as the Islamic principles or Sharia. This tradition positions ethical or social activity ahead of individual profit maximization.

Although the stride towards accounting advancement in third world countries varies from country to country, accounting and auditing professions are inconsistent in a market economy. In developing countries there seems to be a clear-cut difference between legislation and enforcement. When we sum up all of the information above, third world countries lack the wherewithal when it comes to accounting education, lack of computer hardware and software, inadequate facilities, and not to mention the culture and political boundaries. Despite from a few emerging countries the Middle East is not up to par with the required accounting standards and still have a long way to go before intertwining with other international accounting practices that meet the needs of the market economy.

References

Al-Qahtani, A. (2005): “The Development of Accounting Regulation in the GCC”, Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp 217-226

Hassan, M. (2008): “The Development of Accounting Regulations in Egypt”, Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 23, No. 5, pp 467-484

Kamla, R., Gallhofer, S., and Haslam, J. (2006): “Islam, Nature and Accounting: Islamic Principles and the Notion of Accounting for the Environment”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 30, pp 245-265

Marashdeh, H., and Shrestha, M. (2010): “Stock Market Integration in the GCC Countries”, International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, No. 37

Wijewardena, H., and Yapa, S. (1995): “The Development of Accounting Systems and Accounting Education in high-income oil exporting countries: An Overview,” Accounting & Finance Working Papers, School of Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong.

Zakari, M. (2013): “Accounting and Auditing in Developing Countries-Arab Countries”, Journal of Economics and Political Sciences, Vol. 16, No. 10, PP 1 27

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Forensic Accounting – a New Paradigm For Niche Consulting

OBJECTIVES OF WRITING THIS ARTICLE: Forensic accounting(F.A.) has come into limelight due to rapid increase in financial frauds and white-collar crimes. But it is largely untrodden area in India.The integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills creates the speciality know as F.A.The opportunities for the Forensic Accountants are growing fast;they are being engaged in public practice and are being employed by insurance companies, banks, police forces, government agencies etc.This article seeks to examine the meaning and nature, activities and services rendered, core knowledge and personal skills required for forensic accounting as a specialized field in accountancy profession. Indeed there is a future in F.A. as a separate niche consulting.

The lack of respect and belief in India’s law enforcement agencies and the rate at which white-collar crimes have increased has prompted the development of Forensic Accounting in India. The fraud detecting agencies seems to lack time and devotion needed for detecting and prevention of errors and fraud. According to a large global accounting firm, the market is sufficiently big enough to maintain an unit devoted entirely towards “forensic accounting”. Many large as well as small accounting firms as well as the tiny firms have inculcated or rather developed separate forensic accounting departments.

We were of the belief that detection and prevention of frauds or white-collar crimes is part of conventional accounting function. It was thought that the frauds, both internal as well as external has be to detected by the auditors through their periodic audit. Now it is crystal clear that auditors can only check for the compliance of a company’s books to generally accepted accounting principles, auditing standards and company policies. Hence the need was felt to detect the frauds in companies that are suspected to be engaged in fraudulent transactions. This field of accounting is known as “forensic accounting”.

The litmus test of investigation, first introduced by the ever great Sherlock-Homes(considered by many as the father of Forensic Accounting) is perhaps the first ever application of forensic accounting. Though, the contribution of the other few great historians to the field of forensic accounting cannot be overlooked. They used various tricks to investigate various crimes.

F.A. is a specialized a area of accounting practice that describes engagements which result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation. The word “forensic” means “suitable for use in court”. The forensic accountants have to keep in mind this statement while they have to work or chalk out their programme. The F.A. work is tailor made according to the situation and need. The gathering of information and evidences is done according to the need and situation. We can say, it is customized according to the situation. The forensic-accountants give expert evidence at the ultimate trial. All the modern medium-sized as well as the large-sized accounting firms have specialized forensic accounting departments. Within these firms there may be specialized forensic accounting departments. Within these groups their may be further sub-specializations. Various sub-specializations include insurance claims, personal injury claims, fraud detection, construction or royalty audits. Nearly 40 percent of the top 100 US accounting firms are expanding their forensic and fraud services, according to Accounting Today. Now if we consider this data as significant then we can say that the total contribution of forensic accounting to the total revenue of the C.A. firms would be highly significant in the years to come. Under rising instances of frauds and litigation and flourishing businesses these services are considered to be very significant as they are rendered at a very competitive price.

The forensic accountants utilize the various information relating the business, utilizes financial reporting systems, various accounting and auditing standards and procedures, investigative techniques and litigation processes and procedure to perform their work. By acting as advisors to audit committees and assisting in investment analyst research, they are playing more “proactive” risk reduction roles.This is possible by designing and performing extended procedures as part of the statutory audit. The objectives of such an accounting include measurement of losses caused by an auditor due to his negligence, to look into the matter whether their has been any embezzlement of cash, the amount, necessity of criminal proceedings, computation of asset values in a divorced proceeding.

The primary approach technique of forensic accounting is explanatory analysis(cause and effect)of the phenomena-including the discovery of deception(if any), and its effects -introduced into an accounting system field. The primary methodology employed by the forensic accountants is the verification of the objective. They are trained to deal with real world business and do have the sufficient expertise to look beyond(behind) the numbers. The scope of the forensic accountants are growing at a rapid pace. The increase in their work opportunities have been accelerated due to the fall of the Enron corporation and the collapse of the American Twin Towers.

This has led to increase in the demand for American forensic accountants. So as far India is concerned, formation of Serious Fraud Investigation Office(SIFO) is a landmark creation so far as forensic accountants are concerned. Failure of regulators to track security scams, increasing cyber crimes, chain of cooperative banks bursting -all point to the ever increasing need for forensic accountants. Our understanding of the need for forensic accountants is immaterial here. In India due to the growing number of frauds the need for forensic accountants is ever increasing. The regulatory and administrative agencies will put pressure for greater demand of forensic practices. This has been initiated due to the changing nature of Indian and International accounting.Auditing and assurance standards also confirm this. A change in the curriculum can be initiated if the written exams and practical industrial training are boosted to show the “new knowledge base and skill-set” required by the professional accountants in the new era. It is therefore recommended that the “forensic accounting and auditing” be introduced as a paper in the various professional examinations conducted by the various accounting bodies in India. Unfortunately forensic accounting is largely an unexplored area as far as India is concerned. The chartered Accountants(CAs) deal with such cases in an irregular fashion. In the western counter-part(countries), the Lawyers, police, insurance companies, government and regulatory bodies, banks, courts and business communities are increasingly utilizing the services of the forensic accountants.The accountants and the auditors must have the skills and expertise to venture into the emerging field of forensic accounting.

What Is Forensic Accounting? The growing needs of corporations has changed the definition of forensic accounting. As per Bologna and Indquist, “the application of financial skills and an investigative mentality to unresolved issues, conducted within the context of rules of evidence.It is a new emerging field that encompasses financial expertise, fraud knowledge, and a sound knowledge and understanding of business reality and the working of the legal system.”It means that the forensic accounting should be skilled not only in financial accounting but also internal control systems, the legal matters, other institutional requirements, investigative blend of mind and interpersonal skills.

According to AICPA: “Forensic accounting is the application of accounting principles, theories, and discipline to facts or hypotheses at issues in a legal dispute and encompasses every branch of accounting knowledge: ‘ Similarly, forensic accounting is defined by Horty as:

“The science that deals with the relation and application of finance, accounting, tax and auditing knowledge to analyze, investigate, inquire, test and examine matters in civil law, criminal law and jurisprudence in an attempt to obtain the truth from which to render an expert opinion.”

In simple words, forensic accounting includes the use of accounting, auditing as well as investigative skills to assist in legal matters.It comprises of two major components: litigation services, that recognizes the role of an accountant as an expert consultant and investigative services, that uses a forensic accountant, s skills and may require possible court-room testimony.

Investigation of theft and defalcation of corporate and individual assets are part of legal matters.They use their education as well as experience to discuss the facts, patterns of the theft or misappropriation.Business accounting systems are reviewed by the forensic accountants.They suggest ways and means to solve and improve the internal control and internal accounting system.This is adopted to prevent theft and fraud. Because of their expert knowledge and educational background and experience their(forensic accountants) work is elevated to a new height.

Forensic accountants do not contest in cases.They act as fact finding devices, try trt to seek the real truth from the hidden facts.They conduct their work in an unbiased and objective manner.They need legal knowledge, expertise, training and experience to perform their work in an effective and real manner.Extensive knowledge in the field of commerce, legal, accounting as well an investigative blend of mind is needed to perform the work in a proper fashion.Expertise in litigation support and testimony in courts of law are also prerequisites of the forensic accountants.This is due to the fact that their work would many times be used in a court of law.The valuation of damages due to criminal and civil wrong-doings need to be done with perfection and for that reason knowledge of business valuation theory is the most essential.

What exactly do the Forensic Accountants perform? Answer: They are trained to deal with real life business situations and are trained to look beyond the numbers.

Analysis, interpretation and summarization of complex financial and business related issues are prominent characteristics of this accounting/auditing profession. Familiarity with legal concepts and procedures is a must.Insurance companies, public practice, banks, police forces and government agencies are major employers of forensic accountants.

The various field of work encompassing the arena of a forensic accountant can be stated in points format as follows:

1) Financial evidence investigation and analysis.

2) Development of computerized software to help in the analysis and presentation of financial evidence.

3) Sharing their findings in the form of reports, slide shows or exhibits and documents collected.

4) To support trial evidence they prepare visual slides, assist in legal proceedings, including testifying in courts as an expert witness.

If we want to say or rather point out the role performed by the forensic accountants in a nutshell, we can say as follows:

Measurement or to quantify the impact of lost earnings. Such as construction delays, stolen trade secrets, insurance disputes, damage/loss estimates, malpractice claims, employee theft, loss of profit, financial solvency reports, disturbance damages, loss of goodwill, compensation losses suffered in expropriation determination, assessment of the potential business compensation costs and providing consultation on business defalcation minimization. Lease default damages, breach of contract, business interruptions, breaches of shareholders and partnership agreements, reconstruction of accounting records,

Investigation of misappropriation, assistance in establishing ownership and division of assets, commercial damages, professional negligence cases, partnership disputes, expert evidence, fair value or fair market value and personal injury damages are included in commercial damages. Tax advocacy, compliance and review of financial statements, tax reporting and tax planning in such areas as income as estate matters are included in tax matters. Analysis, interpretation, summarization, presentation of complex financial and issues relating to the business for investigation is the role of a forensic accountant.

They carry out investigative accounting and provide litigation support.

The services rendered by the forensic accountants are in great demand in the following areas:

1) Fraud detection where employees commit Fraud:

Where the employee indulges in fraudulent activities:

Where the employees are caught to have committed fraud the forensic accountant tries to locate any assets created by them out of the funds defalcated, then try interrogate them and try to find out the hidden truth.

2)Criminal Investigation: Matters relating to financial implications the services of the forensic accountants are availed of. The report of the accountants are considered in preparing and presentation as evidence.

3) Outgoing Partner’s settlement:

If the outgoing partner is not happy about his settlement he can employ a forensic accountant who will correctly assess his dues(assets) as well as his liabilities correctly.

4)Cases relating to professional negligence:

Professional negligence cases are taken up by the forensic accountants.

Non-conformation to Generally Accepted Accounting Standards(GAAS) or non compliance to auditing practices or ethical codes of any profession they are needed to measure the loss due to such professional negligence or shortage in services.

5) Arbitration service: Forensic accountants render arbitration and mediation services for the business community, since they undergo special training in the area of alternative dispute resolution.

6) Facilitating settlement regarding motor vehicle accident: As the forensic accountant is well acquainted with intricacies of laws relating to motor vehicles, and other relevant laws in force, his services become indispensable in measuring economic loss when a vehicle meets with an accident.

7) Settlement of insurance claims: Insurance companies engage forensic accountants to have an accurate assessment of claims to be settled. Similarly, policyholders seek the help of a forensic accountant when they need to challenge the claim settlement as worked out by the insurance companies. A forensic accountant handles the claims relating to consequential loss policy, property loss due to various risks, fidelity insurance and other types of insurance claims.

8) Dispute settlement: Business firms engage forensic accountants to handle contract disputes, construction claims, product liability claims, infringement of patent and trade marks cases, liability arising from breach of contracts and so on.

9) Matrimonial dispute cases: Forensic accountants entertain cases pertaining to matrimonial disputes wherein their role is merely confined to tracing, locating and evaluating any form of asset involved.

Core Knowledge Of Forensic Accountants:

A forensic accountant is expected to be a specialist in accounting and financial systems. Yet, as companies continue to grow in size and complexity, uncovering fraud requires a forensic accountant to become proficient in an ever- increasing number of professional skills and competencies. Here are some of the broad areas of useful expertise for a forensic accountant:

” An in-depth knowledge of financial statements and the ability to critically analyse them. These skills help forensic accountants to uncover abnormal patterns in accounting information and recognise their source.

” A thorough understanding of fraud schemes, including but not limited to asset misappropriations, money laundering, bribery, and corruption.

” The ability to comprehend the internal control systems of corporations, and to set up a control system that assesses risks, achieves management objectives, informs employees of their control responsibilities, and monitors the quality of the programme so that corrections and changes can be made.

” Proficiency in computer and knowledge of network systems. These skills help forensic accountants to conduct investigations in the area of e-banking and computerised accounting systems.

” Knowledge of psychology in order to understand the impulses behind criminal behaviour and to set up fraud prevention programmes that motivate and encourage employees.

” Interpersonal and communication skills, which aid in disseminating information about the company’s ethical policies and help forensic accountants to conduct interviews and obtain crucially needed information.

” Thorough knowledge of company.s governance policies and the laws that regulate these policies.

” Command of criminal and civil law, as well as, of the legal system and court procedures.

Personal Skills Required:

So what does it take to become a forensic accountant? In addition to the specialised knowledge about the techniques of finding out the frauds, one needs patience and an analytical mindset. One has to look beyond the numbers and grasp the substance of the situation. There is a need for the same basic accounting skills that it takes to become a good auditor plus the ability to pay attention to the smallest detail, analyse data thoroughly, think creatively, possess common business sense, be proficient with a computer, and have excellent communication skills. A “sixth”sense that can be used to reconstruct details of past accounting transactions is also beneficial. A photographic memory helps when trying to visualise and reconstruct these past events. The forensic accountant also needs the ability to maintain his composure when detailing these events on the witness stand. Finally, a forensic accountant should be insensitive to personal attacks on his professional credibility. A fraud accountant (as forensic accountants are sometimes called) should also observe and listen carefully. By this, you can improve your ability to detect lies whether they involve fraud or not. This is so because”not all liars are fraudsters, but all fraudsters are liars”(Wells).

According to a forensic accounting expert, “the traits of a forensic accountant could be compared to a well-baked pizza. The base of forensic accounting is accounting knowledge. Size and the extent of baking decide the quality of the pizza. A middle layer is a dispersed knowledge of auditing, internal controls, risk assessment and fraud detection. It is like the spread of the cheese in pizza. The toppings of this pizza area basic understanding of the legal environment. The legal environment is essential in order to support the litigations. The cherry on the toppings of the pizza is a strong set of communication skills, both written and oral. It is just the beautification part. Perfect combination of the pizza base, cheese spread and good toppings makes the pizza delicious and the of company’s the laws that Forensic Auditor perfects. It is a combination that will be in demand for as long as human nature exists.”

In addition to these personal characteristics, accountants must meet several additional requirements to become successful forensic accountants, say a Certification, acknowledging his competence. One can learn forensic accounting by obtaining a diploma given by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in the US. Indian chapter of ACFE offers the course based on the white-collared crimes prevalent in US, based on their laws. However, there is no formal body that provides formal education of the frauds in India. Besides the formal certificate, one can deepen one’s knowledge and sharpen one’s skills in forensic accounting by undergoing training under an experienced forensic accountant, participating in various international conferences, reading relevant journals, books and other literature on forensic accounting.

To combat the frauds effectively one needs the active support of government at every stage. There are three-four such agencies in India, which are dedicated to the mission of combating frauds. Serious Fraud Office looks into violations of Income Tax, FEMA, RBI Act, etc.; CBI (Economic Office Wing) deals with big financial frauds; Central Vigilance Commission deals with corruption. These are the major government agencies that combat frauds of different types. Unfortunately, there is no specialised education provided by any of the Universities in the country. Recently, TCS has also come out with software to combat money laundering and Subex Systems have designed software to combat the telecom frauds. Thus, combating the frauds with software has started picking up in India, with few big companies like ACL and IDEA, joining the race.

The Need For Niche Consulting:

The CPA Vision Statement states: “The CPAs are trusted professionals who enable people and organisations to shape their future. Combining insight with integrity, CPAs deliver value by: (a) communicating the total picture with clarity and objectivity, (b) translating corn plex information into critical knowledge, (c) anticipating and creating opportunities, and (d) developing pathways that transform vision into reality1 It reflects the trend towards providing a broader range of assurance services. However, recent corporate accounting scandals and the resultant outcry for transparency and honesty in reporting have given rise to two disparate yet logical outcomes. First, forensic accounting skills have become crucial in untangling the complicated accounting manoeuvres that have obfuscated financial statements. Second, public demand for change and subsequent regulatory action has transformed corporate governance. Increasingly, company officers and directors are under ethical and legal scrutiny. Both trends have the common goal of responsibly addressing investors’ concerns about the financial reporting system. Indeed, there is a future in forensic accounting as a separate”niche” consulting area in India. The need to specialise, otherwise known as Niche Consulting, is imperative to practising accountants because the fast-paced developments in business thereby demand specialised knowledge and skills. While a majority of CAs have excellent analytical skills, they need to acknowledge that ‘forensic’ services require ‘specialised’ training as well as real-life ‘practical’ corporate experience. There is a need for specialised information, not just audit and tax service. What clients seem to want are people with unique sets of skills and experiences. With the maturing of the audit business, and the rapid development of technology that makes existing services low cost and cheap, it appears that it is the right time now to acquire those unique skills. To help practitioners move into ‘niche’ consulting, some professional organisations in the US have concluded that: “Future success for the profession depends, in part, on how the public perceives the ability of CPAs. New efforts in consulting, specialisation and understanding global business practices and strategies are considered crucial. We go out into the niche market, examining our strengths first. We go where the action is, only then we know we can adequately service our clients and make money doing it.” One area where ‘niche’ consulting is becoming the global trend is in “Forensic Accounting and Auditing’ But the major question facing the Indian accountancy profession is: Are we ready to plunge to where the challenging action is?

Forensic Accounting In India:

It is in an infancy state in India.It is still an untrodden area in India.But due to ever increasing cases of bank & cyber-frauds its growing importance cannot be denied.

One immediate landmark creation is “Forensic Research Foundation”.They provide support for investigation of fraud.They publish one bi-monthly journal named as “White Crimes”.It relates to forensic and economic crimes. Another international organization named as KPNG has set up investigation detection centre in India.. Networks Limited, a Delhi based organization, working in the similar field, they are also trying to innovate ways and means to detect financial irregularities and crimes in India.Serious Investigation Fraud Offices(SIFO), has been established in India for the same reason, i.e. detection and prevention of economic irregularities and crimes. The need for such bodies and the importance of Forensic Accountants have been highlighted by L.N.Roy Committee.Lenin Parekh Committee has also expressed the view that one “fraud detection committee”need to be established. The main aim of such boards should be to prevent the interest of the stakeholders.

Conclusion:

Forensic accounting in India has come to limelight only recently due to rapid increase in white-collar crimes and the belief that our law enforcement agencies do not have sufficient expertise or the time needed to uncover frauds. A large global accounting firm believes the market is sufficiently large to support an independent unit devoted strictly to ‘forensic’ accounting. All of the larger accounting firms, as well as, many medium-sized and boutique firms have recently created forensic accounting departments.

Forensic accounting, in fact, integrates accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to conduct an examination into a company’s financial statements. Broad-based knowledge (within the themes listed above) is crucial to the success of entry-level forensic accountants. Because forensic accounting is relatively a new area of study, a series of working definitions and sharing of corporate experiences should be undertaken and encouraged to ensure a common understanding. Indeed, there is great future in forensic accounting as a separate”niche” consulting.

While the forensic accounting and auditing practice had commenced in the US as early as ‘1995, the seed of this specialisation has yet to take off in India. Forensic accountants are only dealing with financial implications of the cases entrusted to them and not engaging in auditing exercise. On account of global competition, the accounting profession must convince the marketplace that it has the “best-equipped” professionals to perform such services.

Forensic accountants are also increasingly playing more ‘proactive’ risk reduction roles by designing and performing extended procedures as part of the statutory audit, acting as advisors to audit committees, and assisting in investment analyst research.

While majority of CAs have excellent analytical skills, they need to acknowledge that ‘forensic’ services require ‘specialised’ training as well as real-life ‘practical’ corporate experience.

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References: –

1)Journal Of Forensic Accounting: Editor-In Chief: Crumbley D. Larry, Publisher: Inc.Edwards. R.T.

2)Journal Of The Chartered Accountant 2007, Pages: 1000-1010.Dr. Madan Bhasin, The Author is Head, Accounting Department, Mazoon College, Muscat, Sultanate Of Oman.

3)Referential Notes Of Prof. Dutta Kr. Uttam, Reader Deaprtment Of Commerce, Reader, University Of Burdwan.

4)Website access: http://www.wikipedia.com, accessed on 4th, February, 2008.

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Pursuing a Career in Accounting? Opportunities Are Yours For the Taking

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in accounting or auditing, the opportunities may be yours for the taking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, the accounting profession will experience strong job growth over the period from 2006 to 2016. Accounting jobs are expected to grow by 18 percent between 2006 and 2016. This growth is faster than the average for all occupations. It is projected that almost 226,000 accounting jobs will be created during the ten year period. The strong growth in accounting and auditing jobs is expected to result from economic expansion, changes to financial laws, and stricter corporate governance. Accounting career opportunities will also be created by changes to financial reporting standards, business investments, mergers and acquisitions, and other events that are expected to lead to greater scrutiny of accounting practices and company finances. Growth in accounting jobs will also be driven by the desire to make government agencies more accountable. According to the Handbook, candidates with a master’s degree, who obtain certification or licensure, or who are skilled at using accounting and auditing computer software will have the best career opportunities.

What jobs do accountants and auditors do? The role of accountants and auditors is quite broad. Generally speaking, accountants and auditors prepare, analyze, verify and communicate financial information for clients that may include corporations, governments, non-profit organizations, or individuals. But the specific job descriptions of accountants and auditors vary depending on the type of accounting and auditing job.

What types of accounting career opportunities are there? There are four major fields of accounting and auditing: public, management, government accounting, and internal auditing.

Public accounting jobs: Public Accountants provide a wide range of consulting services relating to accounting, auditing, tax, and other financial activities. A career in a public accounting involves providing services such giving advice to companies or individuals to help them get certain tax advantages and preparing and filing income tax returns. External auditors are responsible for auditing financial statements for companies to ensure that they have been prepared properly. Many public accountants have the professional designation Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and they may work on their own or in public accounting firms.

Management accounting jobs: Management accountants prepare and analyze the financial information of the companies for which they work. If you pursued a career in management accounting, you would be responsible for maintaining budgets, managing expenses, analyzing financial information, preparing financial reports and managing company assets.

Government accounting jobs: A career in government accounting means you would be employed by a Federal, State, or local government agency. Government accountants are responsible for maintaining and analyzing the financial records of these agencies. They may also be responsible for auditing private businesses and individuals. For example, accountants for the Internal Revenue Service are employed by the federal government to review taxes received by businesses and individuals. In addition, they are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the various government agencies are making expenditures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Internal auditing jobs: Internal auditors are responsible for ensuring that the financial records of a company or individual are accurate. They check for fraud or non-compliance with laws, and they help to prevent financial loss. Other responsibilities of an internal auditor may include reporting on audits, advising on or recommending changes to a company’s operations an/or financial activities, reviewing data regarding a company’s assets, liabilities, stock, income and expenditures, preparing reports and financial statements, and reviewing compliance with corporate policies and government regulations.

What are the educational requirements for a career in accounting or auditing? Your duties as an accountant will vary according to what type of accounting you decide to specialize in or what kind of accounting job you want to pursue. Accordingly, if you are pursuing career opportunities in accounting or auditing, the education and training requirements can vary depending on your role. Most accounting jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field but some employers will only consider job applicants with a master’s degree in accounting, or a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

Licensure and certification for accounting jobs: Only a Certified Public Accountant is permitted to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Accordingly, if you’re interested in a career working for a public company that’s registered with the SEC, you need to be licensed as a CPA by your State Board of Accountancy. Most States require CPA candidates to be college graduates and to have some accounting experience. To become a CPA, you must pass a four-part examination prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This is required by all States.

Things that can help increase your accounting career opportunities:

o Previous experience in accounting or auditing, such as experience gained in summer or part-time internship programs, will help your chances of getting an accounting job.

o Knowledge of computers and financial software applications will make you a stronger candidate for an accounting job.

What skills do you need to succeed in an accounting career? If you’re interested in accounting career opportunities, you must:

o be proficient in math and you must have excellent analytical skills

o communicate effectively

o be good at working with people

o have basic accounting knowledge

o be familiar with accounting software

If you’re seriously thinking about accounting or auditing career opportunities, information is available from the following organizations:

o AACSB International

o American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

o National Association of State Boards of Accountancy

o Institute of Management Accountants

o Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation

o The Institute of Internal Auditors

o ISACA

o Association of Government Accountants

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Training Resulting in Improving Women Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is gaining importance among the people as they are developing awareness about the adverse effects of not taking care of their body properly. Despite this growing awareness, many people still ignore the importance of taking care of their body. The two most common problems faced by people are of weight gain due to fat deposits, and failing health due to malnutrition.

The problem of weight gain due to fat accumulation is particularly common among women in their middle ages. The main reason is that they do not take care of this problem in their youth, and thus have to suffer the consequences at a later stage. Most people are careless about their health in their early ages and do not really care about such issues. But as soon as they step into their middle ages, they realize that it would have been best for them if they had taken this matter into consideration when they had the chance.

There are many fitness programs for women that involve different exercises which are designed to tone the body into proper shape and to prevent certain health problems. However, most of these exercises are only mild exercises and do not involve any complex trainings to tone the body. There are differing views on resistance training exercises for women.

These views are established by different doctors, researchers, and appearance experts, and are based mostly on their personal opinions on fitness and beauty. Many women also have different views about these exercises as they are not clear about their benefits and are also misguided by some women who prefer a muscular body. Women who prefer muscular body make other women think that resistance training is all about building a muscular body rather than a gentle toned womanly body.

Most people misunderstand the concept of resistance training for women. They probably assume that resistance training for women is same as that for men. Although, the method is the same, but the object and other factors involved are entirely different from that of men’s resistance training exercises.

They not only include complex machine exercises and weight exercises, but also include a proper diet and mild toning exercises. Although, some women overdo it which is generally due to personal preferences or improper fitness guides, resistance training for women is nevertheless very important for overall fitness and health.

A woman may reap the fruits of this training in their youth as well as old age. In youth, the fruit may be the great looking body shape and idealistic strength and endurance, whereas in old age the fruit would be strong bones and thus a reduced chance of breaking bones due to a simple fall. Many women who lack such exercises have very weak bones which make their old age very dangerous as they are vulnerable to breaking their bones even by a simple fall from the chair.

This exercise is also very important for quick weight loss as it will help women lose the extra weight and maintain their body in proper shape. It is undoubtedly true that women prefer a great looking body that is free from excess fat and is able to support their tasks well. Women who chose aerobics are particularly interested in these exercises, because it not only helps them remain fit and healthy but also helps them gain strength to perform their tasks.

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