Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations. The modern field was established by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli in 1494. Accounting, which has been called the "language of business", measures the results of an organization's economic activities and conveys this information to a variety of users, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators. Practitioners of accounting are known as accountants. The terms "accounting" and "financial reporting" are often used as synonyms.
Finance is a field that deals with the study of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainties and risks. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management. Market participants aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, and their expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
Nothing in finance is more fatuous and harmful, in our opinion, than the firmly established attitude of common stock investors regarding questions of corporate management. That attitude is summed up in the phrase: "If you don't like the management, sell your stock." [...] The public owners seem to have abdicated all claim to control over the paid superintendents of their property.
Benjamin Graham, World Commodities and World Currencies (1944)
Over the years, Charlie [Munger, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman] and I have observed many accounting-based frauds of staggering size. Few of the perpetrators have been punished; many have not even been censured. It has been far safer to steal large sums with pen than small sums with a gun.