Dictionary for Swiss accounting

There is a lot of jargon in accounting. However, it's not so difficult. Once you know the most common expressions, it will be a lot easier to understand the financial data of your business: how much money you make, where do you spend your money,...  

If your activity has simple financial flows, it is not a big deal to do your accounting.

First, get familiar with the expressions below, then go on with our excel template or our simple accounting software.

Any questions? just send us an email here: support@ezycount.ch

 Financial Statements

Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of a company. Financial statements are often audited by government agencies, accountants, firms, etc. to ensure accuracy and for tax, financing, or investing purposes. Financial statements include:

- Balance sheet
- Income statement
- Cash flow statement

Balance sheet

The balance sheet is one of the core financial statements used to evaluate a business.

The balance sheet is a snapshot, representing the state of a company's finances (what it owns and owes) as of the date of publication.

This document is required for your tax in Switzerland. It needs to be signed on a physical paper.

Income statement

The income statement is one of the core financial statements that reports a company's financial performance over a specific accounting period.

The income statements shows the evolution of the company during a period of time. Usually, this is a fiscal year, a quarter or a month.

The income statement shos the revenues, the expenses and deduce the profits, which are revenues minus expenses.

Cash flow statement 

The cash flow statement is one of the core financial statements that provides data regarding all cash inflows and outflows of a company.

These flows comes from its ongoing operations, investments or financing sources. The sum of the three is called net cash flow.

The cash flow statement can be shown with the direct or indirect method. In Switzerland, the indirect method is prefered and is the one that most software provide.


An asset is a resource with economic value that an individual or corporation owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit.

Assets are reported on a company's balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a firm's value or benefit the firm's operations.

An asset can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow, reduce expenses or improve sales, regardless of whether it's manufacturing equipment or a patent.

Exemple of assets are:

  • Cash
  • Debitors or customer invoices not paid yet
  • Stock
  • Properties
  • Machines and installations
  • Furnitures
  • ...

Current assets

Current assets are short-term economic resources that are expected to be converted into cash within one year.

 Current assets include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, and various prepaid expenses.

Fixed assets

Fixed assets are long-term resources, such as machines, vehicles equipment, and buildings. 

An adjustment for the aging of fixed assets is made based on periodic charges called depreciation. 

In Switzerland, each canton has guidelines for each type of fixed assets. How fast or slow it is possible to depreciate them.

Intangible assets

Intangible assets are economic resources that have no physical presence. 

This type is rare in simple accounting.

They include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and goodwill.

Accounting for intangible assets differs depending on the type of asset, and they can be either amortized or tested for impairment each year.

Tangible assets

Tangible assets have a real transactional value and usually a physical form.

Tangible assets usually account for the majority of a firm’s total assets.

Tangible assets can be recorded on the balance sheet as either current or long-term assets.



A liability is something a person or company owes, usually a sum of money.

Liabilities are settled over time through the transfer of economic benefits including money, goods, or services.

Recorded on the right side of the balance sheet, liabilities include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, bonds, warranties, and accrued expenses.

Expenses and liabilities should not be confused with each other. One is listed on a company's balance sheet, and the other is listed on the company's income statement.


Expenses are the cost of operations that a company incurs to generate revenue.

Expenses are the costs of a company's operation, while liabilities are the obligations and debts a company owes.

Expenses can be paid immediately with cash, or the payment could be delayed which would create a liability.

Typical expenses are cost of products, material, subcontractors, salaires, rent, IT, office, marketing and tax.


Expenses are the cost of operations that a company incurs to generate revenue.

Expenses are the costs of a company's operation, while liabilities are the obligations and debts a company owes.

Expenses can be paid immediately with cash, or the payment could be delayed which would create a liability.

Typical expenses are cost of products, material, subcontractors, salaires, rent, IT, office, marketing and tax.

Equity represents the value that would be returned to a company’s shareholders if all of the assets were liquidated and all of the company's debts were paid off.

The calculation of equity is a company's total assets minus its total liabilities.

If you are self-employed, your private account is in Equity. Also the yearly benefit and past benefits of your activity are part of the equity.

Equity evolves following this: the money you invest in your business + all the benefits generated by your business - all the money you take away from your business.

Deferred charges

A deferred charge is a long-term prepaid expense that is carried as an asset on a balance sheet until used/consumed. Thereafter, it is classified as an expense within the current accounting period.


A debtor is a company or individual who owes you money. 

If the debt is in the form of a loan from a financial institution, the debtor is referred to as a borrower.


Accounts receivable

Accounts receivable is the amount of invoices sent to customers that are not paid yet.

Accounts receivable are listed on the balance sheet in the current assets.

Account payable

Accounts payable are amounts due to vendors or suppliers for goods or services received that have not yet been paid for.

The sum of all outstanding amounts owed to vendors is shown as the accounts payable balance on the company's balance sheet in the short-term liabilities section.

Trade goods

Trade goods or consumer goods, or final goods, are goods sold to consumers for their own use or enjoyment and not as means for further economic production activity.


Accruals are needed for any revenue earned or expense incurred, for which cash has not yet been exchanged.
Accruals improve the quality of information on financial statements by adding useful information about short-term credit extended to customers and upcoming liabilities owed to lenders.
Accruals and deferrals are the basis of the accrual method of accounting.
Accruals are created via adjusting journal entries at the end of each accounting period.

Accruals are needed but are more advanced or complicated to do without proper training.

Accrued income

Accrued income is money that's been earned but has not be received yet.

An example is a project that is finished and delivered to a customer but where the invoice has not been generated yet.


A deferral, in accrual accounting, is any account where the income or expense is not recognised until a future date, e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc. The deferred item may be carried, dependent on type of deferral, as either an asset or liability.

Short-term Liabilities

Short-term liabilities are debts payable within one year.

A typical exemple is creditors, which are invoices received but not paid yet.


Revenue, often referred to as sales, is the income received from normal business operations and other business activities.

Sales Revenue = Sales Price x Number of Units Sold


Sales Revenue = Hourly Rate x Number of Hours sold

Long-term liabilities

Long-term liabilities are debts payable over a longer period.

Typical exemples are loans taken from banks and investors and provisions

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