Accounting, like all professions, has its own language. Often an accountant will use an everyday word like asset to mean something much more specific than it would in general use. Such jargon is fine when two professionals are talking to each other because they understand the specific meanings of the words, but it makes life difficult for the non-professional. Things are made yet more complicated in the public sector because there is an additional layer of jargon that it specific to those who work in government. Indeed, even accountants from the private and public sectors may struggle to understand each other because their language is corrupted, too. In the private sector 'revenue' means 'income' but in the public sector it describes operating income and expenditure!

The wordcloud above was generated from the Guardian's Public website. The chances are that I will also be using most of the terms over the coming months. I shall try to avoid technical accounting jargon, just as I do in my book. However, in my book there will be a glossary that is intended to help non-accountants understand and be understood by accountants.