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PFM's rules explicitly forbid business accounting questions:

Please note that the following subjects are considered off-topic here:

  • Questions about accounting that are academic or have no bearing on personal finance

As this meta question points out, there are a number of questions about accounting on PFM, many of which have been closed because they don't relate specifically to personal finance.

My thought is that a dedicated "Business Finance and Accounting" community could fill this rather large hole in the fabric of the Stack Exchange network.

I've come across links to an Area51 proposal for an Accounting.SE community, but it would appear that the proposal was deleted several years ago. I'm not sure why this proposal was deleted - if it simply failed to gain enough traction, or if it was deleted for some other reason - but I suspect that "accounting" was too broad of a topic and intersected significantly with PFM.SE.

I think it's time to try again.

A dedicated Business Finance and Accounting SE could absorb many of these questions from PFM, as well as conceptual questions about finance and accounting from Quantitative Finance, Database Administrators (see for example, this question about double entry bookkeeping), and even Software Engineering.

On-topic questions would include:

  • Questions about basic business finance and accounting principles, such as one might discuss in a college-level business course;
  • Questions about the application of these principles in a professional setting;
  • Questions about requirements for accounting software systems.

Note that these questions are not really served by any other SE community:

  • Personal Finance and Money only permits accounting questions related to personal finance;
  • Quantitative Finance appears to be more about quantitative macroeconomics, such as the modeling of financial markets, as well as securities trading algorithms. Accounting questions are largely ignored and may not even be on-topic.
  • Database Administrators is useful for asking how to implement accounting systems, but cannot really answer questions about the underlying accounting principles.
  • Software Engineering seems to be the best fit for an accounting question at the moment, and not a very good one. The obvious issue here is that an accounting community should be comprised substantially of accountants and business professionals, not just software engineers.

Some sample tags might include:

  • audit
  • legal
  • balance sheet
  • depreciation
  • amortization
  • taxes
  • double-entry bookkeeping
  • reporting periods

Off-topic questions would include:

  • Questions that focus primarily on writing/debugging code (these belong on Stack Overflow);
  • Questions about implementing accounting requirements in software or a database (likely belong in Database Administrators);
  • Questions about personal finance and accounting (belong here);
  • Questions that focus solely on accounting law (these likely belong in Law)

Is there enough interest within PFM in reviving and promoting this as an Area51 proposal? I can create the actual proposal, but without an active community behind it, the proposal will likely not make it past the "definition" phase.

  • 2
    Upvoting because this sounds like a good idea, but I wouldn't personally commit. – Ganesh Sittampalam Jun 11 '18 at 18:06
  • What jurisdictions would this new site cover? I imagine that business accounting rules vary even more than personal finance ones do... – AakashM Jun 13 '18 at 8:08
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    @AakashM the idea would be to cover generally accepted accounting principles, which only come in a few universally recognized flavors. – alexw Jun 13 '18 at 17:56
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    @AakashM Law has the same problem regarding jurisdiction, and they seem to be doing okay. Travel regularly fields jurisdiction-specific questions, and so does, to an extent, Personal Finance & Money. So I don't think that would be an insurmountable obstacle. – a CVn Jun 25 '18 at 12:48
8

I'd commit to a proposal like that, provided it were practical and so of use to business owners, stakeholders, and staff — as opposed to strictly for finance and accounting professionals.

By "practical", I would imagine that on-topic questions could include anything relating to banking, payables, receivables, payroll, etc. such as:

  • how to invoice customers
  • how to interpret or set payment terms
  • how to collect on amounts due
  • how to remit corporate and payroll taxes
  • how to produce or interpreting financial reports
  • how to share profits or issue dividends
  • etc.

Ideally, if a question relates to the movement or tracking of money in a business, it would be on-topic.

  • My list would have understanding business taxes right at the top, although that will bring with it more challenges regarding location than the other categories will. Maybe my view is very USA-centric, since all taxes are complicated here, and small business taxes are a real headache. – Todd Wilcox Jun 12 '18 at 14:48
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    Looking at this, I wonder how much of the (now closed) Startups SE this might subsume. Perhaps focusing specifically on finance and accounting, and removing the "startup" label and requirement, might help our proposal reach viability. – alexw Jun 12 '18 at 22:58
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It took Money.SE a lot of time to build the momentum to "graduate".

If Money.SE had a steady flow of closed questions in this category, I'd think there was a demand for the new stack. In my opinion, the number we've seen doesn't reflect that demand. But, really, while it's fine to vet the question here, there's no 'need' to do so, just propose it at area 51. The original failed due to lack of interest.

  • Area51 has moved to a new model where you can't just keep proposals going for ages hoping to collect support there - you need to launch proposals with a community all ready to sign up. – Ganesh Sittampalam Jun 15 '18 at 7:10

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