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Monday, January 25, 2010


AAA is American Accounting Association, Association of Accounting Administrators, or see ACCUMULATED ADJUSTMENT ACCOUNT.

AAA-CPA is American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants.

AACSB is American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.

AAFI is Associated Accounting Firms International.

AAHCPA is American Association of Hispanic CPAs.

A&E can mean either Appropriation & Expense or Analysis & Evaluation.

A&G is Administrative & General.

A&M is Additions and Maintenance.

A&P is an acronym for Administrative and Personnel.

AAT, in Great Britain, is Association of Accounting Technicians.

ABA is the American Bar Association. See below also.

ABA (Accredited Business Accountant or Accredited Business Advisor), in the US, is a national credential conferred by Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation to professionals who specialize in supporting the financial needs of individuals and small to medium sized businesses. ABA is the only nationally recognized alternative to the CPA. Most accredited individuals do not perform audits. Generally, they are small business owners themselves. In addition to general accounting work, CPAs are also heavily schooled in performing audits; however, only a small fraction of America's businesses require an audit. In general, a CPA has majored in accounting, passed the CPA examination and is licensed to perform audits. An ABA has majored in accounting, passed the ABA comprehensive examination and in most states is not licensed to perform audits.

ABATEMENT, in general, is the reduction or lessening. In law, it is the termination or suspension of a lawsuit. For example, an abatement of taxes is a tax decrease or rebate.







ABNORMAL RETURNS is the difference between the actual return and that is expected to result from market movements (normal return).

ABNORMAL SPOILAGE is spoilage that is not part of everyday operations. It occurs for reasons such as the following: out-of-control manufacturing processes, unusual machine breakdowns, and unexpected electrical outages that result in a number of spoiled units. Some abnormal spoilage is considered avoidable; that is, if managers monitor processes and maintain machinery appropriately, little spoilage will occur. To highlight these types of problems so that they can be monitored, abnormal spoilage is recorded in a Loss from Abnormal Spoilage Account in the general ledger and is not included in the job costing inventory accounts (work in process, finished goods, and cost of goods sold).

ABOVE THE LINE, in accounting, denotes revenue and expense items that enter fully and directly into the calculation of periodic net income, in contrast to below the line items that affect capital accounts directly and net income only indirectly.

ABOVE THE LINE, for the individual, is a term derived from a solid bold line on Form 1040 and 1040A above the line for adjusted gross income. Items above the line prior to coming to adjusted gross income, for example, can include: IRA contributions, half of the self-employment tax, self-employed health insurance deduction, Keogh retirement plan and self-employed SEP deduction, penalty on early withdrawal of savings, and alimony paid. A taxpayer can take deductions above the line and still claim the standard deduction.

ABSOLUTE CHANGE is a numerical change in an empirical value, e.g. cost of goods was reduced by $9.00.

ABSORB is to assimilate, transfer or incorporate amounts in an account or a group of accounts in a manner in which the first entity loses its identity and is "absorbed" within the second entity. For example, see ABSORPTION COSTING.

ABSORBED COSTS incorporates both variable and fixed costs.


ABSORPTION COSTING is the method under which all manufacturing costs, both variable and fixed, are treated as product costs with non-manufacturing costs, e.g. selling and administrative expenses, being treated as period costs.

ABSORPTION PRICING is where all costs, both fixed and variable; plus a percentage mark-up for profit; are recovered in the price.

ABSORPTION VARIANCE is the variance from budgeted absorption costing of manufactured product. See also ABSORPTION COSTING.

ABSTINENCE THEORY OF INTEREST asserts that the money used for lending purposes is the money not used for consumption, i.e. earning interest by abstaining from spending makes the funds possible and available for borrowers.

ACA is Accreditation Council for Accountancy.

ACAT (Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation) is a national organization established in 1973 as a non-profit independent testing, accrediting and monitoring organization. The Council seeks to identify professionals in independent practice who specialize in providing financial, accounting and taxation services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses. Professionals receive accreditation through examination and/or coursework and maintain accreditation through commitment to a significant program of continuing professional education and adherence to the Council's Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct.

ACB normally refers to 'adjusted cost base.'

ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION is a method of calculating depreciation with larger amounts in the first year(s).

ACCEPTANCE is a drawee's promise to pay either a TIME DRAFT or SIGHT DRAFT. Normally, the acceptor signs his/her name after writing "accepted" (or some other words indicating acceptance) on the bill along with the date. That "acceptance" effectively makes the bill a promissory note, i.e. the acceptor is the maker and the drawer is the endorser.

ACCOMODATION ENDORSEMENT is a) the guarantee given by one legal entity to induce a lender to grant a loan to another legal entity. b) a banking practice where one bank endorses the acceptances of another bank, for a fee, qualifying them for purchase in the acceptance market.

ACCOUNT is the detailed record of a particular asset, liability, owners' equity, revenue or expense.

ACCOUNT AGING usually refers to the methods of tracking past due accounts in accounts receivable based on the dates the charges were incurred. Account aging can also be used in accounts payable, to a lesser degree, to monitor payment history to suppliers. See also AGING OF ACCOUNTS.

ACCOUNT ANALYSIS is a way to measure cost behavior. It selects a volume-related cost driver and classifies each account from the accounting records as a fixed or variable cost. The cost accountant then looks at each cost account balance and estimates either the variable cost per unit of cost driver activity or the periodic fixed cost.

ACCOUNTANT'S OPINION is a signed statement regarding the financial status of an entity from an independent public accountant after examination of that entities records and accounts.

ACCOUNT-CLASSIFICATION METHOD, also called account analysis, is a cost estimation method that requires a study of an account in the general ledger. The experienced analysts use the account information as well as their own judgment to determine how costs will behave in the future.

ACCOUNT CURRENT is a running or continued account between two or more parties, or a statement of the particulars of such an account.

ACCOUNT DISTRIBUTION is the process by which debits and credits are identified to the correct accounts.

ACCOUNT GROUP, in accounting, is a designation of a group of accounts of like type (for example: accounts receivable and fixed assets).

ACCOUNTING is primarily a system of measurement and reporting of economic events based upon the accounting equation for the purpose of decision making. Generally, when someone says "accounting" they are referring to the department, activity or individuals involved in the application of the accounting equation.

ACCOUNTING COST is the actual outlays or expenses incurred in production that shows up within the firm's accounting statements or records. Accounting costs, while very important to accountants, company CEOs, shareholders, and the Internal Revenue Service, is only minimally important to economists. See ECONOMIC COST.

ACCOUNTING CONCEPTS are the assumptions underlying the preparation of financial statements, i.e., the basic assumptions of going concern, accruals, consistency and prudence.


ACCOUNTING CYCLE is the sequence of steps in preparing the financial statements for a given period. It refers to the fact that because financial reports are given each period (usually a year) there are a set of steps (cycle) taken each period that result in the reports and preparation for the next period or cycle. The term cycle is used because every period there is a start and an end. The cycle usually starts with the budget, goes through the journal entries, adjusting entries, posting to the accounts, financial reports, and closings.

ACCOUNTING DATA is all the information and data contained in journals, ledgers and other records that support financial statements, e.g. spreadsheets. It may be in computer readable form or on paper.

ACCOUNTING DIVERSITY is the recognition that many diverse national and international accounting standards exist in the world.

ACCOUNTING ENTITY ASSUMPTION states that a business is a separate legal entity from the owner. In the accounts the business’ monetary transactions are recorded only.

ACCOUNTING ENTITY is an organization, institution or being that has its own existence for legal or tax purposes. An accounting entity is often an organization with an existence separate from its individual members--for example, a corporation, partnership, trust, etc. See also ACCOUNTING ENTITY ASSUMPTION.

ACCOUNTING EQUATION is a mathematical expression used to describe the relationship between the assets, liabilities and owner's equity of the business model. The basic accounting equation states that assets equal liabilities and owner's equity, but can be modified by operations applied to both sides of the equation, e.g., assets minus liabilities equal owner's equity.

ACCOUNTING EVENT is when the assets and liabilities of a business increase/decrease or when there are changes in owner's equity.

ACCOUNTING INCOME is the income derived through historical accrual based accounting. Income = the change in net assets occurring during the period excluding transactions with owners; i.e. transaction based.

ACCOUNTING MEASUREMENT AND DISCLOSURE is the concepts of measurement and information disclosure required for decision making.

ACCOUNTING PACKAGE/SOFTWARE, usually, is a commercially available software program or suite that, with little customization, will satisfy the accounting system needs of the purchasing entity.

ACCOUNTING PERIOD is the time period for which accounts are prepared, usually one year.

ACCOUNTING PRACTICE is the exercise of the accounting profession.


ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES BOARD (APB) OPINIONS were published by the Accounting Principles Board (APB). The APB was created by American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 1959; replaced by Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in 1973. The APB mission was to develop an overall conceptual framework of US generally accepted accounting principles (US GAAP). APB was the main organization setting the US GAAP and its opinions are still an important part of it.

ACCOUNTING RATIO is the result of dividing one financial statement item by another. Ratios help analysts interpret financial statements by focusing on specific relationships.

ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (ASB) makes, improves, amends and withdraws accounting standards. Many of ASBs specialize in the various fields or sectors of accounting.

ACCOUNTING SYSTEM is the set of manual and computerized procedures and controls that provide for identifying relevant transactions or events; preparing accurate source documents, entering data into the accounting records accurately, processing transactions accurately, updating master files properly, and generating accurate documents and reports.

ACCOUNTING THEORY tries to describe the role of accounting and is composed of four types of accounting theory: classical inductive theories, income theories, decision usefulness theories, and information economics / agency theories: a. Classical inductive theories are attempts to find the principles on which current accounting processes are based; b. Income theories try to identify the real profit of an organization; c. Decision usefulness theories attempt to describe accounting as a process of providing the relevant information to the relevant decision makers; and, d. The information economics / agency theories of accounting see accounting information as a good to be traded between rational agents each acting in their own self-interest.

ACCOUNTING TIMING DIFFERENCE is the effect that a defered accounting event would have on the financials if taken into consideration e.g., the release of a deferred tax asset to the income statement as a deferred tax expense (ie the reversal of an accounting timing difference).

ACCOUNTING TREATEMENT is the methods, processes and decisions as to any given accounting decision as to how a transaction is to be or is handled in compliance to GAAP and all applicable statutes.

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE (AP) are trade accounts of businesses representing obligations to pay for goods and services received.

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE TO SALES measures the speed with which a company pays vendors relative to sales. Numbers higher than typical industry ratios suggest that the company is using suppliers assets (cash owed) to fund operations.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE is a current asset representing money due for services performed or merchandise sold on credit.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE LEDGER is the bookkeeping ledger in which all accounts for which cash assets owed to an organization is maintained.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE RESERVE is a reserve against bad debt. See also RESERVE and RESERVE ACCOUNTS.

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE TURNOVER is the ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, which is a measure of how quickly customers pay their bills.

ACCRETION is the adjustment of the difference between the price of a bond purchased at an original discount and the par value of the bond; or, asset growth through internal growth, expansion or natural causes, e.g. the aging of wine or growth of timber/trees.

ACCRUAL is the recognition of revenue when earned or expenses when incurred regardless of when cash is received or disbursed.

ACCRUAL BASIS OF ACCOUNTING is wherein revenue and expenses are recorded in the period in which they are earned or incurred regardless of whether cash is received or disbursed in that period. This is the accounting basis that generally is required to be used in order to conform to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in preparing financial statements for external users.


ACCRUED ASSETS are assets from revenues earned but not yet received.

ACCRUED EXPENSES are expenses incurred during an accounting period for which payment is postponed.

ACCRUED INCOME is income earned during a fiscal period but not paid by the end of the period.

ACCRUED INTEREST is interest earned but not paid since the last due date.

ACCRUED INVENTORY functions as a "clearing" account to establish a liability for inventory physically received into the warehouse, but for which a vendor invoice had not yet arrived.

ACCRUED LIABILITY are liabilities which are incurred, but for which payment is not yet made, during a given accounting period. Some examples in a manufacturing environment would be: wages, taxes, suppliers/vendors, etc.

ACCRUED PAYROLL is a liability arising from employees' salary expense that has been incurred but not paid.

ACCRUED REVENUE is the accumulated revenue as they have been recognized over a given period.


ACCUMULATED ADJUSTMENT ACCOUNT (AAA) under Section 1368(e)(1) of the IRS Code provides that the term “accumulated adjustment account” (AAA) means an account of the S corporation which is adjusted for the S period in a manner similar to the adjustments under § 1367 (except that no adjustment shall be made for income (and related expenses) which is exempt from tax under title 26 and the phrase “(but not below)” shall be disregarded in § 1367(b)(2)(A)) and no adjustment shall be made for Federal taxes attributable to any taxable year in which the corporation was a C corporation.

ACCUMULATED AMORTIZATION is the cumulative charges against the intangible assets of a company over the expected useful life of the assets.

ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION is the cumulative charges against the fixed assets of a company for wear and tear or obsolescence. Accumulated Depreciation, while it does reduce Net Worth, is a Contra Asset account and belongs in the Asset section of the balance sheet.

ACH is Automated Clearing House.

ACID-TEST RATIO is an analysis method used to measure the liquidity of a business by dividing total liquid assets by current liabilities.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF INDEBTEDNESS is a written recognition of debt that is enforceable in law, e.g. memorandum check, bank draft, or loan contract.

ACMA is an acronym for Associate Chartered Management Accountant.

ACQUISITION is one company taking over controlling interest in another company. See also MERGER and POOLING OF INTERESTS.

ACQUISITION COST is the amount, net of both trade and cash discounts, paid for property, plus transportation costs and ancillary costs.


ACR is Accounts Receivable. See ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE.

ACTIVITY BASED COSTING (ABC) is a costing system that identifies the various activities performed in a firm and uses multiple cost drivers (non-volume as well as the volume based cost drivers) to assign overhead costs (or indirect costs) to products. ABC recognizes the causal relationship of cost drivers with activities.

ACTIVITY BASED MANAGEMENT (ABM) converts Activity Based Costing (ABC) into a system to manage an organization. Activity Based Management not only focuses on product, service, customer, channel costing, it also emphasizes: cost drivers (root cause analysis), action plans to improve to achieve strategic objectives, and, performance measures for activities and processes.

ACTIVITY DRIVERS, in activity based costing (ABC), activity costs are assigned to outputs using activity drivers. Activity drivers assign activity costs to outputs based on individual outputs’ consumption or demand for activities. For example, a driver may be the number of times an activity is performed (transaction driver) or the length of time an activity is performed (duration driver) see DURATION DRIVERS, INTENSITY DRIVERS, TRANSACTION DRIVERS.

ACTIVITY RATIO is any accounting ratio that measures a firm's ability to convert different accounts within their balance sheets into cash or sales.

ACTUAL CASH VALUE (ACV) is the common method of determining the amount of reimbursement for a loss. Normally calculated be determining what it will cost to replace an item at the time of loss after subtracting depreciation.

ACTUAL COST is the amount paid for an asset; not its retail value, market value or insurance value.

ACTUALS is jargon used when speaking of an actual number experienced through some point in time as opposed to a number that is budgeted or projected into the future, e.g., year-to-date sales, expenses, product produced, etc.

ACTUARIAL METHOD means the method of allocating payments made on a debt between the amount financed and the finance or other charges where the payment is applied first to the accumulated finance or other charges and any remainder is subtracted from, or any deficiency is added to the unpaid balance of the amount financed.

ACTUARIAL SCIENCE applies mathematical and statistical methods to finance and insurance, particularly to the assessment of risk. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified in this field.


ADA, among others, is Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

ADD-INS is: a. something designed or intended for use in conjunction with another, e.g. accessories to a primary product in a purchase order; or, b. an accessory software program that extends the capabilities of an existing application.

ADDITIONAL PAID IN CAPITAL is the amounts paid for stock in excess of its par value; included are other amounts paid by stockholders and charged to equity accounts other than capital stock.

ADEA is Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

ADEQUATE DISCLOSURE is sufficient information in footnotes, as well as financial statements, indicative of a firm's financial status.

ADF, in invoicing, is After Deducting Freight.

AD HOC is being concerned with a particular end or purpose, e.g., a ad hoc committee established to handle a specific subject.

ADI, in invoicing, is After Date of Invoice.

ADJUNCT ACCOUNT is an account that accumulates either additions or subtractions to another account. Thus the original account may retain its identity. Examples include premiums on bonds payable, which is a contra account to bonds payable; and accumulated depreciation, which is an offset to the fixed asset.


ADJUSTED BOOK VALUE: Your MBA performs two types of adjusted book value analysis. Tangible Book Value and Economic Book Value (also known as Book Value at Market).

•Tangible Book Value is different than book value in that it deducts from asset value intangible assets, which are assets that are not hard (e.g., goodwill, patents, capitalized start-up expenses and deferred financing costs).

•Economic Book Value allows for a book value analysis that adjusts the assets to their market value. This valuation allows valuation of goodwill, real estate, inventories and other assets at their market value.

ADJUSTED EARNINGS PER SHARE is a non-GAAP financial measure of earnings per share. Dependent upon the entity, it may or may not include what would normally be included in a GAAP sanctioned earnings per share calculation.

ADJUSTING ENTRIES are special accounting entries that must be made when you close the books at the end of an accounting period. Adjusting entries are necessary to update your accounts for items that are not recorded in your daily transactions.

ADJUSTMENT can be either: 1. an increase or decrease to an account resulting from ADJUSTING ENTRIES; or, 2. changing an account balance due to some event, e.g., adjustment of an account due to the return of merchandise for credit.


ADMITTED ASSETS are assets whose values are permitted by state law to be included in the annual statement.


ADR is American Depository Receipts.

ADSCR is Average Debt Service Coverage Ratio.

AD VALOREM TAX is a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property. An ad valorem tax is typically imposed at the time of a transaction (a sales tax or value-added tax (VAT)), but it may be imposed on an annual basis (real or personal property tax) or in connection with another significant event (inheritance tax or tariffs).

ADVANCE is an amount paid before it is earned, e.g. payment ahead of actual expenditures or phase completion of a construction project.

ADVANCED ACCOUNTING covers accounting operations, patterns, merger of public holding companies, foreign currency operations, changing financial statement prepared in foreign and local currencies. Advanced accounting also includes a variety of advanced financial accounting issues such as lease contracts, pension funds, end of service severance payments, etc.

ADVERSE OPINION is expressed if the basis of accounting is unacceptable and distorts the financial reporting of the corporation. If auditors discover circumstances during the course of the audit that make them question whether they can issue an unqualified opinion, they should always discuss those circumstances with the client before issuing the opinion, in order to determine whether it is possible to rectify the problem.

ADVICE NOTE is a written piece of information e.g. about the shipping status of the goods.

ADVISING BANK is a bank in the exporter's country handling a letter of credit.

AFE, dependent upon usage, is an acronym for Authorization for Expenditure or Average Funds Employed.

AFFILIATE is a relationship between two companies when one company owns substantial interest, but less than a majority of the voting stock of another company, or when two companies are both subsidiaries of a third company.

AFUDC is Accumulated Funds Used During Construction or Allowance for Funds Used During Construction.

AGED TRIAL BALANCE alphabetically lists accounts receivable with outstanding balances. It displays one balance for every account by age and is typically produced only once on demand to check receivable details against other reports.

AGENCY is the relationship between a principal and an agent wherein the agent is authorized to represent the principal in certain transactions.

AGENCY COSTS is the incremental costs of having an Agent make decisions for a principal.


AGING OF ACCOUNTS is the classification of accounts by the time elapsed after the date of billing or the due date. The longer a customer's account remains uncollected or the longer inventory is held, the greater is its realization risk. If a customer's account is past due, the company also has an Opportunity Cost of funds tied-up in the receivable that could be invested elsewhere for a return. An aging schedule of accounts receivable may break down receivables from 1-30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, and over 90 days. With regard to inventory, if it is held too long, obsolescence, spoilage, and technological problems may result. Aging can be done for other accounts such as fixed assets and accounts payable. See also ACCOUNT AGING.

AGGREGATE is the sum or total.

AGGREGATE THEORY is a theory of partnership taxation in which a partnership is considered as an aggregate of individual co-owners who have bound themselves together with the intention of sharing gains and loses; under this theory, the partnership itself has no existence separate and apart from its members.

AGI (Annual Gross Income) is annualized total income prior to exclusions and deductions.



AGREED UPON PROCEDURES are used when a client retains an external auditor to perform specific tests and procedures and report on the results. Examples might include special reviews of loan portfolio or internal control systems. In performing agreed-upon procedures, the auditor provides no opinion, certification, or assurance that the assertions being made in the financial statements are free from material misstatement. The users of reports based on agreed-upon procedures must draw their own conclusions on the results of the tests reported. For example, an external auditor could be asked to look at a certain number of corporation loan files and document which of the required forms are in the files. The auditor would report on the selection and the results of the procedures performed but would not provide a formal opinion with conclusions drawn from the results of the procedures.

AICPA is the American Institute [of] Certified Public Accountants.


AIR WAYBILL is a bill of lading and contract between the shipper and the airline for delivery of goods to a specified location, and sometimes with specified delivery date/time. Non-negotiable, but serves as receipt from the airline to prove that goods were received.

ALLOCATE is to distribute according to a plan or set apart for a special purpose. Examples: a. spread a cost over two or more accounting periods; b. charge a cost or revenue to a number of departments, products, processes or activities on a rational basis.

ALLOCATION is the act of distributing by allotting or apportioning; distribution according to a plan, e.g., allocating costs is the assignment of costs to departments or products over various time periods, products, operations, or investments. See ALLOCATE.

ALLONGE is a piece of paper attached to a negotiable instrument to allow space for writing endorsements.

ALL OTHER CURRENT ASSETS relates to any other current assets. Does not include prepaid items.

ALL OTHER CURRENT LIABILITIES includes any other current liabilities, including bank overdrafts and accrued expenses.

ALL OTHER EXPENSES (NET) includes miscellaneous other income and expenses (net), such as interest expense, miscellaneous expenses not included in general and administrative expenses, netted against recoveries, interest income, dividends received and miscellaneous income.

ALL OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS are prepaid items and any other non-current assets.

ALL OTHER NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES means any other non-current liabilities, including subordinated debt, and liability reserves.

ALLOWANCE, within Sales, is a concession granted to customers for unsatisfactory goods or services. Reduces sales because a portion of the sale has not been earned.

ALLOWANCE FOR BAD DEBTS is an account established to record a subtraction from ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE, to allow for those accounts that will not be paid.



ALLOWANCE FOR NOTES RECEIVABLE LOSSES is an account maintained at a level considered adequate to provide for probable losses. The provision is increased by amounts charged to earnings and reduced by net charge-offs. The level of allowance is based on management’s evaluation of the portfolio, which takes into account prevailing and anticipated business and economic conditions and the net realizable value of securities held.


ALLOWANCE METHOD is the accepted way to account for bad debt. Bad debt expense may be based on the percent of credit sales for the period, an aging of the accounts receivable balance at the end of the period, or some other method, e.g., percent of accounts receivable.

ALPHA is the measurement of returns from an investment in excess of market returns. It represents the amount expected from fundamental causes, e.g. the growth rate in earnings per share. This contrasts with BETA, which is a measure of risk or volatility.

ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT MARKET (AIM) is a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, allowing smaller companies to float shares with a more flexible regulatory system than is applicable to the main market.

ALTERNATE PAYEE ENDORSEMENT, normally, it is when one payee endorses a draft over to another entity, then the new or alternate payee endorses the draft near the original payees endorsement (signature).

ALTMAN, EDWARD developed the "ALTMAN Z-SCORE" by examining 85 manufacturing companies. Later, additional "Z-Scores" were developed for private manufacturing companies (Z-Score - Model A) and another for general/service firms (Z-Score - Model B). VentureLine selects the "Z-Score" appropriate for each firm based upon the questionnaire input from the listing company. A "Z-Score" is only as valid as the data from which it was derived i.e. if a company has altered or falsified their financial records/books, a "Z-Score" derived from those "cooked books" is of highly suspect value.

•ORIGINAL Z-SCORE (For Public Manufacturer) If the Z-Score is 3.0 or above - banruptcy is not likely. If the Z-Score is 1.8 or less - bankruptcy is likely. A score between 1.8 and 3.0 is the gray area. Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable.
•MODEL A Z-SCORE (For Private Manufacturer) Model A is appropriated for a private manufacturing firm. Model A should not be applied to other companies. A Z-Score of 2.90 or above indicates that bankruptcy in not likely, buyt a Z-Score of 1.23 or below is a strong indicator that bankruptcy is likely. Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable.
•MODEL B Z-SCORE (For Private General Firm) Model B Z-Score is appropriate for a private general non-manufacturing firm. A Z-Score of 2.60 or above indicates that bankruptcy in not likely, buyt a Z-Score of 1.10 or below is a strong indicator that bankruptcy is likely. Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. A Z-Score between the two is the gray area. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable.
ALTMAN Z-SCORE reliably predicts whether or not a company is likely to enter into bankruptcy within one or two years:

•If the Z-Score is 3.0 or above - bankruptcy is not likely.
•If the Z-Score is 1.8 or less - bankruptcy is likely.
•A Z-Score between 1.8 and 3.0 is the gray area, i.e., a high degree of caution should be used.
Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. A Z-Score between the two is the gray area. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable. It is best to assess each individual company's Z-Score against that of the industry. In low margin industries it is possible for Z-Scores to fall below the above. In such cases a trend comparison to the industry over consecutive time periods may be a better indicator. It should be remembered that a Z-Score is only as valid as the data from which it was derived i.e. if a company has altered or falsified their financial records/books, a Z-Score derived from those "cooked books" is of lesser use.

AM can be: Asset Management, Account Manager, After Market, Audit Manager, or Accounting Management.

AMALGAMATION is a consolidation or merger, as of several corporations. In business, the distinction being that the surviving entity incorporates the asset base of others into its base.

AMORTIZATION 1. is the gradual reduction of a debt by means of equal periodic payments sufficient to meet current interest and liquidate the debt at maturity. When the debt involves real property, often the periodic payments include a sum sufficient to pay taxes and hazard insurance on the property. 2. is the process of spreading the cost of an intangible asset over the expected useful life of the asset. For example: a company pays $100,000 for a patent, they amortize the cost over the 16 year useful life of the patent. 3. the deduction of capital expenses over a specific period of time. Similar to depreciation, it is a method of measuring the "consumption" of the value of long-term assets like equipment or buildings.

AMOUNT DUE is the amount a customer is required to pay during the current billing cycle. The amount varies depending on the total account balance. Where it is stipulated "amount due to" would be an amount due from you as the customer; where stipulated "amount due from" would be an amount due to you from your customer.


ANALYSIS CODES, in accounting, represent software driven analysis methods which are independent of the normal grouping of account codes. An analysis code allows management to collect and monitor income and expenditure for a particular function or event that is not captured by the use of a project code or class, i.e. allows for much finer segmentation.

ANCILLARY relates to something extra or of lesser importance. For example, ancillary revenue would be revenue derived from the provisioning of products or services that are not considered to be primary to the generation of revenue.

ANGEL INVESTOR is a private wealthy individual that has no association with a venture capital firm, investment fund, etc. The "angel" invests his/her private money into what he/she believes to be promising opportunities, i.e., normally startup companies. Sometimes two or more "angels" will jointly invest into opportunities to spread the risk.

ANNUALIZE is a statistical technique whereby figures covering a period of less than one year are extended to cover a 12-month period. The technique, to be accurate, must take seasonal variations into consideration.

ANNUAL REPORT is the requirement for all public companies to file an annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing the preceding year's financial results and plans for the upcoming year. Its regulatory version is called "Form 10 K." The report contains financial information concerning a company's assets, liabilities, earnings, profits, and other year-end statistics. The annual report is also the most widely-read shareholder communication.

ANNUITY, in finance, is a series of fixed payments, usually over a fixed number of years; or for the lifetime of a person, in which case it would be called a life-contingent annuity or simply life annuity.

ANOMALY, generally, is a deviation from the common rule. It is an irregularity that is difficult to explain using existing rules or theory. In securities, it is an unexplained or unexpected price or rate relationship that seems to offer an opportunity for an arbitrage-type profit, although not typically without risk. Examples include the tendency of small stocks to outperform large stocks, of stocks with low price-to-book value ratios to outperform stocks with high price-to-book value ratios, and of discount currency forward contracts to outperform premium currency forward contracts.

ANR is Average Number of Runs or Average Not Ready (call centers).

AOP is either Adjusted Operating Profit or Annual Operations Plan.

AP is Accounts Payable.

APB is Accounting Principles Board or an Accounting Principles Board opinion (GAAP).

APB 18 is the Accounting Principles Board Equity Method of Accounting for Investments in Common Stock.

APB 29 (Accounting Principles Board Opinion No. 29) Accounting for Non-monetary Transactions states that an exchange of non-monetary assets should be recorded at fair value. Certain modifications to that basic principle are contained in paragraphs 20-23 of APB No. 29. Paragraph 21(b) provides that accounting for an exchange of productive assets for similar productive assets should be based on the recorded amount of the non-monetary assets relinquished. However, Paragraph 4 of APB No. 29 states that Opinion is not applicable to business combinations.

APIC is an acronym for Additional Paid-In-Capital (finance/business).

APPLICATION RATE is the quantity (mass, volume or thickness) of material applied per unit area.

APPLICATION RATE, OVERHEAD is a rate used to apply manufacturing overhead to output; estimated factory overhead for a period divided by the estimated application base.

APPLIED RESEARCH is designed to solve practical problems of the modern world, rather than to acquire knowledge for knowledge's sake.

APPORTION is to divide and share out according to a plan.

APPRAISAL is a report made by a qualified person setting forth an opinion or estimate of value.

APPRAISAL VALUE is an opinion of a asset's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the asset class.

APPRECIATION is the increase in the value of an asset in excess of its depreciable cost, which is due to economic, and other conditions, as distinguished from increases in value due to improvements or additions made to it.

APPROPRIATE / APPROPRIATED / APPROPRIATION is distribution of net income to various accounts and / or the allocation of retained earnings for a designated purpose, e.g. plant expansion.

APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT is a separate account for which specific dollar amounts are authorized and appropriated.

AR is Accounts Receivable.

ARBITRAGE is the movements of funds to take advantage of differences in exchange or interest rates; such movements quickly eliminate any such differences.

ARGUMENT IN ACCOUNTING usually revolves around the premise that characterizes fair values of assets as being more relevant but less reliable than their historical costs, with fair value being ultimately more informative only if its increased relevance outweighs its reduced reliability.

ARM’S LENGTH TRANSACTION is a transaction that is conducted as though the parties were unrelated, thereby avoiding any semblance of conflict of interest.

AROE is Adjusted Return on Equity.

ARPU is Average Revenue Per User.

ARR is an acronym for Accounting Rate of Return.

ARREARS is an unpaid overdue debt, or the state of being behind in payments, e.g. an account in arrears.

ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION is the primary legal document of a corporation; they serve as a corporation's constitution. The articles are filed with the state government to begin corporate existence. The articles contain basic information on the corporation as required by state law.

ARTICLES OF PARTNERSHIP is the contract creating a partnership.

ARTICULATION, in business, is the shape or manner in which things come together and a connection is made. In the spoken word, it is expressing in coherent verbal form.


ASC is Accounting Standards Committee or Australian Securities Commission.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a trading block of countries in SE Asia. Originally formed as an anti-communist military alliance, it is now focused on developing a free trade agreement among member nations.

AS-IS CONDITION is the transfer of title to a property in an existing condition with no warranties or representations.

ASK PRICE, in the context of the over-the-counter market, the term "ask" refers to the lowest price at which a market maker will sell a specified number of shares of a stock at any given time. The term "bid" refers to the highest price a market maker will pay to purchase the stock. The ask price (also known as the "offer" price) will almost always be higher than the bid price. Market makers make money on the difference between the bid price and the ask price. That difference is called the "spread".

ASRB is Accounting Standards Review Board.

ASSESSED VALUE is the estimated value of property used for tax purposes.

ASSESSMENT is a. proportionate share of a shared expense; or, b. amount of tax or other levied special payment due to a governmental municipality or association.

ASSET is anything owned by an individual or a business, which has commercial or exchange value. Assets may consist of specific property or claims against others, in contrast to obligations due others. (See also Liabilities).

ASSET AVAILABILITY is the stated condition or availability of an asset for usability. The subject asset is not available if it is already in use, at capacity, undergoing maintenance, broken, etc.

ASSET-BACKED SECURITY is essentially the same thing as a mortgage-backed security, except that the securities it backs are assets such as loans, leases, credit card debt, a company's receivables, royalties and so on, and not mortgage-based securities.

ASSET EARNING POWER is a common profitability measure used to determine the profitability of a business by taking its total earning before taxes and dividing that by total assets.

ASSET REVALUATION RESERVE is an accounting concept and represents a reassessment of the value of a capital asset as at a particular date. The reserve is considered a category of the equity of the entity. An asset is originally recorded in the accounts at its cost and depreciated periodically over its estimated useful life as a measure of the amount of the asset's value consumed in that period. In practice, the actual useful life of an asset can be miscalculated or an event can cause a change to the useful life. Consequently, assets occasionally need to be revalued in order to reflect a more close approximation to their "worth" in the accounts. When the asset is revalued, the offsetting entry (in a double entry accounting system) would be either made to the profit or loss accounts or to the equity of the entity.

ASSET REVERSION is asset recovery by the sponsoring employer through termination of a defined benefit pension fund and/or of assets in excess of amounts required to pay accrued benefits of a pension fund. In the U.S., assets recovered through reversion are subject to corporate income tax and an excise tax.

ASSET SALE is the sale of certain named assets of a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship. Usually the seller retains ownership of the cash and cash equivalents (such as Accounts Receivable) and the liabilities of the entity. The seller then will pay the liabilities with the cash, any down payment and the cash equivalents as they become cash. Assets named are typically trade name, trade fixtures, inventory, leasehold rights, telephone number rights and goodwill. Assets sold can be tangible or intangible.

ASSETS HELD FOR SALE are those assets, primarily long-term assets, that an entity wishes to dispose of or liquidate through sale to others.


ASSET TURNOVER RATIO is a general measure of a firm's ability to generate sales in relation to total assets. It should be used only to compare firms within specific industry groups and in conjunction with other operating ratios to determine the effective employment of assets. The asset turnover ratio calculates the total sales [revenue] for every dollar of assets a company owns. To calculate asset turnover, take the total revenue and divide it by the average assets for the period studied.

ASSET VALUATION is the process of determining the current worth of a portfolio, company, investment, or balance sheet item. The term is often used to describe the worth of an asset which may be incorporated into company accounts, where the ownership of the asset is not necessarily to be transferred but the valuation is required for the balance sheet, company takeovers, share flotation or mortgages.

ASSIGNED VALUE is a value that serves as an agreed-upon reference for comparison; normally derived from or based upon experimental work of some national or international organization.

ASSOCIATE, in business, is a person brought together with a company or another person into a relationship in any of various intangible ways.

ASSOCIATED CREDIT is where a charitable or a not for profit entity (a university for example) may acknowledge the efforts of persons, other than the legal donor(s), who were instrumental in facilitating or providing for a gift by providing “soft” (or associated) credit for gifts. Associated credit allows the entity to acknowledge these efforts without compromising the entity’s legal obligation to record the gift according to IRS regulations. Associated credit is given for donor recognition purposes, allowing their names to be listed in publications such as the "Report to Contributors" and other donor recognition publications. For example an individual may write a corporate gift to a university, i.e. the individual would get the associated credit. Also known as SOFT CREDIT.

ASSUMPTION, generally, is one or more beliefs or unconfirmed facts that contribute to a conclusion. Specifically, it is the act of taking on the responsibility or assuming the liabilities of another.

ASSURANCE has been defined by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as "Independent Professional Services that improve information quality or its context". Such services are very broad and could include assessments of various industries, e.g., Internet security or quality of health facilities.

ATA (Accredited Tax Advisor), in the US, is a national credential conferred by Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation to professionals who handle sophisticated tax planning issues, including ownership of closely held businesses, qualified retirement plans and complicated estates.


ATP is an acronym for After Tax Profit, Accredited Tax Preparer, and possibly more.

ATP (Accredited Tax Preparer), in the US, is a national credential conferred by Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation to professionals who have a thorough knowledge behind the existing tax code and tax preparation of individuals, corporate and partnership tax returns.

AT RISK is the exposure to the danger of economic loss; frequently used in the context of claiming tax deductions. For example, a person can claim a tax deduction in a limited partnership if the taxpayer can show it is at risk of never realizing a profit and of losing its initial investment.

ATTEST is to authenticate, affirm to be true, genuine, or correct, as in an official capacity.

AT THE MONEY is an option where the strike price is approximately equal to the underlying price.

ATTRITION a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death.

AUCTION MARKET is a trading system in which buyers enter competitive bids and sellers enter competitive offers simultaneously. This, as opposed to the over-the-counter market, where trades are negotiated. Examples: the NYSE and the AMEX. It is sometimes called double auction market.

AUDIT is the inspection of the accounting records and procedures of a business, government unit, or other reporting entity by a trained accountant for the purpose of verifying the accuracy and completeness of the records. It could be conducted by a member of the organization (internal audit) or by an outsider (independent audit). A CPA audit determines the overall validity of financial statements. A tax audit (IRS in the U.S.) determines whether the appropriate tax was paid. An internal audit generally determines whether the company’s procedures are followed and whether embezzlement or other illegal activity occurred.

AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATION (ABC) is a third-party organization that verifies the circulation of print media through periodic audits.

AUDIT COMMITTEE, in a larger or more sophisticated corporation, the board may find it useful to appoint an audit committee whose oversight extends not only to external audits, but also to internal audits, internal controls, and external reporting. Ideally, an audit committee is composed of three to five non-management directors and, as needed, outsiders with accounting and financial expertise. In a smaller corporation the audit committee may be a single director with financial expertise and audit experience who takes the lead in exercising the board's audit oversight responsibility.

AUDIT ENGAGEMENT is a formal agreement between an outside CPA firm and its client to perform an audit.

AUDIT EVIDENCE includes written and electronic information (such as checks, records of electronic fund transfers, invoices, contracts, and other information) that permits the auditor to reach conclusions through reasoning.

AUDIT FAILURE is an Instance where the auditor said that the financial statements were fairly stated when in fact, they were not.

AUDIT FEE is the amount, usually, board of directors approved and payable to an auditor for an audit.

AUDITING STANDARDS provide minimum guidance for the auditor that helps determine the extent of audit steps and procedures that should be applied to fulfill the audit objective. They are the criteria or yardsticks against which the quality of the audit results are evaluated.

AUDIT OPINION LETTER is a signed representation by an auditor as to the reliability and fairness of a set of financial statements. It is usually presented at the beginning of an audit report.

AUDITOR is an accountant usually certified by a national professional association of accountants, if one exists in the corporation’s country, or certified by another country's recognized national association of accountants. Corporations will often work with both internal auditors and external auditors.

AUDIT PLAN/PLANNING is developing an overall strategy for the expected conduct and scope of the audit. The nature, extent, and timing of planning varies with the size and complexity of the entity, experience with the entity, and knowledge of the entity's business.

AUDIT REPORT is a signed, written document which presents the purpose, scope, and results of the audit. Results of the audit may include findings, conclusions (opinions), and recommendations.

AUDIT RISK is a combination of the risk that material errors will occur in the accounting process and the risk the errors will not be discovered by audit tests. Audit risk includes uncertainties due to sampling (sampling risk) and to other factors (non-sampling risk).

AUDIT SCHEDULES are the information formats developed by the external auditors to guide the corporation in the preparation of particular information presented in a particular manner that facilitates the audit. These should always be completed by the corporation prior to the start of the audit.

AUDIT SCOPE refers to the activities covered by an internal audit. Audit scope includes, where appropriate: audit objectives; nature and extent of auditing procedures performed; Time period audited; and related activities not audited in order to delineate the boundaries of the audit.

AUDIT STRATEGY is a game plan to attack audit issues before they are raised. Reasons and justifications for all positions must be understood and the foundation laid for taking the position.

AUDIT TRAIL is a step-by-step record by which financial, business, and quality assurance data can be traced to its source. For example: checking the validity of an accounting entry through the step-by-step record by which accounting data can be traced to their source.

AUTHORITATIVE PRONOUNCEMENT is a formal declaration of opinion sanctioned by established authority.

AUTHORIZATION OF STOCK is the provision in a corporate charter giving permission to issue stock.

AUTHORIZATION SCHEDULE is the guideline under which the subject activity is controlled and authorized. For example, expenditure spending may be controlled by amounts and the managerial level required authorizing or approving a preset trigger amount. As the amount increases over certain preset levels, higher managerial authority is required for approval.

AUTHORIZED CAPITAL is the money made by a company from the sale of authorized shares of common and preferred stock. It is measured by multiplying the number of authorized shares by their par value.

AUTHORIZED CAPITAL STOCK is the maximum number of shares of common stock that can be issued under a company's Articles of Incorporation. Issued shares are normally less than the number of authorized shares.


AUTOMATED MANIFEST SYSTEM (AMS) is a multi-modular cargo inventory control and release notification system. AMS is the electronic system allowing a manifest inventory to be transmitted to the US Customs Service data center by carrier, port authority or service center computers. AMS interfaces directly with Customs Cargo Selectivity and In-Bond systems, and indirectly with ABI, allowing faster identification and release of low risk shipments.

AUTOMATED/AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE (ATM) is an unattended machine (outside some banks) that dispenses money or allows an individual to conduct unassisted business transactions with the ATM when a personal coded card is used.

AUXILIARY JOURNAL is a journal in which accounting information is stored both before and after the transfer to the General Ledger.

AVAILABLE FOR SALE is a term that means exactly what is says, i.e. an asset is available for purchase and transfer of ownership upon reaching an agreed upon price.

AVAL is a term meaning inseparable from the financial instrument. This gives a guarantee and is abstracted from the performance of the underlying trade contract: Article 31 of the 1930 Geneva Convention of the Bills Of Exchange states that the aval can be written on the bill itself or on an allonge. US Banks are prohibited from avalizing drafts.

AVALIZOR is an institution or person who gives an aval.

AVERAGE AGE OF INVENTORY is calculated by the formula: 365 / inventory turnover.

AVERAGE AGE OF PLANT is the financial age of the fixed assets of the subject entity; used often in the medical hospital sector. The older the average age, the greater the short term need for capital resources. Average Age of Plant is calculated by dividing accumulated depreciation by the current year depreciation expense and is stated in years, e.g. Average Age of Plant = $71.3 million / $10.1 million = 7.1 years.

AVERAGE COST is total cost for all units bought (or produced) divided by the number of units.

AVERAGE COST METHOD is using a weighted average cost for items in inventory rather than actual cost for each specific item.


AVERAGE INVENTORY is the average of beginning and ending inventory. Formula: {Inventory (current period) + Inventory (prior period)} ÷ 2.

AVERAGE NET RECEIVABLES is the average of net accounts receivable of the current year and the net accounts receivable of the prior year. Formula: {Net accounts receivable (current year) + Net accounts receivable (prior year)} ÷ 2.

For Debtors = Trade Debtors X 365 days / Credit Sales
For Creditors = Trade Creditors X 365 days / Credit Purchases.

AVERAGE TAX RATE is computed by dividing total taxes paid by the tax base.

AVOIDABLE COST is the amount of expense that would not occur if a particular decision were to be implemented (e.g., if an employee is laid off at a company that is self-insured for unemployment compensation, the avoidable cost is total direct salary less payments for unemployment benefits plus savings in employee benefits).

AXIOM, generally, it is a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits; in logic, it is a proposition that is not susceptible of proof or disproof; its truth is assumed to be self-evident.

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