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Dictionary of Accounting Terms Third Edition
Joel G. Siegel, PhD, CPA Professor of Accounting
Queens College of the City University of New York

Jae K. Shim, PhD Professor of Accounting
College of Business Administration
California State University, Long Beach

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The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions made by reviewers John Downes, formerly of the New York City Office of Economic Development, and Dr. G. Thomas Friedlob, Professor of Accounting at Clemson University. Their in-depth evaluations have been of great importance to the technical accuracy of the manuscript. Gerald J. Barry suggested many meaningful insertions and deletions that greatly enhanced the authors' prose. Thanks also go to Roberta Siegel and Cher Ragge for their assistance with the computer terms, graphics, and word processing. Anna Damaskos, Don Reis, Sally Strauss, and Eileen Prigge of Barron's have been invaluable during the many stages of editing the manuscript into its bound book form.

© Copyright 2000 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
Prior editions © 1995, 1987 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by photostat, microfilm, xerography, or any other means, or incorporated
into any information retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, without the written permission of the copyright owner.

All inquiries should be addressed to: Barron's Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 00-036285 International Standard Book No. 0-7641-1259-7 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Siegel, Joel G.
Dictionary of accounting terms / by Joel G. Siegel, Jae K.
Shim. 3rd ed.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-7641-1259-7
1. AccountingDictionaries. I. Shim, Jae K. II. Title.
HF5621.S54 2000
657'.03dc21 00-036285


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Preface iv
How to Use This Book Effectively v
Terms 1
Abbreviations and Acronyms 481
Tables 484
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Whether you audit the records of a large corporation or balance your own checkbook, you will find Barron's Dictionary of Accounting Terms of immeasurable help. You may be a business persona bookkeeper, a manager, or a proprietor. You may be a business studentan accounting major or an MBA candidate. You may be an accountant or you may have to deal with accountants. Whatever the case, this Dictionary provides the definitions, examples, and illustrations you need to know about all aspects of financial record keeping.

In class or at a business meeting, you are likely to hear an accounting term that is unfamiliar to you. You need to know what that term means and its application in order to follow the presentation intelligently. At home you may be puzzled by a reference in a text you are studying or by a direction in a form you are completing. You need to understand what is meant in order to proceed with the task efficiently. Keeping a copy of this volume by your side will provide the explanations and demonstrations that will enable you to handle all of these problems.

Accounting is a dynamic area with a vocabulary that is constantly changing. To talk its language, you have to keep up-to-date with the latest terms that have just emerged and with the latest definitions of older terms. It is this book's purpose to present the working vocabulary of accounting todaydefining new terminology as it affects the accounting profession, while updating the traditional language of accounting and its related disciplines.

Entries have been drawn from all areas within accounting including financial accounting, managerial and cost accounting, auditing, financial statement analysis, and taxes. Definitions have also been provided for many terms from related business disciplines that the accountant must know about in order to perform his or her functions in the business world. Included are essential words from finance, operations research and quantitative techniques, computers, and economics. In all, clear, concise definitions are provided for more than 2500 terms, and a further explanation of the term or a demonstration of its use is frequently given to amplify the definition. Thus, each entry is basic enough for the novice to grasp the essential meaning quickly, yet comprehensive enough for the professional to find additional detail when it is needed.

The authors sincerely hope that this Dictionary will prove a handy reference for anyone involved with accountingfrom the layman to the expert.


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How to Use This Book Effectively

Alphabetization: All entries are alphabetized by letter rather than by word, so that multiple-word terms are treated as single words. For example, ACCOUNT FORM follows ACCOUNTANT, and AD VALOREM TAX follows ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET. In unusual cases (such as BASIC) abbreviations appear as entries in the main text, in addition to appearing in the back of the book in the separate listing of Abbreviations and Acronyms. This occurs when the short form or acronym, rather than the formal name, predominates in the common usage of the field. For example, BASIC is commonly used when speaking of the "BEGINNER'S ALL-PURPOSE SYMBOLIC INSTRUCTION CODE"; thus, the entry is at BASIC. Numbers in entry titles are alphabetized as if they were spelled out. For example, 401(K) PLAN follows FORWARD RATE.

Many words have distinctly different meanings, depending upon the context in which they are used. The various meanings of a term are listed by numerical or functional subheading. Readers must determine the context that is relevant to their purpose.

When terms are defined as different parts of speech, the grammatical forms are not labeled but the sequence is always nouns, followed by verbs, followed by qualifiers.

Abbreviations and Acronyms: A separate list of Abbreviations and Acronyms follows the Dictionary.

Cross-References: To add to your understanding of a term, related or contrasting terms are sometimes cross- referenced. The cross-referenced term will appear in SMALL CAPITALS either in the body of the entry (or subentry) or at the end. These terms will be printed in SMALL CAPITALS only the first time they appear in the text. Where an entry is fully defined by another term, a reference rather than a definition is providedfor example: ALPHA RISK see TYPE I ERROR.

Italics: Italic type is generally used to indicate that another term has a meaning identical or very closely related to that of the entry. Italic type is also used to highlight the fact that a word or phrase has a special meaning to the trade. Italics are also used for the titles of publications.

Parentheses: Parentheses are used in entry titles to indicate that an abbreviation is used with about the same frequency as the term itself; for example, SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC).

Special Definitions: Organizations and associations that play an active role in the field are included in the Dictionary along with a brief statement of their mission.

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1. instrument of ancient origin used to perform arithmetic calculations by sliding counters along rods or in grooves.

2. semiannual accounting research journal (founded in 1965) published by the Sydney University Press, edited by the University of Sydney, Department of Accounting. The subject matter covers all areas of accounting including international accounting.


voluntary surrender of property, owned or leased, without naming a successor as owner or tenant. The property will generally revert to a person holding a prior interest or, in cases where no owner is apparent, to the state.


complete or partial cancellation of a levy imposed by a governmental unit. Abatements usually apply to tax levies, special assessments, and service charges.


inventory management method that categorizes items in terms of importance. Thus, more emphasis is placed on
higher dollar value items ("A"s) than on lesser dollar value items ("B"s), while the least important items ("C"s)
receive the least time and attention. Inventory should be analyzed frequently when using the ABC method. The
procedure for ABC analysis follows: (1) Separate finished goods into types (chairs of different models, and so on);
separate raw materials into types (screws, nuts, and so on). (2) Calculate the annual dollar usage for each type of
inventory (multiply the unit cost by the expected future annual usage). (3) Rank each inventory type from highest
to lowest, based on annual dollar usage. (4) Classify the inventory as Athe top 20%; Bthe next 30%; and Cthe last
50% of dollars usage, respectively. (5) Tag the inventory with its appropriate ABC classification and record those
classifications in the item inventory master records.


spoilage that is recognized as a loss when discovered. NORMAL SPOILAGE is inherent in the manufacturing process and is unavoidable in the short run. Abnormal spoilage is spoilage beyond the normal spoilage rate. It is controllable because it is a result of inefficiency. It is not a cost of good production, but rather it is a loss for the period. Costs are assigned to the spoiled units and then credited to WORK-IN-PROCESS inventory and debited to a loss account.


1. 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. Examples

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include the sequential transfer of expenditure account amounts to WORK-IN-PROCESS, finished goods, and COST OF SALES.

2. to distribute or spread costs by the process of proration or allocation. See also ABSORPTION COSTING. ABSORPTION COSTING
method in which all manufacturing costs, variable and fixed, are treated as PRODUCT COSTS, while
nonmanufacturing costs (e.g., selling and administrative expenses) are treated as PERIOD COSTS. Absorption
costing for inventory valuation is required for external reporting. See also DIRECT COSTING.
A comparison between absorption and direct costing follows: Absorption Costing Direct Costing
1. Required for outside reporting 1. Not accepted for outside reporting
2. Includes fixed overhead as an 2. Does not include fixed overhead
inventoriable cost as an inventoriable cost
3. Stresses gross profit 3. Stresses contribution margin
4. Has a higher net income when 4. Has a higher net income when
production exceeds sales sales exceed production


limited partnership the IRS believes is claiming illegal tax deductions. This type of shelter usually inflates the value of purchased property, thus providing a basis for higher depreciation write-offs. When the IRS disallows the write- offs, back taxes as well as interest charges and high penalties must be paid. See also LIMITED PARTNER.


voluntary organization dedicated to the study of accounting history. This organization publishes the
ACCOUNTING HISTORIANS JOURNAL in addition to monographs, working papers, and a newsletter.


system of depreciation for tax purposes mandated by the Economic Recovery Act (ERA) of 1981 and modified by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The type of property determines its class. Instead of providing statutory tables, prescribed methods of depreciation are assigned to each class of property. For 3, 5, 7, and 10 year classes, the relevant depreciation method is the 200% declining balance method. For 15 and 20 year property, the appropriate method is the 150% declining balance method switching to the STRAIGHT-LINE method when it will yield a larger allowance. For residential rental property (27.5 years) and nonresidential real property (31.5 years), the applicable method is the straight-line method. A taxpayer may make an irrevocable election to treat all property in one of the classes under the straight-line method. Property is statutorily placed in one of the classes. The purpose of ACRS is to encourage more capital investment by businesses. It permits a faster recovery of the asset's cost and thus provides larger tax

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method recognizing higher amounts of depreciation in the earlier years and lower amounts in the later years of a
fixed asset's life. Some machines, for example, are more efficient early on and generate greater service potential;
matching dictates higher depreciation expense in those years. Over time, depreciation expense moves in a
downward direction and maintenance costs tend to become higher; thus the effect of accelerated depreciation is
fairly even charges to income. Greatest tax benefits from depreciation are enjoyed in the earlier years. See also


provision contained in a BOND INDENTURE requiring that in an event of default any remaining interest and principal become immediately due and payable.


a quality standard that allows a prespecified number of defects. ACCEPTANCE
1. drawee's promise to pay either a TIME DRAFT or SIGHT DRAFT. Typically, the acceptor signs his name after
writing "accepted" on the bill along with the date. Instead of "accepted," similar wording indicating an intention to
pay would also suffice to show a desire to honor the bill at maturity. An acceptance of a bill in effect makes it a
PROMISSORY NOTE: the acceptor is the maker and the drawer is the endorser.


3. binding contract effected when one party to a business arrangement accepts the offer of another. Acceptance may be in written or oral form.


statistical procedure used in quality control. Acceptance sampling involves testing a batch of data to determine if the proportion of units having a particular attribute exceeds a given percentage. The sampling plan involves three determinations: (1) batch size; (2) sample size; and (3) maximum number of defects that can be uncovered before rejection of the entire batch. This technique permits acceptance or rejection of a batch of merchandise or documents under precisely specified circumstances, thereby ensuring that the auditor does not reject too many acceptable batches. Acceptance sampling is of particular value to the internal auditor who wants continuous control on the quality of clerical work. From acceptance sampling tables, one can select a sampling plan to assure that errors will not be greater than a specified percentage of the batch (tolerable error rate), provided a full check of rejected batches is made. Acceptance sampling can also be used by the internal auditor to inspect the documents flowing through

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information channels of the organization. Items that can be checked include pricing and mathematical calculations. Acceptance sampling is basically an internal audit tool. It would be very difficult for the external auditor to devise a sampling plan that, while rejecting, say, 90% of unsatisfactory batches, does not also reject a high number of satisfactory batches.


length of time that a data storage device, associated with a computer, takes to process and return data from the time of the original request for the data.


written agreement to be liable made without consideration on a credit instrument (e.g., notes payable) to which another person or firm is a party, thus adding strength to the credit application. An example: a parent company endorses a note of a subsidiary payable to a bank or other lender.


2. systematic arrangement showing the effect of transactions and other events on a specific balance sheet or income statement item. An account is usually expressed in money. A separate account exists for each asset, liability, stockholders' equity, revenue, and expense. Accounts are the way in which differing effects on the basic business elements are categorized and collected. Accounts are in the ledger (ledger account). Examples are cash, accounts payable, and dividend revenue. See also CHART OF ACCOUNTS.

2. relationship between one party and another. Examples are a depositor or borrower with a bank or thrift institution or a credit relationship with a seller of goods or services.


individual or departmental responsibility to perform a certain function. Accountability may be dictated or implied by law, regulation, or agreement. For example, an auditor will be held accountable to financial statement users relying on the audited financial statements for failure to uncover corporate FRAUD because of negligence in applying GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS).


way to measure cost behavior. It selects a volume-related cost driver and classifies each account from the accounting records as a variable or fixed 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. Account analysis requires a detailed examination of the data, presumably by cost accountants and managers who are familiar with the activities of the company, and the way the company's activities affect costs. See also ENGINEERING ANALYSIS; HIGH-LOW METHOD; REGRESSION METHOD.


British term referring to the activities and theories comprising accounting including practice, research, and teaching. It includes the guidelines, principles, and procedures accountants are to

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follow in conducting their tasks. Accountants have legal and ethical responsibilities to their clients and public. See also ACCOUNTING.


one who performs accounting services. Accountants prepare financial statements and tax returns, audit financial records, and develop financial plans. They work in private accounting (e.g., for a corporation), public accounting (e.g., for a CPA firm), not-for-profit accounting (e.g., for a governmental agency). Accountants often specialize in a particular area such as taxes, cost accounting, auditing, and management advisory services. ABOOKKEEPER is distinguished from an accountant as one who employs lesser professional skills. The bookkeeping function is primarily one of recording transactions in the journal and posting to the ledger. See also CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT.


professional responsible for the field engagement associated with an audit. Duties include the general supervision of the engagement, distributing the workload to assistants, reviewing audit findings, and drafting required field reports.


journal published weekly in Surrey, England. Subject matter includes accounting, management, information systems and processing, corporate finance and treasury, and financial services.


organization dedicated to serving the public welfare. API provides objective analysis of public policy questions in terms of their fiscal, accounting, or financial implications. Services include technical support to nonprofit organizations that do not have the resources to afford such services.


bibliography of accounting books and articles of interest to accounting professionals. It is published quarterly and annually by the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA). Included are
publications on all phases of accounting, including auditing, tax, financial accounting, managerial accounting, and microcomputer applications.


organization founded to examine and report on common interesting topics within the accounting discipline. This group consists of representatives from the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA), CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS (CICA), and the INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES.


potential legal obligation of an accountant who commits fraud or is grossly negligent in the performance of professional duties. The term typically applies when an auditor conducting the ATTEST FUNCTION does not employ GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS) with sufficient care. To avoid liability, the accountant must be knowledgeable about the accounting profession's authoritative pronouncements such as FASB statements and AICPA STATEMENTS ON AUDITING PROCEDURE as well as SEC ACCOUNTING

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SERIES RELEASES. An accountant who violates the established rules and guidelines can be held legally liable to parties retaining him and those relying on work performed (e.g., investors, creditors). Most accounting practitioners carry malpractice insurance. See also NEGLIGENCE.


journal founded in 1897, originally published monthly by the Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow chartered accountants' societies. The INSTITUTE OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS IN SCOTLAND, founded in 1951, later adopted this magazine as its monthly journal. Subject matter includes international accounting, accounting education, information systems, financial accounting, managerial accounting, and legal topics.


ethical obligation to those relying upon the accountant's professional work. The accountant has a duty to management, investors, creditors, and regulatory bodies to exercise due care in performing the accounting and ATTEST FUNCTIONS. The accountant must follow with competence the promulgations of the ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES BOARD (APB) and FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB), among others.


balance sheet structure showing assets on the left, liabilities and stockholders' equity on the right. The alternative form, called the REPORT FORM, positions assets above liabilities and stockholders' equity.


1. umbrella term encompassing the multitude of disciplines including auditing, taxation, financial statement analysis, and managerial accounting. Accounting-related functions include financial accounting, cost accounting, not-for-profit accounting, and financial planning.

2. process of recording, measuring, interpreting, and communicating financial data. The accountant prepares financial statements to reflect financial condition and operating performance. Also, the accounting practitioner renders personal accounting services to clients such as preparing personal financial statements and tax planning.


change in: (1) accounting principles (such as a new depreciation method); (2) accounting estimates (such as a revised projection of doubtful accounts receivable); or (3) the reporting entity (such as a merger of companies). When an accounting change is made, appropriate FOOTNOTE disclosure is required to explain its justification and financial effect, thereby enabling readers to make appropriate investment and credit judgments. Proper justification for a change in accounting principles may be the issuance of a new FASB pronouncement, SEC ACCOUNTING SERIES RELEASE (ASR), or IRS regulation. Changes in estimates are justified by changing circumstances such as a greater degree of wear and tear of a fixed asset than originally anticipated. Generally, the consistent use of accounting principles and

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procedures is essential in appraising an entity's activities and in the projection of future results; however, changes in the reporting entity have to be retroactively reflected for comparative purposes.


procedures used to assure accuracy in the record keeping function. Controls exist to make certain source data placed in the system are proper and correct.


methods or procedures employed generally by accounting practitioners. They are based on custom and are subject to change as new developments arise. A new accounting or tax requirement, such as an SEC ACCOUNTING SERIES RELEASE (ASR), may make a convention inappropriate. The accountant in performing the reporting function should follow existing accounting conventions that apply to the given situation. See also ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES.


overstating an expense provision. This provides a larger balance in the estimated liability or allowance account so as to minimize the amount of an expense provision for a later period. It understates the current period's profit and in effect overstates the earnings in the period when the anticipated event occurs. For example, a company's allowance for bad debts from accounts receivable may substantially increase even though the company's bad debt write-off experience has become much better. In this case, the overstatement of bad debt expense unjustifiably understates the present year's net income. Because less of a bad debt expense provision will be needed next year due to the overstated allowance account, net income will be higher next period. The auditor should upwardly adjust net income for the charges creating the accounting cushion. It should be noted, however, that for tax purposes companies must use the direct write-off method for bad debts. See also INCOME SMOOTHING.


series of steps in recording an accounting event from the time a transaction occurs to its reflection in the financial statements; also called bookkeeping cycle. The order of the steps in the accounting cycle are: recording in the journal, posting to the ledger, preparing a trial balance, and preparing the financial statements.


business or other economic unit (including subdivisions) being accounted for separately. A system of accounts is kept for the entity. An accounting entity is isolated so that recording and reporting for it are possible. Examples of accounting entities are corporations, partnerships, trusts, and industry segments. A distinction should be made between an accounting entity and a legal entity. For example, a proprietor's accounting entity might be the business whereas the legal entity would include personal assets. Also, in the corporate environment, affiliated companies can be differently organized for legal and accounting purposes (e.g., industry segments). See also CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENT.

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double entry bookkeeping where there is an identity of debit and credit elements of a transaction. For each transaction, the total debits equal the total credits. For example, the payment of $100 to a creditor requires a debit to accounts payable and a credit to cash for $100. The accounting equation can also be expressed as:

An increase (or decrease) in total assets is accompanied by an equal increase (or decrease) in liabilities and capital. ACCOUNTING ERROR
inaccurate measurement or representation of an accounting-related item not caused by intentional FRAUD. An
error may be due to NEGLIGENCE or may result from the misapplication of GENERALLY ACCEPTED
ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). Errors may take the form of dollar discrepancies or may be compliance
errors in employing accounting policies and procedures. Errors can be minimized by diligently following
accounting procedures and standards, and maintaining proper INTERNAL CONTROL.


transaction entered in the accounting records of a business. It can be an external transactionthat is, one with an outsider, such as recording a sale. It can also refer to an internal transaction such as making an adjusting entry (e.g., expense or revenue accrual).


organization honoring individuals who have made significant scholarly contributions to accounting since the beginning of the twentieth century. The Hall of Fame was founded at Ohio State University in 1950.


publication of the ACADEMY OF ACCOUNTING HISTORIANS, which first appeared in 1977. All aspects relating to the history of accounting thought are covered in the journal.


subsystem of a MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (MIS) that processes financial transactions to provide (1) internal reporting to managers for use in planning and controlling current and future operations and for non-routine decision making; (2) external reporting to outside parties such as to stockholders, creditors, and government agencies.


ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES BOARD was in existence (1959 to 1973). Interpretations gave guidance to
practitioners about accounting issues. Unlike APB Opinions, Interpretations are not requirements subject to the
AICPA Code of Professional Ethics.


handbook containing policy guidelines, procedures, and standards for accounts of a company or an individual. The chart (or classification) of accounts is part of the accounting manual.

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quantification of accounting values in the form of money or other units. Transactions are recorded in the accounts in dollars based on historical cost. Some accounting measurements have to be expressed in volume such as direct labor hours used to apply overhead in a cost accounting system.


time covered by financial statements, which can be for any length but is usually annual, quarterly, or monthly. The annual financial statements may be on a calendar or fiscal year basis. Quarterly (interim) financial statements are common and required of publicly owned companies.


reporting methods, measurement systems, and disclosures used by a specific company. The accountant should evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies employed by management. A description of the company's accounting policies should be presented in a separate section preceding the footnotes to the financial statements or as the first footnote. Disclosure of accounting policies should include ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES and methods of application that involve: (1) a selection from generally accepted alternatives; (2) those peculiar to the industry or field of endeavor; and (3) unusual or different applications of GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). Examples of disclosures are basis of CONSOLIDATION, depreciation methods, and inventory pricing. Disclosure of accounting policies assists financial readers in better interpreting a company's financial statements. Thus it results in fair presentation of the financial statements.


basic assumption or fundamental proposition regarding the economic, political, or social environment that accounting operates in. Examples of postulates are accounting entity and continuity. A postulate is pertinent to developing an ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE. Accounting postulates may relate to the environment of accounting, accounting entity, measurement process, and accounting objectives.


manner in which accountants and auditors carry out their daily work. It is the day-to-day implementation of accounting policies. Accounting practice relates to the practical application of accounting to the financial accumulation and reporting needs of clients. Practice may differ from accounting theory.


rules and guidelines of accounting. They determine such matters as the measurement of assets, the timing of revenue recognition, and the accrual of expenses. The "ground rules" for financial reporting are referred to as GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). To be "generally accepted," an accounting principle must have "substantial authoritative support" such as by promulgation of a FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB) pronouncement. Accounting principles are based on the

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important objectives of financial reporting. An example of an accounting principle is accrual.

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former authoritative body of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA). It issued pronouncements on accounting principles until 1973. Of the 31 APB opinions, several were instrumental in improving the theory and practice of significant areas of accounting. The APB was replaced by the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB).


method or technique used to uncover, record, or summarize financial data in the preparation of financial statements. ACCOUNTING PROFITS
difference between the total revenue and the cost of producing goods or services.


various journals (e.g., cash receipts journal, general journal), ledgers (e.g., general ledger, subsidiary ledger), and
the sources of information for these formal records such as sales invoices, checks, vouchers, and written


publications containing recommended accounting procedures. While the Bulletins were not binding on American Institute of CPAs members, the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) typically required their use by corporations under their jurisdiction. The Bulletins were issued by the COMMITTEE ON ACCOUNTING PROCEDURE of the AICPA. The Committee was replaced by the ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES BOARD (APB) in 1959.


publication of the AMERICAN ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATION (AAA) covering all aspects of accounting of a scholarly nature. Many articles deal with hypothesis testing and empirical work. It is published four times a year.




issued by the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) as official accounting pronouncements. Releases include accounting requirements, disclosure mandates, auditing policies, and Commission activities regarding CPA firms filing financial statements with the SEC for publicly traded companies. The Accounting Series Releases are now codified as Financial Reporting Releases (FRRs).


programs used to maintain books of account on computers. The software can be used to record transactions, maintain account balances, and prepare financial statements and reports. Many different accounting software

packages exist, and the right package must be selected given the client's circumstances and

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needs. An accounting software package typically contains numerous integrated modules (for example, spreadsheet and word processing abilities). Some modules are used to account for the general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, inventory, and fixed assets. Reviews of accounting software packages can be found in the JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY, PC Magazine, and Computers in Accounting, among other journals.


conduct to be followed by accountants as formulated by an authoritative body (e.g., AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA)) or law. See also ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES.


committee with members from six accounting bodies in the United Kingdom and Ireland who draft and approve Statements of Standard Accounting Practice.


committee whose members prepare Statements of Position on accounting issues not acted upon by the FASB. Since 1978, its promulgation functions have been integrated with those of the FASB.


methods, procedures, and standards followed in accumulating, classifying, recording, and reporting business events and transactions. The accounting system includes the formal records and original source data. Regulatory requirements may exist on how a particular accounting system is to be maintained (e.g., insurance company).


containing a survey of the accounting and disclosure characteristics of corporate annual reports. It gives examples
representative of financial reporting by 600 sampled companies (e.g., their treatment of leases and business
combinations). Financial statistics are also given.


valuation of assets in accounting. Correct valuation is important. If, for example, an asset is valued incorrectly, it is impossible to draw accurate conclusions about a firm's liquidity or its value in liquidation. Valuation is usually made in accordance with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).


obligations to pay for goods or services that have been acquired on open account from suppliers. Accounts payable is a current liability in the balance sheet.


amounts due the company on account from customers who have bought merchandise or received services. Accounts receivable are presented as a current asset in the balance sheet. See also ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE TURNOVER; AGING OF ACCOUNTS.

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obligation assigned or sold with recourse. See also ASSIGNMENT OF ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE; FACTORING.


degree of realization risk in accounts receivable. The lower the turnover rate, the longer receivables are being heldand the less likely they are to be collected. Also, there is an OPPORTUNITY COST of tying up funds in receivables for a longer period of time. The accounts receivable turnover equals:

Assume annual credit sales are $100,000, beginning-of-year accounts receivable are $30,000, and end-of-year accounts receivable are $20,000. The turnover is:

If sales vary greatly during the year, this ratio can become distorted unless proper averaging takes place. In such a case, quarterly or monthly sales figures should be used.


1. growth in assets through mergers, acquisitions, and internal expansion. Examples are timber, livestock, nursery stock, and aging of wine.

2. adjustment of the difference between the face value of a bond and the price of the bond bought at an original discount.


recognition of revenue when earned and expenses when incurred. They are recorded at the end of an accounting period even though cash has not been received or paid. The alternative is CASH BASIS ACCOUNTING. An example of accrued revenue is dividend income earned on stock owned even though it has not yet been received. Accrued salary expense due employees at period-end is an example of an accrued expense.


incurred at the end of the reporting period but not yet paid; also called accrued liabilities. The accrued liability is
shown under current liabilities in the balance sheet. For example, assume the last payroll date was January 28. The
next payroll date is February 11. For the last few days of the month (January 29January 31) the company owes its
employees $500 in salaries. The appropriate journal entry on January 31 is to debit salaries expense and credit
salaries payable for $500.

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money that has been earned but not received as of the end of the reporting period; also called accrued assets. To
accrue means to accumulate. The accrued asset is shown under current assets in the balance sheet. For example,
assume a landlord has not received January rent of $500 from a tenant. The adjusting entry at the end of January is
to debit rent receivable and credit rental revenue for $500.


actuarial present value of benefits. Whether vested or nonvested, they are attributed by the pension benefit formula to employee services rendered before a specified date and based on employee service and compensation up to that date using existing salary levels. See also MINIMUM PENSION LIABILITY; PENSION PLAN; PROJECTED BENEFIT OBLIGATION.


sum of depreciation charges taken to date on a fixed asset. Accumulated depreciation is a CONTRA ACCOUNT to the fixed asset to arrive at BOOK VALUE. For example, on 1/1/2000 an auto is bought costing $10,000, with a salvage value of $1000 and a life of 10 years. Using STRAIGHT-LINE DEPRECIATION the accumulated depreciation on 12/31/2003 would be $3600 ($900 · 4).


penalty tax levied upon the unreasonable accumulation of corporate earnings and profits. The intent is to tax earnings retained to avoid personal income tax on dividends.


1. cumulative profit that has been retained and not distributed in the form of dividends.

2. income amount used as the base for the computation of the accumulated earnings tax. See also


1. cumulative retained profit.

2. investment of a fixed dollar amount regularly and reinvestment of dividends and capital gains.

3. process of compounding.

4. periodic addition of interests to the principal amount. ACCURACY
correctness of an accounting item (e.g., account balance, invoice, financial statement); also called accurate
presentation. The concept refers to an accounting objective that the item fully reflects and valuates the set of facts
involved, including all economic implications of the underlying transactions and events.


stringent test of LIQUIDITY; also called quick ratio. The ratio is found by dividing the most liquid current assets (cash, marketable securities, and accounts receivable) by current liabilities. (Notice that some current assets are not in the numerator: Inventory is

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not included because it usually takes a long time to convert into cash; prepaid expenses are left out because they cannot be turned into cash and thus are incapable of covering current liabilities.) In general, the ratio should at least be equal to 1. In other words, for every $1 in current debt there should be $1 in quick assets. Assume cash is $100, marketable securities are $400, accounts receivable are $800, inventory is $3000, and current liabilities are $1000. The acid test ratio equals:

The acid test ratio for the current year should be compared to prior years to evaluate the trend. It should also be compared to the acid test ratio of a competing company to get a relative comparison.


uncapitalized portion of the equity (net worth) of a successor company in a combination under the POOLING-OF- INTERESTS method. It is the part of the combined equity of the companies not classified as CAPITAL STOCK. It is also the surplus acquired when a company is bought.


price paid to buy goods, services, or assets. It equals the list price plus normal incidental costs to acquire the item including preparation, transportation, and installation.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), the action that consumes time or resources. Activities are represented by arrows in a PERT network.


name for a specific and distinguishable line of work performed by one or more organizational components of a governmental unit. For example, sewage treatment and disposal, garbage collection, and street cleaning are activities performed in carrying out the function of sanitation; and the segregation of the expenditures made for each of these activities constitutes an activity account.


evaluation involving the determination of the combination of production processes that maximizes output (or
profits), subject to the restrictions on the required resources (inputs).


characteristics of activities. Attributes can be organized, sorted, or summarized according to the attribute categories. For example, a measure of the elapsed time required to complete an activity is an attribute. See also COST DRIVER; PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT.


applicable to the production activity used to relate factory overhead to production (e.g., units produced, direct labor hours, direct labor cost, machine hours).

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approach to budgeting that involves quantitative expression of the activities/business processes of the organization reflecting forecasts of workload (quantity of drivers) and other financial requirements to achieve strategic goals or planned changes to improve performance. Activity-based budgeting provides greater detail, especially regarding overhead, because it permits the identification of value-adding activities and their drivers. After operations, it is useful for comparing actual costing rates and driver usage with the amounts budgeted.


costing system that identifies the various activities performed in a firm and uses multiple cost drivers (volume and nonvolume based cost drivers) to assign overhead costs (or indirect costs) to products. ABC recognizes the causal relationship of cost drivers with activities.


approach to the management of activities within business processes as the route to continuously improve both the value received by customers and the profit earned by providing this value. Causes of activities are identified, measured, and used along with other activity information for performance evaluation; emphasis is on the reduction or elimination of nonvalue-adding activities. ABM draws on ABC data as a major source for information.


information system that provides quantitative information about activities in an organization. ACTIVITY CAPACITY
demonstrated or expected capacity of an activity under normal operating conditions, assuming a specified set of
resources and a long time period. An example is the rate of output for an activity expressed as 500 cycles per hour.


pool of costs of two or more activities. ACTIVITY COST ASSIGNMENT
process in which the costs of activities are attached to cost objects using activity drivers. See also COST OBJECT;


best single measure of the frequency and intensity of the demands placed on activities by intermediate and final cost objectives. It is used to reassign activity costs to cost objects. It represents a line item on the bill of activities for a product or customer. An example is the number of part numbers, which is used to measure the consumption of material-related activities by each product, material type, or component. The number of customer orders measures the consumption of order-entry activities by each customer. Sometimes an activity driver is used as an indicator of the output of an activity, such as the number of purchase orders prepared by the purchasing activity. See also INTENSITY; COST OBJECT; BILL OF ACTIVITIES.

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grouping of all cost elements associated with an activity. See also COST ELEMENT. ACTIVITY DICTIONARY
listing and description of generic activities. It can include activity, activity description, business process, function
source, whether value-added, inputs, outputs, supplier, customer, output measures, and cost drivers.


identification and evaluation of the activity drivers used to trace the cost of activities to cost objects. Activity driver analysis may involve selecting activity drivers with a potential for cost reduction. See also PARETO ANALYSIS.


description of how an activity is used by a cost object or other activity. Some activity levels describe the cost object that uses the activity and the nature of this use. These levels include activities that are traceable to the product (i.e., unit-level, batch-level, and product-level costs), to the customer (customer-level costs), to a market (market-level costs), to a distribution channel (channel-level costs), and to a project, such as a research and development project (project-level costs).


calculation of time-based process costs taking into consideration the sequential relationships among activities. ACTUAL COST
expenditure required to buy or produce an item. The actual cost of a purchased item includes the list price (net of
discounts) plus delivery and storage. The actual cost to manufacture a product is the total of direct material, direct
labor, and factory overhead.


relating to analyses involving compound interest and/or statistics. It is usually associated with computations involved in insurance probability estimates. See also ACTUARY.


used in computing the amount of contributions to be made periodically to a pension fund. Total contributions plus the accumulated earnings on it must equal the required payments to be made out of the fund. Factors that must be considered are the length of time over which each contribution is to be held and the return on investment. A "Trust Fund" for a public employee retirement system is an example of a fund set up on an actuarial basis.


technique used by actuaries to determine the periodic employer contribution to the pension plan; also called actuarial funding method. It is used to measure pension expense and related funding. Two general approaches are usually considered when selecting an actuarial funding method, the cost approach and benefit approach. The cost approach projects an estimated total retirement benefit and then determines the level cost that will be adequate

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(including expected interest) to furnish total benefits at retirement. The benefit approach determines the amount of pension benefits attributable to service to date and then determines the present value of these benefits. See also ACTUARIAL GAINS, LOSSES.


difference between estimates and actual experience in a pension plan. For example, if the actual interest rate earned
on pension assets exceeds the estimated rate, an actuarial gain results. Actuarial gains and losses are deferred and
amortized to pension expense of future periods. The amortization of the actuarial gain will reduce pension expense.
Actuarial gains and losses applicable to a single event not related to the pension plan and not in the ordinary course
of business are recognized immediately in earnings. Examples are plant closing and segment disposal. See also


practitioner involved in mathematical computations and analyses of insurance probability estimates. ADDITIONAL PAID-IN CAPITAL
excess received from stockholders over PAR VALUE or STATED VALUE of the stock issued; also called
contributed capital in excess of par. For example, if 1000 shares of $10 par value common stock is issued at a price
of $12 per share, the additional paid-in capital is $2000 (1000 shares · $2). Additional paid-in capital is shown in
the STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY section of the balance sheet.


comprehensive and clear disclosure in the body of financial statements, FOOTNOTES, or supplemental schedules so that readers of a company's financial position and operating results can make proper investment and credit decisions.


one 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.


value used as a starting point to compute depreciation or gain on the disposition of fixed assets for tax purposes.
The adjusted basis is similar to the concept of BOOK VALUE. It is the taxpayer's basis at the time of
acquisitionusually costincreased or decreased by certain required modifications such as capital improvements.


federal tax term applying to the difference between the gross income of the taxpayer and adjustments to income. Adjustments to income include deductions for IRA and Keogh pension plans. Adjusted gross income is the basis

for determining the eligibility and limitations of other components in calculating the

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taxpayer's tax, such as for medical expenses (7.5% of AGI) and miscellaneous expenses (2% of AGI).

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1. necessary entry at the end of the reporting period to record unrecognized revenue and expenses applicable to that period. It is required when a transaction is begun in one accounting period and concluded in a later one. An adjusting entry always involves an income statement account (revenue or expense) and a balance sheet account (asset or liability). The four basic types of adjusting entries relate to ACCRUED EXPENSES, ACCRUED REVENUE, PREPAID EXPENSES, and UNEARNED REVENUE.

2. correcting entry required at the end of the accounting period due to a mistake made in the accounting records; also called correcting entry. For example, if during the same year land was charged instead of travel expense, the correcting entry is to debit travel expense and credit land.


1. increase or decrease to an account resulting from an ADJUSTING JOURNAL ENTRY. For example, the accrual of wages at year-end will cause an increase in both salary expense and salary payable.

2. changing an account balance because of some happening or event. For example, a customer who returns merchandise will receive a credit adjustment to the account.


one determined by the pricing policy of a seller rather than by competitive forces of market supply and demand. It assumes the selling firm has sufficient control over the market of the item.


1. accounting that focuses upon management planning and control through a formal system of accumulating and reporting data to achieve administrative or management objectives.

2. accounting that involves internal decision-making with respect to prorations, valuations, and reporting. Controllership and internal auditor functions relate to administrative accounting.


formal and comprehensive financial plan through which management may control day-to-day business affairs and activities.


levy imposed on the value of property. The most common ad valorem tax is that imposed by states, counties, and cities on real estate. Ad valorem taxes can, however, be imposed on personal property.


1. prepayment received for goods or services to be rendered. Some contracts require an advance before completion (e.g., construction

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project). When the business receives an advance payment, it records it as a liability. For example, a utility

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receiving a deposit from a customer will record it as a liability. Assume a lawyer receives a retainer of $50,000 on
1/1/2001 for future services to be rendered for a four-year period. Thus, each year $12,500 will be recognized as
revenue. The journal entries for 2001 follow:



Deferred revenue 12/31/2001

Deferred revenue Revenue






2. money given to an employee before it is earned (e.g., advance against salary). The advance appears on the company's books as a receivable from employee.


an environment featured by intensive global competition, high-tech technology, TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT (TOM), and continuous improvement.


term used when an auditor reports that the company's financial statements do not present fairly the financial position, results of operations, or changes in financial position or are not in conformity with GAAP. The auditor must provide the reasons for the adverse opinion in the AUDIT REPORT. An adverse opinion is rare and usually results when the CPA has been unable to convince the client to amend the financial statements so that they reflect the auditor's estimate about the outcome of future events or so that they otherwise adhere to GAAP. See also UNQUALIFIED OPINION.


entity holding less than a majority of the voting common stock of another related company, or in which both companies are subsidiaries of a third company. Often the same management oversees and operates both companies. Interrelationships exist between the activities of the entities.


relationship between two individuals where one is a principal and the other is an agent representing the principal in transactions with other parties. For example, a trust officer in a bank can engage in activities on behalf of clients.


reduction in the value of the organization when an agent (a subunit manager) pursues his interest to the detriment of the principal's (the organization's) interest.


assets held in a fund under an AGENCY relationship for another entity. In governmental accounting, the agency

fund consists of resources retained by the governmental unit as an agent for another

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governmental unit. It is a FIDUCIARY relationship. An example: taxes retained by a municipality for a school district.


classifying 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 130 days, 3160 days, 6190 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 COLLECTION PERIOD; DAYS TO SELL INVENTORY.


SAS Number 75 applies to engagements relating to agreed-upon procedures to specified elements or accounts. Agreed-upon procedures is when the accountant is hired to issue a report of findings based on specified financial statement items. The users of the report agree upon the procedures to be conducted by the accountant that the user believes are suitable. The user takes responsibility for the adequacy of the procedures. In this engagement, the accountant does not express an opinion or negative assurance. Instead, the report should be in the form of procedures and findings. A representation letter is prepared that depends on the nature of the engagement and the specified users.


one of the methods used to solve linear programming problems, a trial-and-error technique. Pairs of constraints are
solved algebraically to find their intersection. The values of the decision variables are then substituted into the
objective function and compared to find the best combination. The basic rule is that the optimal solution will be at
the intersection of two or more constraint equations. Thus, all intersections can be computed and each solution
evaluated in the objective function to determine which solution is optimal.


term used in a divorce for payment from one spouse to another. For tax purposes, the party making the payments treats them as a deduction in arriving at ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME (AGI). Frontloading of payments (significantly higher payments in the earlier years) is not permitted. The recipient of the alimony payments treats them as income for tax reporting.


change in equity for an accounting period from business transactions related to nonowner sources; also called comprehensive income. It excludes capital transactions and dividends. The income statement includes all items of profit and loss occurring during the period plus EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS.

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Inclusion of all items affecting earnings makes the profit and loss statement more informative and less subject to judgment. As per Financial Accounting Concept No. 5, comprehensive income items excluded from earnings include: (1) cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle; (2) foreign currency translation adjustments; and
(3) unrealized losses on the write-down of a long-term investment portfolio from cost to market value.


1. spread a cost over two or more accounting periods usually based on time. An example is assigning the prepaid cost of a three-year insurance policy by one-third each year.

2. charge a cost or revenue to a number of departments, products, processes, or activities on some rational basis. For example, a cost may be assigned to divisions of a company based on sales.

3. distribute the cost associated with the acquisition of two or more items based on their relative fair market values. This relates to a LUMP-SUM PURCHASE.


process of partitioning a VALUATION ACCOUNT and assigning the resulting subsets to periods of time.
Allocation includes the assignment of assets to expense as well as the assignment of liabilities to revenue over a
time frame. Examples of the former are the depreciation of a fixed asset or the amortization of an intangible asset
over the period benefitted. An example of the latter is reflecting unearned fee revenue (deferred revenue) into
revenue over the period the services are performed. Allocations result from applying rules for the assignment of
costs to products or period expenses and the assignment of the value of the product to specific periods as revenue.


part of an appropriation that may be encumbered or expended during an allotment period, which is usually less than one fiscal year. Bimonthly and quarterly allotment periods are most common.


1. acceptable reduction in quantity or quality such as normal spoilage in a manufacturing operation.

2. reduction in the amount owed a supplier because of damaged goods received or delays encountered.

3. valuation account reducing the cost of an asset such as the allowance to reduce marketable securities from cost to market value.


provision for possible uncollectibility associated with accounts receivable. In the balance sheet, accounts receivable, representing gross receivables, is reduced by the allowance account to obtain net receivablesthe amount expected to be collected (realizable value). For example, if gross receivables are

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$100,000 and the allowance account balance is $5000, the current asset section of the balance sheet shows: Accounts receivable $100,000
Less: Allowance for bad debts 5,000
Net receivable $ 95,000

The two ways of accounting for uncollectible accounts are the ALLOWANCE METHOD and the DIRECT WRITE-OFF METHOD.

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accepted way to account for bad debts. 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). The allowance method results in a good matching of bad debt expense against sales. The journal entry at year-end to record anticipated uncollectibility of accounts receivable is to debit bad debts and credit allowance for bad debts. When it is known that a customer will actually not pay the balance, because of bankruptcy, for example, the entry is to debit allowance for bad debts and credit accounts receivable. If for whatever reason the customer does pay at a later date, there is a recovery; reverse the last entry and make a second entry debiting cash and crediting accounts receivable. It should be noted that firms other than small financial institutions are required to use the DIRECT WRITE-OFF METHOD for tax purposes.


one that satisfies the needs of all financial statement users. The financial statements included in the ANNUAL REPORT and in SEC Form 10-K are intended for diverse parties such as stockholders, potential investors, creditors, employees, and suppliers.


1. cost that would pertain if an alternative set of conditions or assumptions were to prevail (as compared to a cost
assumed or experienced under current conditions).

2. choosing the next best or highest valued alternative, compared to the chosen alternative, will result in benefits forfeited, and thus an alternative cost. See also OPPORTUNITY COST.


levy designed with the intent that everyone should pay a fair share of tax. According to the Tax Act of 1993, the base exemption is $33,750 for single taxpayers and $45,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. The tax rate is 26% for those taxpayers having up to $175,000 over the exemption amount and 28% for amounts exceeding
$175,000. In the case of corporations, the AMT is tied to the regular taxable income adjusted for tax preference items. A 20% tax rate is then used.

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organization primarily of accounting academicians emphasizing the development of a theoretical foundation for accounting. Its research with respect to education and theory is distributed through committee reports and a quarterly journal, THE ACCOUNTING REVIEW.


professional organization of practicing Certified Public Accountants. The "Institute" develops standards of practice for its members and provides technical guidance and advice to both governmental agencies (e.g., SEC) and AICPA membership. The AICPA publishes the JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY and THE TAX ADVISER. The AICPA puts out many publications in the areas of accounting, audit, tax, and management services. For example, the STATEMENTS ON AUDITING STANDARDS (SAS) are promulgated by the AICPA.


organization of women accountants who are primarily CPAs and corporate accountants in middle management positions. ASWA publishes The Woman CPA, which covers all aspects of accounting including information systems, accounting education, financial accounting, and auditing. The organization attempts to promote women's interests in the profession.


professional organization of CPAs, consisting mostly of women, that aids women in their advancement within the accounting profession. Women are encouraged to take part in technical programs involving accounting, auditing, and tax. This organization in a joint effort with the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF WOMEN ACCOUNTANTS publishes The Woman CPA, a professional journal.


gradual reduction of an amount over time. Examples are amortized expenses on intangible assets and deferred charges. Assets with limited life have to be written down over the period benefitted. For example, all intangible assets must be amortized using the STRAIGHT-LINE METHOD not exceeding 40 years; the amortization entry in that case is to debit amortization expense and credit the intangible asset. See also ALLOCATION; DEPRECIATION.


to write off a regular portion of an asset's cost over a fixed period of time. Examples are amortization expense on an intangible asset and depletion expense on a natural resource. See also SALES RETURN.


decimal ratio of the future value of an accumulation at compound interest to each dollar of the original sum. The FUTURE VALUE (compound amount) and PRESENT VALUE tables are available for the amount of $1. Also available are the future value and present value tables for an annuity of $1.

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tax term applied to money obtained or the fair market value of property or services received upon sale or exchange of property. The initial step in computing the realized gain or loss on a sale is to figure out the amount realized.


seeking causes for variances between standard costs and actual costs; also called variance analysis. A VARIANCE is considered favorable if actual costs are less than standard costs; it is unfavorable if actual costs exceed standard costs. Unfavorable variances need further investigation. Analysis of variances reveals the causes of these deviations. This feedback aids in planning future goals, controlling costs, evaluating performance, and taking corrective action. MANAGEMENT BY EXCEPTION is based on the analysis of variances, and attention is given to only the variances that require remedial actions.


auditing process that tests relationships among accounts and identifies material changes. It involves analyzing significant ratios and trends for unusual change and questionable items. Included in the analytical review process are: (1) reading important documents and analyzing their accounting and financial effects; (2) reviewing the activity in an account between interim and year-end, especially noting entries out of the ordinary; (3) comparing current period account balances to prior periods as well as to budgeted amounts, noting reasonableness of account balances by evaluating logical relationships among them (i.e., relating payables to expenses, accounts receivable to sales). In essence, therefore, analytical review involves reading the FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, scanning the figures, making comparisons to prior periods, appraising logical relationships among accounts, tracing financial statement items to the financial statements, and analyzing the overall process. The degree of analytical review required depends on the MATERIALITY of the item, available supporting data, and the quality of the internal control system. Analytical review assists in assuring the accuracy and reliability of the accounts.


procedure evaluating data relationships to derive substantive audit evidence. It identifies areas requiring additional audit attention. For example, auditors would compare actual financial statement figures against their professional expectations and the firm's experience. Discrepancies are noted and investigated. A comparison may also be made between figures of competing firms and industry norms. Further, financial information can be compared to nonfinancial information, where appropriate. An example is the relationship between sales and number of employees. Analytical tests can be conducted in measures other than dollars, if desired, such as in physical quantities and ratio percentages. If the tests uncover illogical relationships, the CPA will perform more detailed audit testing. See also SUBSTANTIVE TEST.

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to evaluate the condition of an accounting-related item and possible reasons for discrepancies. For example, an auditor will analyze the makeup of an expense account to determine whether it is properly stated; has it been charged for proper items that are verified by source documents? Another example: appraising the financial health of a company by analyzing its financial statements as a basis for making investment or credit decisions. See also EVIDENCE; EXAMINATION; VERIFICATION.


one prepared for a calendar or fiscal year. See also LONG-RANGE BUDGET. ANNUALIZE
to extend an item to an annual basis. It is a procedure specified by the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE whereby
taxable income for part of a year is multiplied by 12 and divided by the number of months involved. For example,
if taxable income for 3 months is $20,000, it will be annualized as follows:

Annualizing is common in financial forecasting. ANNUAL REPORT
evaluation prepared by companies at the end of the reporting year which might be either on a calendar or fiscal
basis. Contained in the annual report are the company's FINANCIAL STATEMENTS including FOOTNOTES,
supplementary schedules, MANAGE-MENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF EARNINGS, president's
letter, AUDIT REPORT, and other explanatory data (e.g., research and marketing efforts) helpful in evaluating the
entity's financial position and operating performance. The annual report is read by stockholders, potential investors,
creditors, employees, regulatory bodies, and other interested financial statement users. See also


series of equal periodic payments or receipts. Examples of an annuity are semiannual interest receipts from a bond investment and cash dividends from a preferred stock. There are two types of an annuity: (1) Ordinary annuity, where payments or receipts occur at the end of the period; (2) Annuity due, where payments or receipts are made at the beginning of the period.




focusing upon cost recovery and a constant rate of return on the investment in depreciable assets; also called compound interest method of depreciation. This method entails first obtaining the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) on the cash inflow and outflow of the asset. Then the asset's beginning

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book value is multiplied by the IRR and this amount is subtracted from the cash flow for the period to determine the periodic depreciation charge. If cash flow is constant over the determined life of the asset, it is then called the annuity method. This method is not used in practice and not recommended by GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).


assignment of a date that precedes the date on which a particular contract or instrument was actually written or executed. For example, antedated insurance coverage would be effective before the date the policy is issued.


practice of excluding a convertible security in the EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS) computation when the effect would be to increase EPS. This is based on the CONSERVATISM principle. In the EPS, numerator interest expense (net of tax) is added back to net income. The denominator is increased by the number of shares the convertible bond would be converted into. If the impact of including the convertible bond increased EPS, an antidilutive effect would exist.


federal laws designed to improve market efficiency, encourage competition, and curtail unfair trade practices. This is accomplished by reducing barriers to entry, breaking up monopolies, and preventing conspiracies to restrict production or raise prices. There are three major antitrust laws: the SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT of 1890, CLAYTON ANTITRUST ACT of 1914, and Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914.


authoritative accounting pronouncement issued by the Accounting Principles Board before it was replaced in 1973 by the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB). There were 31 Opinions issued. See also GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).


in accounting, computer program written specifically to process data in an information system. It performs tasks or solves problems applicable to an accountant's work. Spreadsheet programs such as LOTUS 1-2-3 and various software programs such as IFPS and SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Scientists) are examples of application programs.


one that has been assigned to a product, department, or activity. An applied cost does not have to be based on actual costs incurred. Factory overhead applied to a product is an example of an applied cost. To apply overhead, a predetermined overhead rate is developed; it is based on budgeted overhead and budgeted volume of activity. See also PREDETERMINED OVERHEAD RATE.


is factory (manufacturing) overhead that has been allocated to products, usually on the basis of a

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predetermined rate. Overhead is over- or underapplied (absorbed) when overhead charged is greater or less than overhead incurred, respectively.


1. estimate of the value of an asset. An asset may be a piece of property, a collectible, or a precious metal. In the case of property, for example, an appraisal is made for the purposes of: (1) allocating the purchase price to the assets acquired (e.g., land, building, equipment); (2) determining the amount of hazard insurance to carry; (3) determining the value at death for estate tax purposes; and (4) determining a reasonable asking price in a sale.

2. activities such as inspection and testing of materials, in-process items, finished goods, and packaging. APPRAISAL CAPITAL
very rare practice in the U.S. (more common in other countries) of writing up an asset when appraised value
exceeds book value. The entry would be to debit the asset for the increased value and credit appraisal capital,
which is a stockholders' equity account.


a category of QUALITY COSTS incurred to determine whether products and services are conforming to customer requirements, such as inspection and field testing costs.


method in which depreciation expense charged to a period is the difference between the beginning and end-of- period appraised value of the asset if the appraised value has decreased. If not, there is no depreciation expense for that period. This method is not generally recognized as an acceptable method.


increase in the value of an asset. The asset may be real estate or a security. For example, an individual sold 100
shares of XYZ company's stock for $105 per share that he bought 10 years ago for $25 per share. The amount of
appreciation was $8000 = ($105 $25) · 100 shares.


term used when setting aside UNAPPROPRIATED RETAINED EARNINGS, thus making them unavailable for dividends. These appropriations might be used, for example, for plant expansion, sinking fund, and contingencies. When the appropriation is no longer needed, it is reversed.


1. authorization of a governmental unit to spend money within specified restrictions such as amount, time period, and objective. There must be prior approval for such expenditure.

2. distribution of net income to various accounts.

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3. allocation of retained earnings for a designated purpose such as for plant expansion. See also APPROPRIATED RETAINED EARNINGS.


in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, account of an agency that is credited when the appropriation has been authorized. It is reduced by expenditures during the period. When a budget is adopted by the governmental unit, the entry is to debit estimated revenues, credit appropriations, and debit or credit fund balance for the difference.


profiting from price differences when the same asset is traded in different markets. For example, an arbitrageur simultaneously buys one contract of silver in the Chicago market and sells one contract of silver at a different price in the New York market, locking in a profit if the selling price is higher than the buying price. It is also the process of selling overvalued and buying undervalued assets so as to bring about an equilibrium where all assets are properly valued.


see MEAN.


one entered into by unrelated parties, each acting in their own best interest. It is assumed that in this type of transaction the prices used are the fair market values of the property or services being transferred in the transaction.


past due payments or other liabilities. An example is cumulative preferred stock dividends that have been declared but have not been paid following their payment dates. (Common dividends cannot be paid as long as cumulative preferred dividends are in arrears.)


formal documents prepared by individuals wishing to establish a corporation in the United States. They must file these documents with the authorities in the state in which the corporation wishes to reside. One copy is returned, after being reviewed, and, together with the Certificate of Incorporation, becomes the corporation's charter formally recognizing the corporation as a business entity entitled to begin business operations. Rules governing the company's internal management are set forth in its bylaws.


formal document drawn up by partners indicating significant and important aspects of the partnership. Items included are capital contributions, profit and loss ratios, name of the enterprise, duration of relationship, and individual duties.


to describe interrelationship between elements of any operating financial statements that have a common basis. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
umbrella terminology for several main categories of research. They include natural language systems, visual and

voice recognition systems, robotic systems, and EXPERT SYSTEMS. Artificial intelligence generally is the attempt to

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build machines that think, as well as the study of mental faculties through the use of computational models. A reasoning process is involved with self-correction. Significant data are evaluated and relevant relationships, such as the determination of a warranty reserve, uncovered. The computer learns which kind of answers are reasonable and which are not. Artificial intelligence performs complicated strategies that compute the best or worst way to achieve a task or avoid an undesirable result. An example of an application is in tax planning involving tax shelter options given the client's financial position.


computer term. The code converts a character into a binary number used by most microcomputers and information services (on-line data bases) so that different makes of microcomputers may be able to communicate with each other. ASCII is used on most microcomputers, computer terminals, and printers. ASCII codes also include control characters that information services use. Many computer books and some software programs (e.g., Borland International's Sidekick) have a table of ASCII characters. The use of ASCII also allows for data files generated by one type of program (i.e., data base management system) to be used in another type of program (i.e., spreadsheet). An example of an ASCII application follows. Data may be downloaded from an information service (e.g., Dow Jones News/Retrieval) in ASCII and then loaded into a word processing program and edited and printed out or even sent to another computer using a telecommunications program. ASCII is quite helpful in electronic mail because with MCI, for example, the accountant can upload an ASCII file as electronic mail to his clients.


intermediate-level computer language that is less complex to use than a machine language. Assembly languages use abbreviations or mnemonic codes to replace the Os and Is of machine language (A for "add," C for "compare," and MP for "multiply"). A translator is required to convert the assembly language program into machine language that can be executed by the computer. This translator is the assembly program. Every command in assembly language has a corresponding command in machine language. The assembly language differs among computers, and thus these programs are not easily transferable to machines of a different type from the one on which they were written.


1. capital stock subject to calls and not fully paid.

2. capital stock of banks, subjecting stockholders to liabilities in excess of the amount originally paid in or subscribed. The assessment would occur only in cases in which the corporation was insolvent.


value established by a government for real estate or other property as a basis for levying taxes. For example, an individual

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receives a statement that, in the judgment of the local tax assessor, the individual's property is worth $50,000. If by law, properties in this jurisdiction are assessed at 80% of market value, the individual's assessed value then is
$40,000 (80% of $50,000) and property taxes will be based on this assessed value.


1. process of making an official valuation of property for purposes of taxation.

2. valuation placed upon property as a result of this process. For example, an individual owns a parcel of land assessed on the tax roll for $50,000. The tax rate is $1.00 per $100 of value. The tax assessment for the land is


economic resource that is expected to provide benefits to a business. An asset has three vital characteristics: (1) future probable economic benefit; (2) control by the entity; and (3) results from a prior event or transaction. Assets are expressed in money or are convertible into money and include certain deferred charges that are not resources (e.g., deferred moving costs). They can be recognized and measured in conformity with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). Examples of ownership rights or service potentials are cash, automobiles, and land. An asset may be tangible or intangible. The former has physical substance such as a building. The latter lacks physical sub-stance or results from a right granted by the government or another company such as goodwill and a patent. An asset may be current or noncurrent. A current asset has a life of one year or less (e.g., inventory) while a noncurrent asset has a life in excess of one year (e.g., machinery).


range of depreciable lives allowed by the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE (IRS) for a specified asset. The ADR system was replaced by the ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM (ACRS) for properties placed into service after 1980. But it was revived under the 1986 Tax Reform Act as part of new ACRS rules to determine class lives.


ratio revealing the efficiency of corporate assets in generating revenue. A higher ratio is desired. What is considered a high ratio for one industry, however, may be considered a low ratio for another industry. If there is a low turnover, it may be an indication that the business should either utilize its assets in a more efficient manner or sell them. Asset turnover ratios can also be calculated for specific assets such as the ratios of sales to cash and sales to inventory. Higher ratios reflect favorably on the firm's ability to employ assets effectively.


problem of determining how the assignments to machines or work centers should be made in order to minimize total costs. It is used to assign employees to jobs, jobs to machines, sales associates to territories, bidders to contracts, and so on.

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the process of writing a promissory note with accounts receivable as collateral. If the note is dishonored, the assignee can collect upon the accounts receivable. In a general assignment, all the receivables serve as collateral. New receivables can be substituted for those collected. In a specific assignment, the parties sign an agreement specifying who will receive collection (assignor or assignee), whether customers will be notified of the arrangement, specific accounts to be COLLATERALIZED, and the finance charges. See also FACTORING.


designates the responsibility of an auditor for information in the footnotes to audited financial statements. Although the footnotes are not audited, the reasonableness of the disclosures should be reviewed by the auditor.


organization dedicated to the specific interests of accountants employed by a governmental entity. Its major publications include the GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTANTS JOURNAL. The association was originally founded in 1950 and was known as the Federal Government Accountants Association.

assumptions that limit the usefulness of the basic BREAK-EVEN and COST-VOLUME PROFITS (CVP) models.
They are: (1) The behavior of both sales revenue and expenses is linear throughout the entire relevant range of
activity; (2) There is only one product or service or a constant SALES MIX; (3) Inventories do not change
significantly from period to period; (4) Volume is the only factor affecting sales and expenses.


a CPA's examination of a contract, financial statement item (e.g., inventory), Web site, or loan terms being satisfied to provide assurance as to correctness or appropriateness. The engagement letter signed by the client must clearly specify what assurance is being provided.


price that is the same as the FACE VALUE, or nominal amount, of a security. Bonds with a face value of $1000 that are bought or sold for $1000 are traded at par. If they sell for more than $1000 they would be traded at a PREMIUM; if less, at a DISCOUNT.


tax term. A taxpayer can deduct losses for tax purposes only to the degree of risk. At-risk amounts are restricted to the cash investment and the debt for which the taxpayer is personally liable. Assume an individual incurs losses from real estate activities of $40,000. If the cash investment and personal debt incurred were $35,000, the most that could be deducted as losses is $35,000. Note there is an expansion of the at-risk amounts to real estate only to include certain nonrecourse loans from qualified lenders.

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formal statement by an auditor after thorough examination and consideration, as to whether financial statements fairly present financial position and operating results. With an attest, the public accountant provides an objective evaluation to aid financial statement users.


activity of the CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT (CPA) in performing audit procedures. The accountant examines, tests, and verifies the accuracy of client accounting data as a basis for forming an audit opinion. In doing so, appropriate sampling of data is made. It is the process of an independent review of a company's financial statements including the rendering of an AUDIT REPORT.


letter sent by the CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT (CPA) to the client's lawyer to verify litigation information provided by management. The auditor is concerned that management has not revealed all lawsuits and claims. The auditor must assess the impact the contingencies may have on the client's financial position. This includes the possibility of the client losing the suit and suffering damages. The attorney's letter is a major audit procedure.


statistical procedure used to study the characteristics of a population. Attribute is a qualitative characteristic that a unit of a population either possesses or does not possess. For example, an account receivable is either past due or not; proper authorization for a payment either exists or does not. Thus the population under consideration is composed of two mutually exclusive classesunits possessing the attribute and units not possessing it. The statistical procedure used to estimate the occurrence of a particular attribute in a population is referred to as attribute sampling. This technique can be used by the auditor to substantiate such accounting populations as cash receipts, cash payments, payrolls, sales, and entries posted to the wrong account. In this analysis, the auditor usually determines the expected occurrence rate and the upper precision limit. The occurrence rate equals the percentage of the population having the attribute. Precision is the magnitude of deviation of a sample value from the population parameter being estimated.

Attribute sampling is particularly valuable in estimating the extent of compliance, such as the effectiveness of accounting controls using tests of transactions. Tables are used to determine sample size based on the desired confidence level, upper precision limit, and the expected rate of occurrence. Note that when analyzing a sample, the auditor may test for several different attributes. The exact definitions of attributes and occurrences should be contained in the working papers. See also VARIABLES SAMPLING.


used in situations where the tax law assigns to one taxpayer the ownership interest of another taxpayer; also called constructive ownership. For example, under the law a father is considered to own constructively all stock actually owned by his son.

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1. financial auditexamination of a client's accounting records by an independent certified public accountant to formulate an AUDIT OPINION. The auditor must follow GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING PROCEDURES (GAAP). Source documents are examined to substantiate legitimacy of transactions. A careful evaluation of INTERNAL CONTROL is necessary.

2. INTERNAL AUDITinvestigation of the company's procedures and operations by the INTERNAL AUDITOR to assure that they conform to corporate policy.

3. MANAGEMENT AUDITevaluation of management's efficiency.

4. COMPLIANCE AUDITascertainment of the firm's compliance with specified rules and regulations. AUDITABILITY
environment in which the auditor performs the ATTEST FUNCTION. Consideration is given to such factors as the
condition of the records and the cooperation of the client's accounting staff. The accounting records must allow for
sufficient evidence gathering. There must exist a good system of INTERNAL CONTROL. Management must also
be honest and have no intention of perpetrating FRAUD.


body formed by a company's board of directors to oversee audit operations and circumstances. It selects and appraises the performance of the CPA firm. In accordance with SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) regulation, the Committee must be composed of outside directors. Besides evaluating external audit reports, the Committee may evaluate internal audit reports as well. Management representations under the realm of the FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT are also reviewed. The Committee may also get involved with public disclosure of corporate activities.


period of time in which the accountant conducts audit procedures. Different parts of the audit may be carried out at different times. For example, inventory may be counted in November while accounts receivable confirmation may be conducted in December. The audit cycle also relates to when a particular business unit is examined. For instance, Production Department X may be examined once a year, while Production Department Y is audited biyearly.


Typically, an audit guide is directed toward the accounting practices in a particular industry, such as brokerages, finance companies, and insurance companies. Some guides apply to technical topics, such as personal financial statements. These guides are usually deemed authoritative in nature.


proof the auditor uses to substantiate a recorded item so that proper reliance may be placed on financial statement figures. Proof of accounting data includes examining source

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documents in support of a transaction. The degree to which evidence gathering is necessary partly depends on the quality of the client's internal control system. Also, the trend in an account should be looked at over time as a basis for determining the extent of testing required. For example, if travel expense went from 2% of sales last year to 25% of sales this year, this inconsistency requires close examination. Test checks of accounts and transactions are necessary. Evidence can be obtained through various means such as physical verification of inventory records or confirmation letters sent to verify recorded amounts of accounts receivable. See also ANALYTICAL REVIEW; AUDITING PROCEDURE.


auditor technique in gathering AUDITING EVIDENCE to substantiate the reliability of the accounting records. The auditor evaluates whether the information presented is logical and reasonable. Examples of auditing procedures are observing assets to verify existence and amount (e.g., fixed assets), collecting independent confirmations from external parties (e.g., bank confirmation), evaluating internal control, appraising management's activities, and obtaining management representations. The audit procedures to be followed on an engagement are indicated in the AUDIT PROGRAM. The WORK PAPERS indicate what has been done on the audit.


sequential order of steps followed by the auditor in the examination of client records. The audit process may vary depending upon the nature of the engagement, its objectives, and type of audit assurance desired. The process includes understanding the particular client's environment, conducting the auditing procedures and tests, appraising the audit results, and communicating the results to interested parties.


guidelines that auditors follow when examining financial statements and other data. Auditing standards are promulgated by authoritative bodies, such as the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA), which issues GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS). The
INSTITUTE OF INTERNAL AUDITORS (IIA) also sets standards for internal auditors. Further, standards exist for auditors filing for companies with governmental regulatory bodies.


authoritative body of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA). The ASB formulates, revises, and interprets GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS). It issues authoritative auditing pronouncements called Statements on Auditing Standards.


report rendered by the independent CPA at the end of an audit investigation. The auditor reports on the nature of his or her work and on the degree of responsibility assumed. In the audit opinion, the auditor states that he or she has examined the client's financial statements for the year then ended in accordance with GENERALLY

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ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS) including tests of the accounting records and other necessary auditing procedures. The auditor then indicates whether in his or her opinion the client's financial statements present fairly the financial position, results of operations, and changes in financial position for the year-ended in conformity with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP) applied on a consistent basis. The four types of audit opinions are UNQUALIFIED OPINION, QUALIFIED OPINION, ADVERSE OPINION, and DISCLAIMER.


1. identification of the audit procedures followed in an audit.

2. outline and description of the steps and work to be conducted in an audit engagement. Typically, it specifies the name of the auditor responsible for a given job including the estimated time to conduct the audit task. The audit program guides and controls the work of staff assistants. When a task is conducted, identification is made of who performed it and the date.


1. short form audit report expresses the CPA's audit opinion on whether the financial statements present fairly the client's financial position. There are instances when a modification to the standard two-paragraph format of the audit report is necessary. A QUALIFIED OPINION must be given, for example, when audit scope limitations exist; an opinion partly based on the report of other auditors must be noted; the CPA wants to emphasize a key matter affecting financial position.

2. long form detailed audit report directed to the management or Board of Directors may supplement, include, or replace the short-form report. Typically, it includes audit scope particulars, makes explanatory comments on financial position and operating results, discusses trends in financial data along with reasons, and gives procedural suggestions.


possibility that the auditor will not uncover irregularities in the financial records resulting from fraud, negligence, or other reasons. For example, the auditor's sampling techniques will not always uncover an improper item such as an overstated expense. Further, the evaluation of internal control and checks may not spot a deficiency. The auditor should try to protect against the adverse consequences of failing to uncover irregularities by obtaining REPRESENTATION LETTERS and adequate malpractice insurance.


computer programs designed to assist in examining and testing clients' accounting records. Different audit software packages accomplish varying objectives. Some packages assist in gathering evidence, conducting analytical tests, sampling data, evaluating internal control, documenting the audit, scheduling the audit, printing exception reports (e.g., employee salary exceeding a prescribed limit),

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preparing audit reports, sending out confirmations and management letters.

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procedure applied to a sample within a population. For example, it might examine supporting evidence for half of promotion and entertainment expenses or send out confirmations for 75% of accounts receivable. The purpose of an audit test is to assure that no material exceptions are included in the sample. Audit tests are also applied in microcomputer applications to assure that the accounting software package is processing data correctly. A "dummy file" with predetermined manual results is processed by the computer to see if the computerized result is the same as the manually determined figure.


recorded flow of a transaction from initiation (e.g., source document) to finalization (e.g., financial statement), or vice versa. The auditor, assuring that data are processed correctly, appraises the material that forms the audit trail. An audit trail may be either visible or invisible (e.g., magnetic storage). Components of an audit trail include: (1) source records, (2) list of transactions processed, and (3) transaction identifiers so that reference can be made to the source of a transaction. An audit trail allows the tracing of transactions to control totals and from the control totals to supporting transactions. An audit trail is good when the tracing process is easy to accomplish.


power to direct and exact performance from others. It includes the right to prescribe the means and methods by which work will be done. However, the authority to direct is only as good as one individual's willingness to accept direction from another. Moreover, with authority comes RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY.


maximum number of shares of common stock that can be issued under a company's Articles of Incorporation. If a public issue of stock is involved, the SEC and the relevant state must approve it. Issued shares are usually less than the authorized shares.


term used in the statistical measurement of relationships within a series. It is one of the assumptions required in a regression in order to make it reliable, also called serial correlation. It means that the error terms are independent of each other [see (a) on page 37]. That is, the deviation of one point about the line (i.e., the error = y y´) is unrelated to the deviation of any other point. When autocorrelation exists [i.e., the error terms are not independent see (b) on page 37], the standard errors of the regression coefficients are seriously underestimated. The problem of autocorrelation is usually detected by the DURBIN-WATSON STATISTIC. See illustration on next page.


method to uncover computer transmission data errors and permit the retransmission or correction of information by employing an error-correcting code.

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one of 12 criteria that must be met to account for a BUSINESS COMBINATION as a POOLING-OF- INTERESTS. Autonomous means that a combining company must not have been a subsidiary or division of any other corporation within two years prior to the initiation date of the business combination. If a combining company is not autonomous, then the PURCHASE (ACCOUNTING) METHOD must be used. The initiation date is the date that stockholders are notified in writing of an exchange offer.


see MEAN.


number of days an average inventory item takes to sell:

For example, assume that average inventory is $47,500 and cost of goods sold is $500,000. The average age of inventory is ($47,500/$500,000) x 365 days = 34.7 days. See also DAYS TO SELL INVENTORY.


one of the two cost flow assumptions used under PROCESS COSTING, more often called WEIGHTED AVERAGE COST flow assumption. The other is the FIRST-IN, FIRST-OUT (FIFO) cost flow assumption. See also WEIGHTED AVERAGE COSTING.


minimum desired rate of return on invested capital that is computed by taking an average of the cost of debt, cost
of preferred stock, cost of common stock, and the cost of retained earnings.


amount equaling about half maximum inventory when demand is relatively constant. For example, if the

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maximum inventory is 500 units and depletion occurs at a fairly constant rate, the average inventory equals 250 units (500/2).


estimated useful-life expectancy of a depreciable group of assets. See also DEPRECIATION; ECONOMIC LIFE; USEFUL LIFE.


cost that will not be incurred if an activity is suspended; also called escapable cost. For example, it is the cost that
can be saved by dropping a particular product line or department (e.g., salaries paid to employees working in a
particular product line or department). All costs are avoidable, except (1) SUNK COSTS and (2) costs that will
continue regardless of the decision.

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item previously charged to an account but unpaid. The current invoice requests payment of the previous charge as well as of current charges.


product costing approach, used in a JUST-INTIME (JIT) operating environment, in which costing is delayed until goods are finished. Standard costs are then flushed backward through the system to assign costs to products. The result is that detailed tracking of costs is eliminated. The system is best suited to companies that maintain low inventories because costs then flow directly to cost of goods sold. Work-in-process is usually eliminated, journal entries to inventory accounts may be delayed until the time of product completion or even the time of sale, and standard costs are used to assign costs to units when journal entries are made, that is, to flush costs backward to the points at which inventories remain.


customer's order that cannot be filled at the present time usually because the merchandise is not currently in stock. As soon as the product is available, it will be shipped to the customer. There usually exists a company policy of how long an unshipped order remains an order without some sort of confirmation or communication. An excessive amount of back orders may indicate to the accountant that poor inventory planning exists.


to make a duplicate copy of original data or files usually stored on a separate data storage medium. Backup ensures the recoverability of files in the event of loss of the original data.


procedure used to ensure that federal income tax is paid on earnings even though the recipient cannot be identified by a Social Security number. Banks, brokers, and other entities report nonwage earnings paid out on IRS Form 1099. When the form cannot be filed because it lacks the taxpayer's Social Security number, 20% of the interest, dividends, or fees is withheld by the payer and remitted to the federal government. For example, if interest earned on a bank account is $1000 and there is no Social Security number on file for the account, the bank withholds
$200. Financial institutions have account holders fill out a Federal W-9 form requiring the individual to certify that the Social Security numbers given are correct and that they are or are not subject to backup withholding. The information regarding interest payments is reported by the bank to the IRS for comparison with individual tax returns. Backup withholding is not an additional tax; the tax liability of persons subject to backup withholding will be reduced by the amount of tax withheld. The IRS Code Section 3406 (a)(1)(c) applies to backup withholding.

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account or note receivable that proves to be entirely or partially uncollectible despite collection efforts. If the allowance method of estimating bad debts is used, the entry at time of uncollectibility is to debit allowance for bad debts and credit accounts receivable. If the direct write-off method is employed, the entry is to debit bad debt expense and credit accounts receivable.


account shown in the income statement representing estimated uncollectible credit sales for the current accounting period. See also ALLOWANCE METHOD; DIRECT WRITE-OFF METHOD.


account receivable previously written off as uncollectible is now collected. The entry is to reverse the original write-off by debiting accounts receivable and crediting allowance for bad debts. A second entry is required for the collection by debiting cash and crediting accounts receivable. A high ratio of recoveries to write-offs may signify to the analyst that the firm writes off uncollected debts too quickly. See also ALLOWANCE METHOD.


contractual transfer of dollars or personal property for a specified objective. An example is the CONSIGNMENT of goods from the consignor to consignee. Another example is a bank holding an asset of a borrower as collateral. In a bailment, the deliverer is called the bailor and the receiver is termed the bailee.


method incorporating the salvage value of the asset into the calculation. It measures the length of the payback period when the periodic cash inflows are combined with the salvage value.


internal control device. Bait or dummy records may be in computer files so the auditor can see when these files are improperly used. Example: a nonexistent customer or inventory item with an assumed balance that should not be altered. Another example: a dummy record put into processing with an incorrect name and address file for an employee. When a mailing occurs, it will be returned.


1. difference between total debits and total credits in an account.

2. equality of total debits and total credits of all accounts in a GENERAL LEDGER in the preparation of a TRIAL BALANCE.

3. equality of a control account in the general ledger (e.g., accounts receivable) and the total balance of all accounts in the SUBSIDIARY LEDGER (e.g., customer accounts).

4. balance in a bank account.

5. balance of a loan. BALANCED BUDGET
one in which total expenditures equal total revenue. An entity has a budget surplus if expenditures are less than
revenues. It has a budget deficit if expenditures are greater than revenues.

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approach using multiple measures to evaluate managerial performance. These measures may be financial or nonfinancial, internal or external, and short-term or long-term. The scorecard allows a determination as to whether a manager is achieving certain objectives at the expense of others that may be equally or more important.


record of the transactions of a country with the rest of the world. There are three main accounts in the balance of payments: (1) the current account, (2) the capital account, and (3) gold. The current account records trade in goods and services, as well as transfer payments. Services include freight, royalty payments, and interest payments. Transfer payments consist of remittances, gifts, and grants. The balance of trade simply records trade in goods. The capital account records purchases and sales of investments, such as stocks, bonds and land.


accompanies the balance sheet and shows the beginning balance of retained earnings, adjustments to it during the year, and the final balance. An illustrative statement format follows:


statement showing a company's financial position at the end of an accounting period; also called Statement of
Financial Position. It presents the entity's ASSETS, LIABILITIES, and STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY. It is
classified into major groupings of assets and liabilities in order to facilitate analysis. Examples are current assets,
fixed assets, current liabilities, and noncurrent liabilities. The accounting equation for the balance sheet is:

The balance sheet is useful to financial statement users because it indicates the resources the entity has and what it owes. See also INCOME STATEMENT.


appears in the balance sheet. Unlike income statement accounts that are NOMINAL ACCOUNTS, balance sheet accounts are REAL ACCOUNTS. A real account is not closed out at the end of the year but continues to exist into the next year. Examples of balance sheet accounts are cash, accounts payable, and common stock.

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last loan payment when it is significantly more than the prior payments; also called partially amortized loans. For example, a debt agreement might provide for a balloon payment when future refinancing is anticipated.


amount in a bank deposit account, such as a checking or savings account, as of a certain specified time or date, indicated on a bank statement. Bank charges, deposits in transit, and outstanding checks usually are primary factors in reconciling an individual's or organization's books and the bank's statement, as of a particular date. See also BANK RECONCILIATION.


time draft drawn by a business firm whose payment is guaranteed by the bank's "acceptance" of it. It is especially important in foreign trade, when the seller of goods can be certain that the buyer's draft will actually have funds behind it. Banker's acceptances are money market instruments actively traded in the secondary market.


term used when settling differences contained in the BANK STATEMENT and the cash account in the books of the bank's customer. Rarely do the ending balances agree. To reflect the reconciling items, a bank reconciliation is required. Once completed, the adjusted bank balance must prove to the adjusted book balance. When it does, it indicates that both records are correct. Journal entries are then prepared to update the records and to arrive at an ending balance in the cash account that agrees with the ending balance in the bank statement.

The bank balance is adjusted for items reflected on the books that are not on the statement. They include OUTSTANDING CHECKS, DEPOSITS IN TRANSIT, and bank errors in charging or crediting the company's account.

The book balance is adjusted for items shown on the bank statement that are not reflected on the books. They include bank charges, not-sufficient funds checks, collections made by bank on the customer's behalf
(e.g., collected notes receivable), interest earned, and errors on the books.


situation in which a business' debt exceeds the fair market value of its assets. It is also a court action under which a debtor may be discharged for unpaid debts, in whole or in part, and in which creditors receive distributions of assets from the debtor's property under the supervision of the court. CHAPTER 11 of the Bankruptcy Law provides for reorganization in which the debtor remains in possession of the business and in control of its operation, while the debtor and creditors are allowed to work together. See also BANKRUPTCY (PERSONAL).


legal process that is available for an individual who is overextended financially and is unable to pay his debts. The individual can file for bankruptcy in order to seek to legally

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eliminate some or all of his debts. Under CHAPTER 7 of the Bankruptcy Law, often called straight bankruptcy, the intent is to liquidate assets to pay the debts. Should this method be elected, the bankrupt can claim certain property as "exempt" and this property can be retained to preserve the basic necessities of life (such as a certain amount of equity in the home, economical car, and personal clothing and effects). Once a person has declared bankruptcy, he cannot be discharged from debts again for six years.

Under CHAPTER 13, often called wage-earner plans, the assets are not liquidated. Instead, interest and late charges are eliminated and arrangements are made to pay off some or all of the debts over several years. Note that bankruptcy will not discharge all the debts. Debts that cannot be eliminated through bankruptcy proceedings include income taxes, child support, alimony, student loans, and debts incurred under false pretenses. Bankruptcy should not be taken lightly. One should be sure to consult an attorney on various decisions surrounding the issue and on how to get the greatest benefit from the new financial start. See also BANKRUPTCY (BUSINESS).


ability of an auditor to project whether the client has a going-concern problem. If it does have a problem, this fact must be stated in the audit report and a QUALIFIED OPINION REPORT rendered. Failure to do so, if a client actually becomes bankrupt, will expose the CPA to lawsuits by financial statement users such as damaged investors and creditors. There are several ways to predict bankruptcy such as Altman's Z SCORE, trends in certain financial ratios (e.g., cash flow to total debt, net income to total assets), degree of FINANCIAL LEVERAGE, industry problems, poor economy, and low-quality management.


form prepared by the bank and sent to the depositor to show transactions in the account. The bank statement reports the beginning balance, deposits made, checks cleared, charges to the account (e.g., bank service fees), credits to the account (e.g., interest earned on the account balance), and ending balance. Enclosed with the bank statement are the canceled checks, debit memoranda for charges, and credit memoranda for credits.


asset or goods acquired for materially less than fair market value. For example, a buyer may be able to get a bargain price on furniture from a seller in a liquidation situation.


one of the four criteria to be satisfied for a lessee to account for leased property under the CAPITAL LEASE method. A bargain purchase option exists if the lessee can buy the property at the end of the lease for a nominal (minimal) amount or renew at nominal rental payments. If this criterion exists, the leased asset is depreciated by the lessee over the life of the property. The PRESENT VALUE of the bargain purchase option payment is included in obtaining the present value of future payments as the capitalizable amount of the leased asset.

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lessee's ability to renew a lease at sub-sequent minimal rental payments. Minimal rental payments are defined as those significantly below what typical rental payments on the property would be. This satisfies one of the criteria required for a CAPITAL LEASE. In effect, by doing so the lessee has acquired a property right.


exchange of products or services by two companies without cash involvement. The companies contract for a specified amount of the items and the proportions representing full payment. For financial reporting purposes, barter transactions should be reported at the estimated fair market value of the product or service received. This same requirement holds for tax purposes in that each party has to recognize as revenue the fair value of the exchange. For example, a barter takes place when an accountant renders services to a computer store in exchange for a personal computer.


selected period of time that serves as a basis for a comparison, a standard, or a mathematical construct to aid in financial computations. The base period selected should be the one that is the most typical of the business. The term base period applies to economic statistics (e.g., Consumer Price Index) and certain stock indexes (e.g., the base period of the Standard & Poor's 500 is 19411943).


minimum inventory level necessary to maintain effective and continuous operations. See also BASE STOCK METHOD.


inventory valuation method in which the base amount of goods is valued at acquisition cost; also called normal stock method. The base amount should be continually maintained. Additional quantities above the base level are valued on a LIFO basis. The method is not accepted.


high-level computer programming language written in an easy-to-understand English format; the language was first used at Dartmouth in 1967. It is one of the easiest languages to learn and is undoubtedly the best known of any high-level computer language today. However, it runs more slowly than some other languages, such as C. If the accountant wishes to be involved in program customization, BASIC should be the language of first choice. A BASIC computer program to compute the break-even point is as follows:

70 LET B = F/(P A)

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term in LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) used to designate a solution that occurs at the corner point of the feasible region in a graph. According to a theorem in LP, one or a linear combination of the basic feasible solutions will turn out to be an optimal solution. See also GRAPHICAL METHOD.


specific geographical location that is associated with a given price of a commodity. This price will then serve as a base price for the same commodity in a different geographical location. Freight costs between locations will account for the difference with respect to the base price.


figure or value that is the starting point in computing gain or loss, depreciation, depletion, and amortization. For example, in an asset sale, gain is proceeds minus basis, where basis is the amount on which depreciation is calculated.


method of recognizing revenues and expenses. Under the accrual basis of accounting, revenues are recognized as goods are sold and services are rendered regardless of the time when cash is received. Expenses are recognized in the period when the related revenue is recognized and the difference is the net income figure for a particular period. Under the cash basis of accounting, revenues are recognized only when money is received and expenses are recognized only when money is paid. Cash basis financial statements, however, distort financial position and operating results of an organization.


activities performed each time a batch of goods is produced; such activities vary with the number of batches


term for a processing mode in which the work to be accomplished is done sequentially. Input such as transaction records is processed through the system in a predetermined order. Batch processing systems are fairly inexpensive and represent the most common system in use today. See also REAL-TIME SYSTEM.


serial information transfer speed with which a modem receives and sends data. The rate equals the number of bits- per-second (BPS) transmitted. The higher the baud rate the faster the speed of transmission but the poorer the transmission on-line quality.


revised prior estimates of probabilities, based on additional experience and information. An example of Bayesian probability applied to accounting is when the estimated bad debt percentage has to be revised because of recent uncollectibility experience of customer defaults, sales to more marginal customers, or poor economic conditions.

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one who believes that prices in the security and commodity markets will decline. A bear can profit from a declining stock market by selling a stock short or buying a PUT option. A BULL, the opposite of a bear, thinks prices will rise.


unregistered bond that entitles the holder to payments of both principal and interest; also called a coupon bond, because whoever presents the coupon is entitled to the interest. With respect to transfers, bond endorsement is not a requirement.


balance at the start of the accounting period. The three types of inventory are RAW MATERIALS INVENTORY, WORK-IN-PROCESS (WIP), and FINISHED GOODS INVENTORY. They are shown in the income statement in the analysis of cost of goods sold. See also ENDING INVENTORY.


1. approach to accounting that stresses psychological considerations in decision making; also called HUMAN RESOURCE ACCOUNTING. For example, a budget should be participative so departmental managers who are involved with it will internalize the goals. Also profit centers engage a manager's ego because the financial results of the entity are a direct reflection of the manager's performance. In human resource accounting, a valuation is placed on people and reflected as an asset in the balance sheet.

2. theory that the management accounting function is essentially behavioral. The theory states that the nature and scope of accounting systems is materially influenced by the view of human behavior that is held by the accountants who design and operate these systems. PARTICIPATIVE BUDGETING is a simple application of behavioral accounting.


one that indicates the direction of the security market. General Electric is an example because much of it is owned by INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS who influence supply and demand. In the bond market, the 20-year U.S. Treasury bond is a good indicator of the direction in which other bonds are moving.


learning from others; also called COMPETITIVE. BENCHMARKING (BEST PRACTICES)
the process of searching for new and better procedures by comparing your own procedures to that of the very best.
The objective is to measure the key outputs of a business process or function against the best and to analyze the
reasons for the performance difference. Benchmarking applies to services and practices as well as to products and
is an ongoing systematic process. It entails both quantitative and qualitative measurements that allow both an
internal and an external assessment. Process benchmarking is the process of assessing the quality of key internal
processes by comparing them with those of other firms. In results benchmarking, a firm

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examines the end product or service of another company, focusing on product/service specifications and performance results.

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individual who will receive an inheritance upon the death of another. The proceeds of an insurance policy may be in the form of a lump-sum or annuity.


term used when determining the amount of pension benefits applicable for services rendered to date and present value of these benefits. The two benefit approaches are the accumulated benefits approach and the benefits/years- of-service (projected unit credit) approach. With the former, pension expense and related liability are determined each year based on years of service to date using existing salary levels. With the latter, pension expense and liability are based on final salary. See also PENSION PLAN.


alternative to hard disk storage. It provides reliability, good performance, large capacity, fast data access, safety (absence of head crashes and data damage), and built-in backup capability. The box incorporates the best features of hard disk and floppy disk. It has the convenience of a removable floppy disk and the quickness of a hard disk drive. There is an external drive system containing cartridge drives. It has virtually unlimited storage expansibility in 10-megabyte segments in the form of 8 1 Ú4 inch removable Bernoulli cartridges. However, Bernoulli is higher priced relative to other large hard disk drives.


measure of systematic or undiversifiable risk of a stock. A beta coefficient of more than 1 means that the
company's stock price has shown more volatility than the market index (e.g., Standard & Poor's 500) to which it is
being related; usually, that indicates it is a risky security. If the beta is less than 1, it is less volatile than the market
average. If it equals 1, its risk is the same as the market index. High variability in stock price may indicate greater
business risk, instability in operations, and low quality of earnings.


national accounting fraternity maintaining student chapters on more than 125 university campuses. Members discuss issues of interest to the accounting profession. Membership is gained by students demonstrating a high degree of scholastic achievement. It was founded in 1919.


probability distribution used to describe activity times. BETA RISK


replacement of a major component of plant and equipment by another component that will result in better

performance capability. The betterment increases overall efficiency of the asset. An example is a superior engine in an auto. Betterments represent CAPITAL EXPENDITURES.

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term in the over-the-counter market for unlisted securities. Bid is the highest price an investor is willing to pay while asked is the lowest price a seller is willing to take. Together, the two prices represent a quotation in that stock. A spread is the difference between the bid and asked prices. Bid and offer are the more common terms in discussing listed securities.


amount charged by a company (e.g., construction company, defense contractor) to the customer for work done or to be done on a long-term project. See also PROGRESS BILLINGS.


listing of the activities and activity volumes and associated costs required by a product, service, process output, or other cost object.


see DRAFT.


written document issued by a carrier that specifies contractual conditions and terms (such as time, place, person named for receipt) for delivery of goods. It also evidences receipt of goods. Upon transfer of the bill, title is passed to the goods.


listing of all the assemblies, subassemblies, parts, and raw materials that are needed to produce one unit of a finished product. Thus, each finished product has its own bill of materials. The listing in the bill of materials file is hierarchical; it shows the quantity of each item needed to complete one unit of the next-highest level of assembly.


written document that transfers goods, title, or other interests from a seller to a buyer and specifies the terms and conditions of the transaction.


code in which all binary numbers are expressed in four digits, thus making the process of converting to decimals faster. BCD was used predominately in second-generation computers.


shorthand term for binary digit. There are only two possible binary digits: 0 and 1. A bit is the smallest unit of memory in a computer.


usually associated with governmental accounting, an expenditure that is authorized without specification of the individual project elements.


policy covering several items of property. The insurance policy is allocated to the property items based on their fair market values.


1. entry that reveals only its classificatory identity, appropriate debit and credit amounts and does not include an explanatory description of the transaction. See also JOURNAL ENTRY.

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2. posting to a ledger account not documented by a journal or other source record.

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diagram using symbols to explain the interconnections and information flow between hardware and software. BLOCK SAMPLING
JUDGMENT SAMPLE in which accounts or items are chosen in a sequential order. After the initial item in the
block is chosen, the balance of the block is automatically selected. See also CLUSTER SAMPLING;


common stock of high quality that has a long record of earnings and dividend payments. Blue chip stocks are often viewed as long-term investment instruments. They have low risk and provide modest but dependable return. Examples are International Telephone and Telegraph and Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. Blue chip may also refer to a high-quality bond that is secure and stable in price and interest payments.


law providing for state regulation and supervision of the issuance of investment securities. The prevention of gross fraud is the primary purpose of these laws, which include procedures and regulations with respect to broker licensing, registration of new issues, and formal approvals by appropriate governing bodies.


group of persons elected by a company's stockholders to run the business according to the corporate charter. Senior management is appointed by the Board. Typically, the Board consists of top management executives (INSIDE DIRECTORS) and representatives external to the company (OUTSIDE DIRECTORS). The Board has significant influence over accounting and financial policies of the business entity.


standard legal language used in contracts, prospectuses, wills, and so on. Boilerplate typically appears in fine print. It contains important information rarely subject to modification between the parties.


1. written promise by a company, government, or other institution to pay the face amount at the maturity date. Periodic interest payments are usually required. Bonds are typically stated in $1000 denominations. Bonds may be secured by collateral or unsecured (debenture). A registered bond has the name of the owner on the issuer's records, whereas the holder of a BEARER BOND presents coupons for interest payments. SINKING FUND bonds require the company to make annual deposits to a trustee. At maturity, the amount in the sinking fund (principal plus interest) is sufficient to pay the face of the bond. From the company's perspective, a bond issue has several advantages over a stock issue. Interest expense is tax deductible, whereas dividend payments are not. During inflation, debt is paid

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back in cheaper dollars. When bonds are issued at face value, the entry is to debit cash and credit bonds payable. When bonds are issued at a discount, such as with zero-coupon bonds, the entry is to debit cash and bond discount and credit bonds payable. The entry to record the interest each period is to debit interest expense and credit cash. See also BOND CONVERSION; BOND DISCOUNT; BOND PREMIUM.

2. cash or property given to assure performance (i.e., contractor depositing a performance bond on a construction project to be completed by a specified date).

3. type of insurance compensating employer for employee dishonesty. BOND CONVERSION
exchange of a convertible bond for stock. While conversion is typically at the option of the investor, in some cases
it may be at the option of the issuing company (e.g., forced conversion). The conversion may be accounted for


the amount below FACE VALUE at which a bond is issued. A bond may be issued at a discount when the interest rate on the bond is below the prevailing market interest rate, the company has financial problems, and the bond has a long maturity period. Bond discount is a CONTRA ACCOUNT to bonds payable to arrive at the CARRYING VALUE. Assume a $300,000 bond is issued at 93%. The bond discount is $21,000 ($300,000 · 7%). See also BOND PREMIUM.


1. IN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, a fund established for the receipt and distribution of monies received from the issuance of a bond.

2. a MUTUAL FUND that invests in bonds. See also SINKING FUND. BOND INDENTURE
agreement between a bond issuer and holder covering the terms of issue; also called deed of trust. The bond terms
include such conditions as dollar amount of issue; PLEDGED ASSETS; COVENANTS (e.g., working capital
requirement); events of default; and call privileges. It also provides for the appointment of a trustee. See also


expenditures incurred in preparing and selling a bond issue such as legal, underwriting, accounting, commission, printing, promotion, and registration fees. These costs represent a DEFERRED CHARGE that is amortized using the straight-line method over the period the bonds are outstanding (date of issue to the maturity date). Note that the amortization starts from the date the bonds are sold and not the date of the bonds (which may be before the issue date).

Assume a five-year bond dated 1/1/2005 is sold on 9/1/2000. Bond issue costs are $10,000. Since there are 52 months between 9/1/2000 and 1/1/2005, the amortization per month is $192.31 ($10,000/52 months). The amortization expense for 2000 is $769.24 ($192.31 per month · 4 months from 9/1/200012/31/2000). See also AMORTIZE.

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method of amortizing bond discount or premium. This is a variation of the straight-line method that spreads bond discount or premium over the life of a bond issue by periodic charges to expense. The charges are determined by the ratio of the face value of bonds outstanding during the period to the total of such face values for all the periods during which the bonds are outstanding.


the amount in excess of FACE VALUE (maturity value) at which a bond is issued. A BOND may be issued at a premium if the interest rate on the bond exceeds the market interest rate or it is from a financially strong company. For example, if a $100,000 bond was issued at 106, the bond premium is $6000 ($100,000 · 6%). Bond premium is added to the bond payable account under noncurrent liabilities to arrive at the carrying value of the bond. The bond premium account is amortized each year so that at maturity the bond will equal its face value. The amortization entry each year is to debit bond premium and credit interest expense. When a bond is issued at a premium, the EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE is less than the NOMINAL INTEREST RATE. See also BOND DISCOUNT; YIELD TO MATURITY.


calculations of the probability that a bond issue will go into default. They measure risk, and therefore have an impact on the interest rate. Bond investors tend to place more emphasis on independent analysis of quality than do common stock investors. Bond analysis and ratings are done by Standard & Poor and Moody's among other rating agencies.


partnership accounting method in which a new partner contributing goodwill or intangible value is credited with capital in excess of the tangible assets contributed.


1. used as a noun (usually plural), it refers to JOURNALS or LEDGERS.

2. used as a verb, it refers to the recording of an entry. See also BOOK VALUE. BOOK BALANCE
term used for the amount of an account balance at the end of an accounting period. For example, when preparing a
BANK RECONCILIATION, the balance in the cash account at the end of the month is referred to as the book
balance. In a similar vein, the auditor compares the book balance in ending inventory with the physical count to
uncover any discrepancies.


inventory shown on the financial records. It is a book value as opposed to a physical count of inventory and is computed from the initial inventory plus purchases less requisitions or withdrawals. Book inventory typically differs from the physical inventory on hand due to SHRINKAGE (i.e., loss caused by such factors as evaporation and thefts).

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individual basically concerned with accounting support functions within the firm. Duties include recording journal entries in the various journals, posting and maintaining the ledger, preparing a trial balance, making up the payroll, and preparing a bank reconciliation. In a smaller firm, the bookkeeper often has a broader responsibility, such as accounts receivable collections.


accounting support functions performed by the BOOKKEEPER. Bookkeeping is the most basic of the accounting duties and requires less education and experience.


JOURNAL in which transactions are first recorded.


1. net amount shown for an asset on the balance sheet. It equals the gross cost less the related valuation account. For example, the book value of an auto is its initial cost less the accumulated depreciation. Since book value is based on HISTORICAL COST, it will differ from market value. Book value is a going-concern value.

2. carrying value of a liability equal to its face value less unamortized discount. BOOK VALUE METHOD
manner of accounting for a BOND CONVERSION into stock. The entry is to debit bonds payable and premium on
bonds payable (or credit discount on bonds payable) and credit common stock and premium on common stock.
Note that the total credit is based on the bond's book value. No gain or loss is recognized. Other entries may also
be involved such as recording the interest payment prior to the bond conversion. See also MARKET VALUE


worth of each share of stock per the books based on historical cost. It differs from market price per share. Book value per share can be computed for common stock and preferred stock as follows:

Book Value Per Share (Common Stock):

Book Value Per Share (Preferred Stock):


the algebra of logic. It is sometimes called symbolic logic. Boolean algebra is a method of expressing logic in a


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ematical context. It is primarily concerned with binary operations and based on the cumulative, associative, and distributive laws of binary operations. Boolean algebra provides the theoretical concepts for computer design. It is not used to solve managerial problems directly.


1. in computers, process of starting up a computer. The term boot derives from the idea that the computer has to pull itself up by its bootstraps, that is, load into memory a small program that enables it to load larger programs. There are two types of booting operations. One is cold boot, which is the operation of booting a computer that has been completely shut down. The other is warm boot, which is a restarting operation in which some of the needed programs are already in memory. In the case of the IBM PC, for example, the warm boot is done by pressing ctr, alt, and del keys simultaneously.

2. in taxation, cash or property of a type not included in the definition of a nontaxable exchange. The receipt of boot will cause an otherwise tax-free transfer to become taxable to the extent of the smaller of the fair market value of such boot or the realized gain on the transfer. Examples of those types include transfers to controlled corporations.


an activity for which the work equals or exceeds the capacity of the activity. BOTTOM LINE
1. net income after taxes.

2. expression as to the end-result of something. An example is the sales generated from an advertising campaign. BRANCH ACCOUNTING
maintenance of a separate accounting system for each branch of one legal entity. The home office opens an
account in its general ledger entitled Branch, Branch Control, Investment in Branch, or some other similar name.
Frequently, one account will be used to show the long-term investment in a branch while another account (such as
Branch Current) will be used for more common accounts. In the home office ledger, this account or group of
accounts is charged for everything sent to the branch or for services rendered to or for the branch, and it is credited
for amounts received from the branch. In a similar manner, the branch ledger maintains an equity account entitled
Home Office, Home Office Control, Home Office Current, or some other similar name. This account is credited for
all assets received by the branch from the home office. It is also credited for all debts incurred for merchandise
acquired or for services rendered by the home office for the branch. Such an account would also be credited as a
result of expenses incurred by the home office for the benefit of the branch. It is debited for amounts sent by the
branch to the home office. In operation, the branch account on the home office books will be debited when the
home office account on the branch books is credited, and vice versa. Thus, the balances of such a

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pair of accounts should be equal in dollar amount, but the balances should be the opposite sides of the respective accounts. Two accounts that have such a relationship are often referred to as RECIPROCAL.


branch of COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSIS that determines the break-even point, which is the level of sales where total costs equal total revenue. Thus, zero profit results. Breakeven sales is computed as follows:

Break-even sales in units = Fixed costs/Unit contribution margin. Break-even sales in dollars = Fixed costs/Contribution margin ratio. For example, assume:
Fixed costs = $15,000.
Unit contribution margin (selling price unit variable cost) = $15, and
Contribution margin ratio (unit CM/selling price) = .6
Then, break-even sales in units = $15,000/$15 = 1000 units and break-
even sales in dollars = $15,000/.6 = $25,000.
A break-even chart is one in which sales revenue, variable costs, and
fixed costs are plotted on the vertical axis while volume is plotted on
the horizontal axis. The BREAK-EVEN POINT is the point at which the
total sales revenue line intersects the total cost line. See the sample
chart below.


chart where sales revenue, variable costs, and fixed costs are plotted on the vertical axis while volume is plotted on the horizontal axis. The break-even point is the point where the total sales revenue line intersects the total cost line.


equation that helps determine BREAK-EVEN SALES.


p = unit selling price

v = unit variable cost

FC = total fixed cost

x = sales in units

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Then, the break-even equation can be set up as follows:

For example, assume that p = $25, v = $10, FC = $15,000. The equation is:

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Therefore, break-even sales are 1000 units. Break-even sales expressed in dollars are $25,000 (1000 units x $25). BREAK-EVEN POINT


sales with no profit or loss, also called break-even point. It is the sales volume, in units or in dollars, where total sales revenue equals total costs. Thus, zero profit results. See also BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS.


more sophisticated version of the payback method. It is the time required for the discounted expected future cash inflows on a project to equal the discounted cumulative cash outflows (usually the initial cost).


short-term loan that is made in expectation of intermediate- or long-term loans; also called a swing loan. The interest rate on the bridge loan is generally higher than on longer term loans. An example would be a temporary loan that is made to permit a closing on a building purchase prior to a closing on long-term mortgage financing.


commission paid to a broker who buys and sells securities. Fees vary depending on whether a full-service broker (e.g., one that provides recommendation reports) or a discount broker (e.g., one that just executes orders) is used. An example of a full-service broker is Prudential-Bache Securities. An example of a discount broker is Charles Schwab & Co. Fees also vary within each category so one full-service broker may charge you a different commission rate than another. Brokerage fees may depend on the market price per share and the number of shares traded.


quantitative plan of activities and programs expressed in terms of assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses. Budget
participants will be involved in carrying out the plan, or in other quantitative terms such as units of product or
service. The budget expresses the organizational goals in terms of specific financial and operating objectives.
Advantages of budget preparation are planning, communicating company-wide goals to subunits, fostering
cooperation between departments, maintaining control by evaluating actual figures to budget figures, and

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revealing the interrelationship of one function to another. See also MASTER (COMPREHENSIVE) BUDGET. BUDGETARY ACCOUNTABILITY
in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, process of recording budgetary amounts in the accounts of a fund. Recording
the balances has a dual effect. (1) The control aspect of the budgetary function is stressed, and (2) recognition is
given to the legal foundations of the budget. The need for such recording is consistent with the responsibility of
fund accounting. It is concerned with performance in terms of authority to act and the action itself. Recording both
the budget and actual transactions helps to fix responsibility. The journal entry at the adoption of a budget is:

Estimated revenue

Fund balance


x or x

Appropriations x
The journal entry to close the budget at year-end is:





Estimated revenue


Expenditures x
Encumbrances x

Fund balance x or x


intentional underestimation of revenues and/or overestimation of expenses; also called budget slack. This must be avoided if a budget is to have its desired effects. Misstating projections of costs and revenues for this purpose is behavior that is both dysfunctional and unethical.


group, usually made up of top management and the chief financial officer, that reviews and approves, or makes appropriate adjustments to the budgets submitted from operational managers.


budgetary actions carried out according to a budget plan. Through the use of a budget as a standard, an

organization ensures that managers are implementing its plans and objectives and that their activities are appraised by comparing their actual performance against budgeted performance. Budgets are used as a basis for rewarding or punishing managers, or perhaps for modifying future budgets and plans.


schedule for expected assets, liabilities, and stockholders' equity. It projects a company's financial position as of the end of the budgeting year. Reasons for preparing a budgeted balance sheet follow: (1) discloses unfavorable financial condition that management may want to avoid; (2) serves as a final check on the mathematical accuracy of all other budgets; and (3) highlights future resources and obligations.

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summary of various component projections of revenues and expenses for the budget period. It indicates the expected net income for the period.


quantifiable information about an entity's future activities and the revenues or expenses associated with those activities.


annual budgets of estimated revenues and estimated expenditures prepared for most governmental funds. The approved budgets of such funds are recorded in "budgetary accounts" in the accounting system to provide control over governmental revenues and expenditures.


mathematical models that generate a profit planning budget. The models help managerial accountants and budget analysts answer a variety of what-if questions. The resultant calculations provide a basis for choice among alternatives under conditions of uncertainty. Budgeting models are usually quantitative and computerbased. There are primarily two approaches to modeling in the corporate budgeting process: SIMULATION and OPTIMIZATION MODEL. See also FINANCIAL MODEL; SIMULATION MODELS.


collection of procedures that describe how a budget is to be prepared. Items usually appearing in a budget manual include a budget planning calendar and distribution instructions for all budget schedules. Distribution instructions are important because, once a schedule is prepared, other departments in the organization use the schedule to prepare their own budgets. Without distribution instructions, someone who needs a particular schedule might be overlooked.


schedule of activities for the development and adoption of the budget. It should include a list of dates indicating when specific information is to be provided to others by each information source. The preparation of a master budget usually takes several months. For instance, many firms start the budget for the next calendar year in September, anticipating its completion by the first of December. Because all of the individual departmental budgets are based on forecasts prepared by others and the budgets of other departments, a planning calendar is essential to integrate the entire process.


report that provides the basis for controlling (monitoring and revising) activities of an organization by comparing actual performance (actual sales or costs) with budgeted performance (budgeted sales or costs). A budget report has columns for budgeted and actual amounts. The difference between the two is the VARIANCE.


1. any difference between a budgeted figure and an actual figure.

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2. any difference between actual factory overhead costs and standard (flexible budget) costs, multiplied by the standard units of activity allowed for actual production. The budget variance is used in the TWO-WAY ANALYSIS of factory overhead. It includes the fixed and variable spending variances and the variable overhead efficiency variance that are used in the THREE-WAY ANALYSIS.


area of a computer's memory set aside to hold information temporarily. The buffer compensates for the different rates that hardware devices process data. For instance, the buffer holds data waiting to be printed so that the central processing unit is free to perform other tasks. A buffer is also used to hold information received from a computer in a remote location when doing TELECOMMUNICATIONS. This is known as a capture buffer. Adown-loaded ASCII file may be loaded into a word processing program and edited. Further, the ASCII data file may then be loaded into a smart telecommunications software program's transmit buffer and uploaded to another remote computer over the telephone lines.


1. mistake in a software program. Two types of errors are logic and syntax. A logic error is when the program does not conduct the process it was supposed to. A syntax error is where the rules of the programming languages are not followed.

2. hardware malfunctioning in the computer system. See also DEBUG. BULL
stock market jargon for an individual or institution that believes a given stock or the stock market in general will
experience a price rise. It is also an adjective to describe an upward price stock movement. Compare with BEAR.


alliance of a company and one or more incorporated or unincorporated businesses into a single accounting entity that then carries on the activities of the separate entities. A business combination can be accounted for under the POOLING-OF-INTERESTS method or the PURCHASE (ACCOUNTING) METHOD. It does not cover the transfer of a business to a substitute corporation. The business combination date comes before the CONSOLIDATION date when consolidated financial statements are prepared.


recurrence of periods of contracting and expanding economic conditions with effects on growth, employment, and inflation. The business cycle has an impact on corporate expansion, earnings, and cash flow.


allowable reduction of business gross income, usually associated with expenses incurred that are reasonable and necessary for the production of business income. Examples include bad debts, depreciation, employee benefit programs, and insurance. Some business expenses are not deductible in the computation of taxable income (e.g., goodwill amortization).

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using cost and related data to better understand activity behavior, define problems, draw conclusions, make recommendations, and take actions.




approach aimed at making revolutionary changes as opposed to evolutionary changes by eliminating nonvalue added steps in a business process and computerizing the remaining steps to achieve desired outcomes.


computer software application designed for small to medium-sized growing businesses with 1 to 50 employees that need more than a basic, entry level accounting product. BusinessWorks offers many of the powerful features typically found in much more expensive, high-end programs, and its modular structure allows you to add functionality as your business grows. BusinessWorks features a conversion tool that seamlessly imports Peachtree, Quickbooks, and DacEasy data.


item emerging from a single production process that has a relatively low sales value in comparison with the firm's main or JOINT PRODUCTS. Examples of by-products are sawdust or wood chips in lumber mill operations. Because the relative value of by-products is not very important, it is usually considered undesirable to use a refined accounting method in dealing with by-product costs. Generally, the sales value of by-products is used to reduce the cost of the main products. An alternative accounting approach is to treat the sales value of the by-products as "other revenue."


in computer storage, number of bits (usually 8) that stand for one character. Characters may be letters, numbers, or symbols. One kilo-byte (1 KB) is equivalent to 1024 bytes. A byte is the smallest unit of memory containing one character of data.

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one permitting employees to choose from a variety of fringe benefits. The tax code provides that, with minor exceptions, no amount shall be included in the gross income of the participant in a cafeteria plan solely because the participant may choose among the benefits (including cash) of the plan.


1. option to buy (or call) an asset at a specified price within a specified period.

2. right to buy 100 shares of stock at a specified price within a specified period. See also OPTION.

3. process of redeeming a bond or preferred stock issue before its normal maturity. A security with a CALL PROVISION typically is issued at an interest rate higher than one without a call provision. This is because investors demand itthey look at yield-to-call rather than yield-to-maturity.


bond issue with a call (buy back) provision. See also CALLABLE SECURITY. CALLABLE SECURITY
bond or preferred stock issue with a CALL PROVISION. The provision in the indenture or preferred stock
agreement allows an issuing company to redeem the security early. When interest rates are expected to decline, a
call provision in the bond issue is desirable from an issuer's standpoint. Such a provision enables the firm to buy
back the high-interest security and issue a lower-interest one. See also CALL.


one that brokers make from banks to cover the securities positions of their clients; also called broker call loan. The rate is quoted daily in newspapers as a money market indicator.


1. amount in excess of par value that a company must pay when it calls a security. It is the difference between the CALL PRICE and the maturity value. The issuer pays the premium to the security holder in order to acquire the outstanding security before the maturity date. The call premium is generally equal to one year's interest if the bond is called in the first year, and it declines at a constant rate each year thereafter.

price that must be paid when a security is called. The call price is equal to the par value plus the CALL


feature of some bond indentures allowing the issuing company to redeem bonds prior to maturity by paying holders a

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premium above face value. An issuing company typically wishes to retire a callable bond when interest rates decline.


journal published monthly by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. It is read by accountants in public practice, industry, and government. The subject matter includes information systems, international accounting, professional ethics, estate planning, and taxation.

primary national organization of chartered accountants in Canada. The CICA handbook is the principal
authoritative reference for policy on accepted accounting practices in Canada. CICA was originally founded in
1902 as the Dominion Association of Chartered Accountants.


draft paid by the bank on which it is drawn and returned to the depositor. The canceled check is in effect the depositor's receipt that the payee has cashed it.


ability to produce during a given time period, with an upper limit imposed by the availability of space, machinery, labor, materials, or capital. Capacity may be expressed in units, weights, size, dollars, man-hours, labor cost, etc. Typically, there are five different concepts of capacity.

(1) IDEAL CAPACITYvolume of activity that could be attained under ideal operating conditions, with minimum allowance for inefficiency. It is the largest volume of output possible. Also called theoretical capacity, engineered capacity, or maximum capacity.

(2) PRACTICAL CAPACITYhighest activity level at which the factory can operate with an acceptable degree of efficiency, taking into consideration unavoidable losses of productive time (i.e., vacations, holidays, repairs to equipment). Also called maximum practical capacity.

(3) Normal capacityaverage level of operating activity that is sufficient to fill the demand for the company's products or services for a span of several years, taking into consideration seasonal and cyclical demands and increasing or decreasing trends in demand.

(4) Expected actual capacitysimilar to normal capacity, except it is a short-run level based on demand, it minimizes under- or overapplied overhead but does not provide a consistent basis for assigning over-head cost. Per-unit overhead will fluctuate because of short-term changes in the expected level of output. Also called planned capacity.

(5) Operating capacitysimilar to planned capacity except the time period is within a small slice of a single year i.e., daily, monthly, quarterly).


fixed costs incurred to provide facilities that increase a firm's ability to produce such as those relating to space, equipment, and factory buildings. They include rents, depreciation, property taxes, and insurance. See also DISCRETIONARY (FIXED) COSTS; FIXED COST.

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management of a company's costs of unused (excess) capacity. The unused capacity in production facilities, distribution channels, marketing organizations, and so on are ordinarily not assigned to products or services on a cause-and-effect basis, so their inclusion in overhead rates may distort pricing decisions. Including the fixed costs of unused capacity in a cost-based price results in higher prices and in what is known as the downward (black hole) demand spiral.


system for determining if a planned production schedule can be accomplished with available capacity and, if not, making adjustments as necessary.


1. equity interest of the owner in the business that is the difference between ASSETS and LIABILITIES, also called EQUITY or NET WORTH. In a corporation, capital represents the stockholders' equity. Capital stock consists of common stock and preferred stock. See also CAPITAL ACCOUNT; LEGAL CAPITAL: PAID-IN CAPITAL.

2. goods purchased for use in production.

3. WORKING CAPITAL, which is the difference between current assets and current liabilities.

4. long-term assets that are not bought and sold in the ordinary course of business. The term usually refers to FIXED ASSETS such as machinery, equipment, building, and land.


general ledger account describing OWNERS' EQUITY in a business. CAPITAL is the equity interest, which is the difference between assets and liabilities. In a sole proprietorship, there is only one capital account since there is only one owner. In a partner-ship, a capital account exists for each owner. In a corporation, capital represents the STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY, which equals the capital stock issued plus paid-in capital in excess of par (or stated) value plus retained earnings. DONATED CAPITAL is added to and TREASURY STOCK is deducted from total stockholders' equity in the balance sheet.


1. new (as opposed to replacement) part added to an existing noncurrent productive asset (e.g., equipment) used for business purposes that increases the useful life and service potential of the asset.

2. in taxation, cost of capital improvements and betterments made to the property by a taxpayer.

3. anything added to long-term productive assets. CAPITAL ASSET
1. asset purchased for use in production over long periods of time rather than for resale. It includes (a) land,
buildings, plant and equipment, mineral deposits, and timber reserves; (b) patents, goodwill, trademarks, and
leaseholds; and (c) investments in affiliated companies.

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2. in taxation, property held by a taxpayer, except cash, inventoriable assets, merchandise held for sale, receivables, and certain intangibles.

3. FIXED ASSET usually consisting of tangible assets such as plant and equipment and intangible assets such as a patent.


theory of asset pricing used to analyze the relationship between risk and rates of return in securities. The return of an asset or security is the risk-free return plus a risk premium based on the excess of the return on the market over the risk-free rate multiplied by the asset's systematic risk (which cannot be eliminated by diversification). The model is given as follows:

where r = the expected (or required) return on a security, rf = the risk-free rate (such as a T-bill), rm = the expected return on the market portfolio (such as Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Composite Index or Dow Jones 30 Industrials), and b = beta, an index of systematic (nondiversifiable, uncontrollable) risk. For example, assume that the risk-free rate (rf ) is 8%, and the expected market return (rm ) is 12%. Then if b = 0, r = 8% + 0 (12% 8%) = 8%. If b = 2.0, r = 8% + 2.0 (12% 8%) = 16%. This shows that the higher the degree of systematic risk (b), the higher the return on a given security demanded by investors.


plan of proposed acquisitions and replacements of long-term assets and their financing. A capital budget is developed using a variety of CAPITAL BUDGETING techniques such as the payback method, the NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) method, or the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) method.


process of making long-term planning decisions for capital investments. There are typically two types of investment decisions: (1) Selecting new facilities or expanding existing facilities. Examples include: (a) investments in long-term assets such as property, plant, and equipment; and (b) resource commitments in the form of new product development, market research, refunding of long-term debt, introduction of a computer, etc. (2) Replacing existing facilities with new facilities. Examples include replacing a manual bookkeeping system with a computerized system and replacing an inefficient lathe with one that is numerically controlled. As such, capital budgeting decisions are a key factor in the long-term profitability of a firm. To make wise investment decisions, managers need tools at their disposal that will guide them in comparing the benefits and costs of various investment alternatives. Many techniques used for evaluating investment proposals are widely available. They include payback, ACCOUNTING RATE OF RETURN, INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN, and the NET


1. quantification of the lost revenues or reduction in net cash flows sustained by an entity due to obsolete technology.

2. measure of noncompetitiveness.

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outlay charged to a long-term asset account. A capital expenditure either adds a fixed asset unit or increases the value of an existing fixed asset. An example is a new motor for a truck. See also REVENUE EXPENDITURE.


plan prepared for individual capital expenditure projects. The time span of this budget depends upon the project. Capital expenditures to be budgeted include replacement, acquisition, or construction of plants and major equipment. See also CAPITAL BUDGETING.


tax term involved with selling or exchanging a CAPITAL ASSET.

Individual: Maximum tax rate on capital gains is 20% compared to the maximum tax rate on ordinary income of 39.6% for those having taxable incomes exceeding $250,000.

Corporation: Capital gains are taxed at 20%. See also CAPITAL LOSS. CAPITAL INTENSIVE
term that describes a company with significant CAPITAL ASSETS (e.g., machinery), such as those in the
automobile and airline industries. Capital intensive companies run a higher risk; if there is a downturn in sales,
profits will decrease sharply because FIXED COST cannot be reduced in the short-term to meet declining demand.
A diagram illustrating the downside risk potential follows:

management decisions about when and how much to spend on capital facilities for the organization.


concept of valuing a business by determining the NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) of expected future profits. In an economic sense, a company is worth the discounted amount of its net income. The concept can also be applied to valuing a particular asset (e.g., machine), which should theoretically be worth the present value of future earnings to be derived from it.


process of deferring interest as an asset rather than an expense. Interest charges can be deferred only for interest incurred on borrowed funds for the self-construction of an

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asset or for discrete projects (e.g., real estate). The amount of interest capitalized is based on the company's actual borrowings and interest payments. The interest rate to be used is the rate on the specific borrowing associated with that self-constructed asset. If this cannot be achieved, the weighted-average interest rate on corporate debt is used.


to charge an expenditure to an asset account because it benefits a period in excess of one year. For example, a betterment to a machine would be capitalized to the machinery account.


one in which the LESSEE obtains significant property rights. Although not legally a purchase, THEORETICAL SUBSTANCE governs over legal form and requires that the leased property be recorded as an asset on the lessee's books. The asset equals the present value of MINIMUM LEASE PAYMENTS. A capital lease exists if any one of the following four criteria is met: (1) the lease transfers ownership of the property to the lessee at the end of the lease term; (2) a BARGAIN PURCHASE OPTION exists; (3) lease term is 75% or more of the life of the property;
(4) the present value of minimum lease payments equals or exceeds 90% of the fair value of the property.


federal tax term for the loss on the sale or exchange of a CAPITAL ASSET.

Individual: Capital losses are fully deductible to offset CAPITAL GAINS and can offset $3000 of ordinary income.

Corporation: Capital losses are deductible only to the extent of capital gains. CAPITAL MAINTENANCE CONCEPT
principle in accounting stating that earnings can be realized only after an organization's capital has been
maintained at a predetermined level.


trading center for long-term debt and corporate stocks. The NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE), which trades the stocks of many of the larger corporations, is a prime example of a capital market. The American Stock Exchange and the regional stock exchanges are also examples. In addition, securities are issued and traded through the thousands of brokers and dealers on the OVER-THECOUNTER market.


in governmental accounting, a fund that accounts for financial resources to be used for the acquisition or construction of capital facilities. The total cost of a capital project is accumulated in a single expenditures account, which accumulates until the project is completed, at which time the fund ceases to exist.


selecting the mix of acceptable projects that provides the highest overall NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) when a company has a limit on the budget for capital spending. The PROFITABILITY INDEX is used widely in ranking projects competing for limited funds.

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in taxation, term describing a cost recovery of capital. An example is depreciation expense taken over the expected life of the capital asset, although an ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM (ACRS) ignores such time- honored concepts as useful life and salvage value. A recovery allowance may also take the form of depreciation with shorter useful lives and immediate expensing (e.g., research and development). See also DEPRECIATION.


equity shares in a corporation authorized by its Articles of Incorporation and issued to stockholders. The two basic types of capital stock are COMMON STOCK and PREFERRED STOCK.


shares acquired under an installment plan; also termed subscribed stock. In this way by making a down payment, a potential stockholder reserves shares that may be issued only when full payment has been received. The entry at the time of subscription is to debit cash and/or subscriptions receivable and credit capital stock subscribed and premium on capital stock, if any. Capital stock subscribed is shown under capital stock in the stockholders' equity section of the balance sheet. If a subscriber defaults on the subscription, the company must account for it in accordance with the laws of the states of incorporation.


composition of common stock, preferred stock and the various classes thereof, retained earnings, and long-term debt maintained by the business entity in financing its assets. However, not everybody agrees that long-term debt is part of the capital structure. Proponents say it finances long-term assets. Opponents say it is debtdue to creditorswhich means it has significantly different characteristics compared to any form of owners' equity.


paid-in capital not assigned to common stock. An example is the amount received from stockholders in excess of the par value of shares issued. Capital surplus is an archaic term. Premium on capital stock is preferred.


expenses incurred because a firm keeps inventories, also called holding costs. They include interest forgone on
money invested in inventory, storage cost, taxes, and insurance. The greater the inventory level, the higher the
carrying costs.


amount shown on an entity's books for assets, liabilities, or owner's equity, net of reductions or offsets such as for accumulated depreciation, allowance for bad debts, and bond discount; also called BOOK VALUE. It may refer to the entire firm's excess of total assets over total liabilities.


method used in the valuation of property acquired from a decedent for tax purposes. The unified transfer tax of

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1976 provides for the valuation of property to be the adjusted basis immediately preceding death. This adjusted basis is then further adjusted with respect to such aspects of a transfer as appreciated property, election of fair market value for personal items, and exceptions for small estates.


money deposited in a bank and items that a bank will accept for immediate deposit (e.g., paper money, coins, checks, money orders). Items not included in the definition of cash are postdated checks, IOUs, and notes receivable. The cash on hand and cash on deposit in the bank are shown in the balance sheet as one figure. Cash is the most liquid of the current assets and is listed first. Note that restricted cash in a bank account is not considered a current asset. An example is cash held in a foreign country where remission restrictions exist.


method of recognizing revenue and expenses when cash is received or disbursed rather than when earned or incurred. A service business not dealing in inventory has the option of using the cash basis or accrual basis. Individual taxpayers preparing their tax returns are essentially on the cash basis.


budget for cash planning and control that presents expected cash inflow and outflow for a designated time period. The cash budget helps management keep cash balances in reasonable relationship to its needs. It aids in avoiding idle cash and possible cash shortages. The cash budget typically consists of four major sections: (1) receipts section, which is the beginning cash balance, cash collections from customers, and other receipts; (2) disbursement section comprised of all cash payments made by purpose; (3) cash surplus or deficit section showing the difference between cash receipts and cash payments; and (4) financing section providing a detailed account of the borrowings and repayments expected during the period.


book used to record all payments made in cash such as for accounts payable, merchandise purchases, and operating expenses; also termed cash payments journal. There are usually separate columns for the date, check number, explanation, cash credit, purchase discount credit, other credit, accounts debited, accounts payable debit, purchases debit, and other debt. See also CASH RECEIPTS JOURNAL.


usual type of dividend paid to stockholders. It is typically expressed on a dollar-and-cents-per-share basis.
However, with preferred stock, the dividend is expressed as a percentage of par value. Dividends are paid on
outstanding shares. Assume on 11/15/2000, a cash dividend of $1.50 per common share is declared. Issued shares
are 12,000 and treasury shares are 2000. The record date is 12/20/2000. Payment is to be made on 1/15/2001. The
entry on 11/15/2000 is to debit

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retained earnings and credit cash dividends payable for $15,000 (10,000 shares x $1.50). Cash dividends payable is a current liability. No entry is made on the record date. On 1/15/2001, cash dividends payable is debited and cash credited for $15,000. Assume there are 30,000 shares of $10 par value, 8% preferred stock.

The cash dividend is:

x $10par value
$300,000total par value
x .08dividend rate
$24,000cash dividend


1. immediately realizable money that can be obtained in an exchange of goods or services.

2. financial instruments of high liquidity and safety. Examples are a TREASURY BILL and a MONEY MARKET fund.

3. in preparing the STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS, a short-term, highly liquid investment having an original maturity of three months or less.


funds that could be received upon the sale of an asset. It is the current realizable value for the item obtained in an exchange. See also FAIR MARKET VALUE; MARKET VALUE.


1. cash receipts minus cash disbursements from a given operation or asset for a given period. Cash flow and cash inflow are often used interchangeably.

2. in CAPITAL BUDGETING, monetary value of the expected benefits and costs of a project. It may be in the form of cash savings in operating costs or the difference between additional dollars received and additional dollars paid out for a given period.

3. cash basis net income. The procedures for converting an accrual basis net income amount to a cash basis net income figure are as follows:

Accrual basis net income

+ Non-cash charges such as depreciation

+ or - Changes in accounts receivable, inventory, prepaid expenses, accounts payable, and accrued liabilities
= Cash basis net income


future cash flow predictions including cash collections from customers, investment income, and cash disbursements.


ratios showing the cash position or change in cash of the business. Higher levels of cash flow indicate improved cash earnings and liquidity. Earnings are of higher quality if they are backed up by cash because cash can be used to pay debt, purchase fixed assets,

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and so on. Some cash flow ratios are (1) cash flow from operations/ net income, (2) cash flow coverage equal to cash flow from operations/cash expenses, and (3) cash reinvestment ratio equal to cash used/cash obtained. A high cash reinvestment ratio indicates that more cash is being used in the business.


statement showing from what sources cash has come into the business and on what the cash has been spent. The net result is reflected in the balance of the cash account as of a certain period of time. This is a valuable tool in FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS. See also STATEMENT OF CASH FLOWS.


ratio of net cash flows from operating activities to average total assets. Used to measure the ability of assets to generate operating cash flows.


ratio of net cash flows from operating activities to sales. Used to measure the ability of sales to generate operating cash flows.


computation indicating a company's ability to maintain plant and equipment from cash provided by operations, rather than by borrowing or issuing new stock. The ratio equals cash flow from operations less dividends divided by expenditures for plant and equipment.


rate indicating a company's ability to satisfy its debts. It is useful in predicting BANKRUPTCY. The ratio equals cash flow from operations divided by total liabilities.


ratio of net cash flows from operating activities to net income. Used to measure the ability of a company to generate operating cash flows in relation to net income.


ability of a company to generate cash from its current or continuing operations. CASHIER'S CHECK
check drawn by a bank on its own funds and signed by its cashier. It is thus a direct obligation of the bank. A
cashier's check is distinguished from a MONEY ORDER, which is an order for the payment of money, as one
issued by one bank or post office and payable at another.


book used to record all transactions involving the receipt of cash. Examples are cash sales, receipt of interest and
dividend revenue, collections from customer accounts, and cash sale of assets. Typically, there are separate
columns for the date, explanation, cash debit, sales discount debit, other debit, account credit, accounts receivable

credit, and other credit. See also CASH DISBURSEMENT JOURNAL.

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situation in which the physical amount of cash on hand differs from the book recorded amount of cash. When a business is involved with over-the-counter cash receipts, occasional errors may occur in making change. The cash shortage or overage is revealed when the physical cash count at the end of the day does not agree with the cash register tape. Assuming that the count is $600 and the cash register reading shows $620, the cash shortage and overage account would be charged for $20. It is shown in the income statement.


portion of life insurance premiums paid that can be received if the policy is canceled. The beneficiary has the option of canceling the policy. Cash surrender value is classified on the balance sheet under Investments. As the company pays premiums, part represents an expense and part applies to the cash surrender value. The difference between the premium paid and the increase in cash surrender value represents an expense.

Cash surrender value of life insurance applies to ordinary life and limited payment policies. Term insurance does not have a cash surrender value.


computation that measures a company's ability to satisfy short-term financial obligations immediately and is therefore a good liquidity measure. The ratio equals cash plus near-cash and marketable securities divided by current liabilities.


loss arising from the partial or complete destruction of property resulting from circumstances of a sudden, unexpected or unusual nature, such as storms, floods, fires, and auto accidents. These circumstances must be identifiable as the proximate cause of such a loss for classificatory purposes. Individuals may deduct a casualty loss as an itemized deduction to the extent of any amount not compensated for by insurance or otherwise if: (1) the loss is incurred in a trade or business; (2) the loss is incurred in a transaction entered into for profit; and (3) the loss is caused by fire, storm, shipwreck, or other casualty or by theft. In a business, casualty losses are typically shown as an extraordinary item net of tax in the income statement. For example, if the casualty loss is $10,000 and the company is in the 34% tax bracket, the after-tax loss presented in the income statement is $6600 = $10,000 (1 .34).


directory of file locations. CATHODE RAY TUBE (CRT)
device in which electrons are sprayed onto a viewing screen, under the direction of magnetic fields, to form
patterns. Examples of CRTs are computer terminals and computer screens (monitors).


certificate granted by the Institute of Computer Professionals (ICCP). Candidates must demon-

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strate satisfactory academic accomplishment and work experience in computer-based information systems and pass a written examination.


an optical-disk format that is used for prerecorded text, graphics, and sound. Because a CD-ROM is a read-only disk, a CD-ROM cannot be written on or erased by the user.


amount equal to the NET REALIZABLE VALUE. The market cannot exceed the ceiling (upper limit) when employing the LOWER OF COST OR MARKET method of inventory valuation. If market is greater than the ceiling, the ceiling is chosen. For example, if market is $12 and ceiling is $9, the inventory value would be $9. However, if market was below the ceiling, the market value would be used.


point of intersection between a row and column in an electronic spreadsheet. The spreadsheet's cells can be related to one another, through arithmetic and logical formulas, to create financial data. When data in one cell is changed such as in "what-if" analysis, the software instantly calculates the effects of the change on all cells displaying the results.


groups of machinery that are closely associated with each family of parts. CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION COSTS
allocated common costs.


situation in which decision-making power is at the top of an organization and there is little delegation of authority.
It is the opposite of DECENTRALIZATION. Centralization and decentralization are really a matter of degree. Full
centralization means minimum autonomy and maximum restrictions on operations of subunits of the organization.
As an organization grows in size and complexity, decentralization is generally considered to be effective and


one of the most important theorems in statistics. It says: If a large number of random samples of size µ are chosen from virtually any population (with mean µ and standard deviation s), the means ( 's) of these samples will themselves follow a NORMAL DISTRIBUTION with a mean

and a standard deviation , called the standard error of the mean, given by

Two important implications of this theorem follow:

(1) Random samples can be drawn from any population, normally distributed or not. Thus, even if it is known that the dollar value of a

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certain inventory item is not normally distributed, the theorem can be invoked and the assumption made that the sample mean inventory dollar value will be normally distributed.

(2) The theorem allows statements to be made about the value of the population mean without looking at the entire population. Thus, interval estimates can be made about the true value of an inventory item. Such interval estimates are called CONFIDENCE INTERVAL.


component of a computer hardware system that combines control unit, storage unit, and arithmetic unit. The control unit interprets the instructions given to the computer. Internal storage is where the program of instructions is kept and where data from the input devices are sent. External storage can consist of disk and tapes. The arithmetic unit actually does the calculation required by the program.


situation in which there is absolutely no doubt about which event will occur, and there is only one STATE OF NATURE with 100% probability attached. See also DECISION MAKING UNDER CERTAINTY.


amount of cash (or rate of return) that a decision maker would require with certainty to make the recipient indifferent between this certain sum and a particular uncertain, risky sum. Multiplying the expected cash inflow by the certainty cash equivalent coefficient results in an equivalent certain cash inflow. For example, given the expected cash inflows and certainty cash equivalent coefficients, the equivalent certain cash inflows are obtained as follows:

Certainty Equivalent Equivalent Certain
1 Cash Inflows
$10,000 Coefficients
0.95 Cash Inflows
$ 9,500
2 15,000 0.80 12,000
3 20,000 0.70 14,000


program requiring candidates to pass a series of uniform examinations covering a wide range of subjects. The examination consists of the following four parts: (1) Economics, Finance, and Management, (2) Financial Accounting and Reporting, (3) Management Reporting, Analysis, and Behavioral Issues, and (4) Decision Analysis and Information Systems. The exam is given twice yearly in June and December. The objectives of the CMA program are fourfold: (1) to establish management accounting as a recognized profession by identifying the role of the management accountant and financial manager, the underlying body of knowledge, and a course of study by which such knowledge is acquired; (2) to encourage higher educational standards in the management accounting field; (3) to establish an objective measure of an individual's

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knowledge and competence in the field of management accounting; and (4) to encourage continued professional development by management accountants. For more information, call IMA at (800) 638-4427, ext. 265 or (201) 573-6300 or visit its Web site: accounting/raw/ima/.


special type of time deposit. ACD is an investment instrument available at financial institutions generally offering a fixed rate of return for a specified period (such as three months, six months, one year, or longer). The depositor agrees not to withdraw funds for the time period of the CD. If the funds are withdrawn, a significant penalty is charged. The fixed rate of return nominally increases with the amount or the term of the investment.


title given by the Association of Certified Accountants in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, India, and other British Commonwealth countries. They use the initials ACCA (for member of the Association of Certified Accountants) or FCCA, which identifies a Fellow of the Association, one who has passed additional requirements. The accountant is authorized to provide an audit opinion on the propriety of a company's financial statements.


depositor's check that a bank guarantees to pay. The funds are precommitted. When preparing a BANK RECONCILIATION, a certified check is not considered outstanding since both parties, the company and the bank, know about it.


professional designation requiring a high level of skill and competence in the analysis of client financial conditions and the development of client-oriented personal financial plans. Candidates must pass a series of national examinations administered by the College for Financial Planning, Denver, Colorado. The CFP program consists of six separate parts, each of which is a three-hour written examination. The program includes the following parts: (1) introduction to financial planning; (2) risk management; (3) investments; (4) tax planning and management; (5) retirement planning and employee benefits; and (6) estate planning. Candidates must also meet other educational and work experience requirements of the college in order to obtain the right to use the college's designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP). See also FINANCIAL PLANNER.


one that is accompanied by the independent CPA's AUDIT REPORT. See also AUDIT OPINION. CERTIFIED IN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT (CFM)
program established by the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) to provide an objective measure of
knowledge and competence in the field of financial management. Only Part II (Financial Accounting and
Reporting) of the CMA examination is replaced with Corporate

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Financial Management. The CFM is approved by the prestigious Financial Management Association whose Web site is http://www. See also CERTIFIED MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT (CMA).


professional designation in the area of information systems audits. It is conferred by the EDP Auditor Association to candidates who successfully pass the examination. The examination covers the following topics: (1) application systems controls; (2) data integrity review; (3) systems development life; (4) application development review; (5) maintenance review; (6) general operational procedures; (7) security review; (8) systems software review; (9) acquisition review; (10) data processing resource management review; and (11) information systems audit.


recognition given by the Institute of Internal Auditors after a candidate has satisfied the organization's professional requirements. The INTERNAL AUDITOR verifies the accuracy of a company's record keeping and accounts as well as performing operational audits. The CIA must abide by a code of ethics.


title awarded in the United States to accountants who meet stringent professional qualifications. State authorities confer the title on those who pass the Uniform CPA Examination, administered by the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA) and who satisfy the experience requirement of the particular state (e.g., New York requires two years of public accounting experience). The CPA is licensed to render an AUDIT OPINION on the fairness of a company's financial statements. A CPA in one state (e.g., New York) may be allowed to practice in another state (e.g., California) if reciprocal agreements exist. The two-year experience requirement frequently must be satisfied in the second state before the accountant is granted a license to practice.


series of linked data items. CHANCE VARIANCES


restatement of an accounting assumption or forecast. Examples include changing the economic (useful) life or salvage value of a fixed asset. A change in accounting estimate is accounted for prospectively over current and future years. This will cause a change to the expense account in future years. Prior years are not restated. Note that a change in estimate coupled with a change in principle is accounted for as a change in estimate. Disclosure should be made of the particulars surrounding the estimate change.


switch from one principle to another. An example is changing from the STRAIGHT-LINE-DEPRECIATION method to the units-of-output method. A change in principle is usually accounted for in the current year's income statement in an account called CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF A CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRIN-

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CIPLE. A few changes in principle require the restatement of previous years' financial statements as if the new principle had been used in those years. An example is going from the LIFO inventory method to another method. Disclosure should be made of the nature and justification for a principle change. Proper justification might be a new FASB pronouncement.


term used when two or more previously separate companies are combined into one. Typically, the financial statements for the five years preceding the change are restated to present income before extraordinary items, net income, and earnings per share as if both companies were combined during that period. The restatement is typically for a period of five years. A footnote should disclose the nature of and reason for the change.


statute of the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act that covers LIQUIDATION proceedings. As a general rule, any debtor subject to Chapter 7 is also subject to CHAPTER 11. Liquidation proceedings are used to eliminate most of the debts of the debtor. Chapter 7 provides for a court-appointed trustee to make management changes, secure additional financing, and operate the debtor business so as to prevent further loss. The fundamental assumption of the proceedings is that honest debtors may sometimes not be able to discharge fully their debts and that fairness and public policy both dictate that the debtor be granted a "fresh start" in both personal and business lives. See also BANKRUPTCY; CHAPTER 11.


statute of the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act. It covers the specific proceedings and provisions regarding REORGANIZATION and the execution of such a plan of an individual, partnership, corporation, or municipality. This statute provides possible solutions to insolvency and the difficulty of satisfying creditor claims. Under Chapter 11, unless the court rules otherwise, the debtor remains in control of the business and its operations. Debtor and creditors are allowed to work together, thus making possible the restructuring of debt, the rescheduling of payments, and even the granting of loans by the creditors to the debtor. See also BANKRUPTCY; CHAPTER 7.


court approved and coordinated plan that pays off an individual's debts over a period of three years; also called wage-earner plan. It is a plan for the repayment of debts that allows a credit user in serious financial difficulty to pay off credit obligations without declaring bankruptcy. See also BANKRUPTCY (PERSONAL).


1. term used to describe a debit to an account.

2. to debit an account.

3. to buy on credit.


summary accounting of the principal and income associated with a fiduciary responsibility such

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as that of an administrator or trustee of an estate. The statement usually first describes the charge as to principal, namely assets or gains, and the credit or discharge of debts, expenses, or legacies distributed. Next the statement describes the charges and discharges as to income, for example, interest received and discharges such as income taxes, administrative expenses, and distributions to income beneficiaries. Finally the form of the statement clearly states and reconciles both the principal and income balances as properly administrated as of a given date.


itemized deduction for amounts given to qualified domestic organizations. A charitable contribution may be deductible even though all or some portion of the funds of the donee organization may be used in foreign countries for charitable or educational purposes. Generally, contributions made to foreign organizations are not deductible. Taxpayers not itemizing deductions cannot deduct charitable contributions. To the extent that untaxed appreciation of charitable contribution property is allowed as a regular tax deduction, the appreciation is a preference item for the alternative minimum tax rules.


recognition given by the chartered institutes in present and former British Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom to individuals meeting examination and practical experience requirements. The chartered accountant is authorized to render an audit opinion on a company's financial statements.


title given by the Financial Analysts Federation to an individual meeting examination and experience requirements. A CFA is recognized as a specialist in analyzing companies for investment or credit purposes.


professional designation given by the American College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It is conferred upon candidates who will provide financial planning services for clients. To earn the ChFC designation the candidate must complete ten courses, six required and four electives. The six required courses are: (1) financial services, (2) income taxation,
(3) financial statement analysis/individual insurance benefits, (4) investments, (5) estate and gift tax planning, and
(6) financial and estate planning applications. See also CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP); FINANCIAL


method used by a technical analyst to evaluate market trends and price behavior of individual securities. Standard
& Poor's Trendline is one publication providing charting information on many securities. In order to interpret
charts the analyst must be able to evaluate chart patterns (e.g., head and shoulders) and detect buy and sell
indicators. Three basic types of charts are line, bar, and point-and-

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figure. Charts can reveal whether the market is in a major upturn or downturn and help analysts predict whether the trend will reverse. The analyst can see what price may occur on a given stock or market average. Further, charts help to predict the magnitude of a price swing.


a list of ledger account names and numbers arranged in the order in which they customarily appear in the financial statements. The chart serves as a useful source for locating a given account within the ledger. The numbering system for the chart of accounts must leave room for new accounts. A range of numbers is assigned to each financial statement category. For example, asset accounts may be assigned the numbers 1100 and liabilities assigned 101200. For large businesses, a wider range of numbers would be required for each grouping. In fact, some companies employ a three-digit numbering system for each account. In such a case, the first digit identifies the financial statement category and the remaining digits apply to the position of that account within that category. For example, 1 may be the first digit for Assets, and Cash, being the first asset account, would be identified as 101.


mortgage on personal (as opposed to real) property. See also MORTGAGES. CHECK
1. draft drawn upon a bank, payable upon demand to the person named upon the draft.

2. to determine an item's accuracy such as by retotaling charges on an invoice or auditing source documents. CHECK DIGIT
digit that is appended to a number so that an accountant can assure the number's correctness following a
computation. As the number is utilized in processing, the identical calculation is performed to see if the new check
digit is the same as the original one. If so, the number has been read or written accurately. A variation between the
check digits indicates an error possibly due to an omission or transposition.


executive who directs all financial aspects of the business. Examples of functions performed are keeping accounting records, designing accounting systems and procedures, financial forecasting, and using funds. Large companies have financial vice-presidents (or vice-president of finance) and controllers and treasurers. A smaller company may have one officer responsible for the accounting and treasury functions; frequently that official has the title of controller. INTERNAL AUDIT responsibilities are often assigned to the controller.


that part of an entity's investment that is continually used up and renewed to enable ongoing operations, such as materials, labor, and overhead costs.

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number of outcomes favorable to the occurrence of an event divided by the total number of possible outcomes. In order for this ratio to be valid, each of the outcomes must be equally likely. Distributions are gained from actual occurrences in long-run experience and experimentation. An example is repeated trials under a constant-cause situation. It is useful in estimating dollar value, quantity, or other characteristics of a given universe. For example, the probability of rolling a 4 on one die is 1/6.


process of grouping economic resources under appropriate categories. Asset categories include CURRENT ASSETS, FIXED ASSETS, INTANGIBLE ASSETS, INVESTMENTS, and DEFERRED COSTS. Assets are
classified into major groupings to facilitate analysis of the entity's financial health. For instance, a company's liquidity can be appraised by concentrating on the current assets less prepaid expenses which are available to meet short-term debt.


process of grouping obligations by when they are due. The categories used are CURRENT LIABILITY and LONG-TERM LIABILITY. Liability classification assists financial statement users in evaluating the firm's financial position and ability to take on additional short-term or long-term debt.


process of using group headings within the stockholders' equity section of the balance sheet. The headings include capital stock, paid-in capital, retained earnings, and treasury stock. Capital stock represents stock that has been issued (e.g., issued common or preferred stock) and stock to be issued at a later date (e.g., stock option). Paid-in- capital consists of such items as contributed capital in excess of par and donations. Retained earnings is the accumulated earnings less cash dividends. Treasury stock is a deduction in determining stockholders' equity.


equity separated into different classes. For example, common stock may consist of Class A and Class B. Typically, Class A has greater voting rights. It may also contain dividend and liquidation privileges.


ANTITRUST LAW passed in 1914 as an amendment to the SHERMAN ANTITRUST ACT of 1890. The Act listed four illegal practices in restraint of competition. It outlawed price discrimination, tying contracts and exclusive dealerships, and horizontal mergers. It also outlawed interlocking directorates (the practice of having the same people serve as directors of two or more competing firms).


doctrine holding that entries to retained earnings are limited to record only periodic earnings and dividends.

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usually a temporary account containing costs or amounts that are to be transferred to another account. An example is the income summary account containing revenue and expense amounts to be transferred to retained earnings at the close of a fiscal period.


report on a security or commodity broker's trading activity. This statement is submitted to the clearing house of the exchange by the broker, and through the reconciliation of other broker members' statements, amounts due or payable and net quantities of securities or commodities deliverable to or receivable by each broker are determined.


one whose shares are limited and traded like the common stock of a corporation. Once shares are issued, the only
way an investor can purchase or sell the fund shares is in the open market. An example of a closed-end mutual
fund is Prudential-Bache Securities' Global Yield Fund. See also OPEN-END MUTUAL FUND.


enterprise-wide scope of organization resource costs that are all reassigned through activities to final cost objects. CLOSELY HELD CORPORATION
firm that has only a few stockholders. It contrasts with a privately held corporation in that a closely held
corporation is public although few of the shares are traded. The so-called "corporate pocket-books" may become
subject to the additional personal holding company tax on income not distributed. For example, deductions and
losses in transactions between a major stockholder and the corporation may be disallowed under certain


journal entry at the end of a period to transfer the net effect of revenue and expense items from the income
statements to owners' equity. Entries are for NOMINAL ACCOUNTS and not REAL ACCOUNTS. At the end of
the year, expenses are credited so that zero balances are left in them, and the total is debited to the INCOME
SUMMARY account. Revenue accounts are debited to arrive at zero balances, and the total is credited to the
income summary account. The net income or loss that now exists in the income summary account is then
transferred to retained earnings. After the closing entries, the new year will start fresh in that no income statement
account balances will exist.


method of selecting groups of units. The first unit of each group is selected with the use of a random number table. This allows selection of more than one item at a time. In cluster sampling, the population is broken into groups of items, and a RANDOM SAMPLE is selected from all the clusters. Each cluster becomes a sampling unit. After determining the adequate number of clusters, the auditor has a choice of either examining all items in a cluster


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stage) or only a random number of items in the cluster (two-stage). Cluster sampling requires computing the mean for the individual sampling unit and multiplying this by the number of units in the population to determine the population's estimated value. The precision limit on this estimate must also be computed. Cluster sampling lowers sampling cost and the cost to replace the sample. Sample selection is made easier; however, less statistical efficiency exists. Applications of cluster sampling measure variables such as inventory value and the balance in accounts receivable. It can also be used to measure attributes.




journal published by the Society of Management Accountants in Canada on a bimonthly basis. Subject matter concentrates on managerial accounting and information systems.


authoritative statement regarding the rules of conduct for certified public accountants in performing their functions.
prepares these ethical guidelines. For example, a CPA may not divulge confidential client information to the


assignment of an identification number to each account in the financial statements. A CHART OF ACCOUNTS lists the account titles and account numbers being used by a business. For example, the numbers 1 to 29 may be used exclusively for asset accounts; numbers from 30 to 49 may be reserved for liabilities; numbers in the 50s may signify OWNERS' EQUITY accounts; numbers in the 60s may represent revenue accounts; and numbers from 70 to 99 may designate expense accounts. In large or complex businesses with many more accounts, a more elaborate coding system would be needed. Some companies use a four-digit coding system. The coding system is especially necessary for computerized accounting.


statistical measure of GOOD-NESS-OF-FIT. It measures how good the estimated regression equation is, designated as r 2 (read as r-squared). The higher the r-squared, the more confidence one can have in the equation. Statistically, the coefficient of determination represents the proportion of the total variation in the y variable that is explained by the regression equation. It has the range of values between 0 and 1. It is computed as


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Example: The statement "factory overhead is a function of machine-hours with r2 = .70," can be interpreted as "70% of the total variation of factory overhead is explained by the machine hours and the remaining 30% is accounted for by something other than machine-hours." The 30% is referred to as the error term.


measure of relative dispersion, or relative risk. It is computed by dividing the standard deviation (s) by the expected value ( ). For example, consider two investment proposals, A and B, with the following data:

Proposal Expected Value ( ) Standard Deviation (s)
A $230 $107.07
B 250 208.57

The coefficient of variation for each proposal is: For A: $107.70/$230 = .47
For B: $208.57/$250 = .83.

Therefore, because the coefficient is a relative measure of risk, B is considered more risky than A. COINSURANCE CLAUSE
provision in an insurance policy that limits the liability of the insurer. It specifies that the owner of property that
has been damaged (e.g., by fire or water) must have another policy covering usually at least 80% of the cash value
of the property at the time of damage in order to collect the full amount insured. This serves as an inducement for
an individual to carry full coverage.


to pledge assets to secure a debt. These assets will be given up if the borrower defaults on the terms and conditions specified in the debt agreement. An example is pledging inventory to collateralize a bank loan.


art, stamps, coins, antiques, and other related items. They offer capital gains potential, inflation protection, and aesthetic enjoyment. Collectibles are acquired through dealers, at auctions, or directly from previous owners. Among the drawbacks are high security and insurance cost, poor liquidity, lack of income, and possible forgeries. Information about collectibles sometimes appears in magazines like Money and Creditor/Investor, and major categories of collectibles have magazines and newsletters devoted exclusively to them.


number of days it takes to collect accounts receivable. The collection period should be or can be compared to the terms of sale. A long collection period may indicate higher risk in collecting the account; it ties up funds that could be invested elsewhere or used to make timely payments. It equals the number of days in a year divided by the ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE TURNOVER. Assume a 360-day

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year and turnover rate of 10 times. The collection period is 36 days. See also AGING OF ACCOUNTS.

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term used in not-for-profit accounting. College funds consist of current funds, loan funds, endowment funds, annuity and life funds, agency funds, and plant funds.


1. agreement between two entities to undertake a mutually beneficial action. An example is an agreement related to pricing.

1. presentation in which the balance sheet accounts or income statement accounts of a related group of entities
have been added together so they are considered as one reporting entity. Intercompany transactions are eliminated
in a combined statement.

2. in governmental accounting, statement in which the balance sheets of all fund and account groups are shown without interfund transfers being eliminated


term used when underwriters request "comfort" from an auditor about financial information in SEC registration statements not covered by the auditor's opinion and on subsequent events after the opinion date. Comfort letters are not filed with the SEC but are required by underwriters who have certain responsibilities under SEC regulations. Typically, comfort letters are mandated as part of the underwriting agreement. The adequacy of procedures conducted in the comfort review rests with the underwriter and not the auditor. Underwriting agreements typically provide for a closing date on which the agreement is to be consummated and a "cutoff date" shortly before the closing date. The comfort letter should specifically state that it does not cover the period between the cutoff date and the date of the letter. The contents of the comfort letter cover some or all of the following: compliance with SEC rules and regulations, audit procedures conducted, unaudited financial statements and schedules, statistics and tables, changes in certain financial statement items after the latest statement contained in the filing, auditor independence, and an understanding regarding the limited circulation of the letter. Note that comments on unaudited statements and subsequent changes should be restricted to NEGATIVE ASSURANCE since the auditor has not conducted an examination in accordance with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). Any financial statement, schedule, or other information referenced in the letter should be clearly identified along with the auditor's responsibility regarding it. The auditor should not comment on matters involving management judgment (i.e., reasons for change in income statement items). Working papers should back up statements made in comfort letters and furnish evidence of procedures carried out.

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short-term unsecured loan of a financially strong company having a maturity up to 270 days. It is typically issued on a discount basis meaning that the interest is subtracted immediately from the face of the debt to obtain the cash proceeds. Commercial paper interest rates are usually less than the prime interest rate (rate charged by banks to their best customers). Flexibility is another advantage; they can be issued at varying maturity dates when funds are needed.


1. expected expenditure backed by an agreement. A commitment may be disclosed in a footnote but generally is not given accounting recognition. Disclosure includes its nature and amount. However, a commitment can be recorded in the case of a loss commitment on a purchase contract where the market price has significantly declined below the agreed upon delivery contract price. The entry for the difference is to debit loss on purchase commitment and credit estimated liability. But a gain on a purchase contract is not recognized because it violates CONSERVATISM. See also CONTINGENT LIABILITY.

2. bank commitment to lend a company funds when needed. COMMITTED COST


former senior technical committee of the American Institute of CPAs that promulgated Accounting Research Bulletins from 1938 up to 1959. It consisted of accounting practitioners and professors. It was replaced by the Accounting Principles Board, which was, in turn, replaced by the FASB.


contracts in which sellers promise to deliver a given commodity by a certain date at a predetermined price. Price is agreed to by open outcry on the floor of the commodity exchange. The contract specifies the item, the price, the expiration date, and a standardized unit to be traded (e.g., 50,000 pounds). Commodity contracts may run up to one year. Investors must continually evaluate the effect of market activity on the value of the contract. While the futures contract mandates that the buyer and seller exchange the commodity on the delivery date, the contract may be sold to another party prior to the settlement date. This may occur when the trader wants to realize a profit now or limit the loss. Investors engage in commodity trading in the hope of high return rates and inflation hedges.


programming language for business data processing. As compared to FORTRAN and BASIC, COBOL statements resemble English sentences and thus are long and wordy, but easy to read.


expense shared by different departments, products, or jobs, also called JOINT COST or INDIRECT COST. COMMON SIZE FINANCIAL STATEMENT
form of financial statement analysis in which the relative percentages of financial statement

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items as well as their dollar amounts are shown. See also vertical analysis.

ABC Company Common Size Income Statement
For Year Ended December 31, 2000

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Less: Cost of goods sold Gross profit
Operating expenses Net income


share in a public company or privately held firm. Common stockholders have voting and dividend rights. In the event of corporate bankruptcy, common stockholders are paid after bondholders and preferred stockholders. There is, however, a greater chance of capital appreciation by owning common stock.

The issuing company shows common stock at its total par value, or no-par value, or stated value in the capital stock section of stockholders' equity.


security that can be converted into common stock. It is not now in common stock form but has provisions enabling holders to become common stockholders. A common stock equivalent is included in PRIMARY EARNINGS PER SHARE if its effect is dilutive. Examples are stock options, warrants, two-class common stocks, and contingent shares (if related to the passage of time). Contingent shares are shares issuable upon the occurrence of a specified event. A convertible security is a common stock equivalent when its effective yield at the time of issuance is less than 66 2 Ú3% of the average Aa corporate bond yield. See also EARNINGS PER SHARE; FULLY DILUTED EARNINGS PER SHARE.


SAS Number 84 provides guidance on communications between predecessor and successor auditors. The successor auditor is responsible for initiating the oral or written confidential communication. In the communication, the successor auditor should inquire of matters relevant to accepting the engagement such as management honesty, internal control, and accounting policy disagreements.


ability to rank companies so as to facilitate financial decisions. Comparability is aided when companies employ similar accounting procedures, measurement concepts, classifications, basic financial statement formats, and methods of disclosure. See also UNIFORMITY.


statement on which balance sheets, income statements, or statements of changes in financial position are assembled side by side for review purposes. Changes that have

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occurred in individual categories from year to year and over the years are easily noted. The key factor revealed is the trend in an account or financial statement category over time. A comparison of financial statements over two to three years can be undertaken by computing the year-to-year change in absolute dollars and in terms of percentage change. Longer-term comparisons are best undertaken by means of INDEX-NUMBER TREND SERIES.


expected payments to employees who miss work because of illness, vacation, or holidays. A liability is accrued for
compensation for future absences if all of the following criteria are satisfied: (1) employee services have already
been performed; (2) rights have already been vested; (3) there is probable payment; and (4) the amount is subject
to reasonable estimation. If the amount is not determinable, accrual is not possible but footnote disclosure should
be given.


deposit that a bank can use to offset an unpaid loan. No interest is earned on the compensating balance, which is stated as a percentage of the loan. The compensating balance increases the EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE on the loan. The compensating balance is usually 10%. Assume a company borrows $50,000 from the bank at a 10% interest rate with a 5% compensating balance. The loan is on a discount basis meaning interest is deducted immediately. The compensating balance is calculated at $2500. The effective interest rate is:


option offered to employees as partial compensation for their services. Compensation for services is measured by the quoted market price of the stock at the measurement date less the amount the employee is required to pay (option price). The measurement date is the earliest date on which both the number of shares to be issued and the option price are known. Compensation involved in a compensatory stock option plan should be expensed in the periods in which the related services are performed. The entry is to debit compensation expense and credit deferred compensation.


presentation of financial statement information by the entity without the accountant's assurance as to conformity
with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). In performing this accounting service,
(AICPA) Statements on

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Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS). For guidance on issues not covered therein, reference should be made to the STATEMENTS ON AUDITING STANDARDS (SAS). The engagement letter should set forth the type of services to be rendered, limitations of the service (such as nonreliance to disclose errors and irregularities), and nature of the compilation report. In undertaking a compilation assignment, the CPA should be familiar with the client and industry accounting principles and practices. The accountant should understand the client's accounting records, form and content of financial statements, and personnel qualifications. The accountant is not gathering evidence and does not verify client information provided. Rather, the CPA reads the compiled statements to assure that they are in appropriate form and without obvious material errors. Each page of the financial statement should refer to the compilation report. The accountant's report should indicate the completion of the compilation, the fact that the compilation is restricted to financial statement information presented by management, and that the statements have not been audited or reviewed. The accountant does not express an opinion on the financial statements nor does he or she give any other form of assurance on them. In the case where management omits needed disclosures, the CPA should state so in the report. See also REVIEW.


computer program that translates high-level programming languages such as FORTRAN and BASIC into machine language. The source program written in the special language is read as data by the compiler and compiled (translated) into an object program in the language of the machine being used.


profit is recognized only when a long-term construction contract is completed. It should be used only when the conditions of the PERCENTAGE OF COMPLETION METHOD cannot be applied. However, if a loss on the contract is expected, it should be immediately recognized consistent with the CONSERVATISM principle. See also CONSTRUCTION-IN-PROGRESS; PROGRESS BILLINGS.


financial structure with stock outstanding that has potential for DILUTION. Dual presentation of earnings per share by showing PRIMARY EARNINGS PER SHARE and FULLY DILUTED EARNINGS PER SHARE is required.


special auditor's report covering compliance with contractual agreements, such as bond indentures and loan agreements, and regulatory requirements. The lender or agency wishes to obtain the auditor's assurance as to compliance with the terms of the agreement. The data need not be audited for compliance; however, if the financial statements have been audited, the auditor may provide NEGATIVE ASSURANCE on compliance. The compliance report may be separately issued or addended to the auditor's report on the financial statements. In the latter case, usually an explanatory paragraph appears

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below the opinion paragraph. An example of a compliance audit is one conducted for the trustee of bondholders to determine whether provisions of the bond contract (such as the maintenance of required financial ratios) are being adhered to.


manner of furnishing reasonable assurance that internal accounting control procedures are being applied as prescribed so that the auditor is assured of the validity of underlying evidence. Any exceptions to compliance must be noted. Underlying evidence comprises an examination of the accounts themselves including reviewing the journals, ledgers, and worksheets. If the compliance tests provide evidence that controls are functioning properly, the underlying evidence is deemed reliable, and the CPA can reduce the degree of validation and analytical review procedures. The following three audit procedures are typically used in conducting compliance tests: (1) inquiry of personnel regarding the performance of their duties; (2) observing personnel actions; and (3) inspecting documentation for evidence of performance in conducting employee functions. An example is examining invoices to assure that receiving documents and proof of delivery are attached when the invoices are presented for payment. Tests of compliance should be applied to transactions throughout the year under audit since the financial statements reflect transactions and events for the whole year. Compliance tests may be conducted on a subjective or statistical basis. See also SUBSTANTIVE TEST.


term used to designate break-even sales when a company sells more than one product or service. A break-even point for all the products or services combined can be determined, based on the expected SALES MIX and the composite or weighted average unit contribution margin. For example, assume that

Baubles Trinkets Total
Sales $1.00 $1.250 $2.250
Variable cost 0.60 0.375 0.975
Contribution margin $0.40 $0.875 $1.275

Fixed costs $7,600
Sales mix 60% 40%

Then composite (or weighted average) unit contribution margin is ($0.40)(.6) + ($0.875)(.4) = $0.59. The break- even point for both products combined is: $7600/$0.59 = 12,881 units. See also WEIGHTED AVERAGE CONTRIBUTION MARGIN.


group depreciation of dissimilar assets with different service lives. Depreciation on all assets is determined by using the straight-line-depreciation method. Then, a composite depreciation rate is arrived at based on the ratio of depreciation per year to the original cost. Composite life equals the depreciable cost

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divided by the depreciation per year. In any given year, depreciation expense equals the composite depreciation rate times the gross cost balance in the asset account. The entry is to debit depreciation expense and credit accumulated depreciation. Under the method, when a particular asset is sold, the entry is to debit cash for the amount received and credit the asset for its original cost. The difference between the two is debited to accumulated depreciation. No gain or loss on the sale of a fixed asset is recognized under the composite method.

An illustrative schedule for composite depreciation is shown below:

Asset Original Cost Salvage Value Depreciable Cost Life Depreciation Per Year
Autos $100,000 $10,000 $ 90,000 10 $ 9,000
Trucks 55,000 5,000 50,000 4 12,500
$155,000 $15,000 $140,000 $21,500
Composite Rate = $155,000 = .139
Composite Life = $140,000 = 6.512
$ 21,500


agreement designed to allow a debtor to continue to operate. It includes a voluntary reduction of the amount the debtor owes the creditor. The creditor obtains from the debtor a stated percent of the obligation in full settlement of the debt regardless of how low the percentage is. The advantages of a composition are that court costs are eliminated as well as the stigma of a bankrupt company. See also BANKRUPTCY.


time during which compound interest is computed. Compounding means interest on interest and the period can be on a daily, monthly, annual, or other basis.


rate that is applicable when interest in sub-sequent periods is earned not only on the original principal but also on the accumulated interest of prior periods. For example, assume that the initial principal is $1000 and annual interest rate is 10%. At the end of first year, the amount is the principal and interest, which is $1000 + .1($1000) =
$1000 + $100 = $1100. At the end of second year, the amount is accumulated: $1100 + .1($1100) = $1100 + $110
= $1210. See also FUTURE VALUE.


more than one debit or credit in a journal entry.


official annual report of a government. In addition to a combined,

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combining (assembling of data for all funds within a type), and individual balance sheet, the following are also presented as appropriate: (1) statement of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balance (all funds); (2) statement of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balance, budget and actual (for general and special revenue funds); (3) statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in retained earnings (for proprietary funds); and
(4) statement of changes in financial position (for proprietary funds).


change in equity (net assets) arising from either transactions or other occurrences with nonowners. It excludes
investments and withdrawals by owners. Comprehensive income is comprised of two elements: net income and
other comprehensive income. Other comprehensive income relates to all items of comprehensive income except for
net income. Other comprehensive income includes foreign currency translation gain or loss; unrealized loss or gain
on available-for-sale securities; excess of additional pension liability over unamortized prior service cost; and
changes in market value of a futures contract that is a hedge of an asset reported at fair value.


method of measuring the tax effects of all transactions includable in book income for the period irrespective of the fact that they may be shown in taxable income in another year. It is an INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION.


1. misspelling of CONTROLLER, caused by confusion about the word's Latin and French roots.

2. chief auditor in the government sector. For example, the COMPTROLLER GENERAL heads the GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.


chief of the GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO). The GAO assists the Congress in overseeing the executive branch and serves as the independent legislative auditor of the federal government. The General Accounting Office reports directly to Congress on operating results, financial position, and accounting systems of government agencies. It conducts audits of all branches of the government, both here and abroad.


on-line data base offering electronic mail, special-interest groups (SIGs), programs that can be downloaded, and the Internal Revenue Service data base containing electronic versions of its publications, printed forms, and pamphlets. In the IRS data base, the accountant can also conduct a word search to find the exact information that is required in a specific area. Also available is an electronic stock brokerage service to buy and sell stock and to receive security quotes.

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data base published by Investors Management Science Company, a subsidiary of Standard & Poor's Corporation. The Compustat tapes are comprehensive, containing 20 years of annual financial data for over 3000 companies. Each year's data for the industrial companies include over 120 balance sheet and income statement items and market data. There is also a file on utilities and banks. The annual file is updated weekly.


use of a computer to interact with a designer in developing and testing product ideas without actually building prototypes.


computerized system to both integrate part design and to generate processing or manufacturing instructions. COMPUTER-AIDED MANUFACTURING (CAM)
manufacturing system utilizing computer software that controls the actual machine on the shop floor.


bringing participants together at different locations to exchange information and discuss problem situations. Conference members can take part in a discussion whenever they wish by computer or terminal. A review of conferencing systems appears in BYTE.


computer information systems utilizing a shared manufacturing data base for engineering design, factory production, and information management.


stand-alone machines controlled by a computer. COMPUTER SECURITY
method of protecting information, computer programs, and other computer system assets. Hardware security,
which is the security of computer assets and capital equipment, refers to computer location, access control, fire
protection, and storage procedures. Such measures as badges, electronic identification keys, alarm systems, and
physical barriers at entries are used for this purpose. Software security entails the protection of software assets such
and stored information. Special user numbers and passwords are typically used to prevent unauthorized access to
software and data. In addition to security for hardware and software, good internal control also requires that
measures be taken to prevent loss or accidental destruction of data.


acceleration of cash collections from customers by having funds sent to several geographically situated regional banks and transferred to a main concentration account in

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another bank. The transfer of funds can be accomplished through the use of depository transfer checks and electronic transfers.

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study of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. It attempts to arrive at theoretical foundations for its Statements of Financial Accounting Standards. At this time, there are six Statements of Financial Accounting Concepts.


one such as the income statement, balance sheet, or statement of changes in financial position, in which less essential detail has been combined. Its purpose is to provide a more general statement of affairs by including only highly significant summary items for a quick and informative perspective.


not-for-profit group of business people that examines and studies economic and managerial issues to enhance business activities. The organization puts out such useful statistics as the help-wanted index. Recommendations are given to the business community regarding important business issues.


estimated range of values with a given probability of including the population parameter of interest. The range of values is usually based on the results of a sample that estimated the mean and the sampling error or standard error. For example, for the population mean, the confidence intervals can be given by the interval whose lower (L) and upper (U) limits are as follows:

where µ is the population mean, Z = standard normal variate, and s = the standard error of the mean. See also


1. verification of a condition or fact.

2. auditor's written or oral request to a third party to verify the existence or amount of a financial item related to the clients. A positive confirmation requests a reply in any event while a negative confirmation asks for a reply only in the event of disagreement. Examples are accounts receivable, accounts payable, and bank confirmations.


category of QUALITY COSTS including costs of prevention and costs of appraisal, which are financial measures of internal performance.


combination of two or more firms with virtually unrelated activities. The key benefit claimed for conglomerates is

the diversification of risk across various industries. See also MERGER.

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accounting guideline that understates assets and revenues and overstates liabilities and expenses. Expenses should be recognized earlier than later while revenue should be recognized later than sooner. Thus, net income will result in a lower figure. Conservatism holds that in financial reporting it is preferable to be pessimistic (understate) than optimistic (overstate) since there is less chance of financial readers being hurt by relying on prepared financial statements. One can argue that pessimism is needed to counteract the optimism of management. However, excess conservatism may result in misguided decisions.


specialized way of marketing certain types of goods. The consignor delivers goods to the consignee who acts as the consignor's agent in selling the merchandise to a third party. The consignee accepts the goods without any liability except to reasonably protect them from damage. The consignee receives a commission when the merchandise is sold. Goods on consignment are included in the consignor's inventory and excluded from the consignee's inventory since the consignor has legal title.


1. uniformity of accounting procedures used by an accounting entity from period to period.

2. uniformity of measurement concepts and procedures used for related items within the company's financial statements for one period.

It is difficult for financial statement users to make projections when data are not measured and classified in the same manner over time. A change in accounting principle should not be made unless it can be justified as being preferable. An example of a change is switching from the STRAIGHT-LINE DEPRECIATION method to the SUM-OF-THEYEARS'-DIGITS method. A lack in consistency over time distorts the earnings trend and creates uncertainty in evaluating a company.


one that shows the financial position of an affiliated group of companies as though they constituted a single economic unit. The effect of intercompany relationships and the results of intercompany transactions will have been eliminated in the consolidation process. See also CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENT.


excess of cost over book value of the investment in a subsidiary. With consolidation, even when the assets and liabilities of the subsidiary are properly stated, and the net assets equal the values placed on them by the parent, an investor may still expect that the advantages of the combination will enable it to earn more than the two companies could earn separately. Therefore, the investor may be willing to pay an additional amount, which is, in effect, a bonus for control of the subsidiary. This bonus is an intangible asset, goodwill created as a result of consolida-

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tion. Consolidation has a special meaning in mergers because a new company is formed to own the stock of the companies being combined. In that type of reorganization, there is no goodwill. Goodwill arises from a PURCHASE METHOD merger and represents the difference between purchase price and book value of the acquired company. The meaning of the difference is theoretically the increased earning power of the companies as a result of their combination, but that value is not something superimposed on a balance sheet. It is what is actually paid less what is actually on the books.


statement that brings together all assets, liabilities, and operating accounts of a parent company and its subsidiaries. It presents the financial position and results of operations of the parent company and its subsidiaries as if the group were a single company with one or more branches. The technique for preparing consolidated financial statements is to take the individual statements to be consolidated and to combine them on a worksheet after eliminating all intercompany transactions and intercompany relationships. Most firms prepare consolidated statements when they hold more than 50% of the subsidiary's stock. See also COMBINED FINANCIAL STATEMENT; CONSOLIDATION.


presentation as one economic entity of the earnings of a parent and subsidiary (subsidiaries) subsequent to the date of acquisition. The parent company owns more than 50% of the voting common stock of the subsidiary, and is therefore in control. In consolidation, the reporting mechanism is the entire group and not the separate companies. Note that the entities that make up the consolidated group retain their separate legal entity; adjustments and eliminations are for CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS only.


method of measuring financial statement items in dollars of the same (constant) purchasing power. Historical cost is restated in units of constant purchasing power as follows:

Restating all accounts in constant dollars provides greater comparability among years because all assets appear in the same current year average dollars regardless of when the asset was bought. Constant dollar accounting also aids comparability among competing companies in the same industry because each company converts its accounts to the same CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) dollars.


optimization with the restrictions imposed on the availability of resources and other requirements.

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Techniques such as linear programming (LP) and the Lagrangean multipliers are used for this purpose.

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method that assigns resource costs to products and services based on the existence and location of a capacity constraint. Often governed by revenue maximization, implying that pricing is combined with costing.


explicit limitations that will be encountered in pursuing an objective. Examples of constraints are limitations in machine capacity, necessary materials, or skilled labor. In LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP), constraints are typically expressed in terms of inequalities.


item that restricts or limits production or sale of a given product. Virtually all firms suffer from one or more
constraining factors. Examples include limited machine-hours and labor-hours and shortage of materials and
skilled labor. Other limiting factors may be cubic feet of display or warehouse space, or working capital.


inventory method used by construction companies. The inventory account reflects construction costs incurred using the COMPLETED CONTRACT METHOD and the PERCENTAGE OF COMPLETION METHOD. Under either
method, when construction costs occur, the entry is to debit construction-in-progress and credit progress billings. Additionally, under the percentage of completion method, profit is recognized gradually each period when work is performed, requiring an additional entry to record the profit. The entry is to debit construction-in-progress and credit profit. Under either method, construction-in-progress is eliminated in the final year when the contract is completed. The entry is to debit PROGRESS BILLINGS and credit construction-in-progress and profit. Under the percentage method, the profit is for the last year only. Under the completed method, the profit is the cumulative profit for all the years.


tax concept in which a stockholder is considered to have constructively received a dividend although it was not actually paid by the company. For example, a shareholder who used company property for personal purposes rent- free might be considered to have received a constructive dividend equal to the fair market rental value of that property.


tax concept in which income not actually received is considered to be constructively received by a taxpayer and
thus must be reported. An example is a bond interest coupon. The interest is taxable in the year the coupon
matures, even though the holder delays cashing it until a later year.

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assumption used in consolidation procedures that allows the treatment of debt or equity securities as if they had been retired, thus allowing a consolidated entity to be viewed as a single reporting entity.


measure of expired benefits. Examples include cost of goods sold and periodic depreciation expense of a fixed asset. Income statement expenses are consumed costs in the generation of revenue.


measure of price level computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a monthly basis. It is the ratio of the cost of specific consumer items in any one year to the cost of those items in the base period, 19821984 = 100. Because the CPI includes things consumers buy regularly, it is frequently called the cost of living index. The so-called market basket, covered by the index, includes items such as food, clothing, automobiles, homes, and fees to doctors.


probability of accepting a bad lot. CONSUMPTION TAX
levy charged directly on a specified item or commodity. It may be viewed as an indirect form of taxation in that it
is not contingent upon income but on consumption of an item. Examples include excise taxes on cigarettes and
alcohol, and sales taxes.


item that depends on some future happening that may or may not occur. Its existence or value is not assured. A contingent asset may emanate from a CONTINGENT LIABILITY. An example of a contingent asset may be a successful lawsuit claiming damages of another party. It cannot be shown as an asset on the balance sheet because it violates conservatism. However, footnote disclosure may be made.


potential liability that may exist in the future depending on the outcome of a past event. Examples are an adverse tax court decision, lawsuit, and notes receivable discounted. Footnote disclosure is required of the circumstances for possible losses. Note that an ESTIMATED LIABILITY can be booked only if there is a probable loss.


payment based on factors other than the passage of time. For example, a rental is contingent when the lessee must pay an extra amount based on sales or profitability. Footnote disclosure is made of the contingent rental payment and terms.


appropriation of retained earnings for general loss possibilities; also called RESERVE FOR CONTINGENCIES. CONTINUING ACCOUNT
balance sheet account that is carried over from the previous accounting period (i.e., asset, liabilities, and equity


one maintained on a continuous basis, according to some plan, across one fiscal period to the next.

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credits required in some states for a CPA to continue in practice. New York initiated a CPE requirement beginning September 1987. CPE credits may be earned by attending courses and seminars, teaching, and doing research.


accounting assumption that expects a business to continue in life indefinitely; also called GOING CONCERN. It is the basis for using HISTORICAL COST to value accounts rather than liquidation value since the company will remain in existence. SAS Number 59 deals with the auditor's consideration of an entity's ability to continue as a going concern. The auditor must appraise if significant doubt exists of a client's ability to continue as a going concern for a period not exceeding one year after the date of the financial statements. If significant doubt exists, there should be a separate explanatory paragraph of a going concern problem after the unqualified opinion paragraph.


examination conducted on a recurring basis throughout the accounting period to detect and correct mistakes and improper accounting practices prior to the reporting year-end. A continuous audit also spreads the CPA's work throughout the year.


budget that rolls ahead each month or period without regard to the fiscal year so that a twelve-month or other periodic forecast is always available.


never-ending effort for improvement in every part of the firm relative to all of its deliverables to its customers; called Kaizen in Japanese.


1. reduction to the gross cost of an asset to arrive at its net cost; also called valuation allowance. For example, accumulated depreciation is a contra account to the original cost of a fixed asset to arrive at BOOK VALUE.

2. reduction of a liability to arrive at its CARRYING VALUE. An example is bond discount, which is a reduction of bonds payable.


examination of contracts to provide assurance that the terms are being carried out such as with regard to the time and quality of work performed, and appropriation of billing.




manner of pricing a special order. This situation occurs because a company often receives a non-routine, special

order for its products at lower prices than usual. In normal times, the company may refuse such an order since it will not yield a satisfactory profit. If times are bad or there is idle capacity,

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an order should be accepted if the incremental revenue exceeds the incremental costs involved. Such a price, one lower than the regular price, is called a contribution price. This approach is called the contribution approach to pricing, or the VARIABLE PRICING MODEL. For example, assume that a company with 100,000-unit capacity is currently producing and selling only 90,000 units of product each year with a regular price of $2. If the variable cost per unit is $1 and the annual fixed cost is $45,000, the income statement looks as follows:

Per Unit
Sales (90,000 units) Less: Variable cost Contribution margin Less: Fixed cost Net income

The company has just received an order that calls for 10,000 units at $1.20, for a total of $12,000. The acceptance of this special order will not affect regular sales. Management is reluctant to accept this order because the $1.20 price is below the $1.50 factory unit cost ($1.50 = $1.00 + $0.50). Is it advisable to refuse the order? The answer is no. The company can add to total profits by accepting this special order even though the price offered is below the unit factory cost. At a price of $1.20, the order will contribute $0.20 (CM per unit = $1.20 $1.00 = $0.20) toward fixed cost, and profit will increase by $2000 (10,000 units · $0.20). Using the contribution approach to pricing, the variable cost of $1.00 will be a better guide than the full unit cost of $1.50. Note that the fixed costs will not increase because of the presence of idle capacity. See also INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS; RELEVANT COSTS.


difference between sales and the variable costs of the product or service, also called marginal income. It is the amount of money available to cover fixed costs and generate profits. For example, if sales are $15,000 and variable costs are $6100, contribution margin is $8900 ($15,000 less $6100). Determining the contribution margin has many advantages. A company can sell an item below the normal selling price when idle capacity exists as long as there is a contribution margin since it will help to cover the fixed costs or add to profits. Also, the CM calculation requires the segregation of fixed and variable costs, which is needed in BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS. Further, CM analysis is good in evaluating the performance of the department as a whole and its manager. However, the CONTRIBUTION (MARGIN) INCOME STATEMENT can only be used internally by management because it is not acceptable for external reporting in the annual report.



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income statement that organizes cost by behavior. It shows the relationship of variable costs and fixed costs, regardless of the functions a given cost item is associated with. A contribution income statement highlights the concept of CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM). This format provides data that are useful for internal management. An illustrative format of the contribution margin income statement follows:

Less: Variable cost of sales
Variable selling and administrative expenses
Contribution Margin (CM)
Less: Fixed overhead
Fixed selling and administrative expenses
Net income


variation of the EQUATION

approach centers on the idea that each unit sold provides a certain amount of CONTRIBUTION MARGIN that
goes toward the covering of fixed costs. Listed below are some formulas:

(1) Break-even Point in units = Fixed Costs/Unit Contribution Margin
(2) Break-even Point in dollars = Fixed Costs/Contribution Margin Ratio
(3) Target income volume in units:
(Fixed Costs + Target Income)/Contribution Margin
(4) Target income volume in dollars:
(Fixed Costs + Target Income)/Contribution Margin Ratio


computation showing CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM) as a percentage of sales. CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM) VARIANCE
difference between actual contribution margin per unit and the budgeted contribution margin per unit, multiplied by
the actual number of units sold. If the actual CM is greater than the budgeted CM per unit, a variance is favorable;
otherwise, it is unfavorable.


one ensuring that actions are carried out or implemented according to a plan or goal.


general ledger account. Its balance reflects the aggregate balance of related subsidiary ledger accounts. Most firms maintain subsidiary records for credit customers and for creditors, Accounts Receivable being the control account.

The balance in a control account should not be changed unless a corresponding change is made in the subsidiary accounts. Subsidiary ledgers

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are often used for Accounts Payable, Inventory, Buildings, and Equipment. See also SUBSIDIARY ACCOUNT; SUBSIDIARY LEDGER.


graphical means of depicting sample characteristics, such as means, ranges, and attributes, over time used for process control.


extent to which a manager can influence activities. Managerial performance theoretically should be evaluated only on the basis of those factors controlled by the manager. Thus, managers may control revenues, costs, or investment in resources. For example, a controllable cost is one that is directly regulated by a specific manager at a given level of production within a given time span. However, controllability and responsibility are rarely coextensive. One reason is that more than one manager may influence an activity.


variable costs such as direct materials, direct labor, and variable overhead that are usually considered controllable by the department manager. Further, a certain portion of fixed costs can also be controllable. For example, certain advertising spent specifically for a given department would be an expense controllable by the manager of that department. Advertising expenses that benefit many departments or products are, however, NONCONTROLLABLE COSTS.


difference between actual manufacturing overhead costs incurred and the manufacturing overhead costs budgeted for the level of production reached.


part of the total factory overhead variance not attributable to the volume variance in two-way analysis. CONTROLLED COMPANY
firm in which a majority of voting stock is held by an individual or corporation. The degree of control depends on
the percentage of the voting stock owned.


foreign corporation in which more than 50% of the combined voting power of all classes of voting stock, or the total value of its stock, is owned by 10%-or-more U.S. shareholders on any day during its tax year.


chief accounting executive of an organization. The controller is in charge of the Accounting Department. The principal functions of the controller are: (1) planning for control; (2) financial reporting and interpreting; (3) tax administration; (4) management audits and development of accounting systems; (5) internal audits.

In contrast with the controller, the TREASURER is concerned mainly with financial problems including planning the finances, managing working capital, formulating credit policy, and managing the investment portfolio. In a large firm, both the controller and treasurer report to Vice-President-Finance.

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limits set for the purpose of effective quality control. Most commonly, three-sigma control limits are used. See also


implementation of a decision method and the use of feedback so that the goals and specific strategic plans of the firm are optimally obtained. To do this, managers study accounting and other reports and compare them to the plans set earlier. These comparisons may show where operations are not proceeding as planned and who is responsible for what. The feedback that management receives may suggest the need to replan, to set new strategies, or to reshape the organizational structure.


method used in parent-subsidiary relationships. The holding of more than 50% of the voting stock of one corporation by another corporation generally creates a parent-subsidiary relationship. Control of a corporation may often be achieved with less than 50% of the subsidiary's voting stock, but this would not be regarded as a basis for preparing consolidated statements. In the latter situation, the investment would be accounted for under the EQUITY METHOD in an account called investment in investee. See also CONSOLIDATION; CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENT.


risk related to the effectiveness of a client's internal control structure policies and procedures. An ineffective internal control increases control risk.


risk that a material misstatement that could occur in an assertion will not be detected or prevented on a timely basis by an entity's internal controls.


in auditing, totals developed on "key" data fields in input records, and on the number of records processed to ensure that data have been properly transmitted, converted, and processed.


agreement or statement, expressed or implied, that is used to solve given types of problems. Conventions allow a standardized approach to problem solving and behavior in certain situations. An example of a convention is placing debits on the left side and credits on the right side of an account. The accountant performs daily functions by following conventions such as format guidelines in the preparation of financial statements.


a cost system that uses only unit-(or volume-) based COST DRIVERS to apply overhead costs to products and


1. act of exchanging one class of corporate security for another. An example is the conversion of convertible bonds into stock.

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2. valuation substitution for another. An example is the restatement of historical cost for that of current cost. See also CONVERSION COST.

3. transfer of mutual fund shares from one fund to another in the same family.

4. switch from one currency to another using an exchange ratio. CONVERSION COST
sum of the costs of DIRECT LABOR and FACTORY OVERHEAD. See also PRIME COST.


effective price paid for common stock when the stock is obtained by converting either convertible preferred stock or convertible bonds. The face value of a convertible security divided by the CONVERSION RATIO gives the price of the underlying common stock at which the security is convertible. For example, if a $1000 bond is convertible into 10 shares of stock, the conversion price is $100 ($1000/10). An investor would usually not convert the security into common stock unless the market price was greater than the conversion price.


number of shares of common stock that may be obtained by converting a convertible bond or share of convertible preferred stock:

For example, if the conversion price is $25 per share and the face value of a bond is $1000, then an investor would receive 40 shares for each bond ($1000/$25 per share).


value of the underlying common stock represented by convertible bonds or convertible preferred stock. This value is obtained by multiplying the conversion ratio (rate) by the per share market price of the common stock. For example, if the common stock is selling for $24 per share and the conversion ratio is 40 shares, the conversion value is $960 (40 shares · $24 per share).


bond exchangeable for a specified number of common shares at a predetermined price, usually at the option of the holder. The investor in a convertible bond desires higher income than is available from common stock and the greater potential for capital appreciation than is possible with regular bonds. From the issuer's perspective the advantage of issuing a convertible bond is that its attractiveness results in greater marketability and a lower interest rate.


types of stocks and bonds that can be voluntarily converted into capital stock at a later date. Examples are convertible bonds and convertible preferred stock. The CONVERSION RATIO determines how many shares will be issued. For example, if a

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$100,000 convertible bond issue is convertible at 1 bond for 4 shares, 400 shares are involved calculated as follows:


falsify financial records and statements to misrepresent the financial position and operating results of the entity. COOPERATIVE
1. non-taxable entity that is formed to eliminate the middleman and gain profits or savings that would have been
paid to it. Profit or savings is periodically distributed by the proportion of transactions and not in proportion to
each member's investment.

2. an entity owned by members. For example, in terms of real estate, ownership shares in the apartment building are held by the occupants. They make decisions regarding the property.


process that involves a decision by management as to how best to put together the resources of the firm in order to carry out established plans. Coordinating also requires directing. In directing, managers oversee day-to-day activities and keep the organization functioning smoothly.


protection given by law to authors of literary, musical, artistic, and similar works. The copyright holder enjoys the following exclusive rights: (1) to print, reprint, and copy the work; (2) to sell, assign, or distribute copies; and (3) to perform the work. A copyright is recorded at its acquisition price. The legal life of a copyright is the life of the author plus 50 years. Rarely will the economic life of a copyright exceed its legal life. For example, some textbooks become obsolete in five years. As other intangible assets, copyrights are amortized not in excess of the 40-year maximum under APB Opinion 17.




cooperation between two or more corporations in which the purpose is to achieve jointly a specified business goal.
Upon the attainment of the goal, the joint venture is terminated. An example is when two businesses agree to share
in the development of a specific product. A joint venture, which is typically limited to one project, differs from a
PARTNERSHIP that can work jointly on many projects. See also JOINT VENTURE.


integrated business planning model in which marketing and production models are linked to the FINANCIAL

MODEL. More specifically, it is a description, explanation, and interrelation of the functional areas of a firm (accounting, finance,

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marketing, production, and others), expressed in terms of a set of mathematical and logical equations so as to produce a variety of reports including PRO FORMA financial statements. Corporate planning models are the basic tools for risk analysis and WHAT-IF experiments. The ultimate goals of the model are to improve quality of planning and decision making, reduce the decision risk, and, more importantly, favorably influence or even shape the future environment.


business organized as a separate legal entity with ownership evidenced by shares of stock. The corporation is formed by filing the ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION with the state authority, who returns it with a certificate of incorporation; the two documents together become the corporate charter. Each founding stockholder receives from the company a specified number of shares of capital stock. A stockholder may sell owned shares to other investors. The corporation is a legal entity separate from its owners. Advantages of a corporation are the ability to obtain large amounts of financing through a public issuance, ease of transferring shares, limited liability of owners, unlimited life, and professional management.


degree of relationship between business and economic variables such as cost and volume. Correlation analysis
evaluates cause/effect relationships. It looks consistently at how the value of one variable changes when the value
of the other is changed. A prediction can be made based on the relationship uncovered. An example is the effect of
advertising on sales. A degree of correlation is measured statistically by the COEFFICIENT OF
DETERMINATION (r-squared).


measure of the degree of correlation between two variables. The range of values it takes is between 1 and +1. A negative value of r indicates an inverse relationship; a positive value of r indicates a direct relationship; a zero value of r indicates that the two variables are independent of each other; the closer r is to +1 and 1, the stronger the relationship between the two variables. For example, we may expect a negative relationship between the demand for a product and its selling price, because the higher the selling price charged, the lower the demand.

In the case of SIMPLE REGRESSION, r is computed as follows:


an organization that prepares audit related reports. COSO includes representatives from the American Institute of CPAs, American Accounting Association, Institute of Internal Auditors, Institute of Management Accountants,

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and the Financial Executives Institute. The Committee's purposes are to establish a common definition of internal control serving the needs for different parties and providing a standard against which companies can evaluate their control systems and how to improve them.


1. sacrifice, measured by the price paid, to acquire, produce, or maintain goods or services. Prices paid for materials, labor, and factory overhead in the manufacture of goods are costs.

2. an asset. The term cost is often used when referring to the valuation of a good or service acquired. When it is used in this sense, a cost is an ASSET.

The concepts of cost and expense are often used interchangeably. When the benefits of the acquisition of the goods or services expire, the cost becomes an expense or loss. An EXPENSE is a cost with expired benefits. A LOSS is an expense (expired cost) with no related benefit.


application of the costs to the physical units or other measures of output that pass through the process. First, costs must be accumulated by processing departments before applying the department costs to the units. An application of factory overhead costs to processing departments (or jobs), using a PREDETERMINED OVER-HEAD RATE, is an example of cost absorption.


system for recording and reporting measurements of the cost of manufacturing goods and performing services in the aggregate and in detail. It includes methods for reorganizing, classifying, allocating, aggregating, and reporting actual costs and comparing them with standard costs. Determination of unit cost to make a product or render a service is needed to establish a selling price or fee to be charged. Also, costs for manufacturing a product for inventory valuation need to be known to prepare the balance sheet and income statement. Cost accounting systems include job order, process, standard, and direct costing.


body established by Congress in August 1970 to promote consistency in cost accounting practices and to aid in the fair and accurate reporting of actual costs of governmental contracts. The board was authorized to promulgate standards and designed to achieve uniformity as to the application of cost accounting principles and concepts. The board ceased to exist in 1980, and its responsibilities are now handled by the Government Accounting Office.


collection of costs in an organized fashion by means of a cost accounting system. There are two primary approaches to cost accumulation: JOB ORDER and PROCESS COSTING. Under a job order system, the three basic elements of manufacturing costsdirect materials, direct labor, and factory overheadare accumulated according to assigned job numbers. Under a process cost sys-

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tem, manufacturing costs are accumulated according to processing department or cost center.

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identification of costs with cost objectives, also called cost apportionment, cost assignment, cost distribution, and cost reapportionment. There are basically three aspects of cost allocation: (1) choosing the object of costing. Examples are products, processes, jobs, or departments; (2) choosing and accumulating the costs that relate to the object of costing. Examples are manufacturing expenses, selling and administrative expenses, joint costs, common costs, service department costs, and fixed costs; and (3) choosing a method of identifying (2) with (1). For example, a cost allocation base for allocating manufacturing costs would typically be labor-hours, machine-hours, or production units.




link between a cost and one of its two or more cost objects.


in a TRANSFER PRICING context, scheme in which the cost base can be either variable cost or full cost. It is easy to understand and convenient to use, but there are some disadvantages: (1) Inefficiencies of the selling divisions are passed on to the buying divisions with little incentive to control costs. The use of standard costs is recommended in such a case. (2) The cost-based method treats the divisions as COST CENTERS rather than PROFIT or INVESTMENT CENTERS. Therefore, measures such as RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) and RESIDUAL INCOME cannot be used for evaluation purposes.

The variable cost-based transfer price has an advantage over the full cost method because in the short run it may tend to ensure the best utilization of the company's overall resources. The reason is that, in the short run, fixed costs do not change. Any use of otherwise idle facilities, without incurrence of additional fixed costs, will increase the company's overall profits.


separating MIXED COSTS into their variable and fixed elements. Mixed costs are common to a wide range of firms. Examples of mixed costs include sales compensation, repairs and maintenance, and factory overhead in general. Mixed costs must be separated into the variable and fixed elements in order to be included in a variety of business planning analyses such as COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSIS. There are several methods available for this purpose including the LEAST-SQUARES METHOD. See also COST BEHAVIOR PATTERN.


manner in which a cost will react to changes in the level of activity. Costs may be viewed as variable,

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fixed, or mixed (semi-variable). A mixed cost is one that contains both variable and fixed elements. For planning, control, and decision purposes, mixed costs need to be separated into their variable and fixed components, using such methods as the HIGH-LOW METHOD and the LEAST-SQUARES METHOD. An application of the variable-fixed breakdown is a BREAK-EVEN and COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSIS.


manner of determining whether the favorable results of an alternative are sufficient to justify the cost of taking that alternative. This analysis is widely used in connection with capital expenditure projects. An example of cost- benefit analysis is where the cost incurred to uncover the reasons for a variance outweigh the benefit to be derived. See also PROFITABILITY INDEX.


unit within the organization in which the manager is responsible only for costs. A cost center has no control over sales or over the generating of revenue. An example is the production department of a manufacturing company. The performance of a cost center is measured by comparing actual costs with budgeted costs for a specified period of time.


steps taken by management to assure that the cost objectives set down in the planning stage are attained and to assure that all segments of the organization function in a manner consistent with its policies. For effective cost control, most organizations use STANDARD COST SYSTEMS, in which the actual costs are compared against standard costs for performance evaluation and the deviations are investigated for remedial actions. Cost control is also concerned with feedback that might change any or all of the future plans, the production method, or both.


method by which the costs of natural resources are allocated to depletion over the accounting periods that make up the life of the asset. Cost depletion is computed by (1) estimating the total quantity of mineral or other resources acquired and (2) assigning a proportionate amount of the total resource cost to the quantity extracted in the period. For example, assume that a company invests $50,000 in an oil well that contains an estimated 120,000 barrels of oil. The residual value is estimated at $6000. In the first year, 12,000 barrels of oil are extracted and sold. The depletion for the first year is ($50,000 $6000) x (12,000/120,000) = $4400. See also PERCENTAGE DEPLETION.


factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship to a cost, such as direct labor hours, machine hours, beds occupied,
computer time used, flight hours, miles driven, or contracts.


examination, quantification, and explanation of the effects of cost drivers. The results are often used for con-

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tinuous improvement programs to reduce throughput times, improve quality, and reduce costs.

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among decision alternatives, the one whose cost is lower than its benefit. The most cost effective program would be the one whose cost-benefit ratio is the lowest among various programs competing for a given amount of funds. See also COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS.


most disaggregated level of resource cost. For example, power cost, engineering cost, and depreciation may be cost elements in the activity cost pool for a machine activity. See also ACTIVITY COST POOL; BILL OF ACTIVITIES; RESOURCE COSTS.


measurement of past costs for the purpose of predicting future costs for decision-making purposes. For example, a COST VOLUME FORMULA (such as y = $300 + $5x) can be used to estimate a cost item y for any given value of volume x. See also COST PREDICTION.


relationship between cost and activity. A cost function may be either linear or nonlinear. The general formula for a
linear relationship is y = a + bx, where y is the estimated value of a cost item for any specified value of x
(activity). The constant a, the intercept, is the fixed cost element; b, the slope, is the variable rate per unit of x. The
possible measures of activity x include:

units of product machine-hours dollar sales volume direct labor-hours mileage driven

The coefficients a and b are estimated using such methods as the HIGH-LOW METHOD and the LEAST- SQUARES METHOD.


framework for classifying production-related activities according to the level at which their costs are incurred. COST MANAGEMENT
management and control of activities to help set enterprise strategies and to determine an accurate product and
service cost, improve business processes, eliminate waste, identify cost drivers, and plan operations.


cost and management accounting, control, and reporting system that identifies, monitors, and maintains continuous, detailed analyses of a company's activities and provides managers with timely measures of operating results.


convention that is used to classify cost by point where incurred (resource module), its use (activity module), and its ultimate user (final cost object module). Activities also feed a process module.

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intermediate and final dispositions of cost pools. Intermediate cost objects receive temporary accumulations of costs as the cost pools move from their originating points to the final cost objects. Final cost objects, such as a job, product, or process, should be logically linked with the cost pool based on a cause-and-effect relationship.


rate of return that is necessary to maintain market value (or stock price) of a firm, also called a hurdle rate, cutoff rate, or minimum required rate of return. The firm's cost of capital is calculated as a weighted average of the costs of debt and equity funds. Equity funds include both capital stock (common stock and preferred stock) and retained earnings. These costs are expressed as annual percentage rates. For example, assume the following capital structure and the cost of each source of financing for the XYZ Company:

Source Book Value Percent of Total Weights Cost
Debt $20,000,000 40% 5.14%
Preferred stock 5,000,000 10 13.40
Common stock 20,000,000 40 17.11
Retained earnings 5,000,000 10 16.00

Totals $50,000,000 100%

The overall cost of capital is computed as follows:

The cost of capital is used for CAPITAL BUDGETING purposes. Under the NET PRESENT VALUE METHOD, the cost of capital is used as the DISCOUNT RATE to calculate the present value of future cash inflows. Under the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN method, it is used to make an accept-or-reject decision by comparing the cost of capital with the internal rate of return on a given project. A project is accepted when the internal rate exceeds the cost of capital.


interest rate times 1 minus the marginal tax rate because interest is a tax deduction. Hence, an increase in the tax rate decreases the cost of debt.


minimum desired rate of return on invested capital that is determined by calculating net income as a percentage of invested capital.


detailed schedule that summarizes the costs of production for a future period. COST OF GOODS MANUFACTURED SCHEDULE
form showing the cost of producing goods during the accounting period. The cost of

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goods manufactured is an element in preparing the income statement. It consists of the cost of producing goods: DIRECT MATERIAL, DIRECT LABOR, and FACTORY OVERHEAD. Also considered is the change in the work-in-process inventory.

Assume work-in-process inventory was $30,000 on 1/1/2001 and $35,000 on 12/31/2001. During the year, manufacturing costs were direct material $20,000, direct labor $23,000, and factory overhead $40,000. The cost of goods manufactured schedule follows:

Work-in-process 1/1/2001 Add: Manufacturing costs

Direct material Direct labor Factory overhead
Total manufacturing cost

$20,000 23,000



Total $113,000
Less: Work-in-process 12/31/2001 35,000
Cost of goods manufactured $ 78,000




upward change in an employee's compensation because of inflation. The adjustment is typically based on a price index such as the Consumer Price Index, Wholesale Price Index, and Gross National Product Index. COLA is sometimes built into labor contracts.


cost of newly issued common stock. This is higher than the cost of retained earnings because of stock flotation costs. Providers of equity capital are exposed to more risk than lenders are because the firm is not obligated to pay them a return. Also, in case of liquidation, creditors are paid before equity investors. Thus, equity financing is more expensive than debt because equity investors require a higher return to compensate for the greater risk assumed.


cost of a failure to predict a certain variable (such as sales, earnings, and cash flow) accurately. For example, assume that a company has been selling a toy baby doll having a variable cost of $.50 for $.90 each (a contribution of $.40 per doll). The fixed cost is $200. The company has no privilege of returning any unsold dolls. It has predicted sales of 1500 units. However, unforeseen competition has reduced sales to 1000 units. What is the cost of its prediction errorthat is, its failure to predict demand accurately?

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2. Alternative parameter value = 1000 units. Optimal decision: purchase 1000 units. Expected net income (1000 x
$.40 ) $200 = $200

3. Results of original decision under alternative parameter value. Expected net income:

4. Cost of prediction error, (2) (3) = $250. COST OF PREFERRED STOCK
minimum desired rate of return on invested capital that is the stated dividend rate of the individual preferred stock


summary of the total manufacturing cost of an item. It involves charges to a processing department and the allocation of the total cost between the ending work-in-process inventory and the units completed and transferred out to the next department or finished goods inventory. The cost of production report generally consists of four sections: (1) Physical Flow accounts for the physical flow of units in and out of a department. (2) Equivalent Production is the sum of: (a) units in process, restated in completed units, and (b) total units actually produced. The computation of equivalent units of production depends on the flow of cost method-weighted average or FIFO. (3) Costs to Account For accounts for the incurrence of costs that were: (a) in process at the beginning of the period,
(b) transferred in from previous departments, and (c) added by the department during the current period. (4) Costs Accounted For accounts for the disposition of costs charged to the department that were: (a) transferred out to the next department or finished goods inventory, (b) completed and on hand, and (c) in process at the end of the period. The total of the Costs to Account For must equal the total of the Costs Accounted For. See also PROCESS COSTING.


cost of internally generated funds. It is an imputed or opportunity cost or the dividends given up by the common stockholders. It is the rate that investors can earn elsewhere on investments of comparable risk.


price of buying or making an item that is sold; also called cost of goods sold. The difference between sales and cost of sales is gross profit. For a retail business, the cost of sale is the purchase price of the item. For a manufactured good, the cost of sale includes DIRECT MATERIAL, DIRECT LABOR, and FACTORY OVERHEAD associated with producing it. An example would be the cost to General Motors of making a car. An illustrative example of a gross profit calculation for a retail business follows:

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Less: Cost of Sales
Beginning inventory $ 30
Add: Purchases 80
Cost of goods available $110
Less: Ending inventory 40
Cost of sales 70
$ 30

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Gross profit


form of contract that requires the customer to pay for all costs incurred plus a predetermined amount of profit. COST PLUS PRICING
clear and convenient way to establish a selling price. This method may be used in determining a contract price by a
supplier seeking to avoid the uncertainty associated with predicting costs. Cost plus pricing may be found in
developmental contracts for new products. Federal agencies deal with cost plus fixed fee contracts. In cost plus
pricing, an item is priced at its cost (including direct material, direct labor, and factory overhead) plus some fixed
fee or profit markup. For example, if the total cost of a contract is $325,000 and the fixed fee is $100,000, the
contract price would be $425,000. If a profit markup is used, it should be based on the nature of the product and
corporate considerations (e.g., marketing aspects). For example, if cost is $200,000 and a profit markup on cost of
30% is desired, the contract price is $260,000.

When cost plus pricing is used to determine a transfer price for an internal transfer of a product within the organization, it closely approximates an outside market price. Thus, the resulting synthetic market price is considered a good practical substitute.


transfer price computed as the sum of the costs incurred by the producing division plus an agreed-on profit percentage.


grouping of individual costs. Subsequent allocations are made of cost pools rather than of individual costs. Costs are often pooled by departments, by jobs, or by behavior pattern. For example, overhead costs are accumulated by service departments in a factory and then allocated to production departments before multiple departmental overhead rates are developed for product costing purposes.


forecast of costs for managerial decision-making purposes. The terms cost ESTIMATION and cost prediction are used interchangeably. To predict future costs, a COST FUNCTION is often specified and estimated statistically. The cost function may be either linear (i.e., y = a + bx) or nonlinear. The estimated cost function must pass some statistical tests, such as having a high R-SQUARED and a high T-VALUE, to provide sound cost prediction.



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revenue recognition method under which no gross profit is recognized until all the cost of the merchandise has been
recovered. That is, the first payments received from customers are treated as a recovery of the cost of goods sold.
Once the cost has been recovered, the remaining collections are recognized as gross profit. Like the installment
method, this method may be used because of the uncertainty of collections, and is not generally accepted. See also


policy of cutting costs to improve profitability. It may be implemented when a company is having financial problems and must "tighten its belt." In some cases, the firm is initiating a policy to eliminate waste and inefficiency. A cost reduction program may detract from the QUALITY OF EARNINGS when significant cuts are made in DISCRETIONARY COSTS.


source to determine the price of a good or service, such as a supplier's price list. COST SHEET
form prepared for each job or department. It serves as a means of accumulating the manufacturing costsdirect
materials, direct labor, and overhead costschargeable to the job or department and as a means of determining unit
costs. A JOB (ORDER) COST SHEET is used for job order costing; a COST OF PRODUCTION REPORT is used
for process costing. Cost sheets may serve as a subsidiary ledger supporting a Work-in-Process Control.


costs incurred to produce a quality product or service. COSTS OF NONCONFORMANCE
costs incurred to correct defects in a product or service.


costs incurred in association with quality conformance. It must be assessed in terms of relative costs and benefits. Thus, an organization should attempt to minimize its total cost of quality. See also CONFORMANCE COSTS; PREVENTION COSTS; APPRAISAL; NONCONFORMANCE COSTS; INTERNAL FAILURE COSTS; EXTERNAL FAILURE COSTS.


PROCESS COSTING schedule that is used to determine the costs to be transferred to the finished goods inventory account of a department or production process and the ending balance of the work in process inventory account.


in construction contracts, an estimate of completion in which the state of completion is the ratio of costs incurred as of a given date divided by the estimated total project cost. See also PERCENTAGE OF COMPLETION


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cost accounting formula used for COST PREDICTION and FLEXIBLE BUDGETING purposes. It is a cost function in the form of:

where y = the semi-variable (or mixed) costs to be broken up
x = any given measure of activity such as volume and labor-hours
a = the fixed cost component
b = the variable rate per unit of x

For example, the cost-volume formula for factory overhead is y = $200 + $10x where y = estimated factory overhead and x = direct labor-hours, which means that the factory overhead is estimated to be $200 fixed, plus $10 per hour of direct labor.


analysis that deals with how profits and costs change with a change in volume. More specifically, it looks at the affects on profits of changes in such factors as variable costs, fixed costs, selling prices, volume, and mix of products sold. By studying the relationships of costs, sales, and net income, management is better able to cope with many planning decisions. For example, CVP analysis attempts to answer the following questions: (1) What sales volume is required to break even? (2) What sales volume is necessary in order to earn a desired (target) profit? (3) What profit can be expected on a given sales volume? (4) How would changes in selling price, variable costs, fixed costs, and output affect profits? (5) How would a change in the mix of products sold affect the break-even and target volume and profit potential? See also BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS; TARGET INCOME SALES.




interest rate on the face amount of a debt security. For instance, the annual interest to be paid on a $1000 bond with a nominal interest rate of 8% is $80. Typically, interest payments are made semiannually. The term derives from BEARER BONDS, once more common than now, which actually bore coupons to be detached and presented for payment as interest became due. Even with registered bonds the term survives and is distinguished from YIELD, which relates the coupon rate to the market price of the bond.


promise, commonly found in the form of restrictions in a loan agreement imposed on the borrower to protect the lender's interest. Examples of typical restrictive provisions are a ceiling on dividends and the required maintenance of a minimum working capital. See also INDENTURE.


contract backed by owning the stock underlying the option. Assume the owner of 500 shares of XYZ writes (sells)

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5 XYZ call options. The seller now has a covered option position. If the price of the stock rises and there is an exercise of the option, the seller has the stock to deliver to the purchaser. If the seller did not own the shares, he or she would be termed a naked writer.


process of reducing an activity time by adding resources and, hence, usually cost.


management's attempt to "fool around" with its accounting in order to overstate net income. Examples of income management include selling off low-cost basis assets to report gains, unjustifiably lengthening the expected life of an asset to reduce expense (e.g., depreciable life), and under-accruing expenses (e.g., bad debt provisions). To financial statement users, "creative accounting" has a negative connotation.


1. entry on the right side of an account. As a verb, to make an entry on the right side of an account. Under the DOUBLE ENTRY BOOKKEEPING system, credits increase liabilities, equity, and revenues and decrease assets and expenses.

2. to enter or post a credit.

3. the ability to buy an item or to borrow money in return for a promise to pay later.

4. in taxation, a dollar for dollar offset against a tax liability. See also TAX CREDITS. CREDIT AGAINST TAX


process of determining, before a line of credit is extended, whether a credit applicant meets the firm's credit standards or those of a lender and what amount of credit the applicant should receive. It typically involves two steps: (1) obtaining credit information (such as financial statements, Dun & Bradstreet reports, etc.) and (2) analyzing the information in order to make the credit decision.


1. balance in the right side of an account. According to DEBIT AND CREDIT CONVENTIONS, any asset and expense account will have a normal debit balance, while any liability, equity, and revenue account will have a normal credit balance.

2. overpaid customer account resulting in a credit amount in accounts receivable. CREDIT LINE
specified amount of money available to a borrower from a bank usually for one year. A credit line is a moral, not a
contractual, commitment, and no commitment fee is charged. Compensating balances, though, are commonly
required10% of the line plus 10% of amounts borrowed under the line. There are confirmed lines of credit

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and guidance lines, the former being documented by a letter to the depositor, the latter being an internal limit observed by the bank. Credit lines contrast with revolving credits, which are contractual and involve a commitment fee.


1. form or document used by a seller to notify the buyer of merchandise that the buyer's accounts payable is being credited (decreased) due to errors or other factors requiring adjustments.

2. form given by a bank to a depositor to indicate that the depositor's balance is being increased due to some event other than a deposit, such as the collection by the bank of the depositor's note receivable.


business or individual that has extended credit and is owed money. CREDITORS' EQUITY
total amount of liabilities. The creditors' equity ratio equals total liabilities divided by total assets. This reflects the
percentage of assets financed by creditors. In the event of corporate liquidation, creditors are paid before
stockholders. See also STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY.


longest path for a project. This is the minimum amount of time needed for the completion of the project. Thus, the activities along this path must be accelerated in order to speed up the project. On the other hand, delays in these activities would cause delays in the project. It is thus important to identify the critical path. See also PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT).


method of accounting for costs and expenditures that must accompany the CRITICAL PATH METHOD (CPM) of project management. Costs for manpower, materials, and overhead must be accounted for by activities and paths of a given project. In many cases it is possible to shorten the project's total completion time by injecting additional money and labor. Critical path accounting should provide all the necessary cost data, including indirect costs such as facilities and equipment costs, supervision, and labor and personnel costs, and direct costs that are needed to speed up each activity or path. See also PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT).


technique in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT) that uses a single time estimate for each activity, rather than three time estimates optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic. The primary objective of CPM is to identify the CRITICAL PATH for a project.


procedure in which additions are made vertically as well as horizontally to assure the mathematical accuracy of totals. An example is verifying that the total debits equal the total credits in a journal (e.g., cash payments journal) at the end of the month.

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improper assignment of costs among objects such that certain objects are overcosted while other cost objects are undercosted relative to the activity costs assigned. For example, traditional cost accounting systems tend to overcost high-volume products and undercost low-volume products.


science of secret writing. It is a security safeguard to render information unintelligible if unauthorized individuals
intercept the transmission. When the information is to be used, it can be decoded.


method of recognizing revenue, usually at the time of sale or rendering of a service. A reasonable method for estimating collectibility must exist.


cost of two or more activities added together. The buildup of activity cost so that each successive total includes activity costs that precede it.


PRINCIPLE income statement account reflecting the NET OF TAX effect of switching from one principle to another. Cumulative effect equals the difference between the actual retained earnings reported at the beginning of the year using the old method and the retained earnings that would have been reported at the beginning of the year if the new method had been used in prior years. Assume in 2000 a company goes from straightline depreciation to sum-of-the-years'-digits depreciation. In 2000, the new method is used to determine depreciation expense. However, the cumulative on prior years of the difference between straightline (e.g., $50) and sum-of-the-years'- digits (e.g., $65) must be noted. The difference is charged to the cumulative effect account. The entry is to debit cumulative effect $15 and credit accumulated depreciation $15. See also CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE.


type of stock whose DIVIDENDS, if not paid in a given period, accumulate. All preferred dividends in arrears must be paid before common stockholders can receive distributions. Assume 10,000 shares of $10 par 8% cumulative preferred stock has not paid dividends from 1/1/2000 to 12/31/2003. At the end of 2003, the cumulative dividend not paid is $32,000 ($100,000 · 8% · 4 years). See also PREFERRED STOCK.


method of voting that enables a minority group of shareholders to obtain some voice in the control of a corporation. Normally, shareholders must apportion their votes equally among the candidates for the board of directors. Cumulative voting allows them to vote all their shares for a single candidate. The number of shares required to elect a desired number of directors (NR) is calculated by the formula:

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where DN = number of directors stockholder desires to elect, TN = total number of shares of common stock outstanding and entitled to be voted, and N = total number of directors to be elected.

For example, a company will elect six directors. There are fifteen candidates and 100,000 shares entitled to be voted. If a group desires to elect two directors, the number of shares it must have is:

Note that a minority group wishes to elect one-third (two out of six) of the board of directors. It can achieve its goal by owning less than one-third (28,572 shares out of 100,000 shares) the number of shares of stock.


1. running account, typically involving related companies, showing the movement of an item (e.g., goods, cash) between them. In most cases, a periodic settlement is not required.

2. partner's account showing salary withdrawals and other transactions. CURRENT ASSET
item having a life of one year or less, or the normal OPERATING CYCLE of the business, whichever is greater.
For example, if a construction company's operating cycle is three years because it is engaged in long-term
construction activities, it would show as current assets items having up to a three-year life. However, in almost all
cases, the one-year cutoff is used. Examples of current assets are cash, marketable securities, inventory, and
prepaid expenses.


price of replacing an asset identical to an existing one. It should be of the same condition and age as well as have the same service potential. See also REPLACEMENT COST.


method of measuring assets in terms of REPLACEMENT COST. One of the following techniques is applied: (1) The use of indexing based on price movements applied to homogeneous asset groups; or (2) direct pricing applicable to assets for which prices are determined from either price lists, manufacturers' quotes, and other direct price sources. Replacement cost cannot exceed recoverable amounts referring to cash recoveries from the sale or use of an asset via either NET REALIZABLE VALUE or the PRESENT VALUE of future cash flows. Assume land is acquired at the beginning of the year for $100,000. At year-end, it is appraised at $130,000. Thus, there is a holding (unrealized) gain of $30,000.


historical cost is first stated in terms of current cost which in turn is adjusted to constant purchasing power using the average CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) for the current year. In effect replacement cost and CPI are combined. This is accomplished as follows:

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obligation payable within one year or the normal operating cycle of the business. A current liability requires payment out of a current asset or the incurrence of another short-term obligation. Examples are accounts payable, short-term notes payable, accrued expenses payable (e.g., taxes payable, salaries payable). See also CURRENT ASSET.


method of measuring the efficiency of a company. Net income is based on recurring and usual income statement items. Concern is with the effective utilization of the entity's resources in operating the business and making a profit. In computing income, special attention is placed on current and operating items. Specifically, earnings consist of value changes and events controllable by management and resulting from decisions of the current period. Included, however, are factors acquired in a previous period but used in the present one. Note that relevant changes arise solely from normal operations. Those advocating the current operating concept argue that the resulting current operating performance net income enhances interperiod and interfirm comparisons and facilitates predictions.


measure of liquidity. Current assets are divided by current liabilities. Assuming current assets are $120,000 and current liabilities are $40,000 the current ratio is:

The higher the current ratio, the more assurance that current liabilities can be paid. Thus, there is greater short-term creditor protection. (A company's ratio can be compared with the average in its industry to see whether it is high or low.) An excess of current assets over current liabilities is a buffer against losses that may occur in selling inventory, collecting accounts receivable, or liquidating current investment (e.g., marketable securities). A high current ratio provides a margin of safety against uncertainty and random fluctuations (e.g., strikes, extraordinary losses).

In general, a business with less inventory and more collectible accounts receivable can operate safely with a lower current ratio than a company having a high percentage of current assets in inventory.

Creditors looking at a company's current ratio must consider the quality of the current assets and the nature of the current liabilities. For example, work-in-process inventory has a higher realization risk than finished goods.


term for an asset shown at its present worth. Some measures that can be used are CURRENT COST, current exit value, and PRESENT VALUE. See also CURRENT VALUE ACCOUNTING.


periodical revaluation of the CURRENT VALUE of assets and liabilities. Unlike CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNT-

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ING, it requires the recognition of holding gains or losses prior to realization through sales or exchanges.

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materially reducing the expected years of future services of current employees or eliminating for a significant number of employees the accrual of defined benefits for some or all of their future services. Immediate recognition is given to the gain or loss upon curtailment. The components of the gain or loss include (1) unamortized PRIOR SERVICE PENSION COST applicable to employee service no longer needed and (2) change in PROJECTED BENEFIT OBLIGATION occurring from the curtailment. See also SETTLEMENT IN PENSION PLAN; TERMINATION IN PENSION PLANS.


analysis that assigns revenues and costs to major customers or groups of customers rather than to organizational units, products, or other objects. The results may direct organizational resources toward more profitable uses. It is an application of segmented reporting in which a customer group is treated as a segment. It is especially helpful when combined with an activity-based costing approach that determines which activities are performed for each group and assigns costs based on appropriate drivers. For example, activities, their drivers, and their costs may be classified as order level, customer level, channel level, market level, or enterprise level.


delay from placement of an order to delivery of the good or service; also called DELIVERY CYCLE TIME. Response time is a function of time drivers, e.g., uncertainty about arrivals of customers in the queue and BOTTLENECKS (points at which capacity is reached or exceeded). It is another crucial competitive factor. See also ORDER RECEIPT TIME; MANUFACTURING CYCLE TIME; MANUFACTURING CYCLE EFFICIENCY.


important measure of service quality because loyal customers spend more, refer new customers, and are less costly to service.


difference between customer realization and sacrifice. Realization is what the customer receives, which includes product features, quality, and service. This takes into account the customer's cost to use, maintain, and dispose of the product or service. Sacrifice is what a customer gives up, which includes the amount the customer pays for the product plus the time and effort spent acquiring the product and learning how to use it. Maximizing customer value means maximizing the difference between realization and sacrifice.


audit procedure for determining whether a transaction took place before or subsequent to the end of an accounting period. It assures that the transaction has been recorded in the proper period. It is the date chosen to stop the flow of transactions, merchandise,

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cash, and so on for audit purposes. For example, in taking a physical inventory, there must be a cutoff date applicable to sales and purchases. This may require closing receiving and shipping rooms while the inventory count takes place. Transactions of one period must be distinguished from those of another. Cutoff errors must be diligently avoided when recording transactions.




investing such as on-line trading on the Internet.


Originally used in Neuromancer, William Gibson's novel of direct brain-computer networking, refers to the collective realms of computer-aided communication.


method of billing customers at different time intervals. For example, customers with last names starting with A may be billed on the first of the month while those with last names beginning with B are billed on the second day.


time required to produce and deliver a product or service. Thus, total cycle time is the sum of value-added processing time and total nonvalue-added time. See also DELIVERY CYCLE TIME; CUSTOMER RESPONSE TIME.


reducing the time required to produce and deliver a product or service, in order to increase throughput and become more flexible and responsive to customers.


solve secret writing in a transmission based on a key to the code.

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integrated accounting software package developed by DAC Software. It handles general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory control/purchasing, billing, and forecasting. It also has a payroll module that can integrate with the accounting package or stand alone.


storehouse of related data records independently managed apart from any specific program or information system application. It is then made available to a wide variety of individuals and systems within the organization. In essence, it is an electronic filing cabinet providing a common core of information accessible by a program. An example is a data base of inventory items.


software used to manage data in the data base. It is a set of programs that provides for defining, controlling, and accessing the data base. The data base program allows accountants to enter, manipulate, retrieve, display, select, sort, edit, and index data. Advantages of a data base management system include: (1) elimination of data redundancy, (2) improved efficiency in updating, (3) data sharing, (4) easy data access, and (5) reduced program maintenance cost.


system to transfer computer files from one program to another. DIF files created on other systems (e.g., the client's) can be imported into the practitioner's spreadsheet or data base. The DIF format is produced as an output or export option by many of the existing spreadsheet programs and by some data base programs. Various accounting packages can generate DIF files. An example of an application is extracting a spreadsheet from LOTUS 1-2-3 and putting it into another spreadsheet program or a word processing program. It should be noted, however, a file written in DIF requires more storage space than the original it was built from.


security measures and devices employed by the accountant to assure that confidential information (e.g., client files) are not improperly accessed. For example, a password may be required to obtain access to electronic data files of clients.


process that involves transformation of data into information through classifying, sorting, merging, recording, retrieving, transmitting, or reporting. Data processing can be manual or computer based.


date on which HOLDERS OF RECORD in a company's stock ledger are entitled to receive DIVIDENDS or STOCK RIGHTS. Stock usually trades EX-DIVIDEND or EX-RIGHTS beginning the fourth business day before the date of record. It is different from the DECLARATION OF

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DATE; that is, the date that the board of directors announces its intention to pay a dividend. Once this is done, the company has created a LIABILITY; it owes the dividend to the stockholders of record. For example, on July 5, the board of directors of XYZ Corporation declared a 25 cent cash dividend on its common stock payable on August 15 to stockholders of record on July 17. This creates a liability by the company to stockholders of record. The common stockholders on the company's list on July 17 will receive the 25 cent dividend on August 15.


rarely used BOOK OF ORIGINAL ENTRY. It is basically a descriptive, chronological record of day-to-day business transactions, like a diary. Details formerly kept in daybooks are now represented by original documents such as invoices and supporting documents. If daybooks are kept, their detail must subsequently be entered into journals in bookkeeping form to enable posting to ledgers.


ratio measuring the extent that accounts payable represent current rather than overdue obligations. A comparison should be made to the terms of purchase. Accounts payable are divided by the purchases per day. The latter is determined by dividing purchases by 360 days. Assume accounts payable is $50,000 and purchases are $800,000. The ratio is:


ratio measuring the number of days inventory is held. As a general rule, the longer inventory is held, the greater is its risk of not being sold at full value. This ratio is crucial in the case of inventory that is perishable or prone to obsolescence, such as high technology and fashion items. Inventory also involves an OPPORTUNITY COST of funds. Days to sell inventory is one of the components in determining a company's OPERATING CYCLE. Assume an INVENTORY TURNOVER of 10 times. This means that the number of days inventory is held equals:

1. in taxation, a payment or receipt of proceeds to a specified beneficiary or beneficiaries by an employer, by
virtue of the death of the employee. Under certain conditions, the first $5000 of such a payment may not be subject
to federal income taxes.

2. portion (tax exempt) of the proceeds of a life insurance policy representing protection as distinguished from investment value. Policy loans reduce the death benefit by the amount of the outstanding loan balance.

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tax imposed on property upon the death of the owner, such as an inheritance or ESTATE TAX. DEBENTURE
long-term debt instrument that is not secured by a mortgage or other lien on specific property. Because it is
unsecured debt, it is issued usually by large, financially strong companies with excellent BOND RATINGS. There
are two kinds of debentures: a senior issue and a subordinated (junior) issue, which has a subordinate lien. The
order of a prior claim is set forth in the bond INDENTURE. Typically, in the event of liquidation, subordinated
debentures come after senior debt.


CAPITAL obtained through the sale of unsecured bonds, called DEBENTURE. DEBIT
1. an entry on the left side of an account. As a verb, to make an entry on the left side of an account. Under the
DOUBLE ENTRY BOOKKEEPING system, debits increase assets and expenses and decrease liabilities, equity,
and revenues.

2. to enter or POST a debit.


rules for debit and credit to be followed under DOUBLE ENTRY BOOKKEEPING. The rules or conventions using the T-account form for the balance sheet and income statement accounts are as follows:


1. form or document used by a seller to notify a buyer that the seller is debiting (increasing) the amount of the buyer's accounts payable due to errors or other factors requiring adjustments.

2. form or document given by the bank to a depositor to notify that the depositor's balance is being decreased due to some event other than payment of a check, such as bank service charges.

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money or services owed to an outside party. It is a legal obligation of the business arising either from written or oral agreement. Debt may either be short-term or long-term. See also CURRENT LIABILITY; LONG-TERM DEBT.


ways of financing a business through credit obligations (e.g., bond issue) and CAPITAL STOCK. Usually, a company finances with both rather than just one. The CAPITAL STRUCTURE of a company is commonly referred to as consisting of debt and equity securities. See also WARRANT.


measure used in the analysis of financial statements to show the amount of protection available to creditors. The ratio equals total liabilities divided by total stockholders' equity; also called debt to net worth ratio. A high ratio usually indicates that the business has a lot of risk because it must meet principal and interest on its obligations. Potential creditors are reluctant to give financing to a company with a high debt position. However, the magnitude of debt depends on the type of business. For example, a bank has a high debt ratio but its assets are generally liquid. A utility can afford a higher ratio than a manufacturer because its earnings can be controlled by rate adjustments. Usually, book value is used to measure a firm's debt and equity securities in calculating the ratio. Market value may be a more realistic measure, however, because it takes into account current market conditions. See also CAPITAL STRUCTURE.


raising money by selling bonds, notes, or mortgages or borrowing directly from financial institutions. The presence of debt financing in a firm's capital structure provides FINANCIAL LEVERAGE, which tends to magnify the effects of increased operating profits on the stockholder's returns. Since debt is normally the cheapest form of long- term financing, due to the tax deductibility of interest, it is a desirable component of the firm's capital structure as long as the borrowed funds produce a return in excess of their cost. Also, during inflation, the company will be paying back the debt in cheaper dollars. However, too much debt can result in higher levels of FINANCIAL RISK in meeting the principal and satisfying interest payments. Excessive debt will make it more difficult to raise funds and will increase the COST OF CAPITAL. See also EQUITY FINANCING.


1. legal and maximum amount of debt that a governmental entity can undertake. This maximum debt amount minus the outstanding obligations is the legal debt margin.

2. provision often found in a COVENANT in a corporate loan agreement. DEBTOR
individual who has a legal obligation to pay money to another.


1. adjustment or realignment of debt structure reflecting concessions granted by creditors, to give the debtor a more practical arrange-

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ment for meeting financial obligations. Restructuring is needed when the debtor has severe financial problems. The agreement to restructure may result from legal action or simply be an agreement to which parties consent. See also CHAPTER 11; CHAPTER 7; TROUBLED DEBT RESTRUCTURING.

2. realignment of debt structure based on a voluntary financial management decisionfor example, to replace short- term debt with long-term debt.


in governmental accounting, fund used to account for the accumulation of resources for, and the payment of, general long-term debt principal and interest except that payable from proprietary, fiduciary, or special assessment funds.


process of tracing and correcting flaws in a software program or hardware device. In a complex program, it may
take longer to correct the errors than originally to write the program. Debug aids are prewritten sets of
computerized routines that assist in finding the BUGS.


delegation of decision-making to the subunits of an organization. It is a matter of degree. The lower the level where decisions are made, the greater is the decentralization. Decentralization is most effective in organizations where subunits are autonomous and costs and profits can be independently measured. The benefits of decentralization include: (1) decisions are made by those who have the most knowledge about local conditions; (2) greater managerial input in decision-making has a desirable motivational effect; and (3) managers have more control over results. The costs of decentralization include: (1) managers have a tendency to look at their division and lose sight of overall company goals; (2) there can be costly duplication of services; and (3) costs of obtaining sufficient information increase.


organization that has several operating segments; operating control of each segment's activities is the responsibility of the segment's manager.


purposeful selection from among a set of alternatives in light of a given objective. Decision-making is not a separate function of management. In fact, decision-making is intertwined with the other functions, such as PLANNING, COORDINATING, and CONTROLLING. These functions all require that decisions be made. For example, at the outset, management must make a critical decision as to which of several strategies would be followed. Such a decision is often called a strategic decision because of its long-term impact on the organization. Also, managers must make scores of lesser decisions, tactical and operational, all of which are important to the organization's well-being.


term used in a situation when for each decision alternative there is only one event and therefore

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only one outcome for each action. For example, there is only one possible event for the two possible actions: "Do nothing" at a future cost of $3.00 per unit for 10,000 units, or "rearrange" a facility at a future cost of $2.80 for the same number of units. A decision matrix (or payoff table) would look as follows:

Actions State of Nature (with probability of 1.0)
Do nothing $30,000 (10,000 units x $3.00)
Rearrange 28,000 (10,000 units x $2.80) Note that there is only one STATE OF NATURE in the matrix because there is only one possible outcome for each action (with certainty). The decision is obviously to choose the action that will result in the most desirable out-come (least cost), that is to "rearrange." See also DECISION THEORY.


term used in a situation that involves several events for each action with its probability of occurrence. The decision problem can best be approached using a payoff table (or decision matrix). See also DECISION THEORY.


formal or informal conceptualization of the relationship of the various factors that are relevant in decision-making
examples of a decision model.


procedure used in ZERO-BASE BUDGETING when a manager specifies recommended and alternative ways to undertake a proposed project (e.g., product). Dollars and time involved with the recommended and alternative means of accomplishing the project are specified. Thus, upper management has three possible choices: (1) not funding the project at all; (2) accepting the project as recommended; or (3) accepting the project in an alternative form. Note that an alternative means of performing the project may be chosen because it is less expensive than the recommended way. A decision package looks as follows:


designation of a specific condition or combination of conditions that may arise in the decision-making process and the appropriate action to take if the conditions exist. For example, in a CAPITAL BUDGETING decision, under the NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) METHOD, a project should be accepted if its NPV is positive. Also,

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under the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) approach, a project should be accepted if the IRR of the project exceeds the cost of capital.


branch of the broadly defined

MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (MIS) that provides answers to problems and that integrates the decision maker into the system as a component. The system utilizes such quantitative techniques as regression, linear programming, and financial planning modeling. DSS software furnishes support to the accountant in the decision-making process. It analyzes a specific situation and can be modified as the practitioner wishes. Models are constructed and decisions analyzed. Planning and forecasting are facilitated.


systematic approach to making decisions especially under uncertainty. Although statistics such as EXPECTED VALUE and STANDARD DEVIATION are essential for choosing the best course of action, the decision problem can best be approached, using what is referred to as a payoff table (or decision matrix), which is characterized by: (1) the row representing a set of alternative COURSES OF ACTION available to the decision maker; (2) the column representing the STATE OF NATURE or conditions that are likely to occur and over which the decision maker has no control; and (3) the entries in the body of the table representing the out-come of the decision, known as payoffs, which may be in the form of costs, revenues, profits, or cash flows. By computing expected value of each action, we will be able to pick the best one. Example 1:

Assume the following probability distribution of daily demand for strawberries:

Daily Demand 0 1 2 3
Probability .2 .3 .3 .2

Also assume that unit cost = $3, selling price = $5 (i.e., profit on sold unit = $2), and salvage value on unsold units = $2 (i.e., loss on unsold unit = $1). We can stock either 0, 1, 2, or 3 units. The question is: How many units should be stocked each day? Assume that units from one day cannot be sold the next day. Then the payoff table can be constructed as follows:

State of Nature


* 0
* Profit for (stock 2, demand 1) equals (no. of units sold) (profit per unit) - (no. of units unsold)(loss per unit) = (1)($5 - 3) - (1)($3 - 2) = $1
** Expected value for (stock 2) is: -2(.2) + 1(.3) + 4(.2) = $1.90. The optimal stock action is the one with the highest EXPECTED MONETARY VALUE, i.e., stock 2 units.

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Suppose the decision maker can obtain a perfect prediction of which event (state of nature) will occur. The EXPECTED VALUE WITH PERFECT INFORMATION would be the total expected value of actions selected on the assumption of a perfect forecast. The EXPECTED VALUE OF PERFECT INFORMATION can then be computed as:

Expected value with perfect information minus the expected value with existing information.

Example 2: From the payoff table in Example 1, the following analysis yields the expected value with perfect information:

Stock\ Demand 0

State of Nature
1 2

3 Expected






0 $0 $0
Actions 1 2 .6
2 4 1.2
3 6 1.2

With existing information, the best that the decision maker could obtain was select (stock 2) and obtain $1.90. With perfect information (forecast), the decision maker could make as much as $3. Therefore, the expected value of perfect information is $3.00 $1.90 = $1.10. This is the maximum price the decision maker is willing to pay for additional information.


pictorial representation of a decision situation, normally found in discussions of decision-making under uncertainty or risk. It shows decision alternatives, states of nature, probabilities attached to the state of nature, and conditional benefits and losses. The tree approach is most useful in a sequential decision situation. For example, assume XYZ Corporation wishes to introduce one of two products to the market this year. The probabilities and present values (PV) of projected cash inflows follow:

Products Initial

PV of Cash Inflows


A $225,000 1.00
$450,000 0.40
200,000 0.50
100,000 0.10
B 80,000 1.00
320,000 0.20
100,000 0.60
150,000 0.20

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A decision tree analyzing the two products follows:

Based on the expected net present value, the company should choose product A over product B. DECISION VARIABLE

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date on which the dividend is voted and announced (declared) by the board of directors. At the declaration date, the dividend is a legal liability of the company. See also DATE OF RECORD.


process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood. See also ENCRYPTION. DEDUCTIONS
1. itemized deductions, which are deductions from ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME (AGI). Certain personal
expenditures are allowed by the Tax Code as deductions from adjusted gross income if they exceed the
STANDARD DEDUCTION (formerly the ZERO BRACKET AMOUNT). Examples include medical expenses in
excess of 7.5% of AGI, interest on home mortgages, real estate taxes, and charitable contributions. Itemized
deductions are reported on Schedule A of Form 1040.

2. deductions for adjusted gross income, such as employee business expenses and contributions to an IRA pension plan.

3. adjustment to an invoice.

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bond that has a coupon rate far below rates currently available on investments and that consequently can be traded
only at a significant discount from par valueusually more than about 20%. It may offer an opportunity for capital


unlawful and fraudulent misappropriation of property or funds under one's (e.g., cashier, trustee, administrator) control by breach of trust (e.g., EMBEZZLEMENT).


failure of a debtor to meet principal or interest payment on a debt at the due date. In the event of default, creditors may make claims against the assets of the issuer in order to recover their principal.


1. to render null or void, or to terminate the interest in a property according to strictly stipulated conditions as in a deed. It may refer to the physical instrument itself stipulating the above conditions.

2. to discharge old, low-rate debt (without repaying it before maturity) by adding new securities paying high interest or having a higher market value. The object is to have a more debt-free balance sheet and increased earnings by removing the old debt and adding high-yielding new securities.


liquidity ratio revealing the ability of the business to meet its current debts. It indicates the period of time the entity can operate on its current liquid assets without needing revenues from next period's sources. The ratio equals defensive assets (cash, marketable securities, and receivables) divided by projected daily operational expenditures less noncash charges. Projected daily operational expenditures are determined by dividing cost of goods sold plus operating expenses and other ordinary cash expenses by 360. Assume cash of $30,000, marketable securities of
$38,000, receivables of $46,000, projected daily expenditures of $450,000, and non-cash charges of $20,000. The ratio equals:


annuity whose first payment or receipt does not begin until some time after the first period; for example, an annuity of $1000 is not paid for the first three years and then commences payments at the end of each year from the fourth and continues through the end of that annuity.


agreement in which payments to the annuitant are postponed until a specified number of periods have elapsed. An example is when annuity payments begin at the age of 60.

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cost already incurred that is deferred to the future. The deferral is made because of anticipated future benefit or because the charge constitutes an appropriate allocation of costs to future operations. The basic accounting convention applicable is the matching of costs and revenues. Deferred charges are classified as non-current assets because their life extends beyond one year. Deferred charges have no physical substance. Examples of deferred charges are: (1) start-up costs in putting into operation new, better, or more efficient facilities; (2) plant rearrangement and reinstallation costs; (3) moving costs from one location to another; and (4) deferred income tax charges resulting from INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION. Note that a company sometimes has discretion of whether to defer a cost and amortize or immediately expense it. An example is advertising expense, which is capitalized when the benefits to be gained will affect future years' income. Since deferred charges lack cash realizability and cannot be used to meet creditor claims, they are (when material) subtracted from assets in most ratio calculations. See also PREPAID EXPENSE.


expenditure incurred having future benefit in excess of one year that is capitalized to an asset account. An example
is interest incurred on borrowed funds for the self-construction of an asset that is capitalized.


income items received by a business, but not yet reported as income; also called deferred revenue and deferred income. An example is a consulting fee received in advance before being earned. The term also applies to revenue normally includable in income but deferred until earned and matched with expenses. For example, a magazine publisher might defer a 3-year subscription to match revenue against later publication expenses. The deferred credit is classified under noncurrent liabilities. When a portion of the deferred credit is earned, the entry is to debit deferred credit and credit revenue. See also INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION.


method of installment sales. Any profit not collected is deferred on the balance sheet pending cash collection from the customer. When collections are subsequently made, realized gross profit is increased via a debit to the deferred gross profit account. The deferred gross profit account is a contra account to accounts receivable as follows:


asset resulting when taxable income exceeds book income as a result of a temporary difference in the recognition of income and expense items. Thus, the tax payable will be greater than the tax expense. In INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION, this difference is reported as a deferred income tax charge. For example,

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warranty expense is deducted for book purposes in the year of sale but taken off on the tax return only when paid. The Deferred Income Tax Charge account will be classified partly as current (for the warranty period for the next year) and partly as noncurrent (for the warranty period in excess of one year). Assume income for both books and tax is $5000, warranty expense for books is $500, warranty expense for tax is $200, and the tax rate is 34%. Relevant computations and journal entry follow:

Book Income Tax Income
$5000 $5000
Income 500 200
Warranty expense $4500 $4800 Income before tax

Tax expense ($4500 x 34%)

Deferred income tax charge ($300 x 34%) Tax payable ($4800 x 34%)




A deferred income tax charge results in a future deductible amount (for tax purposes), which can only be recognized as an asset in the current year if the entity is certain to have taxable income in the future. Thus, a deferred tax asset can only be booked for the amount of the certain future deductiblity of the item for tax purposes (e.g., resulting from temporary differences owing to DEFERRED INCOME TAX LIABILITIES already existing). A deferred income tax charge can also be recognized for the tax benefit of deductible amounts realizable by carrying back a loss from future years to reduce taxes paid in the current or a prior year.


account showing estimated amount of future taxes on income earned and recognized for accounting purposes but not yet for federal income tax purposes. Thus, book income will exceed taxable income. In INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION, this will result in tax expense being greater than tax payable. As a result, a deferred income tax liability will occur. It will eventually write itself off when the period for the temporary difference is fully reversed. Assume book income and taxable income are both $10,000. However, straight-line depreciation is used for book purposes amounting to a charge of $1000 while an accelerated depreciation method is used for tax purposes amounting to $1500. The corporate tax rate is 34%. Relevant computations and journal entry follow:

Book Income Taxable Income
Income $10,000 $10,000
Depreciation 1,000 1,500
Income before tax $ 9,000 $ 8,500
$ 3,060

Tax expense ($9000 x 34%)

Tax payable ($8500 x 34%)

Deferred income tax liability ($500 x 34%)

$ 2,890



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debt where the payment made is postponed beyond the present date. An example is deferred taxes. See also


1. maintenance that has been postponed and that may result in physical damage, lack of efficiency, decline in production, and other negative effects. If a company does not have an adequate repair program, future earnings potential of the assets are diminished.

2. factor in real estate appraisal. For example, deferred maintenance may produce broken windows and discolored paint that adversely affect the value of a piece of property.


procedure by which deferred taxes are computed with the tax rates in effect when the temporary differences between book income and taxable income originate; they are not adjusted for rate changes. The method is not acceptable for INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION. It is income statement-oriented in that the deferred income tax liability or charge awaits future adjustment to tax expense in later years when the temporary difference starts to reverse. See also LIABILITY TAX ALLOCATION METHOD; NET OF TAX METHOD.


additional tax liability that the IRS deems to be owed by a taxpayer. A taxpayer can argue the correctness of a deficiency with the IRS. If unsuccessful, the taxpayer can appeal to the Tax Court.


IRS communication to a taxpayer explaining why the correct amount of tax is greater than shown on the tax return.


debit balance in the Retained Earnings account resulting from accumulated losses. DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN
program stipulating the pension benefits employees will obtain when they retire. The pension benefit formula
usually is based on the worker's salary level nearing retirement age and considers the employment years. The
calculation must take into account the current year employer contribution to satisfy expected pension benefit
payments at retirement. There must be an appropriate funding pattern to assure adequate funds are available to
meet promised benefits. Considered in the funding level are such factors as turnover rate, mortality rate, and return
on investment. Since the pension expense each year will typically be different from the amount funded, a deferred
pension liability or asset will result. See also DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION PLAN.


program under which an employer agrees to make a specified contribution each year based on the pension benefit formula. The formula may consider such factors as years of service, salary levels, and age. Note that only the employer's contribution is defined and that there is no guarantee regarding the

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future benefits to be received by employees. The entry each year for the funding contribution is to debit pension expense and credit cash for the same amount. See also DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN.


general decrease in prices. It is the opposite of INFLATION and distinguished from disinflation, which is a reduction in the rate of price increases. Deflation is caused by a reduction in the money stock of the economy. Deflation has occurred usually after wars when countries often try to reduce war-inflated prices by reducing the money stock.


percentage change in earnings available to common shareholders that is associated with a given percentage change in net operating income. The greater the DFL, the riskier the firm; however, if the return on assets exceeds the cost of debt, additional leverage is favorable.


number of data items that are independent of one another. Given a sample of data and the computation of some statistic (e.g., the mean), the degrees of freedom are defined as (number of observations included in the formula) minus (number of parameters estimated using the data). For example, the mean statistic for N sample data points has n DF, but the variance formula has (n 1) DF because one parameter (the mean X) has to be estimated before the variance formula can be used.


change in operating income (earnings before interest and taxes) resulting from a percentage change in revenues. It measures the extent to which a firm incurs fixed rather than variable costs in operations. Thus, the greater the DOL, the greater the risk of loss when sales decline, and the greater the reward when sales increase.


percentage of a firm's cash expenditures that can be secured from (1) beginning fund and from (2) cash generated from its normal operation.


percentage change in net income that is associated with a given percentage change in sales. It is the product of DEGREE OF FINANCIAL LEVERAGE (DFL) and the DEGREE OF OPERATING LEVERAGE (DOL).


tax that is unpaid or remains unpaid as of or after the payment due date. Usually a penalty attaches to that sum. Any unpaid balance that may remain after a partial payment will still be considered delinquent. The penalty and the unpaid balance remain separately identifiable.


method of revenue recognition based on delivery instead of sale. DELIVERY CYCLE TIME
time period between acceptance of an order and final delivery of the product. See also CYCLE TIME.

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time period between product completion and customer receipt of the item. DELPHI METHOD
qualitative forecasting method that seeks to use the judgment of experts systematically to forecast what future
events will be or when they may occur. It brings together a group of experts who have access to each other's
opinions in an environment where no majority opinion is disclosed.


deposit from which funds may be drawn on demand and from which funds may be transferred to another party by means of a check. Demand deposits are the biggest component of the U.S. money supply. See also TIME DEPOSIT.




predetermined factory overhead rate for each production department. When products are heterogeneous, receiving different attention and effort as they move through various departments, departmental rates rather than a single plantwide rate are necessary to achieve more accurate overhead application to the products.


person who derives primary support from another party. In order for a person to qualify as a dependent for federal income tax exemption purposes, five tests must be met: support test, gross income test, joint return test, citizenship or residency test, and relationship or member of household test.


one whose value depends upon the values of other variables and constants in some relationship. For example, in the relationship (y) = f (x), y is the dependent variable. For example, market price of stock is a dependent variable influenced by various independent variables, such as earnings per share, debt-equity ratio, and beta. See also INDEPENDENT VARIABLE.


physical exhaustion of a natural resource (e.g., oil, coal). The entry for recording annual depletion is to debit depletion expense and credit accumulated depletion. Accumulated depletion is a contra account to the natural resource.


cash receipts that arrived at the bank too late to be credited to the depositor's bank statement for the current month. Such deposits are added to the bank balance when preparing the BANK RECONCILIATION.


certain types of assets (e.g., plant and equipment) that gradually lose their value over time. The law permits depreciation charges except when such assets are held by individuals as personal property.

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fixed asset cost that is subject to depreciation. Depreciable cost equals acquisition cost less salvage value. DEPRECIABLE LIFE
economic or physical life of a fixed asset. All fixed assets except land are depreciated over the number of years of
expected use.


1. spreading out of the original cost over the estimated life of the fixed assets such as plant and equipment. Depreciation reduces taxable income. Among the most commonly used depreciation methods are STRAIGHT- LINE DEPRECIATION and ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION such as the SUM-OF-THE-YEARS'-DIGITS and DOUBLE DECLINING BALANCE METHODS.

2. decline in economic potential of limited life assets originating from wear and tear, natural deterioration through interaction of the elements, and technical obsolescence. To some extent, maintenance (lubrication, adjustments, parts replacement, and cleaning) may partially arrest or offset wear and deterioration. See also DEPRECIATION ACCOUNTING.


amortization of fixed assets, such as plant and equipment, in order to allocate the cost over its depreciable life. It is a process of cost allocation and not valuation. DEPRECIATION reduces taxable income but does not reduce cash. Depreciation is recorded by debiting depreciation expense and crediting accumulated depreciation. There are several methods of computing depreciation: STRAIGHT-LINE DEPRECIATION, UNITS-OF-PRODUCTION, and ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION methods (e.g., SUM-OF-YEARS'-DIGITS and DOUBLE DECLINING
BALANCE). Depreciation expense is deducted by a business on its federal income tax return. The depreciation amount on the tax return, however, may differ from the amount reported in the firm's income statement. In fact, the method used on the tax return need not be the same method used in the financial statements. Typically, a firm uses an accelerated depreciation for tax purposes and the straight-line method in its financial statements. ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM (ACRS) is a system that allows a specific accelerated write-off pattern of the asset for tax purposes.


transaction or contract whose value depends on or, as the name implies, derives from the value of underlying assets
such as stocks, bonds, mortgages, market indexes, or foreign currencies. One party with exposure to unwanted risk
can pass some or all of that risk to a second party. The first party can assume a different risk from the second party,
pay the second party to assume the risk, or, as is often the case, create a combination. The objectives of users of
derivatives may vary. A common reason to use derivatives is so that the risk of financial operations can be
controlled. Derivatives can be used to manage foreign exchange exposure, especially unfavorable exchange rate

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Speculators and arbitrageurs can seek profits from general price changes or simultaneous price differences in different markets, respectively. Others use derivatives to hedge their position; that is, to set up two financial assets so that any unfavorable price movement in one asset is offset by favorable price movement in the other asset.


auxiliary program that operates in WINDOWS overlaying the accountant's principal application. When such a desk accessory is called up, the practitioner is temporarily exiting the main program. Some accessories let the accountant transfer information to and from the main application. Features of desk-top software may include an appointment calendar, a clock that can measure and record time spent with particular files, a notepad, a directory for mail and telephone, telephone dialing, card filing, and calculator functions. Borland International's Sidekick, for example, is designed to complement a word processor, DATA BASE, or SPREADSHEET. The windows can be moved around the screen, enlarged, or reduced.


certificate conferring the right to buy stock that is issued along with a detachable bond. The warrant has a market life of its own. The portion of the proceeds received for the bond and warrant that are allocable to the warrant should be accounted for as PAID-IN-CAPITAL. The allocation should be based on the relative fair market values of the two securities at time of issuance. Assume a $1000 convertible bond is issued for $1050, with $50 applicable to stock warrants. The entry is to debit cash $1050 and credit bonds payable $1000 and paid-in-capital (stock warrants) $50. See also UNDETACHABLE STOCK WARRANT.


procedure in which all or most of a company's transactions and related record keeping are examined and verified. This is much more comprehensive than audit testing through a sampling process. It should be undertaken when wrongdoing is expected such as EMBEZZLEMENT. A detailed audit is more readily associated with INTERNAL AUDIT activity rather than audits made by an EXTERNAL AUDITOR.


business devoting substantially all of its efforts to establishing itself. Either of the following conditions exist: (1) planned principal operations have not started or (2) there has been no significant revenue although principal operations are underway. GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP) applicable to established companies apply equally to development stage enterprises. In the BALANCE SHEET, cumulative net losses are reported as "deficit accumulated during the development stage." In the INCOME STATEMENT, cumulative amounts of revenue and expense from inception of the enterprise are reported. The STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN FINANCIAL POSITION shows the cumulative amounts of sources and uses of funds from inception. The financial statements are identified as those of a development stage enterprise and include a description of the development activities. In the first year in which a development

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stage enterprise is no longer considered such, it must disclose that in prior years it had been. DIF

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1. difference in revenues and costs that change between two or more alternative courses of action to be undertaken or considered. See also INCREMENTAL COST.

2. in INVESTMENTS, the typical extra commission charge of 1/8 of a point for an ODD-LOT stock transaction. DIFFERENTIAL ANALYSIS


one of the two types of computers, the other being an analog computer. A digital computer operates by counting
data represented by coded characters such as numbers, letters, and symbols.


a message signed with a special key. It is used to authenticate the sender or message integrity to the receiver. A secure digital signature process consists of (1) a method of signing a document that prevents forgery and (2) validating that the signature is the one it purports to be.


smallest figure that can be obtained by computing a common stock earnings per share that reflects the possible exercise of all convertible securities. It is based on a broader denominator in the earnings per share fraction than BASIC EARNINGS PER SHARE. Not only does the denominator include the weighted average of common stock outstanding it also includes those shares that may result from convertible securities and stock options. Diluted earnings per share equals:


decrease, loss, or weakening of a financial statement-related item. For example, if more common shares are issued, the equity interest represented by each common share is reduced. Another example is the inclusion of a convertible security that reduces earnings per share. A convertible security is included only if it has a dilutive effect on earnings per share of 3% or more.


method of processing data so that it can be stored and retrieved without consideration being given to data stored in preceding or subsequent locations; also called random access.


method allocating costs of each service department directly to production departments; also called direct method. Under this method, no consideration is given to ser-

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vices performed by one service department for another. Assume the following data:

Production Departments Service Departments

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Overhead costs before


Assembly Plant



allocation $30,000 $40,000 $20,000 $10,000 Engineering
hours by
Engineering 50,000 30,000 5,000 4,000 Direct labor
hours by
General Plant 60,000 40,000 15,000 20,000

Using the direct method yields:

Service Departments Production Departments
costs $20,000 $10,000 $30,000 $40,000
GP (60%,


(20,000) 12,000 8,000

E ( 5/8, 3/8) # (10,000) 6,250 3,570
$48,250 $51,750
* Base is (60,000 + 40,000 = 100,000); 60,000/100,000 = .6; 40,000/100,000 = .4.
# Base is (50,000 + 30,000 = 80,000); 50,000/80,000 = 5/8; 30,000/80,000 = 3/8.


expenses that can be directly identified with the costing object such as a product and department. Examples are direct materials, direct labor, and advertising outlays made directly to a particular sales territory. See also INDIRECT COST.


method in which the costs to be inventoried include only the variable manufacturing costs. Fixed factory overhead is treated as a period costit is deducted along with the selling and administrative expenses in the period incurred. That is,

Direct materials $xx
Direct labor xx
Variable factory overhead xx
Product cost $xx

Fixed factory overhead is treated as a period expense.
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Direct costing is used for internal management only. Its uses include: (1) inventory valuation and income

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determination; (2) relevant cost analysis; (3) BREAK-EVEN and COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSES;
and (4) short-term decision-making. Direct costing is, however, not acceptable for external reporting or income tax
reporting. Companies that use direct costing for internal reporting must convert to ABSORPTION COSTING for
external reporting.

Under absorption costing, the cost to be inventoried includes all manufacturing costs, both variable and fixed. Nonmanufacturing (operating) expenses, i.e., selling and administrative expenses, are treated as period expenses and thus are charged against the current revenue.

Direct materials $xx

Direct labor xx

Variable factory overhead xx

Fixed factory overhead xx

Product cost $xx

Two important facts are noted: 1. Effects of the two costing methods on net income: (a) When production exceeds sales, a larger net income will be reported under absorption costing. (b) When sales exceed production, a larger net income will be reported under direct costing. (c) When sales and production are equal, net income will be the same under both methods. 2. Reconciliation of the direct and absorption costing net income figures: (a) The difference in net income can be reconciled as follows:

(b) the above formula works only if the fixed overhead rate per unit does not change between the periods. DIRECT FINANCING LEASE
method used by lessors in capital leases when both of the following criteria for the lessor are satisfied: (1)
collectibility of minimum lease payments is assured and (2) no important uncertainties surround the amount of
unreimbursable costs yet to be incurred. In a direct financing lease, the lessor is not a manufacturer or dealer in the
item; the lessor purchases the property only for the purpose of leasing it. The lessor uses the interest rate implicit in
the lease to discount the future payments from the lessee. The difference between the gross investment in the lease
and the cost of the leased property is reported as unearned interest income. Unearned interest income is then
amortized using the interest method thus resulting in interest income over the life of the lease. Initial direct costs of
the lease are expensed. See also SALES-TYPE LEASE.


work directly involved in making the product. Examples of direct labor costs are the wages of assembly workers on an assembly line and the wages of a machine tool operator in a machine shop. Direct labor is an inventoriable cost.

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schedule for expected labor cost. Expected labor cost is dependent upon expected production volume (production budget). Labor requirements are based on production volume multiplied by direct labor-hours per unit. Direct labor-hours needed for production are then multiplied by direct labor cost per hour to derive budgeted direct labor
costs. For example, assume budgeted production of 790 units, direct labor-hours per unit of 5, and direct labor cost per hour of $5. The expected labor cost equals:

Expected production 790 units
Direct labor-hours per unit x 5
Direct labor-hours 3,950
Direct labor cost per hour x $5
Total direct labor cost $19,750


difference between standard direct labor hours allowed for the good units produced and actual direct labor hours worked, multiplied by the standard direct labor rate.


difference between the standard direct labor rate and the actual direct labor rate, multiplied by the actual direct labor hours worked.


expected time required for each department, machine, or process to complete production of one unit or one batch of output.


difference between the standard direct cost and the actual direct labor cost. It is the sum of the DIRECT LABOR RATE VARIANCE and DIRECT LABOR EFFICIENCY VARIANCE.


all the material that becomes an integral part of the finished product. Examples are the steel used to make an automobile and the wood to make furniture. Direct materials are charged to work-in-process as an inventoriable cost.


schedule showing how much material will be required for production and how much material must be bought to meet this production requirement. The purchase depends on both expected usage of materials and inventory levels. For example, assume expected production of 790 units, 3 lbs. of material needed per unit, desired ending inventory of material 216 lbs., beginning inventory of material 237 lbs., and unit cost per lb. of $2. Then lbs. of material to be purchased and purchase cost follow:
Material needed for production (790 units x 3) 2370 lbs. Add: Desired ending inventory 216
Total need 2586

Less: Beginning inventory 237
Purchases of material 2349
x Unit cost x $2
Purchase cost $4698

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careful estimate of the cost of a specific direct material in the next accounting period. DIRECT MATERIALS PRICE VARIANCE
actual price minus the standard price, times the actual quantity. The price variance may be isolated either at the
time of purchase or at the time of transfer to WIP. The advantage of the former method is that the variance is
identified earlier. Normal spoilage is considered in the calculation of standard direct materials cost per unit.


estimate of the amount of direct materials to be used, influenced by product engineering specifications, quality of direct materials, age and productivity of machinery, and quality and experience of the work force.


actual quantity minus standard quantity, times standard price. This variance is sometimes supplemented by the direct materials mix variance and the direct materials yield variance. These variances are calculated only when the production process involves combining several materials in varying proportions (when substitutions are allowable in combining materials).


difference between the actual costs of materials and the standard costs of materials. They are usually divided into price and efficiency components. Part of a total materials variance may be attributed to using more raw materials than the standard and part to a cost that was higher than standard.


weighted average unit standard cost of the budgeted mix multiplied by the difference between the actual quantity of materials used and the standard quantity. Certain relationships may exist among the various material variances. For instance, an unfavorable price variance may be offset by a favorable mix or yield variance because materials of better quality and higher price are used. Also, a favorable mix variance may result in an unfavorable yield variance or vice versa.



2. procedure for converting the income statement from an accrual basis to a cash basis by separately adjusting each item in the income statement.


1. head of a governmental agency.

2. member on the board of directors of a corporation. The board of directors that is selected by the shareholders is the chief governing body of the corporation. It has the sole responsibility for the declaration of dividends. It also decides on major areas, including expansion, retraction, change of product, and selection of corporate officers.

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financial report prepared for company directors. The report is typically prepared on a quarterly and annual basis. It includes detailed items such as the accountant's financial analyses and management recommendations. The report is usually unaudited.


substantive auditing procedure that is designed to validate or substantiate a recorded account balance, rather than the accounting treatment, errors, and irregularities associated with transactions.




way of charging bad debt expense when an account receivable is actually deemed uncollectible. Thus, at the date it is certain that the customer will not be able to pay (in the most extreme instance, bankruptcy), the entry is to debit bad debt expense and credit accounts receivable. The advantage of this method is that it is based on fact rather than estimates. However, it is not accepted for financial reporting purposes because it fails to match bad debt expense against sales in the year of sale and does not show the realizable value of accounts receivable. It is the only method allowed for tax purposes (except for small banks and specified types of financial organizations).


payment by cash or by check. See also EXPENDITURE. DISCLAIMER
rendered by the auditor when insufficient competent evidential matter exists to form an AUDIT OPINION.
Examples are when audit SCOPE LIMITATIONS exist, or uncertainties (e.g., lawsuits) are such that the
accountant cannot reasonably predict their ultimate outcome, which may have a devastating effect upon the firm.
See also EVIDENCE.


information given as an attachment to the financial statements in footnote or supplementary form. It provides an elaboration or explanation of a company's financial position and operating results. Explanatory information concerning an entity's financial health can also be disclosed in the AUDIT REPORT. Anything that is material should be disclosed including quantitative (e.g., dollar components of inventory) and qualitative (e.g., lawsuit) information helpful to financial statement users. The SEC also requires special disclosures in filings with it. For example, any sudden significant happening affecting a company's financial position (e.g., Three Mile Island nuclear accident) must be disclosed in Form 8-K.


sale, disposal, or planned sale in the near future of a business segment (i.e., product line, class of customer). The results of a discontinued operation are reported separately in the income statement as a separate line item after income from continuing operations and before extraordinary items. See also INCOME FROM DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS.

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1. difference between the FACE VALUE (i.e., future value) and the PRESENT VALUE of a payment.

2. reduction in price given for prompt payment. See also SALES DIS-COUNT; TRADE DISCOUNT.

3. excess of the par value (face value) of a financial instrument over the price paid for it. See also BOND DISCOUNT.


methods of selecting and ranking investment proposals such as the NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) and INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) methods where time value of money is taken into account.


length of time required to recover the initial cash outflow from the discounted future cash inflows. This is the approach where the present values of cash inflows are cumulated until they equal the initial investment. For example, assume a machine purchased for $5000 yields cash inflows of $5000, $4000, and $4000. The cost of capital is 10%. Then we have

Year Cash Flow PV Factor at 10% PV of Cash Flow
1 $5000 .909 $4545
2 4000 .826 3304
3 4000 .751 3004

The payback period (without discounting the future cash flows) is exactly 1 year. However, the discounted payback period is a little over 1 year because the first year discounted cash flow of $4545 is not enough to cover the initial investment of $5000. The discounted pay-back period is 1.14 years (1 year + ($5000 $4545)/$3304 = 1 year + .14 year).


cash discount not taken because of the buyer's failure to pay within the specified time period. The discount lost
occurs only when purchases are recorded net of the discount. If the discount is not taken advantage of, the gross
amount will be paid. Assume a $1000 purchase on terms of 2/10, net/60. The journal entry for the purchase is to
debit purchases and credit accounts payable for $980. If payment is made after 10 days, the entry is to debit
accounts payable $980 and purchase discount lost $20 and credit cash $1000. Purchase discount lost is an expense


1. interest rate charged by the Federal Reserve Bank to its member banks for loans; also called rediscount rate. The federal discount rate is less than the prime rate.

2. interest rate used to convert future receipts or payments to their present value. The COST OF CAPITAL (cutoff, hurdle, or minimum

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required rate) is used as the discount rate under the NET PRESENT VALUE METHOD.

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exploratory sampling to assure that the proportion of units with a particular attribute (i.e., error) is not in excess of a given percentage of the population. Three determinations needed to use discovery sampling are: (1) size of population; (2) minimum unacceptable error rate; and (3) confidence level. Sample size is provided by a sampling table. If none of the random samples has an error, the auditor can conclude that the actual error rate is below the minimum unacceptable error rate. Usually, discovery sampling is employed to identify batches of documents requiring detailed examination. Assume the auditor desires to determine the correctness of costing of documents from 20 branches. A discovery sample can uncover those batches having, for example, a 95% probability of an error rate below 1%. The auditor will accept those batches as satisfactory and examine in detail the remaining batches. It is a good procedure to follow in checking the quality of clerical work. When limited time exists, discovery sampling can reassure the auditor that the error rate is less then a certain percentage using a small sample size. Discovery sampling can also be used to test audit reliability ex post. Assume an error was not detected when the CPA used a random sample in examining the population. However, after the error is uncovered, the auditor can determine the probability of having found this error. The CPA may have checked random units giving him a 95% confidence level that the error rate in the population was below 1%. The incorrect units are, say .1% of the population, hence the method and assumptions used were appropriate. Assume the auditor looks at an inventory list comprised of quantity, unit cost, and total cost. It would be impractical for auditors to examine each pricing and extension. They can utilize discovery sampling to derive a 90% confidence level that the error rate in pricing and extension is below 1%. The table indicates that for 2000 inventory items, a random sample size of 220 is appropriate. If no errors are found, the accountant concludes the entire inventory list is correct. If one error is uncovered, the accountant ceases sampling and checks all of the extensions on the list. A problem with discovery sampling is the rejection of some acceptable batches. While discovery sampling may be used by the internal auditor as a final check, the external auditor should use it only as a preliminary scanning procedure to test the quality of data in a population.


method of accounting for extractive enterprises (such as oil and gas). In this approach, the increase in value associated with the discovery of oil and gas reserves would be included in earnings. There are problems such as identifying the future market prices and the costs of production and making reliable estimates of the amount of resource (for example, number of barrels of oil that ultimately will be produced from the field). See also RESERVE RECOGNITION ACCOUNTING (RRA).

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cost changed easily by management decision such as advertising, repairs and maintenance, and research and development; also called managed cost. The analyst should note whether the current level of discretionary expense is consistent with previous trends and with the company's present and future requirements. Discretionary costs are often reduced when a firm is in difficulty or desires to show a stable earnings trend. A reduction in discretionary costs may cause a deterioration in the QUALITY OF EARNINGS since management is starving the firm by holding down necessary expenses (for example, a lack of repairs causing equipment breakdown). The trend in discretionary costs as a percent of net sales and related assets should be examined.


fixed costs that change because of managerial decisions, also called management (fixed) costs or programmed (fixed) costs. Examples of this type of fixed costs are advertising outlays, training costs, and research and development costs. Management sometimes unjustly reduces these costs below normal levels in order to pad current net income, which may place the future net income of the company at risk.


document published by the FASB to facilitate and encourage discussion of an issue or problem of current concern to the accounting profession and members of the interested public. It attempts to bring out all pertinent aspects of the subject under consideration both pro and con and provides a vehicle so that alternative solutions may be evaluated. It usually signifies that the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARD BOARD (FASB) is considering the issuance of STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS.


opposite of capital budgeting decisions, because they concern whether to terminate rather than start an operation. In general, if the marginal cost of a project is greater than the marginal revenue, the firm should disinvest. Four steps should be taken in making a disinvestment decision. First, fixed expenses that would be curtailed by the disinvestment decision, e.g., depreciation and insurance on equipment used, should be identified. Second, the revenue needed to justify continuing operations (variable cost of production) should be determined. Third, the opportunity cost of funds that will be received upon disinvestment (e.g., salvage value) should be established. Fourth, if the book value of the assets is not equal to the economic value of the capital, the decision should be reevaluated using current fair value rather than book value. When a firm disinvests, excess capacity may exist unless another project uses this capacity immediately. The cost of IDLE CAPACITY should be treated as a relevant cost.


computer device that stores data that can be retrieved in a random order. It is a magnetic platter similar in appearance to a phonograph record. A disk is coated with material that can be magnetized. It stores BITS on tracks (circles) on one or both sides. Usually, each disk has two

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hundred or more tracks. Each track is divided into sectors, referring to the amount of data the computer reads into memory in a single step. The directory of a disk is a specified area where the computer records the names and locations of the files on it.


disk that is usually 31/2" in diameter; also called a floppy disk. The disk is made of a flexible piece of Mylar. When magnetized, it is able to store BITS on tracks (circles) on one side if a single-sided floppy disk or on two sides if it is a double-sided disk. A floppy disk has sectors that divide each track into sections. Floppy disks are used with floppy disk drives. The latter write information onto diskettes, read the information, or erase it. Floppy disks can be double-density or high-density. A high-density floppy disk stores more BYTES than a double-density one.


personal income minus personal income tax payments and other government deductions. It is the amount of personal income available for people to spend or save; also called take-home pay.


date on which an asset is sold or discarded. A higher selling price may be realized if the asset is sold in the ordinary course of business than in a forced liquidation.


closing of variances to cost of goods sold or income summary if they are immaterial. Variances that are material may be prorated. A simple approach to prorating is to allocate the total net variance to work-in-process, finished goods, and the cost of goods sold based on the balances in those accounts.


markdown that a firm should accept rather than discontinue its operation under distress conditions. Under these conditions, any contribution that can be obtained to help cover fixed costs may be preferable to ceasing operations altogether. If operations are discontinued, the company will have no contribution available to cover fixed costs and will end up with a huge amount of shutdown costs. A distress price typically would be a variable-cost-plus price. See also CONTRIBUTION APPROACH TO PRICING.


system in which linked computers are at various locations instead of being centralized at one particular place. DISTRIBUTED PROCESSING
technique in which physically separate computers share resources in their respective information processing
functions. This means that a number of computers can use the same disk drives, printers, and other peripherals.
This becomes an important advantage when a large data base is required by two different computers. Instead of
using separate disk drives, the system is set up so that both computers can access the same data base. Distributed
processing is often implemented by linking microcomputers and minicomputers to

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mainframes, or by linking mainframes together, with each computer having a number of users.

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any cost incurred to fill an order for a product or service. It includes all money spent on warehousing, delivering, and/or shipping products and services to customers.


payment of earnings to owners of a business organization in the form of a DIVIDEND. A dividend is a distribution to a corporation's stockholders usually in cash; sometimes in the corporation's stock, called a STOCK DIVIDEND; and much less frequently in property (usually other securities), called a dividend in kind.


portion of an asset's risk that can be eliminated through diversification, also called UNSYSTEMATIC RISK or
controllable risk. It results from the occurrence of random events such as labor strikes, lawsuits, or loss of key
accounts. This type of risk is unique to a given asset. Business, liquidity, and default risks fall into this category. It
is assumed that any investor can create a portfolio in which this type of risk is completely eliminated through


conditions in which cost objects place different demands on activities, activities place different demands on resources, or processes place different demands on resources. This situation arises, for example, when there is a difference in mix or volume of products that causes an uneven assignment of costs. Different types of diversity include: batch size, customer, market, product mix, distribution channel, and volume.


recognizing varying levels of demand by using cost drivers. DIVIDEND
distribution of earnings paid to stockholders based on the number of shares owned. The most typical type of
dividend is a CASH DIVIDEND. Dividends may be issued in other forms such as stock and property. Dividend
reinvestment plans also exist where stockholders can reinvest the proceeds of the dividend to buy more shares of


applied to the amount of dividends received that are exempt from tax.

Individual: prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, individuals were permitted an exclusion of $100 ($200 for married taxpayers filing jointly). The 1986 Act ended the exclusion effective 1987.

Corporation: a company can exclude 80% of the dividends received from other domestic corporations. With the maximum corporate tax rate of 34%, the maximum rate on dividends is 6.8% (20% · 34%).


cost of internal equity using the next expected dividend per share, the expected growth rate in dividends or earnings, and the market price.

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ratio that measures the percentage of net income paid out in dividends. It equals dividends per share divided by earnings per share. Stockholders generally favor companies that distribute a high percentage of their earnings in the form of dividends. Some industries, such as utilities, are known for their stable dividend records. Assume net income is $100,000, cash dividends are $60,000, and common shares outstanding are 10,000. The dividend payout ratio is:

amount of dividends on CUMULATIVE PREFERRED STOCK from past periods that have not been paid.


ratio providing an estimate of the return per share on a stock investment based on the market price at the end of the reporting period. The ratio equals dividends per share divided by market price per share. A disadvantage of this ratio is the timing mismatch between the numerator, which is based on the dividend declaration date, and the denominator, which is based on the year-end market price of the stock. Assume cash dividends are $80,000, market price per share is $10, and 80,000 shares are outstanding. The dividend yield is:

legal termination of a marriage. The tax benefits of the personal exemption claimed for a child are phased out as
income increases. Thus only the lower income parent benefits from the personal exemption deduction. The party
making an alimony payment can deduct it for tax purposes. The recipient reports it as taxable income. No gain or
loss is recognized on a transfer of property incident to a divorce. Such transfers are treated as gifts, with the
transferee taking the transferor's adjusted basis in the property. The gain on the property is taxed only when sold.


emphasis upon the flow of liquid assets in accounting for firms that have a not-for-profit purpose. DOLLAR UNIT SAMPLING (DUS)
procedure expressed in dollar amounts showing that a given attribute has been exceeded. The accountant combines
a probability proportionate to size sampling of audit units, which have an upper level prediction of possible error
based on dollar mistakes uncovered in the sample, with an attribute derived from a probability determination. For
example, a supplier account with a book value of $100 constitutes 100 dollar units. The auditor undertakes a
random sample of the dollar units with probabilities proportionate to

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size. Then the audit units applicable to the sampled dollars are audited. If a dollar mistake is uncovered in a sampled item it is converted on a "per dollar" basis. Sample results are projected to the population.


inventory method computed in dollars (i.e., cost figures) rather than units. After dividing ending inventory into homogeneous "groupings" or "pools," each pool is converted to base year prices by means of appropriate price indices. The difference between beginning and ending balances, as converted, becomes a measure of change in inventory quantity for the year. An increase is recognized as an inventory layer to be added to the beginning inventory. It is converted at the current price index and added to the dollars identified with the beginning balance. Assume 12/31/2001 physical inventory is $130,000. The price index in 2001 is 1.30. The base inventory is $80,000 as of 12/31/2000 with a price index of 1.00. The dollar value inventory at 12/31/2001 is $106,000 as determined below:

12/31/2001 inventory in base dollars
$130,000/1.30 $100,000
12/31/2000 base inventory 80,000 $80,000
Increase in base dollars $ 20,000
2001 index x 1.3
Increase in current prices 26,000
12/31/2001 dollar value LIFO inventory $106,000

The tax law allows a simplified dollar-value LIFO method for taxpayers having average annual gross receipts for the three preceding taxable years of $5,000,000 or less. Under this method, taxpayers keep a separate inventory pool for items in each major category in the applicable government price index. The adjustment for each separate pool is based on the change from the preceding taxable year in the component of that index for the major category. See also LAST-IN, FIRST-OUT (LIFO).


company established under U.S. or state law. A FOREIGN CORPORATION, in one sense, is a domestic corporation organized in a state other than the one in which it does business.


in taxation, domestic corporations, usually subsidiaries, created by the Revenue Act (1971) to encourage exports and improve the balance of trade. A major benefit is the deferment of 50% of a DISC's income for a long period of time.


gift of assets to a company, usually by state or local governments, to induce a business to relocate. The item donated is recorded at its fair market value on the donation date. The donor does not have an owner's interest as a result of the donation. The entry is to debit the asset and credit donated capital. Donated capital is a stockholders' equity account. See also PAID-IN CAPITAL.

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ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION method in which a constant percentage factor of twice the straight-line rate is multiplied each year by the declining balance of the asset's book value. The straight-line rate is simply the reciprocal of the useful life in years, multiplied by 100. If the useful life is five years, the straight-line rate is 1/5 · 100 = 20%. Therefore, the double declining rate is 40%.

To determine the annual depreciation expense, the asset's book value at the beginning of the period is multiplied by the double declining rate.

For example, assume that the asset costs $1000 and has an estimated useful life of five years. The estimated salvage value at the end of the five-year period is $100. The calculations for this method follow:

Year Original Cost

Beginning Book Value

Double Declining Rate

Annual Dep. Expense

1 $1000 $1000 x 40% = $400
Note that in the fifth year depreciation expense is only $30, the amount needed to reduce the asset's book value to the estimated salvage value of $100. An asset is not depreciated below its salvage value. Thus, even though salvage value was ignored in the initial computation, the depreciation in the last year(s) cannot bring the asset's book value to less than the salvage value.


record of transactions that require entries in at least two accounts. Every transaction is reflected in offsetting debits and credits. For instance, when a telephone bill is accrued at year-end, (1) telephone expense must be recorded and
(2) accrued expenses payable must be increased.


approach used to get a price index for DOLLAR VALUE LIFO when broad inventory pools of similar items are unavailable. The method uses a representative portion of items to obtain an index.


on- line information service containing investment information and MCI electronic mail. There are many investment data bases on the service such as: Dow Jones News (The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Dow Jones News Service, and so on), Dow Jones Text-Search Services, Tracking Service (i.e., tracking stocks), Wall Street Week Online, Investext (full texts of research reports by investment firms), Disclosure Online (10-K extracts, company information and other important data on a large number of corporations),

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Media General Financial Services, Standard & Poor's Online, and Corporate Earnings Estimator.

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transmit a file or program from a central computer to the accountant's computer. The accountant can retrieve information to be used in an application package such as spreadsheet, file information from a subsidiary, or file data or program from an on-line data base. A BUFFER is the temporary storage area holding information. See also TELECOMMUNICATIONS; UPLOAD.


instrument normally used in international commerce to effect payment; also called bill of exchange. It is simply an order written by an exporter (seller) requesting an importer (buyer) or its agent to pay a specified amount of money at a specified time. The person or business initiating the draft is known as the maker, drawer, or originator. The party to whom the draft is addressed is the drawee. See also ACCEPTANCE; SIGHT DRAFT, TIME DRAFT.


provision allowing a personal withdrawal of cash or other assets from a proprietorship by the owner. It is in effect a disinvestment in the firm and reduces owner's equity. The entry is to debit the owner's capital and credit cash. The drawing account of a proprietor or partner is equivalent to the dividend account used by a corporation.


TRANSFER PRICING scheme. For example, the seller could record the transfer to another segment at the usual
market price that would be paid by an outsider. The buyer, however, would record a purchase at the variable cost of
production. Each segment's performance would be improved by the use of a dual-pricing scheme, and the
organization would benefit because variable costs would be used for decision-making purposes. In effect, the seller
is given a corporate subsidy under the dual-pricing system.


one part of associated LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) problems called the primal and the dual. In other words, each maximizing problem in LP has its corresponding problem, called the dual, which is a minimizing problem; similarly, each minimizing problem has its corresponding dual, a maximization problem. For example, if the primal is concerned with maximizing the contribution from the three products A, B, and C and from the three departments X, Y, and Z, then the dual will be concerned with minimizing the costs associated with the time used in the three departments to produce those three products. An optimal solution to the dual problem provides a SHADOW PRICE of the time spent in each of the three departments.


promised delivery date. DUMMY ACTIVITY
fictitious activity with zero activity time used to represent precedence or used whenever two or more activities have
the same starting and ending nodes.

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breakdown of RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI) into margin and turnover.


summary measure of the amount of AUTOCORRELATION in the error terms of the regression. Roughly speaking, if the statistic approaches a value of 2, there is no autocorrelation. If the error terms are highly positively correlated, the statistic would be less than 1 and could get near zero. If the error terms are highly negatively correlated, the statistic would be greater than 3 and could get near the upper limit of 4.


technique that divides the problem to be solved into a number of subproblems and then solves each subproblem in such a way that the overall solution is optimal to the original problem. For example, a company may wish to make a series of accounting and financial decisions over time that will provide it with the highest possible cash inflow.

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in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), earliest time at which an activity may be completed.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), earliest time at which an activity may begin.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), the time an event will occur if all preceding activities are started as early as possible.


long-term debt called back by a company before the maturity date. This may occur when the interest rate on the debt exceeds the current prevailing interest rate. The difference between the cash paid and the carrying value of the bond is treated as an extraordinary loss or gain. There is one exception. The gain or loss is an ordinary item if the extinguishment of debt was made to satisfy a SINKING FUND requirement that must be met within one year of the date of extinguishment.


income from personal services. Earned income generally includes wages, salaries, tips, and other employee compensation. Compensation includes items that can be excluded from gross income, such as lodging, or meals furnished for the employer's convenience. Earned income also includes any net earnings from self-employment. Pension and annuity payments are not included.


tax credit available to certain low-income taxpayers. This is an amount that eligible individuals can use to reduce their tax liability.


archaic term referring to retained earnings, the accumulated net income over the life of a corporation less all dividends.


discounted present value of future profit of a business. EARNINGS
1. NET INCOME of a business. See also EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS).

2. revenues earned by an individual such as compensation and passive income (e.g., interest, dividends).


projection of EARNINGS or EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS) frequently made by management and independent security analysts. Examples of forecast sources include (1) Lynch, Jones and Ryan's Institutional Brokers Estimate System (IBES), (2) Standard & Poor's The Earnings Forecaster, and (3) Zacks Investment Research's Icarus Service.

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profit accruing to stockholders for each share held. In a SIMPLE CAPITAL STRUCTURE, basic earnings per share equals:

In a complex capital structure, BASIC EARNINGS PER SHARE and DILUTED EARNINGS PER SHARE are presented.


estimated period that a fixed asset will provide benefits to the company. It is usually less than the physical life of an asset because an asset continues to have physical life despite inefficiency and obsolescence. Depreciation expense is typically based on the economic life. See also ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM (ACRS).


size that minimizes the sum of carrying and ordering costs. At the EOQ amount, total ordering cost equals total carrying cost. See also ECONOMIC ORDER QUANTITY (EOQ) MODEL.


mathematical model that determines the amount of goods to order to meet projected demand while minimizing inventory costs. In the original version of the model, demand is assumed to be known and constant throughout the year. Ordering cost is assumed to be a fixed amount per order, and carrying costs are assumed to be constant per unit. EOQ is computed as

If the carrying cost is expressed as a percentage of average inventory value (say, 12% per year to hold inventory), then the denominator value in the EOQ formula would be 12% times the price of an item. See also ECONOMIC PRODUCTION RUN SIZE.


particular quantity of production that will minimize the total annual cost of setting up and carrying inventory, if produced in one production run. See also ECONOMIC PRODUCTION RUN SIZE MODEL.


one that determines optimum production run quantity. The way it is computed is exactly the same as ECONOMIC ORDER QUANTITY (EOQ), except that the ordering cost in the EOQ formula is replaced by the setup cost. See also ECONOMIC ORDER QUANTITY (EOQ) MODEL.


difference between the total revenue and the total opportunity costs. ECONOMIC VALUE ADDED (EVA)
variation of RESIDUAL INCOME (RI) that defines the variable in specific ways. EVA = After-tax Income (Cost

of Capital · Capital Invested). The major difference between RI

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and EVA is that RI uses the market value or book value of assets for the capital invested in the division or firm while EVA uses the market value of total equity and interest-bearing debt.


in auditing, an input control used to identify incomplete, misleading, or invalid input data. EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL DEDUCTION
costs of transportation between a taxpayer's place of work and school that are deductible for adjusted gross income
as ordinary and necessary employee business expenses. For these costs to qualify for deductibility, they have to
meet the following conditions: (1) the education maintains or improves skills required by the taxpayer in
employment or other trade or business; or (2) the education meets the expressed requirements imposed by either
the individual's employer or applicable law, and such requirements must be satisfied to retain the taxpayer's job,
position, or rate of compensation. Travel that itself is the educational activity is not deductible.


manner of accounting for bond premiums or discounts. The interest expense equals the carrying value of a bond at the beginning of the accounting period times the EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE (yield); also called scientific amortization. This method is preferred over the straight-line method of amortizing bond discount or bond premium.
Amortization of a bond discount or premium is the difference between the interest expense and the nominal interest payment. The amortization entry is:



2. real rate of interest on a loan equal to the nominal interest divided by the proceeds of the loan. Assume a company took out a $10,000, one-year, 10% discounted loan. Discounted loan refers to interest being deducted immediately in arriving at proceeds. This effectively raises the cost of the loan. Further, assume a COMPENSATING BALANCE requirement of 5%. The effective interest rate equals:


extent to which actual performance compares with targeted performance. For example, if a company has established a target sales plan of 10,000 units at the beginning of the year and the company's salespeople sell only 8000 units during the year, the salespeople are appropriately considered "ineffective," as opposed to "inefficient." See also EFFICIENCY.

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equals the tax divided by taxable income. For example, if the tax is $20,000 on taxable income of $80,000, the effective tax rate of the business is 25% ($20,000/$80,000). See also MARGINAL TAX RATE.


cost of inputs for each unit of output produced. For example, the assembly department spent 2320 hours of direct labor in order to produce 2000 actual units of output, while the budget allows only 2000 direct labor-hours for that level of output. Then the department was clearly inefficient (or wasteful) in the use of labor since it spent 320 hours more than allowed. See also ANALYSIS OF VARIANCES.


difference between inputs (materials and labor) that were actually used (i.e., actual quantity of inputs used) and inputs that should have been used (i.e., standard quantity of inputs allowed for actual production), multiplied by the standard price per unit. Efficiency (quantity, usage) variance = (actual quantity standard quantity) · standard price per unit of input. The efficiency variance is unfavorable if the actual quantity exceeds the standard quantity: it is favorable if the actual quantity is less than the standard. See also MATERIAL QUANTITY VARIANCE; LABOR EFFICIENCY VARIANCE.


controversial theory holding that a stock's price is the same as its investment value. In an efficient market, all data are fully and immediately reflected in a stock price. Price changes in an efficient market are equally likely to be positive or negative. The hypothesis applies most directly to large companies trading on the major securities exchanges. The forms of the efficient stock market are weak, semi-strong, and strong.

In the weak form, no relationship exists between prior and future stock prices. The informational value of historical data is already included in current prices. Hence, studying previous stock prices is of no value.

In the semi-strong version, stock prices adjust immediately to new data; thus action after a known event results in randomness. All public information is reflected in a stock's value. Therefore, fundamental analysis is not usable in determining whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued.

In the strong form, stock prices reflect all informationpublic and private (insider). A perfect market exists. No group has access to information that would enable it to earn superior risk-adjusted returns.

8-K form a public company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission when an event deemed material requires public disclosure. Examples: a sudden and drastic lawsuit contingency or a change in auditors. See also 10-K.


the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet, especially the World Wide Web. In practice, this term and a new term, "E-business," are often used interchangeably. For

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on-line retail selling, the term E-tailing is sometimes used. It is also called E-commerce for short, on-line

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commerce, Internet commerce, E-business, or CYBERSPACE commerce. E-commerce can be divided into:

(1) E-tailing or "virtual storefronts" on Web sites with on-line catalogs, sometimes gathered into a "virtual mall." The gathering and use of demographic data through Web contacts; (2) Electronic Data Inter-change (EDI), the business-to-business exchange of data; (3) E-mail and fax and their use as media for reaching prospects and established customers (for example, with newsletters); (4) business-to-business buying and selling; and (5) and the security of business transactions.


transmission of business transactions from one company's computer to another company's computer. Transmission is achieved through an electronic communication network that uses translation software to convert transactions from a company's internal format to a standard EDI format. Companies that participate in EDI are referred to as trading partners. Trading partners may be involved in on-line banking, on-line retailing, and electronic funds transfer. There are paperless transactions in an electronic format. In the case of EDI, the auditor should be cognizant of the possible impact on the gathering of evidential matter.


system for electronically transferring funds among sellers, buyers, and other parties without the need to write checks. The cost of processing a large number of checks has motivated financial institutions to develop a system of this kind. A typical example of EFTS is the payment of payroll. An employer deposits the payroll checks of its employees directly to their checking accounts. The company then sends to the bank a magnetic tape coded with the appropriate payroll data.


document transmitted electronically from the user's computer or terminal to an information service. Accountants and their clients can take advantage of electronic mail to transmit essential messages. With electronic mail, each user in the system has a "mailbox," which receives, holds, and sends information to others. The information sent may be spreadsheets, reports, memos, and so forth. Examples of services are MCI and AT&T Mail.


items or accounts that appear on the balance sheet. They are various assets, liabilities, and equity accounts. A list of specific or detailed accounts is provided in the company's CHART OF ACCOUNTS. See also SETS OF ACCOUNTS.


accounting entries used when preparing CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS between a PARENT COMPANY and a SUBSIDIARY COMPANY. Examples of eliminations are the elimination of intercompany profit, receivables, payables, sales, and purchases. Thus

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the consolidated entity reports financial statement figures applicable to outsider transactions. Where many

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eliminations are involved, an eliminations ledger may be used. Eliminations are also involved in preparing
combining financial statements. See also CONSOLIDATION.


theft of money or property from a business by an individual in whose custody it has been placed. An example is a bookkeeper who steals from the petty cash fund. Proper INTERNAL CONTROLS can restrict or disclose such fraudulent activity.


placing the authority to make critical decisions with those closest to the problem, for example, those in the work area directly affected. See also DECENTRALIZATION.


federal legislation enacted to ensure that pension/retirement plans of employers are fair and secure. Provisions cover participation, vesting, funding, transferability, contributions, benefits, responsibilities, and termination procedures.


program that encourages employees to invest in the employer's stock. Employees may participate in the management of a company and even take control to save it from bankruptcy. The ESOP, however, is an inappropriate instrument for retirement savings. Because most of the funds are concentrated in the stock of one company, it does not provide any safety through diversification.


cost-of-living index that measures changes in costs for money wages and salaries and noncash fringe benefits in nonfarm private industry and state and local governments for workers at all levels of responsibility. The ECI is not affected by shifts in the composition of employment between high-wage and low-wage industries or between high- and low-wage occupations within industries. Thus, the ECI represents labor costs for the same jobs over time. The employment cost index (ECI) is provided quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor. The data are published in a press release and in two BLS monthly journals, Monthly Labor Review and Current Wage Developments.


putting a message into a certain code, often as a control to assure confidentiality. See also CODING OF ACCOUNTS.


computer term relating to the process of concealing transmitted data from unauthorized users. For example, only the sender and receiver will be able to understand the transferred information because it is in a secret code. See also DECRYPTION.


1. in government accounting, commitments related to unfilled contracts for goods and services including purchase orders. The purpose of

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encumbrance accounting is to prevent further expenditure of funds in light of commitments already made. At year-end, encumbrances still open are not accounted for as expenditures and liabilities but, rather, as reservations of fund balance. When an estimated or contractual liability is entered into, the entry is to debit encumbrances for the estimated amount and credit RESERVE FOR ENCUMBRANCES. When the actual expenditure of an amount previously encumbered is known, there are two entries. The first entry is to reverse the original encumbrance. The second entry is to record the expenditure by debiting expenditures and crediting VOUCHERS payable. At year-end, the encumbrance account is closed out against fund balance.

2. debt secured by a lien on assets. ENDING INVENTORY
goods on hand at the end of the accounting period. Ending inventory shows up in the income statement in the
calculation of cost of goods sold and in the balance sheet. See also BEGINNING INVENTORY.


signature on a draft or check by a payee before transfer to a third party. A payee provides such an endorsement when transferring this draft to the payee's bank. Checks can be endorsed in three different ways. In a blank endorsement, once signed, it becomes a negotiable instrument and can be used as such by anyone. A restrictive endorsement limits the use of the check to a single purpose. "For deposit only" is written on a check when it is deposited by mail. If the check is lost in the mail and subsequently found, it cannot be cashed. A special endorsement is used to pay someone else. All that is required is to indicate the payee and sign.


letter written by the CPA or public accountant to the client citing the accounting functions to be performed, responsibilities assumed, the basis for billing, expense reimbursement, and so on. Typically, the CPA requests that the client sign the engagement letter showing agreement with the terms. The purpose of the engagement letter is to have a clear agreement among the parties regarding the accounting work to be done and related particulars.


costs having a clear relationship to output. Direct materials cost is an example.


way to measure cost behavior (or develop a COST-VOLUME FORMULA) according to what costs should be, not by what costs have been. It entails a systematic review of materials, labor, support services, and facilities needed for product and services. Engineers use time and motion studies and similar engineering methods to estimate what costs should be from engineers' specifications of the inputs required to manufacture a unit of output or to perform a particular service. See also ACCOUNT ANALYSIS; HIGH-LOW METHOD; REGRESSION METHOD.

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income tax specialists who have passed the IRS's comprehensive, two-day Special Enrollment Examination on all aspects of tax law or who have had five years of audit experience with the agency. Enrolled agents are authorized by the Treasury Department to represent the taxpayer, at all levels of audit, review, and appeal when dealing with the IRS. The examination includes true-false and multiple-choice questions and covers the following tax topics: (1) individuals; (2) sole proprietorships and partnerships; (3) corporations (including Subchapter S Corporations), fiduciaries, and estate and gift tax; and (4) ethics, recordkeeping procedures, appeal procedures, exempt organizations, retirement plans, practitioner penalty provisions, and research materials.


accounting for the entire business rather than its subdivisions (e.g., department). ENTERPRISE FUND
in governmental accounting, fund that provides goods or services to the public for a fee that makes the entity self-
supporting. It basically follows GAAP as does a commercial enterprise. An example is a government-owned


tax deduction allowed only if the expenses are directly related or associated with the active conduct of a trade or business and are reasonable and necessary. This area of business expense deductions is scrutinized heavily by the IRS, and documentation requirements are usually quite stringent to prevent taxpayer abuse. A business may write off only 50% of the cost of business meals and entertainment costs.


Accounting: separate economic unit subject to financial measurement for accounting purposes. Examples are a corporation, partnership, sole-proprietor, and trust.

Legal: individual, partnership, corporation, and so on, permitted by law to own property and engage in business. Affiliated legal entities such as those consolidated for financial reporting may exist. Here, two or more companies operate under common control.


accounting and measurement process for an entity that may not be the same as the legal entity. Usually, it involves measuring financial condition and operating performance.


view in which a business or other organization has a separate accountability of its own. It is based on the equation:

The entity theory considers liabilities as equities with different rights and legal standing in the business. Under the theory, assets, obligations, revenues, and expenses and other financial aspects of the business entity are accounted for separately from its owners. In other

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words, the company has an identity distinct from its owners or managers. The firm is viewed as an economic and legal unit. See also PROPRIETARY THEORY.


individual who has the initiative to start an enterprise with its associated responsibilities, obligations, and risks. The entrepreneur usually hires people to work for him.


recording of a transaction in the books of account, such as the receipt of cash in the cash receipts journal. ENTRY VALUE
replacement cost. It is the current estimated fair market price or cost of acquiring an asset already on the books or
of service that has already been received and accounted for.


adjustment of the tax valuation of property in a county relative to other counties in the same state. To assure that all property owners in the state pay a fair and uniform share of the state tax, an equalization factor is established by the state. For example, property in a county that assesses property at 60% of market value would be adjusted relative to other counties in the same state that assess their property at 50% of market value.


allowance or reserve account credited periodically to offset charges to cover expenditures made during an accounting period. Its purpose is to allocate the expense uniformly over a period's operations. Maintenance expenses are sometimes handled in this manner. As the expenditures are actually paid, the allowance is debited, and the asset (e.g., cash) expended is credited.


method used to find the break-even point or target income volume in COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSIS or BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS. The equation is:

Let p = unit selling price, x = volume, v = unit variable cost, and FC = total fixed costs; the equation becomes

At the break-even volume, px = vx + FC + 0. To find the break-even point in units, simply solve the equation for
x. Assume p = $250, v = $150, and FC = $35,000. Then the equation is:


debt instrument used to provide funds for the acquisition of equipment. The holder of the certificate has a secured interest in the asset in the event of corporate default. The trustee (usually a bank) has title to the equipment until the bond

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is paid. These certificates are sometimes issued by transportation companies (e.g., shipping company).

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1. assets minus liabilities, also called NET WORTH. In a sole proprietor-ship, it is the owner's equity. In a corporation, it is STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY.

2. any right to assets; property right; a liability. An equity holder may be a creditor, stockholder, or proprietor. EQUITY FINANCING
method of obtaining funds by issuing common or preferred stock. Receipts may be in the form of cash, services, or
property. It is in the company's best interest to issue shares at a time when the market price of the stock is at its


means of accounting used by an investor who owns between 20% and 50% of the voting common stock of a company. It can also be used instead of the MARKET VALUE METHOD when the investor owns less than 20% of the company but has significant influence over the investee. Further, it is employed instead of CONSOLIDATION, even though more than 50% is owned, when one of the negating factors for consolidation exists (e.g., parent and subsidiary are not economically compatible, parent is not in actual control of subsidiary, parent has sold or contracted to sell subsidiary shortly after year-end). Under the equity method, the investor recognizes the percentage interest in the profit of the company by debiting investment in investee and crediting equity in earnings of investee. Dividends received by the investor are debited to cash and credited to the investment in investee account. Permanent declines in the market price of the investee are recognized by debiting loss and crediting investment in investee. However, temporary declines in market price are not reflected in the accounts. INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION will arise because investee profits are recognized for book purposes but investee dividends are reflected for tax purposes. Assume investor company buys 10,000 shares of investee company for $10 per share acquiring a 30% interest. Investee's net income is $20,000 and dividends are
$5000. The investment in investee account would look as follows:

Investment In Investee
Investment 100,000 Dividends 1,500
Profit 6,000


calculation of equity value creation by multiplying beginning equity capital by the difference between the return on equity (net income/equity) and the percentage cost of equity.


measure of the number of equivalent whole units produced in a period of time; also called EQUIVALENT UNITS.

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method of comparing the taxable yield on a taxable bond such as a corporate bond to the tax-free yield on a municipal bond. The magnitude of difference, assuming equal credit quality, depends on the individual's tax rate. Of course, on an after-tax basis, the tax-free interest rate on a municipal bond can be less than the taxable interest rate on a corporate bond depending on the tax bracket of the taxpayer. Assume a taxpayer in 2000 is in the 28% tax bracket. A 6% municipal bond has the equivalent taxable yield of
8.3% (6%/.72) on a corporate bond. Thus the taxpayer would have the same after-tax return on a 6% municipal bond or an 8.3% corporate bond. To gain a higher after-tax return, the investor would therefore have to invest in a corporate bond paying in excess of 8.3%.


annualized sum of all relevant costs. It is like the amount of an installment loan payment. EQUIVALENT UNITS
number of fully completed units considered to be equivalent to a greater number of partially completed units. For
example, if 1000 units are in WORK-IN-PROCESS at the end of the period and are considered 80% complete, the
equivalent production is 800 units. The equivalent unit cost of manufacturing an item equals the total cost divided
by the equivalent units. If the total cost of manufacturing the item was $2400, the unit cost would be $3
($2400/800). Equivalent units are determined separately for DIRECT MATERIAL and CONVERSION COST. If
3000 units in ending work-in-process are 70% complete as to direct material and 90% complete as to conversion,
the equivalent units are 2100 for direct material and 2700 for conversion. See also PROCESS COSTING.


difference between a correct item or amount and an incorrect item or amount. Errors may be due to inaccurate measurement, representation, or mathematical mistake. An example of an error is charging to an expense account the wrong amount. Material errors can result in erroneous financial decisions. Proper safeguards such as a good system of internal checks can minimize the incidence of errors. An error may also occur in applying GAAP. See also PRIOR PERIOD ADJUSTMENT.


deviation of the actual value of an observation from the true regression line; also called disturbance term and
residual term.


record keeping involved in and the preparation of reports by the one administering an estate of a deceased under
the jurisdiction of a probate court.


manner of minimizing estate taxes at death. It involves deriving the most favorable tax treatment of wealth. Inheritance is passed on to beneficiaries with the smallest amount given over to taxes. Tax planning aspects for estates include: (1) deter-

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mining what financial strategy could be developed taking into account the particular assets being considered; (2) the transfer of assets before the taxpayer's death (i.e., transfer title of property to those in low tax brackets); (3) drafting a will considering the tax and asset transfer ramifications (i.e., property can be transferred between spouses without any tax because of the unlimited marital deduction); and (4) having appropriate terms in life insurance policies.


levy paid to the federal government or state on a deceased person's assets that have been left to heirs. The estate pays the tax, not the recipients. There is a $600,000 exclusion on property transfer if the individual dies. No estate tax exists for property going from one spouse to another. See also INHERITANCE TAX.


1. cost that has been estimated or projected for a particular decision alternative or contract.

2. expenditures to be made after a sale. For example, expenditures for after-service repairs under product warranty are estimated costs. Proper matching of revenue and expenses requires that the estimated costs of providing these warranties be recognized as an expense in the period of sale rather than of a later period when the warranty costs may actually be paid.


obligation or service that actually exists but the amount requires estimation. Examples are estimated taxes payable and warranties payable. See also CONTINGENT LIABILITY.


quarterly payments for estimated tax liability on income that is not subject to employer withholding.

Individual: must pay 90% of the estimated tax liability for the year in quarterly installments. Further, estimated tax payments made under the SAFE-HARBOR RULE provision must be based on 90% of annualized taxable income. An underpayment penalty can be avoided by paying 100% or more of last year's tax liability.

Corporation: must remit 90% of the tax to be shown on the return for the taxable year in quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid a nondeductible underpayment penalty.


study and appraisal of the system of internal control within a company. The study aids in determining the extent of testing and other audit steps that must be performed. The auditor's evaluation concentrates on the nature of the internal controls, whether the controls are adequate in reducing to a minimum errors and irregularities, and whether the controls have been properly maintained and operated effectively. Evaluation steps include: (1) ascertaining the procedures and controls established by the client and their effectiveness; (2) determining which ones the auditor will rely on; (3) deciding which audit procedures must be expanded or curtailed; and (4) recommending to the client ways to improve

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internal controls. In evaluating the client's internal control, items to be considered are segregation of duties, internal checks and verifications, quality of personnel, duties and relationships of employees, quality and characteristics of the accounting system, and the effectiveness of the internal audit function.


1. in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), point in time that represents the start or completion of a set of activities.

2. in probability theory, one or more of the possible outcomes of doing something. For example, if a coin is tossed, getting a tail would be an event, and getting a head would be another event.

3. happening indicating a business transaction requiring a JOURNAL ENTRY has occurred. EVIDENCE
something that provides substantiation of the existence or amount of an item. The third standard of field work for a
certified audit requires the auditor to obtain sufficient competent evidential matter as a basis for formulating an
opinion on the financial statements. Evidence is more reliable when obtained from an independent source. Further,
the stronger the internal control system, the more reliable the evidence. Finally, evidence obtained directly by the
auditor through physical examination, observation, computation, and inspection is more persuasive than
information obtained indirectly. For example, the accountant needs "backup" to support an entry made in the
CASH DISBURSEMENTS JOURNAL. The cancelled check would serve as that evidence.


1. AUDIT of a company's financial records.

2. review of documents, procedures, and personnel to assure accuracy.

3. test administered by a professional organization to measure competence in an area, such as the CPA or CMA examinations.


popular SPREADSHEET software by Microsoft. EXCEPT FOR OPINION
a type of qualified opinion that an auditor can render. The auditor attests that the financial statements present the
financial position fairly except for repercussions caused by conditions requiring disclosure. There may be a SCOPE
LIMITATION in the auditor's work due to factors beyond the auditor's control or due to client restrictions that
prevent the CPA from gathering objective and VERIFIABLE evidence in support of transactions and events. An
example is the inability to confirm accounts receivable. There may exist a lack of conformity of the financial
statements to GAAP.



2. notification by a supervisor to a subordinate disagreeing with the subordinate's action. An example is where the supervisor questions an employee's expense reimbursement request. Such request may not be fully honored.

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3. negative response to a confirmation request, such as when a customer disagrees with his or her account balance as per the confirmation request.

4. variance between actual and standard. See also EXCEPTION REPORT. EXCEPTION REPORT
material deviation between actual occurrence and expectation in a performance report, which warrants
management investigation. Undesirable performance is identified, and corrective action is taken on a timely basis.
If the variance is favorable, the reasons therefore are also searched out, so further advantage can be taken of the
situation. An example is a variance between actual cost and standard cost for labor in a standard cost accounting
system. In the area of data processing, an exception report may reflect those transactions not meeting the standards
or requirements for the program being run. See also FLASH REPORTS.


machinery and equipment kept on standby. See also IDLE CAPACITY. EXCESS ITEMIZED DEDUCTION
broad class of deductions for the computation of tax liability. They are deductions from ADJUSTED GROSS
INCOME in excess of the STANDARD DEDUCTION (previously referred to as the ZERO-BRACKET
AMOUNT or ZBA) and the personal and dependent exemption deductions.


1. reciprocal transfer of goods or services from one entity to another.

2. market for securities or commodities, such as the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE) or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

a gain (loss) on the exchange of one currency for another due to appreciation (depreciation) in the home currency
(for receivables).


one levied on specific products or services, for specific purposes. For example, an excise tax on gasoline might be
used to fund road construction and repair. Excise taxes are levied at all levels of government, primarily federal and
state. They are normally a percentage of the purchase price.


term used to indicate that a stock is selling without a recently declared dividend. The ex-dividend date is four

business days prior to the date of record, according to rules applicable to NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE)-listed companies and observed generally by other exchanges. See also DATE OF RECORD.



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cost excluded from MINIMUM LEASE PAYMENTS to be made by the lessee in a CAPITAL LEASE. The lessee reimburses the lessor for the lessor's expense payments. Examples are maintenance, insurance, and taxes.


income not subject to tax. Examples are interest on certain municipal bonds, employee achievement awards (length of service or safety achievement) up to $400, scholarships and fellowship grants received from a college and used by degree candidates for qualified tuition and related expenses, and certain military benefits.


deduction allowed in computing taxable income. There are basically two types: personal exemptions and dependency exemptions. There are five categories of exemptions, including personal and dependency types: (1) exemption for the taxpayer; (2) exemption for the taxpayer who is age 65 or older; (3) exemption for the taxpayer who is blind; (4) exemption for the taxpayer's spouse; and (5) exemption for dependent children and other dependents where more than one-half of the dependent's support is provided. See also DEPENDENT.


one that is exempt from federal income taxes. An example is a not-for-profit corporation organized for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational, or certain other purposes.


price at which each share of stock underlying a call or put option can be bought or sold, also called strike price. It is standardized in trading at $5 intervals for stock between $50 and $100, $10 intervals for those between $100 and
$200, and $20 for those over $200.


formal statement prepared primarily for the dissemination of information. It may be of a financial or other nature. An example is a listing of product costs. Financial statements often make reference to accompanying exhibits.


term used to refer to two audit objectives: (1) the verification that amounts in a company's financial statements do indeed exist and are proper; and (2) the verification that all events and amounts that do exist are duly recorded.


proceeds that would be received if an asset were sold or a liability terminated in an ARM'S LENGTH TRANSACTION. It may be expressed in terms of net realizable value, current selling price, or present value. See also ENTRY VALUE.




anticipated level of production for the coming year. If the total sales volume does not change from year to year, expected annual activity and NORMAL ACTIVITY would be the same, which is not usually the case. For

example, normal activity, which reflects long-run average consumer demand is, say, 20,000

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units of output or 100,000 direct labor-hours, while expected annual activity, which represents annual demand, fluctuates from year to year.


expected value of PAYOFFS, measured in monetary terms. See also DECISION THEORY. EXPECTED TIME FOR AN ACTIVITY
in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), a weighted average time that is widely
used in a real life application of PERT to a complex project, where the completion times for activities are not
certain. First, estimate three possible duration times for each activity: an optimistic, a most likely, and a pessimistic
time. A weighted average of these three time estimates is then calculated to establish the expected time for the
activity. The formula applies to a weight of one to both the optimistic and the pessimistic estimates and a weight of
four to the most likely estimate.


weighted average using the probabilities as weights. For decisions involving uncertainty, the concept of expected value provides a rational means for selecting the best course of action. The expected value (E( x)) is found by multiplying the probability of each outcome by its payoff.

where xi is the outcome for ith possible event and pi is the probability of occurrence of that outcome. See also


maximum amount a decision maker is willing to pay for perfect information. It is the difference between expected profit under conditions of UNCERTAINTY and EXPECTED VALUE WITH PERFECT INFORMATION. For example, assume that the expected value of perfect information is calculated as $2.50. There is no sense in paying more than $2.50 for the perfect forecast; to do so would lower the expected profit. See also DECISION THEORY.


estimated volume of activity for a future period based on forecasts of sales of product or service, adjusted for planned changes in inventory levels. For example, assume on June 30 there are 10,000 finished units on hand. Sales for July are expected to be 50,000 units, and management wishes to have an inventory of 20,000 units on hand on July 31 in order to fill a growing demand. Then the expected production volume for July is 60,000 units (50,000 planned sales + 20,000 desired inventory 10,000 beginning inventory). See also PRODUCTION BUDGET.


1. payment of cash or property, or the incurrence of a liability to obtain an asset or service.

2. in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, the incurrence of an actual liability in accordance with governmental authority.

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results from or measures the using up of an asset (e.g., depreciation) or incurrence of a liability (e.g., warranty expense) to obtain revenue in the current period. An expense can apply to the cost of merchandise sold or services rendered. Expenses apply to the ordinary course of business (e.g., salary expense) rather than to incidental transactions (e.g., fire loss). Expenses are deducted from revenue to derive net income. An expense account is maintained for each type of expense for control purposes. See also COST; LOSS.


computer software involving stored reasoning schemes and containing decision making processes of human experts in an area. This is the area of ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) that has received great attention from business decision makers. Recent advances have been made in this area of software systems that are designed to mimic the way human experts make decisions, providing computerized consultants. In effect, the expert system evaluates and solves problems requiring human imagination and intelligence that involve known and unknown information. The components of the systems include a knowledge base, inference engine, user interface, and knowledge acquisition facility.


forecasting technique that uses a weighted moving average of past data as the basis for a forecast. The procedure gives heaviest weight to more recent information and smaller weight to observations in the more distant past. The reason for this is that the future may be more dependent upon the recent past than on the distant past. The method is effective when there is random demand and no seasonal fluctuations in the data. It is a popular technique for short- run forecasting by business forecasters. Each new fore-cast is based on the previous forecast plus a percentage of the difference between that forecast and the actual value of the time series at that point. That is:

where is a percentage, known as a smoothing constant and (Actual Old Forecast) represents the prediction error.
More concisely, we have

where F = forecast, A = actual, and t + 1 = forecast period. For example, assume that cash collections from credit sales are forecast by exponential smoothing using a smoothing constant of a = .30. Suppose that the previous forecast for the latest period was $20,000 and that actual cash collections were $21,000. What is the forecast for the next period?


proposed Statement of Financial Accounting Standards or Concepts issued by the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STAN-

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DARDS BOARD (FASB). Exposure gives the public an opportunity to comment upon the draft before it is finalized and issued as an FASB pronouncement.


financial modeling package that generates PRO FORMA financial statements, budgeting analysis, projections, target analysis, and consolidations. It was developed by Management Decision Systems. Like IFPS and SIMPLAN, EXPRESS is an English-like language.


term used to indicate that a stock is selling without a recently declared stock right. As with dividends, the ex-right date is generally four business days prior to the DATE OF RECORD.


costing method that assigns direct costs to cost objects using budgeted rates and actual quantities of inputs. It assigns overhead based on budgeted rates and the actual quantity of the base used for cost assignment. This approach is prevalent in the service sector. Accordingly, overhead is assigned under normal costing to each job through a predetermined overhead rate equal to the budgeted overhead divided by the budgeted amount of the appropriate denominator measure. In a traditional system, a single overhead rate might be established for an entire department, e.g., $3 of overhead for every direct labor-hour. If ABC is used, however, the multiple activities that use resources classified as overhead will be identified, a cost pool will be established for each activity, and the costs in each pool will be assigned based on the driver specific to the activity. If a driver cannot be easily identified, overhead is assigned to products or services using an allocation procedure; that is, it is determined using some indirect measure.


time period for filing a tax return that is extended beyond the due date. The typical extension granted to companies is six months while for individuals it is four months. Partnerships, estates, and trusts usually get 60-day extensions. In no case can the extension be more than six months unless the taxpayer is overseas. The taxpayer must file an application requesting the extension by the due date of the return. Reasons for being unable to file on time must be given. Interest will be charged for deficient estimated tax payments.


audit conducted by an independent public accountant. It refers to the type of audit and not the place of the audit. The entity's records may be subject to an audit by a CPA with an audit opinion rendered. See also INTERNAL AUDIT.


independent public accountant who examines a business entity's books. The external auditor is not an employee of the company. See also INTERNAL AUDITOR.


term applies to documents needed for the company record keeping that has somehow been handled by outside

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individuals. Vendor invoices and cancelled checks are examples. The auditor can place much more reliance on external documents than INTERNAL DOCUMENTS because of the greater independence and verifiability associated with them.


a category of QUALITY COSTS incurred because products fail to conform to requirements after being sold to customers. They include warranty costs, returns, and lost sales.


latest phase in the development of computerized systems for managing organizational resources. ERP is intended to integrate enterprise-wide information systems. ERP connects all organizational operations (personnel, the financial accounting system, production, marketing, distribution, and so on) and also connects the organization with its suppliers and customers.


private network that uses the Internet protocols and the public telecommunication system to securely share part of a business's information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company's INTRANET that is extended to users outside the company.


one that is both unusual in nature and infrequent in occurrence. Extraordinary gains and losses are presented NET OF TAX separately in the income statement. They appear between INCOME FROM DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS and cumulative effect of a CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE. Examples of extraordinary items are casualty losses, losses from expropriation of assets by a foreign government, gain on life insurance, gain or loss on the early extinguishment of debt, gain on troubled debt restructuring, and write-off of an intangible asset.

Write-down and write-off of receivables and inventory are not extraordinary because they relate to normal business operational activities. They would be considered extraordinary, however, if they resulted from an Act of God (e.g., casualty loss arising from an earthquake) or governmental expropriation.


work that extends the life of a fixed asset more than one year and that is capitalized rather than expensed. An example is a new motor for a truck. Extraordinary repairs are charged to the accumulated depreciation account, thus increasing the book value of the asset. The asset is then depreciated over the new life. Assume on 1/1/2000 a truck costing $20,000 with a 10-year life is purchased. The book value on 12/31/2003 is $12,000 ($20,000 $8000). On 1/1/2004, an extraordinary repair of $6000 is made. The entry is to debit accumulated depreciation and credit cash for $6000. The new book value on 1/1/2004 is thus $18,000 ($20,000 $2000). As a result of the expenditure, the new remaining life is 8 years rather than 6 years. The depreciation expense each year starting in 2004 is $2250 ($18,000/8 years).

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nominal amount of a debt obligation (e.g., note, bond, mortgage) or equity security as stated in the instrument. It excludes interest and dividends. The face value of an instrument is often different from its issuance price; for example, a bond may be issued at a BOND DISCOUNT or BOND PREMIUM. Also, after issuance the going market price of an instrument will typically differ from its face value. At MATURITY, the debt instrument will be redeemed at its face amount. The nominal amount of a share of stock represents its PAR VALUE or stated value. See also MATURITY VALUE.


activities performed to support a facility's general manufacturing process. FACTORING
outright sale of a firm's accounts receivable to another party (the factor) without recourse, which means the factor
must bear the risk of collection. Some banks and commercial finance companies factor (buy) accounts receivable.
The purchase is made at a discount from the account's value. Customers either remit directly to the factor
(notification basis) or indirectly through the seller (non-notification basis).


group of accounts used to record factory-related transactions and to keep track of various manufacturing costs such
as direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead costs. It is a record kept by a factory.


total of all costs of manufacturing except direct materials and direct labor, also called manufacturing overhead, indirect manufacturing expenses, and factory burden. In addition to INDIRECT MATERIALS and INDIRECT LABOR, it includes such items as depreciation, fringe benefits, payroll taxes, and insurance. It is an inventoriable cost charged by allocation to WORK-IN-PROCESS.


schedule of all expected manufacturing costs except for direct material and direct labor. Factory over-head items include indirect material, indirect labor, factory rent, and factory insurance. Factory overhead may be variable, fixed, or a combination of both.


quality control costs that are associated with products or services that have been found not to conform to requirements, as well as all related costs (such as that of the complaint department); they may be internal or external. See also EXTERNAL FAILURE COSTS; INTERNAL FAILURE COSTS.


federal law enacted in 1938. It applies to workers involved in interstate commerce. The act

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sets standards with respect to working conditions, including minimum wages and working hours.

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amount that could be received on the sale of an asset when willing and financially capable buyers and sellers exist and there are no unusual circumstances such as liquidation, shortages, and emergencies. See also LIQUIDATION VALUE.


term indicating that an entity's financial condition and operating results are presented in a way that is understandable, appropriate, and comprehensive. Fairly presented financial statements are not slanted to favor one party over another and are not subject to management influence and limitations.


one that is mandated or fixed by a manufacturer for a specific product to decrease or remove any competition between wholesalers and retailers on the basis of price. In 1975 Congress repealed federal laws upholding the power of states to protect manufacturers through fair trade legislation.


excess of standard (or budgeted) costs over actual costs. See also STANDARD COST SYSTEM; VARIANCE.


evaluation of a contemplated project or course of action, according to preestablished criteria (such as NET PRESENT VALUE, INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN, and payback) to determine if the proposal meets management requirements. An analysis is also made of alternative means of accomplishing the task. See also CAPITAL BUDGETING.


values of decision variables that simultaneously satisfy all the restrictions of a LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) problem. Feasible solutions are found in the feasible region. The OPTIMAL SOLUTION is usually found at the corner of the region. See also GRAPHICAL METHOD.


levies by the federal government on personal and corporate income. Personal income taxes are government revenues collected from the earnings of individuals and unincorporated businesses, after allowance for certain exemptions and deductions. Corporate income taxes are revenues collected on a corporation's computed profits. Most federal tax revenues come from these sources.


law dealing with SOCIAL SECURITY TAXes and benefits. The taxes withheld from the employee's wages for Social Security are called FICA taxes. The FICA taxes depend upon the tax rate and the base amount of the wages subject to the tax.


district bank of the Federal Reserve System. See also FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD (SYSTEM).

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organization created by an act of Congress in 1913. The System is made up of twelve Federal Reserve District Banks, their 24 branches, and many national and state banks throughout the nation. It is headed by a seven-member Board of Governors. The primary function of the Board is to establish and conduct the nation's monetary policy. The System manages the nation's monetary policy by exercising control over the money stock. It controls the money supply primarily in three ways: (1) by raising or lowering the reserve requirement; (2) by setting the DISCOUNT RATE for loans to commercial banks; and (3) through its open market operations by purchasing and selling government securities, mainly three-month bills and notes issued by the U.S. Treasury. The System also serves as the central bank of the United States, a banker's bank that offers banks many of the same services that banks provide their customers. It performs many other functions. It sets margin requirements, regulates member banks, and acts as Fiscal Agent in the issuance of U.S. Treasury and U.S. Government agency securities.


organization created by the Federal Trade Commission Act in 1914. It is responsible for thwarting "unfair methods of competition" and preventing monopolies and activities in restraint of trade. It also investigates cases of industrial espionage, bribery for the purpose of obtaining trade secrets or gaining business, and boycotts.


Social Security legislation affecting labor costs and payroll records. Unlike the FEDERAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTION ACT (FICA), which is strictly a federal program, FUTA provides for cooperation between state and federal governments in the establishment and administration of unemployment insurance. Under FUTA, an employer must pay an unemployment insurance tax to the federal government. While the federal act requires no employee contribution, some states levy an unemployment tax on the employee.


term used to refer to information concerning actual performance, particularly in comparison with the plan. The feedback process is a critical part of a management control system in order to test a given system or model to see if it is performing as planned. Timely feedback enables quick corrective action when things get out of hand.


charges billed for services rendered. They are tied into the monetary value of those services. Professional fees apply to accounting, tax, and legal work. They may be on a flat basis or an hourly one. For example, the accountant may charge a client $5000 per year for all services or $100 per hour times the hours worked.


monthly publication of the FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES INSTITUTE (FEI). It is directed toward corporate financial executives and covers all aspects of financial management.

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insurance coverage against specified losses that occur from the dishonest acts or defalcations of employees. This bond may be applied to persons or positions.


individual or institution responsible for holding or administering property owned by another. An executor, guardian, trustee, and administrator are examples of a fiduciary. The PRUDENT MAN RULE is one way states ensure that fiduciaries invest responsibly.


proper accounting for property that is entrusted to the fiduciary acting under the conditions set forth in a deed. See also CHARGE AND DISCHARGE STATEMENTS.


term used when a governmental unit acts in a fiduciary capacity such as a trustee or agent. The government unit is responsible for handling the assets placed under its control.


group of adjacent characters. For example, in a company's payroll system, separate fields can exist for an employee's name, employee's Social Security number, and hourly rate. See also RECORD.


individual who conducts audits at locations other than central headquarters such as in distant divisions and branches. See also TRAVELING AUDITOR.


collection of information stored as records. For example, the records for all charge customers at the local
department store collectively form the accounts receivable file. Thus Mr. Smith's account is an accounts receivable
record. A record that describes a single business activity is called a transaction record. Thus, when Mr. Smith buys
a new suit on credit, the sales clerk writes up a credit sales ticket as a transaction record. The total set of credit
sales tickets for that day would collectively comprise a daily credit sales transaction file.


one of four basic categories for taxpayer filing: (1) married, filing a joint return; (2) married, filing separately; (3) head of household; and (4) single. The filing status determines the tax rate schedules to be used to compute tax liability. Tax rates generally increase in each category with the respective order listed above.


information developed in conformity with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). It involves the recording and summarization of business transactions and events. Financial accounting relates to the preparation of financial statements for external users such as creditors, investors, and suppliers. The financial

statements include the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of changes in financial position. These statements, including related footnotes, President's letter, management's discussion of operations, etc., appear in the annual report. See also MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING.

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institution that funds the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB) and appoints its members. Founded in 1972, the FAF is composed of nine trustees chosen by the board of directors of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA). They are the president of the AICPA, four CPAs who are accounting practitioners in public practice, two financial executives, one financial analyst, and one academician. Organizations that sponsor the FAF are AICPA, Financial Executives Institute, Financial Analysts Federation, National Association of Accountants, Securities Industry Association, and American Accounting Association.


nongovernmental body with the authority to promulgate GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP) and reporting practices. These are published in the form of FASB Statements. Practicing CPAs are required to follow the FASB pronouncements in their accounting and financial reporting functions. The FASB is independent of other companies and professional organizations. The AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA) and the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
officially recognize the Statements issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The FASB was established in 1973 to succeed the Accounting Principles Board (APB). See also FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING FOUNDATION.


use and transformation of financial data into a form that can be used to monitor and evaluate the firm's financial position, to plan future financing, and to designate the size of the firm and its rate of growth. Financial analysis includes the use of FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS and FUNDS FLOW ANALYSIS.


bimonthly publication of the Financial Analysts Federation. Its readership includes financial analysts and executives. Subject matter covers security analysis, portfolio management, financial accounting theory, professional ethics, financial management, financial planning, and taxation.


software capable of taking financial data from an on-line data base to perform ratio and trend calculations. For example, Dow Jones Spreadsheet Link obtains financial statistics from Dow Jones News/Retrieval to put on a data disk. The data are then transferred to a spreadsheet where WHAT-IF ANALYSIS can be performed. Investment and credit decisions are based on the analysis results.


one that embraces the impacts of the financial decisions of the firm. It is a plan including a BUDGETED BALANCE SHEET, which shows the effects of planned operations and capital investments on assets, liabilities, and equities. It also includes a CASH BUDGET, which forecasts the flow of cash and other funds in the business. Cash budgeting (cash planning) is a critical part of budgeting

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because it is essential to have the right sums of cash available at the right times.

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decisions that involve: (1) determining the proper amount of funds to employ in a firm; (2) selecting projects and capital expenditure analysis; (3) raising funds on the most favorable terms possible; and (4) managing working capital such as inventory and accounts receivable.


application of economic principles to the dynamics of securities markets, especially for the purpose of structuring,
pricing, and managing the risk of financial contracts.


organization primarily of controllers and treasurers as well as other executives involved in the accounting and financial functions. Its Corporate Reporting Committee represents the organization before authoritative accounting bodies. Research publications are supported and published by the Financial Executives Research Foundation.


contract to buy or sell a financial instrument at a specific price in a specified future month. There is a relationship
between the price of the contract and the interest rate the underlying instrument bears; the contract's value
decreases as market interest rates increase and vice versa. Some types of financial instruments used in financial
futures contracts are Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Ginnie Maes, and certificates of deposit. Futures contracts are
used to speculate on interest rate changes and to hedge investment portfolios against adverse movements in interest
rates. Currency futures, a form of financial futures, are used to speculate on foreign exchange rates and to hedge
currency values. These contracts are supervised by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.


section of corporate annual reports that summarizes key financial data on a comparative basis. Sales, earnings per share (primary and after dilution), and dividends are always highlighted along with other information the company considers noteworthy.


term for a system that accumulates and analyzes financial data in order to make good financial management decisions in running the business. The basic objective of the financial information system is to meet the firm's financial obligations as they come due, using the minimal amount of financial resources consistent with an established margin of safety. Outputs generated by the system include accounting reports, operating and capital budgets, working capital reports, cash flow forecast, and various WHAT-IF ANALYSIS reports. The evaluation of financial data may be

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performed through ratio analysis, trend evaluation, and financial planning modeling. Financial planning and forecasting are facilitated if used in conjunction with a DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM (DSS).


portion of a firm's assets financed with debt instead of equity. It involves contractual interest and principal obligations. Financial leverage benefits common stockholders as long as the borrowed funds generate a return in excess of the cost of borrowing, although the increased risk can offset the general cost of capital. For this reason, financial leverage is popularly called TRADING ON EQUITY. Financial leverage is measured by the DEBT- EQUITY RATIO.


functional branch of a general CORPORATE PLANNING MODEL. It is used essentially to generate PRO FORMA financial statements and financial ratios. A financial model is a mathematical model describing the interrelationships among financial variables of the firm. It is the basic tool for budgeting and budget planning. Also, it is used for risk analysis and WHAT-IF experiments. Many financial models use special modeling languages such as INTERACTIVE FINANCIAL PLANNING SYSTEM (IFPS) or spreadsheet programs such as EXCEL and LOTUS 1-2-3. See also CORPORATE PLANNING MODEL.


professional engaged in providing PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING services to individuals. A financial planner assists a client in the following ways: (1) assesses a client's financial history, such as tax returns, investments, retirement plan, wills, and insurance policies; (2) helps decide on a financial plan, based on personal and financial goals, history, and preferences; (3) identifies financial areas where a client may need help, such as building up retirement income or improving investment return; (4) prepares a financial plan based on the individual situation and discusses it thoroughly; (5) helps implement the financial plan, including referring the client to specialists, such as lawyers or accountants, if necessary; and (6) reviews the situation and financial plan periodically and suggests changes when needed. Financial planners come from a variety of backgrounds and, therefore, may hold a variety of degrees and licenses. They include such credentials as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), lawyer (JD), and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).


essential element of planning that is the basis for budgeting activities and estimating future financing needs of a
firm. Financial projections (forecasts) begin with forecasting sales and their related expenses. The basic steps in
financial forecasting are: (1) project the firm's sales; (2) project variables such as expenses and assets; (3) estimate
the level of investment in current and fixed assets that is required to support the projected sales; and (4) calculate
the firm's financing needs. The basic tools for financial forecasting include the percent-of-sales-method,
REGRESSION ANALYSIS, and financial modeling.

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mathematical relationship between one quantity and another. There are many categories of ratios such as those that evaluate a business entity's liquidity, solvency, return on investment, operating performance, asset utilization, and market measures. An example of a ratio is the earnings yield that equals dividends per share divided by market price per share. While the computation of a ratio is a basic arithmetical operation, its analytical interpretation is more complex. A financial ratio should be computed only if the relationship between accounts or categories has significance. The financial ratio may provide the accountant with clues and symptoms of underlying financial condition. To be meaningful, a given financial ratio of a company for a given year must be compared to (1) prior years to examine the trend, (2) industry norm, and (3) competing companies. See also FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS.


presenting financial data of a company's position, operating performance, and funds flow for an accounting period.
Financial statements along with related information may be contained in various forms for external party use such
as in the annual report, SEC Form 10-K, and prospectus.


portion of total corporate risk, over and above basic BUSINESS RISK, that results from using debt. Business risk is caused by fluctuations of earnings before interest and taxes (operating income). Business risk depends on variability in demand, sales price, input prices, and amount of OPERATING LEVERAGE. Financial risk includes DEFAULT risk, which is the risk that the borrower will be unable to make interest payments or principal repayments on debt. The greater the firm's FINANCIAL LEVERAGE, the higher is its financial risk.


report containing financial information about an organization. The required financial statements are balance sheet, income statement, and statement of changes in financial position. They may be combined with a supplementary statement to depict the financial status or performance of the organization. An example of a supplementary statement is an inflation-adjusted financial statement. Some supplementary material is required only for publicly held companies.


method used by interested parties such as investors, creditors, and management to evaluate the past, current, and projected conditions and performance of the firm. Ratio analysis is the most common form of financial analysis. It provides relative measures of the firm's conditions and performance. HORIZONTAL ANALYSIS and VERTICAL ANALYSIS are also popular forms. Horizontal analysis is used to evaluate the trend in the accounts over the years, while vertical analysis, also called a COMMON SIZE FINANCIAL

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STATEMENT, discloses the internal structure of the firm. It indicates the existing relationship between sales and each income statement account. It shows the mix of assets that produce income and the mix of the sources of capital, whether by current or long-term debt or by equity funding. When using the financial ratios, a financial analyst makes two types of comparisons:

(1) Industry comparison. The ratios of a firm are compared with those of similar firms or with industry averages or norms to determine how the company is faring relative to its competitors. Industry average ratios are available from a number of sources, including: (a) Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet computes 14 ratios for each of 125 lines of business. They are published in Dun's Review and Key Business Ratios. (b) Robert Morris Associates. This association of bank loan officers publishes Annual Statement Studies. Sixteen ratios are computed for more than 300 lines of business, as well as a percentage distribution of items on the balance sheet and income statement (common size financial statements).

(2) Trend analysis. A firm's present ratio is compared with its past and expected future ratios to determine whether the company's financial condition is improving or deteriorating over time.

After completing the financial statement analysis, the firm's financial analyst will consult with management to discuss plans and prospects, any problem areas identified in the analysis, and possible solutions. Given below is a list of widely used financial ratios.

Financial Statement Analysis: List of Ratios
Net Working Capital Current Assets Current Liabilities
Current Ratio Current Assets
Current Liabilities
Quick Ratio Cash + Marketable Securities + Receivables
Current Liabilities


Accounts Receivable Turnover

Net Credit Sales Average Accounts Receivable

Average Collection Period 365
Accounts Receivable Turnover
Inventory Turnover Cost Of Goods Sold
Average Inventory
Average Age of Inventory 365
Inventory Turnover

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Total Asset Turnover Leverage

Debt Ratio Debt/Equity Ratio
Times Interest Earned Profitability

Gross Profit Margin Profit Margin
Return On Total Assets

Return On Common Equity Market Value

Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio Book Value Per Share Dividend Yield Dividend Payout

Net Sales Average Total Assets

Total Debt Total Assets

Total Liabilities Stockholders' Equity

Earnings Before Interest & Taxes Interest Expense

Gross Profit Net Sales

Net Income Net Sales

Net Income Average Total Assets

Net Income Common Equity

Net Income Preferred Dividends Common Stock Outstanding

Market Price Per Share Earnings Per Share

Stockholders' Equity Preferred Stock Common Stock Outstanding

Dividends Per Share Market Price Per Share

Dividends Per Share Earnings Per Share


one performed by a CPA for the purpose of expressing an opinion as to the fairness of the information contained in the financial statements. The audit work is conducted in accordance with GENERALLYACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP) and includes those reviews of internal controls, tests, and verification of data and other activities deemed necessary by the auditor. Typically, annual financial statements are subject to audit while interim statements are not.

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transactions including the distribution, acquisition, movement, and management of money, in accordance with some overall objective, policy, or goal.




amount of manufactured product on hand that awaits sale to customers. Finished goods inventory represents a current asset in the balance sheet. The income statement shows both beginning finished goods and ending finished goods only if cost of goods sold is calculated. When goods that were in process are completed, the entry is to debit finished goods and credit work-in-process. When merchandise is sold, the entry is to debit cost of goods sold and credit finished goods. The difference between the sales and cost of goods sold is the gross profit.


method of inventory valuation that assumes merchandise is sold in the order of its receipt. The first-price in is the first-price out. Hence cost of sales is based on older dollars. Ending inventory is reflected at the most recent prices. Assume the following data regarding inventory during the year:

Jan. 1 Inventory

Feb. 20 Purchases

Apr. 12 Purchases

Sept. 20 Purchases

Goods Available

150 units @ $ 8

200 units @ $ 9

250 units @ $10

200 units @ $11


= $1200

= 1800

= 2500

= 2200


Assume physical inventory on December 31 is 430 units. The year-end inventory valuation is:

Last purchase (Sept. 20)

Next most recent purchase

(Apr. 12)

200 units @ $11

230 units @ $10

= $2200

= 2300




procedure for computing the unit costs of a process by which beginning work-in-process inventory costs are
separated from added costs applied in the current period. Thus, there are two unit costs for the period: (1) beginning
work-in-process units completed and (2) units started and completed in the same period. Under FIFO, the
beginning WORK-IN-PROCESS is assumed to be completed and transferred first. Equivalent units under FIFO
costing may be computed as follows:

Units completed + [Ending work-in-process x degree of completion (%)] [Beginning work-in-process x degree of completion (%)]

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To illustrate, the following data relate to the activities of Department A during the month of January:


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Beginning work-in-process
(100% complete as to materials;
2/3 complete as to conversion) 1500
Started this period 5000
Completed and transferred 5500
Ending work-in-process
(100% complete as to materials;
6/10 complete as to conversion) 1000

Equivalent production in Department A for the month is computed, using FIFO costing, as follows:

Materials Conversion Costs
Units completed and transferred $5500 $5500 Ending work-in-process

Materials (100%)

Conversion costs (60%)



Equivalent production $6500 $6100 Minus: Beginning work-in-process

Materials (100%) Conversion costs ( 2/3)



Equivalent production for FIFO $5000 $5100



way of determining likely root causes of a problem, often called cause-and-effect diagrams; also called an Ishikawa diagram.


1. Twelve consecutive months used by a business entity to account for and report on its business operations. Typically, businesses use a fiscal year ending December 31. However, many entities use the natural business year, referring to a year ending at the annual low point in business activity or at the end of a season. For example, govern-mental units often end their fiscal year on June 30.

2. in taxation, 12-month period ending other than December 31 (calendar year). FIXED ASSET

item that has physical substance and a life in excess of one year. It is bought for use in the operation of the business and not intended for resale to customers. Examples are building, machinery,

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auto, and land. Fixed assets with the exception of land are subject to DEPRECIATION. Fixed assets are usually referred to as property, plant, and equipment.


computation that indicates the company's ability to satisfy long-term debt. The ratio equals fixed assets divided by equity capital. A ratio greater than 1 means that some of the fixed assets are financed by debt.


measurement that reflects the productivity and efficiency of property, plant, and equipment in generating revenue. A high turnover reflects positively on the company's ability to utilize its fixed assets in business operations properly. The turnover equals sales divided by fixed assets.


element making up the fixed asset account. An example is a specific machine within the machinery account. FIXED BUDGET




equation that indicates whether the company is able to meet its fixed commitments (i.e., interest) from its profits. A high ratio reflects favorably upon the firm's ability to refinance obligations as they mature. The ratio equals earnings available to meet fixed charges divided by fixed charges. Fixed charges include rent and interest. The ratio is:


expenses that remain constant in total regardless of changes in activity within a relevant range. Examples are rent, insurance, and taxes. Fixed cost per unit changes as volume changes. See also VARIABLE COSTS.



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portion of total factory overhead that remains constant over a given time period without regard to changes in the volume of activity. Examples of fixed overhead are depreciation, rent, property taxes, insurance, and salaries of production supervisors.


difference between actual fixed overhead incurred and fixed overhead budgeted. This variance is not affected by the level of production.

For example, assume actual fixed overhead costs were $31,000. Assume that the denominator activity in machine- hours was 5000 and the fixed overhead applied rate is $6. The budgeted fixed overhead costs are then $30,000 (5000 denominator hours x $6). The fixed over-head spending variance is $31,000 $30,000 = $1000, which is unfavorable possibly due to events such as unexpected changes in rents, insurance, and property taxes.


difference between actual fixed overhead incurred and fixed overhead applied to production.

The total fixed overhead variance is divided into two specific variances: VOLUME VARIANCE and FIXED OVERHEAD SPENDING (BUDGET) VARIANCE.


measure of utilization of plant facilities. It results when the actual activity level is measured in direct labor-hours, machine-hours, and so on. Differs from the budgeted (denominator) quantity used in determining the fixed overhead standard rate.


The variance is unfavorable if the denominator hours exceed the standard hours allowed; it is favorable in the opposite case. For example,

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assume actual fixed overhead costs were $31,000. The denominator activity in machine-hours was 5000 and the fixed overhead applied rate is $6. The budgeted fixed overhead costs are then $30,000 (5000 denominator hours ·
$6). The standard machine-hours allowed was 4000. The fixed overhead volume variance is (5000 4000) x $6 =
$6000, which is unfavorable because of the company's failure to operate at the budgeted (denominator) activity
level. This may be caused by machine breakdowns, poor production scheduling, or failure to meet sales goals.


1. price that serves as a standard for the valuation of certain inventory accounts (i.e., raw materials, work-in- process, and finished goods) in STANDARD COSTing.

2. price that must be charged under a contract regardless of production costs.

3. economic concept utilized by governmental units establishing a fixed price for a price floor (below which the price is not legally allowed to fall) and price ceilings (above which the price is not legally allowed to rise) on certain regulated goods and services.

4. price at which INVESTMENT BANKERS agree to sell the issue to the investing public in a public offering of new security issues.


fixed asset whose utility is derived from its physical attachment to a property and that usually cannot be removed without causing loss of value or damage. An example is a lighting fixture. A fixture under the terms of a lease or other agreement can be detached. A fixture is classified as a FIXED ASSET.


one providing highlights of key information promptly to the responsible managerial accountant; also called EXCEPTION REPORT. An example is an exception report such as PERFORMANCE REPORTS that highlight favorable or unfavorable variances. A flash report allows managers to take a corrective action for an unfavorable variance. See also PERFORMANCE REPORT.


one in which the income tax rate is the same for all income levels. It is a proportional tax. A pure flat tax would eliminate all deductions, exemptions, and loopholes, and tax all income at the same low tax rate. The tax would also make the tax system less complex and more equitable.




objective of a flexible factory is to provide a wide range of services across many product lines in a timely manner.
An example is a fabrication plant with several integrated manufacturing

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cells that can perform many functions for unrelated product lines with relatively short lead times.

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computer-controlled process technology suitable for producing a moderate variety of products in moderate, flexible volumes. This system reduces setup or changeover times and facilitates the production of differentiated products in small numbers. The shift in emphasis is from mass production of a few products to a job-shop environment in which customized orders are manufactured. Automation allows for better quality and scheduling, rapid changes in product lines, and lower inventories and costs. See also COMPUTER INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING (CIM).


one based on different levels of activity. It is an extremely useful tool for comparing the actual cost incurred to the cost allowable for the activity level achieved. It is dynamic in nature rather than static. By using the COST- VOLUME FORMULA (or FLEXIBLE BUDGET FORMULA), a series of budgets can be developed easily for various levels of activity. A STATIC (FIXED) BUDGET is geared for only one level of activity and has problems in cost control. Flexible budgeting distinguishes between fixed and variable costs, thus allowing for a budget that can be automatically adjusted (via changes in variable cost totals) to the particular level of activity actually attained. Thus variances between actual costs and budgeted costs are adjusted for volume ups and downs before differences due to price and quantity factors are computed. The primary use of the flexible budget is for accurate measure of performance by comparing actual costs for a given output with the budgeted costs for the same level of output.


scheduling concept that allows for nontraditional work hours to be employed on a systematic basis. Hours can be arranged for different times or periods of time to accommodate such aspects as efficiency, traffic, motherhood, disabilities, continuous operations, etc.


1. amount of funds represented by checks that have been issued but not yet collected.

2. time between the deposit of checks in a bank and payment. Due to the time difference, many firms are able to "play the float," that is, to write checks against money not presently in the firm's bank account.

3. to issue new securities, usually through an underwriter. FLOATING CAPITAL
net working capital or that part of capital that is invested in current assets of the organization (net of current
liabilities) as opposed to its fixed or other capital assets.


international monetary exchange system in which the prices of currencies are determined by competitive market forces; after 1971 exchange rates between the dollar and other foreign currencies were allowed to float. Under this

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system, rates, which are determined by the supply and demand for foreign exchange, can change from moment to moment.


cost of issuing new securities in the market. It consists of (1) the INVESTMENT BANKER'S compensation
representing the price the issuer receives versus the price the public pays (commonly referred to as the underwriting
spread) and (2) expenses incurred by the issuer such as for legal, accounting, and printing fees. Flotation costs are
usually higher for stocks than for bonds. Also, it is a higher percentage of gross proceeds for smaller issues than
larger ones.


traditional method of representing in schematic form the flow of data in a system. The flowchart shows the points of input and output, the logic or sequence of the various processing steps in the system, and the relationship of one element of the system to the other parts of the system or to other information systems. The following example illustrates a flowchart for the calculation of a class grade average.


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cost passing through various classifications within an organization. See the following exhibit for a summary of
product and period cost flows.

description of the sequence of operations in a production process. These generally are operation, inspection,
movement, storage, and delay.


objective of a focused factory is to organize around a specific set of resources to provide low cost and high
throughput over a narrow range of products.


manner of referring in a journal or ledger to the origination or disposition of the item. For example, if in the CASH DISBURSEMENTS JOURNAL a debit was made to rent expense having the account number 523, then the number 523 would be put in the folio reference column of the journal.


summary of the debits (left side of any account) and credits (right side of any account) to obtain a new balance. An example follows:

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1000 2000
500 400
4500 2400

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The side that has the largest amount of balance ($4500) is not moved while the smaller side ($2400) is brought over and subtracted. The new balance ($2100) remains on the side that has the larger balance.


explanatory data that follows the financial statements and is integrally related to them. Footnotes help the user understand financial statement figures and any other matters essential in gauging a company's financial position. Examples of footnotes are disclosure of accounting policies, lawsuits, pension plan particulars, and tax considerations.


costs of a sustaining activity to a cost object even though that cost object may not clearly consume or causally relate to that activity. Allocating a plant-level activity (such as heating) to product units using an activity driver such as direct labor-hours, for example, forces the cost of this activity to the product. See also SUSTAINING ACTIVITY COST.


1. projection or estimate of future sales, revenue, earnings, or costs. See also SALES FORECASTING.

2. projection of future financial position and operating results of an organization. See also FINANCIAL PROJECTION.


1. corporation that is chartered under state law and resides in a particular state of the union or other country, which is considered a foreign corporation to the remaining states.

2. corporation formed under the laws of a foreign country. FOREIGN CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT
legislation enacted in 1977 to amend the SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934. It provides penalties for
certain corrupt practices, such as bribes made to foreign officials, and defines standards relating to internal
accounting controls. Management must submit to external audit procedures so the SEC can verify that such internal
controls are in place.


contracts representing a commitment to buy or sell a specific amount of foreign currency at a later date at a specified rate of exchange. They are used to speculate on currency movements and to hedge currency values.


one that requires settlement in a currency other than the entity's FUNCTIONAL CURRENCY. A

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foreign currency transaction gain or loss is produced from redeeming receivables/payables that are fixed in terms of amounts of foreign currency received/paid. That is, a business (1) buys or sells on credit goods or services whose prices are denominated in a foreign currency or (2) borrows or lends funds whose amounts payable or receivable are denominated in a foreign currency. Gain or loss results from changes in exchange rates between the functional currency and the foreign currency in which the transaction is denominated. Foreign transaction gains or losses are typically included in the INCOME STATEMENT for the period in which the exchange rate changes. Gains or losses on foreign currency transactions deemed to be hedges and intercompany transactions of a long-term investment nature (settlement is not anticipated in the foreseeable future) are not included in net income but are considered as gain or loss on FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSLATION shown in the stockholders' equity section.

Assume merchandise is bought by a company in Country X for 100,000 francs. Assume the exchange rate is 4 francs = $1. The journal entry is to debit purchases and credit accounts payable for $25,000 (100,000/4). When the merchandise is paid for, the exchange rate is 5 francs = $1. The cash payment is therefore $20,000. The journal entry is to debit accounts payable for $25,000 and credit cash for $20,000 and foreign exchange gain for $5000.


process of expressing amounts denominated in one currency in terms of a second currency, by using the exchange
rate between the currencies. Assets and liabilities are translated at the current exchange rate at the balance sheet
date. Income statement items are typically translated at the weighted-average exchange rate for the period.
Translation gains and losses are reported separately as a component of STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY. They are not
included in net income unless there is a sale or liquidation of the investment in the foreign entity. See also


in taxation, foreign corporation in which more than 50% of the total combined voting power of all classes of voting stock or the total value of the stock is owned by or for no more than five U.S. citizens or residents.


tax term for a company incorporated in a foreign country that the United States qualifies as a host country. A country qualifies by entering into an exchange of information agreement of the type that allows tax benefits, such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Nonexempt income and certain foreign trade income, which would be taxable on a distribution, are subject to ordinary income treatment. There is a 100% dividends-received deduction for distributions from earnings attributable to foreign trade

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income of an FSC. There is also an 85% deductible for dividends from earnings attributable to qualified interest and carrying charges derived from a transaction resulting in foreign trade income. See also DOMESTIC INTERNATIONAL SALES CORPORATION (DISC).


levy imposed by a foreign government on United States individuals or corporate taxpayers. The tax code generally allows a deduction for these taxes if they were incurred in a trade of business or for the production of income.


credit allowed against U.S. income taxes for foreign taxes paid. The credit can be used only to lower U.S. taxes on income earned overseas. A foreign tax credit limitation is computed by multiplying the U.S. tax liability prior to the credit by the ratio of foreign taxable income to total taxable income (U.S. and foreign). For example, a taxpayer earns $120,000, half in the U.S. and half in a foreign country. The U.S. tax prior to the tax credit is
$40,800 ($120,000 · .34). The foreign tax credit limitation is $20,400 ($60,000/$120,000 · $40,800). Assume foreign taxes paid were $10,000 on the $60,000 income. Thus the foreign tax credit is $10,000. The U.S. tax on the foreign earnings is therefore $10,400 ($20,400 $10,000).


1. losing a right or deposit because of the nonoccurrence of an event or action. An example is where one party makes a deposit on property that is later not used, resulting in a loss of the deposit. The recipient of the forfeiture accounts for it as revenue.

2. as per tax law, reallocating a forfeiture in a money purchase plan to other participants under a nondiscriminatory formula or reducing future employer contributions.


act of fabricating or producing something falsely. Signing someone else's name on a check and cashing it is a common example.


1. type or version of format used on the storage medium.

2. process of initializing or preparing a disk or form of computer data storage medium, by recording a special pattern of data over the medium's reactive surface, thereby allowing a computer operating system the ability to store and retrieve data.


presentation form of a balance sheet, which generally follows one of two formats: (1) the traditional form called the account form, which presents assets on the left and liabilities and owner's equity on the right; and (2) the report form, which presents assets above, liabilities and stockholders' equity below. Both types of format are widely used.


first high-level programming language, developed by IBM in the late 1950s. It allows programmers to describe calculations by means of mathematical

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formulas. FORTRAN includes arrays and may consist of subroutines of functions that are compiled separately from the main program. The program allows for easy use of arrays, matrices, and loops.


type of accounting that reflects aspects of judgment, PRO FORMA numbers, projections, budgets, and standard costs, as they may affect the future operating environment. Forward costs are distinguished from historical accounting, which accounts for past, historical financial activities. MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING, which involves the use of accounting data for forward planning, control, and decision making, is part of forward accounting.


agreement to exchange at a given future date currencies of different countries at a specified rate (forward rate). A forward contract is a FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTION. The gain or loss on the contract is typically included in determining net income. The amount of gain or loss, except on a speculative forward contract (designed as a risky investment rather than as a hedge), is computed by multiplying the foreign currency amount of the forward contract by the difference between the spot rate at the balance sheet date and the spot rate at the date of inception of the contract.


projective and detailed estimate of an organization's financial position. An income statement, balance sheet, and funds flow may be prepared based upon the assumptions in FORWARD ACCOUNTING. These statements are primarily prepared for comparative analysis purposes to evaluate current and future courses of action.


price at which two currencies are to be exchanged at some future date.

401(K) PLAN employee investment plan; also called salary reduction plan. It allows employees to defer part of their gross salary and to invest the amount in stocks, bonds, or money market funds. The amount is indexed for inflation, using the CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI). Employee contributions and all earnings arising from them go tax-free until withdrawn at the request of the employee or until the employee retires or leaves the company. Usually the employer provides a choice of investment vehicles into which the funds may be placed while earning tax-deferred returns. Furthermore, many employers offer matching contributions. The limitation of annual deferrals to 401(k) plans applies only to an employee's elective deferralsnot the employer's matching funds. These contributions, plus the current reduction in income taxes, make 401(k) salary reduction plans an excellent long- term investment.


unit of stock that is less than one full share. For example, under a dividend reinvestment program, the dividend amount is insufficient to purchase one full share at the present market

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price of stock. In this case, the stockholder is credited with the fractional share; when there has been an accumulation of sufficient dividends for one share, it will be issued.

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integrated computer software developed by Ashton-Tate that combines a spreadsheet, a data base manager, a word processor, a graphics program, and communications.


1. privilege granted by a franchisor to a franchisee permitting the latter to operate using the franchisor's name. The franchisee must pay a franchise fee for such right. In addition, the franchisee is typically required to use the franchisor's products. The franchisee usually receives other benefits from the franchisor, such as advertising.

2. government right granted to an entity giving it a monopolistic advantage (e.g., public utility). See also


revenue obtained by a company that allows an independent party to operate a business using its name, merchandise, and supplies. Franchise fee revenue from the initial sale of a franchise is recognized by the franchisor only when all material services or conditions applicable to the sale have been substantially performed. Substantial performance is indicated by: (1) absence of intent to refund cash received or forgive any unpaid balance; (2) performance of substantially all initial services; and (3) nonexistence of other material conditions related to performance. Commencement of operations by the franchise is presumed to be the earliest possible time at which substantial performance occurs. If the initial fee is deferred, related expenses for later MATCHING against revenue must also be deferred. Continuing franchise fees are recognized as earned. An estimated uncollectible account expense provision should be made. See also DEFERRED CREDIT.


1. deliberate action by individual or entity to cheat another, causing damage. There is typically a misrepresentation to deceive, or purposeful withholding of material data needed for a proper decision. An example of fraud is when a BOOKKEEPER falsifies records in order to steal money. See also NEGLIGENCE.

2. falsification of a tax return by an individual. Examples of tax fraud are intentionally not reporting taxable income or overstating expenses. Tax fraud is a criminal act.


amount of cash that remains after deducting the funds a company must commit to continue operating at its planned level; net cash flows from operating activities, minus dividends, minus net capital expenditures.


term indicating delivery will be made on board or into a carrier by the shipper without charge. The abbreviation

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FOB is followed by a shipping point or destination. The invoice price includes delivery at seller's expense and seller's risk to the specified location. For example, "FOB our warehouse in Duluth, Minnesota," means to a buyer requesting New York City delivery that the seller who might have its headquarters and billing office in Chicago, will pay shipping costs from Duluth to New York. Title usually passes from seller to buyer at the FOB point.


transportation charge the company pays when it receives goods from a supplier. It is a separate account that is added to purchases in determining the cost of goods and ending inventory. See also FREIGHT-OUT.


cost of transporting goods to a customer. It is a selling expense. When the freight is included in the selling price, it is deducted from sales. See also FREIGHT-IN.


schedule showing the number of times each observation in the data occurs. Data collected need to be organized in some fashion. One method of summarizing a population or sample is to organize the data in terms of their frequency.

For example, assume that a sales slip can have 0, 1, 2, or 3 errors after it is filled out. Fifty sales slips are randomly selected with the following results: 10 had no errors, 20 had only one error, 12 had two errors, and 8 had three errors. These results can be constructed in a tabular format as follows:
Number of Errors Frequency 0 10
1 20
2 12
3 8


compensation or other benefit provided by the employer to the employee at no charge that is above and beyond salary or wages. Examples include health plans, CAFETERIA PLANS, and life insurance.


practice of investment houses and mutual funds in which administrative, selling, brokerage, and other fees are deducted from the initial deposit or installment.


ratio of two mean squares (variances); often can be used to test the significance of some item of interest. For example, in regression, the ratio of the mean square due to the regression to the mean square due to error can be used to test the overall significance of the regression model. By looking up F-tables, the degree of significance of the computed F-value can be determined.



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accounting method used by some extractive industries, particularly oil and gas companies, in which all exploration costs are capitalized whether the projects are successful or unsuccessful. The capitalized cost is then amortized into expense as the total reserves are produced. See also SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS ACCOUNTING.


method in which the cost base is the full manufacturing cost per unit. Selling and administrative costs are provided for through the markup that is added to this base. See also COST PLUS PRICING.


difference between total revenue and total costs traceable to a work cell or product. FULL DISCLOSURE
comprehensively and understandably presenting all material facts in the footnotes to the financial statements so that
financial statement users are properly informed. Standards of disclosure are formulated by the FASB and SEC. See


backing of the debt of a government entity with all the resources of the entity, including its taxing and borrowing power. Bonds backed up by the full faith and credit of the issuer are called GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS.


cost that includes not only the costs of direct materials and direct labor, but also the costs of all production and nonproduction activities required to satisfy the customer.


term describing an employee who will be completely entitled to pension plan benefits at retirement. See also


accounting and reporting by activity. It aids in conforming organizational performance to plan so that proper budgetary and operational controls can be maintained.


system under which costs are classified according to the function they perform within the business; for example, manufacturing, selling, general and administrative, or financial costs. The traditional approach to the income statement, which is required for external reporting, uses this classification of costs. There are different ways of classifying costs. For example, costs are classified by behavior, as variable or fixed according to their response to changes in levels of activity.


legal tender of the primary economic environment in which a company operates. Usually, it is the country where a company generates and expends most of its cash. For example, if a company in Italy (as an independent entity) generated its cash and incurred related expenses in Italy, the Italian currency would be the functional currency.

However, if the Italian company was an extension of a Greek parent company, the functional currency would be the Greek currency. See also REPORTING CURRENCY.

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identification of the activities performed in the organization. It yields a hierarchical representation of the organization and shows the relationship between the different levels of the organization and its activities. For example, a hierarchy may start with the division and move down through the plant, function, process, activity, and task levels.




presenting expenses by major activity. Functional reporting is used by not-for-profit entities other than governmental units and hospitals. Under functional reporting, expenses are accumulated according to program purpose (e.g., research) rather than by object of expenditure. By contrast, under object reporting, items are accounted for according to their natural classification (e.g., salaries expense). Functional classification is also used for profit operations: manufacturing, selling, and administrative.


classification showing the nature of the output for which costs are incurred, such as product packaging, sales promotion, or other such specific activities.


group of keys on the computer keyboard (i.e., F1-F10) whose function depends on the particular program being run at the time. For example, the F1 function key may mean Help for one software program and quite another thing in another software package. Programmable function keys may be used as the equivalent of a combination of other keys.


1. cash, securities, or other assets designated for a specified purpose such as in a SINKING FUND.

2. in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources, together with related liabilities and residual equities or balances, and changes therein. Funds are segregated for the purpose of conducting specific activities or attaining certain objectives in accordance with special regulations, restrictions, or limitations. An example is the SPECIAL REVENUE FUND. See also FUND ACCOUNTING.

3. as a verb, to finance, using long-term debt, usually bonds. FUND ACCOUNTING
system used by nonprofit organizations, particularly governments. Because there is no profit motive,
ACCOUNTABILITY is measured instead of profitability. The main purpose is stewardship of financial resources
received and expended in compliance with legal requirements. Financial reporting is directed at the public rather
than investors. The accounting equation is Assets = Restrictions on Assets. Funds are established to ensure
accountability and expenditure for designated purposes. Revenues must be raised and expended in accordance with
special regulations and restrictions.

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Budgets are adopted and recorded in the accounts of the related fund. Contractual obligations are given effect in some funds.


evaluation of a company's stock based on an examination of the firm's financial statements. It is distinguished from TECHNICAL ANALYSIS, which attempts to predict the market price of a company's stock based on historical price performance and overall stock market trends. It considers overall financial health, economic and political conditions, industry factors, marketing aspects, management quality, and future outlook of the company. The analysis attempts to ascertain whether stock is overpriced, underpriced, or priced in proportion to its market value. Fundamental analysis provides much of the data needed to forecast earnings and dividends. Fundamental analysis tools include HORIZONTAL ANALYSIS, VERTICAL ANALYSIS, and RATIO ANALYSIS, which give a relative measure of the operating performance and financial condition of the company.


long-term debt of a business. Long-term debt may consist of long-term notes of banks or other lending institutions, but the term funded usually connotes bonds.


one in which the employer contributes pension funds to a trustee who manages the fund and pays employees from the fund when they retire. See also ACTUARIAL GAINS, LOSSES; DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN; DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION PLAN; PENSION PLAN; VESTED.


computation showing the extent to which a company can generate sufficient funds from operations to meet budgeted capital expenditures, increase in inventories, and cash dividends. Typically, a five-year total is used to eliminate cyclical and other distortions. The ratio equals:

A ratio of 1 shows the business has covered its needs based on attained levels of growth without having to resort to external financing. If the ratio is less than 1, there may be inadequate internally generated funds to maintain dividends and current operating growth levels.


ratio of funds provided by operations plus fixed charges to fixed charges. This ratio indicates whether a company can satisfy its annual fixed charges from funds flow. Fixed charges remain constant under varying rates of production and are often contractual. Examples of fixed charges are rent, lease payments, insurance, and interest. Funds flow can be expressed as working capital from operations or cash flow from operations. Assume funds provided by operations before tax is $2,000,000, which

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includes a deduction of fixed charges for $300,000. The ratio is thus $2,300,000 divided by $300,000, or 7.67. FUND THEORY
system applied to governmental and nonprofit entities (e.g., colleges, charities, hospitals). The fund includes a
group of assets and liabilities and restrictions representing specific economic functions or activities. Each fund has
its assets restricted for designated purposes. The equation is:

Assets are future services to the fund or operational unit. Liabilities are restrictions against those assets. See also


noncurrent depreciable asset consisting of office or store equipment (e.g., desks), lighting, and showroom items. FUTURES CONTRACT
agreement to buy or sell a given amount of a commodity or financial instrument at a specified price in a specified
future month. The seller of a futures contract agrees to deliver the item to the buyer of the contract, who agrees to
purchase the item. The contract specifies the amount, valuation, method, quality, month and means of delivery, and
commodity exchange to be traded in. The month of delivery is the expiration date when the commodity or financial
instrument must be delivered. See also COMMODITIES FUTURES; FINANCIAL FUTURE.


amount to which an investment will grow at a future time if it earns a specified interest that is compounded annually. The process of calculating future values is called compounding. Let us define:

= future value = the amount of money at the end of year n Fn
= principal


= annual interest rate


= number of years


Then F1 = the amount of money at the end of year one

= principal and interest = P + iP = P(1 + i)

= the amount of money at the end of year 2


= F1 (1 + i) = P(1 + i)(1 + i) = P(1 + i)2

The future value of an investment compounded annually at rate 1 for n years is Fn = P(1 + i)n = P FVIF( i,n) where FVIF( i,n) is the future value of $1 and can be found in table 1 in the back of the book.

For example, assume that Mr. A placed $1000 in a savings account earning 8% interest compounded annually. How much will he have in the account at the end of four years? Then F4 = $1000 (1 + 0.08)4.

From table 1 in the back of the book, the FVIF(8%, four years) = 1.361. Therefore,

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compound annuity in which an equal sum of money is deposited at the end of each year for a certain number of years and allowed to grow.

Let Sn = the future value of an n-year annuity and A = the amount of an annuity. Then Sn can be found from using table 2 in the back of the book as follows:

where FVIFA(i,n) is the future value of an annuity of $1 and can be found in table 2 in the back of the book. For example, assume Mrs. A wishes to determine the sum of money she will have in her savings account at the end of six years by depositing $1000 at the end of each year for the next six years. The annual interest rate is 8%. The FVIFA(8%, six years) is given in table 2 as 7.336. Therefore, S6 = $1000(7.336) = $7336.

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excess of money or fair value of property received on sale or exchange over the carrying value of the item. An example is the sale of a fixed asset when cash received exceeds book value. Gains also occur when the cash payment to eliminate a debt is less than the liability's carrying value. An example is retiring debt before maturity at a price below book value. Gains relate to incidental and nonrecurring transactions of the business. See also LOSS.


potential or pending development that may result in a future gain to the company, such as a successful lawsuit against another company. Conservative accounting practice dictates that gain contingencies should not be booked, although footnote disclosure of the particulars may be made. See also LOSS CONTINGENCY.


analytical approach to competitive situations where two or more participants pursue conflicting objectives. The theory attempts to offer a solution that resolves the conflict among the participants. In games, the participants are competitors; the success of one is usually at the expense of the other. Each person selects and executes those strategies that he believes will result in "winning the game." Game theory attempts to provide a guideline for a variety of game situations.


graphical representation of a project schedule used to plan or monitor progress. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO)
agency established to assist Congress in its oversight of the executive branch and to serve as the independent
legislative auditor of the federal government. Among other GAO roles are: (1) prescribing principles and standards
for federal agency accounting systems; (2) assisting agencies in accounting system design; and (3) reporting to
Congress on the status of agency accounting systems. See also COMPTROLLER GENERAL.


agreement between noncommunist nations with economic interests in international trade relations. It is dedicated to encouraging mutually beneficial bilateral agreements that focus upon reducing tariffs, restrictions, and barriers. Established in 1948, GATT also acts as international arbitrator with respect to trade agreement abrogation.


all expenses incurred in connection with performing general and administrative activities. Examples are executives' salaries and legal expenses. General and administrative expenses are shown under OPERATING EXPENSES in the income statement.

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presentation form of the balance sheet of institutions such as governmental, religious, charitable, educational, and social entities, prepared in the usual standard commercial form.


credit directly reducing tax applicable to low-income housing and targeted jobs. GENERAL CONTINGENCY RESERVE
appropriation of retained earnings for general purposes rather than for a specific item of future loss or expense. In
effect, it is a reserve for unspecified possible events.


in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, self-balancing set of accounts to account for the general fixed assets of a governmental unit. The account group is not a fund. It provides double-entry control in memorandum fashion of fixed assets that are not accounted for specifically in a fund (e.g., proprietary fund). See also GENERAL LONG- TERM DEBT ACCOUNT GROUP.


in GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNT, fund used to account for all assets and liabilities of a nonprofit entity except those particularly assigned for other purposes in another more specialized fund. It is the primary operating fund of a governmental unit. Much of the usual activities of a municipality are supported by the general fund. Examples are the purchase of supplies and meeting operating expenditures. An example of a specialized fund, on the other hand, is the capital projects fund that accounts for financial resources used for the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities. See also FUND.


simplest type of journal. It is used when no special journal exists to record a transaction, usually when a transaction occurs infrequently. Examples are the declaration of a dividend, correction of an accounting error, and an appropriation of retained earnings. It has only two money columns, one for debits, the other for credits.


record of a business entity's accounts. The general ledger contains the accounts that make up the entity's financial statements. Separate accounts exist for individual assets, liabilities, stockholders' equity, revenue, and expenses. In some cases, control accounts summarize detail appearing in a SUBSIDIARY LEDGER (e.g., individual customer accounts tying into the accounts receivable account). A trial balance is prepared of the general ledger accounts at the end of the accounting period to assure that total debits equal total credits. The general ledger may be in bound or loose-leaf form, magnetic tape, in computer memory, or other form. See also LEDGER.


GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING term. Grouping is used to account for the outstanding principal on all long-term debt except that payable from a special assessment, proprietary, or trust fund. At maturity, the funds are transferred to the debt service fund. See also GENERAL FIXED ASSET ACCOUNT GROUP.

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standards, conventions, and rules accountants follow in recording and summarizing transactions, and in the preparation of financial statements. GAAP derive, in order of importance, from: (1) issuances from an authoritative body designated by the AICPA Council (for example, the FASB Statements, AICPAAPB Opinions, and AICPA Accounting Research Bulletins); (2) other AICPA issuances such as AICPA Industry Guides; (3) industry practice; and (4) accounting literature in the form of books and articles. Principles also derive from tradition, such as the concept of matching. In the audit report, the CPA must indicate that the client has followed GAAP on a consistent basis.


broad rules and guidelines promulgated by the AICPA's Auditing Standards Board. CPAs employ GAAS in preparing for and performing audits of a client's financial statements. The guidelines include references to the auditor's qualifications (general standards), audit field work (statements of field work), and reporting the audit results (standards of reporting). The broad standards are backed by detailed interpretative literature. An auditor unable to express an opinion on the financial statements must give reasons. A CPA who does not conduct an examination in accordance with GAAS can be held in violation of the AICPA's Code of Professional Ethics and face legal action by affected parties. See also STATEMENTS ON AUDITING STANDARDS (SAS).


security whose payment is unconditionally promised by a governmental unit that has the power to levy taxes. Many state, county, city, town, and school district obligation bonds are of this type. General obligation bonds are backed by the FULL FAITH AND CREDIT (and taxing power) of the issuing government, whether it be the U.S. or a municipality.


1. member of a partnership who is jointly and severally liable for all debts incurred by the PARTNERSHIPthat is, a partner who does not have LIMITED LIABILITY.

2. managing partner of a limited partnership who is in charge of its operations. A general partner has unlimited liability. See also LIMITED PARTNER.


measure of change in the general level of prices of goods and services. The general indexes gauge the change in the purchasing power of the dollar. Widely used indexes of price change are calculated regularly by U.S. Government agencies. Examples are the Gross National Product Implicit Price Deflator, Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Consumers, and the Wholesale Price Index. For example, the Consumer Price Index reflects the average change in the retail prices of a broad but select "basket" of consumer goods. The Consumer Price Index is required by the accounting

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profession for use in CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNTING. It is reported monthly by the U.S. Department of Labor.


restating financial statements in terms of general purchasing power by using a GENERAL PRICE INDEX. See also CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNTING.


statement prepared to meet the needs of all financial statement users as opposed to meeting the needs of only a particular group such as investors, creditors, management, or regulatory bodies. This is the purpose of financial statements based on GAAP. See also SPECIAL-PURPOSE FINANCIAL STATEMENT.


unrestricted funds provided by the federal government to the fifty states and to cities, towns, counties, etc., under the State and Local Fiscal Assistance Act of 1972, which expired in 1987. These funds could be used for any purpose by the recipient governments.


tax levied on the transfer of property or money made without adequate legal consideration. This tax is imposed on the donor of a gift and is based upon the fair market value of the property as of the date of transfer. Under the law each parent may give each recipient $10,000 a year ($20,000 for parents electing gift-splitting) without gift tax consequences. Also, gifts between spouses are untaxed.


term used when the same goals are shared by top managers and their subordinates. This is one of the many criteria used to judge the performance of an accounting system. The system can achieve its goal more effectively and perform better when organizational goals can be well aligned with the personal and group goals of subordinates and superiors. The goals of the company should be the same as the goals of the individual business segments. Corporate goals can be communicated by budgets, organization charts, and job descriptions.


form of LINEAR PROGRAMMING that considers multiple goals that are often in conflict with each other. With multiple goals, all goals usually cannot be realized exactly. For example, the twin goals of an investor who desires investments with maximum return and with minimum risk are generally incompatible and therefore unachievable. Other examples of multiple conflicting objectives can be found in organizations that want to: (1) maximize profits and increase wages; (2) upgrade product quality and reduce product cost; (3) pay larger dividends to stockholders and retain earnings for growth; and (4) reduce credit losses and increase sales. Goal programming does not attempt to maximize or minimize a single objective function as does the linear programming model. Rather, it seeks to minimize the deviations among the desired goals and the actual results according to the priorities assigned. The objective function of a goal programming model is expressed in terms of the deviations from the target goals.

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situation in which a manager wishes to determine what change would have to take place in the value of a specified variable in a specified time period to achieve a specified value for another variable. For example, a manager can ask the following "goal seeking" question: "What would the unit sales price have to be for the project to achieve a target return on investment of 20%?" A well-known financial planning package such as the INTERACTIVE FINANCIAL PLANNING SYSTEM (IFPS) can help answer this type of question.




worth of a business to another company or person. Going-concern value less asset value (liquidating value) is the entity's value as differentiated from the value of its assets. In a business combination accounted for under the purchase method, going-concern value less liquidation value is referred to as GOODWILL. For example, if Company A pays $5 million cash for Company B, which has net assets worth $4 million, $1 million represents goodwill.


process by which shares of common stock are first offered for sale in the public markets (through the organized exchanges or over-the-counter); also called an initial public offering. The advantages of going public must be weighed against the disadvantages. Going public may give the company and major stockholders greater access to funds, as well as additional prestige and wealth. It also means that shares assume a market valuea value placed on expected future earnings. On the other hand, the company must open its books to the public through SEC and state filings and put up with pressure for short-term performance by security analysts and large institutional investors.


highly lucrative contract giving a senior corporate executive monetary or other benefits if his or her job is lost in a merger or acquisition. Examples of benefits are severance pay, bonus, and stock option.


degree to which a model fits the observed data. In a REGRESSION ANALYSIS, the goodness-of-fit is measured by the COEFFICIENT OF DETERMINATION (r-squared).


items of merchandise, finished products, supplies, or raw materials. Sometimes the term is extended to cover all inventoriable items or assets such as cash, supplies, and fixed assets.


revenue sources of businesses. See also GOODS; SERVICES. GOODS-IN-PROCESS INVENTORY


theoretically, the present value of future excess earnings of a company over other companies in the industry. In other words, it is the value of the company's name and reputation, its customer relations, and other factors that, although intangible, give a concern its competitive

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edge and produce better-than-typical future earnings. It can only be recorded in a business combination accounted for under the PURCHASE (ACCOUNTING) METHOD. Goodwill equals the purchase price less the book value of the acquired company's net assets less the amount by which the acquired company's depreciable assets are written up to their fair market value. The fair market value of the total going concern should be equal to the purchase price. For example, if XYZ Company paid $3,000,000 for the net assets of ABC Company having a fair value of
$2,800,000, the excess of $200,000 represents goodwill. Goodwill is an intangible asset to be amortized over the period benefited not exceeding 40 years.


quarterly journal of the Association of Government Accountants. It was previously called the Federal Accountant. Subject matter includes all aspects of accounting relating to government.


principles and procedures in accounting for federal, state, and local governmental units. The National Council on Governmental Accounting establishes rules. There is also a governmental group in the FASB. Unlike commercial accounting for corporations, encumbrances and budgets are recorded in the accounts. Assets of a governmental unit are restricted for designated purposes. See also MODIFIED ACCRUAL.


organization that formulates accounting standards for governmental units. It is under the auspices of the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING FOUNDATION and replaced the National Council on Government Accounting.


financial plan and a basis for evaluating performance and an expression of public policy and a form of control having the force of law. Thus, a governmental budget is a legal document adopted in accordance with procedures specified by applicable laws. A governmental budget must be complied with by the administrators of the governmental unit for which the budget is prepared. By law, the administrators cannot exceed the budget without a formally approved budget amendment. Moreover, because the effectiveness and efficiency of governmental efforts are difficult to measure in the absence of the profit-centered activity that characterizes business operations, the use of budgets in the appropriation process is of major importance. Accordingly, budgetary accounts may be incorporated into the formal accounting systems of governments, and a budgetary comparison statement must be issued.


term used in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING to apply to all funds except for the profit and loss funds (e.g., enterprise fund, internal service fund, and trust and agency fund). Examples of government funds are the general fund, special assessment fund, and capital projects fund. Governmental funds use the MODIFIED ACCRUAL accounting method.

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contribution or donation by a superior governmental entity to a local government for a specified purpose. Grants for specified categories are termed categorical grants; grants for general purposes, block grants.


decomposition of an activity or process. GRAPHICAL METHOD
technique used to find graphically the breakeven point and highlight the cost-volume-profit relationships over a
wide range of activity. The graphical method requires preparation of a BREAK-EVEN CHART. See also BREAK-


solution procedure used when a LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) problem has two (or at most three) decision variables. The graphical method follows these steps:

1. Change inequalities to equalities.

2. Graph the equalities.

3. Identify the correct side for the original inequalities.

4. Then identify the feasible region, the area of FEASIBLE SOLUTION.

5. Determine the CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM) or cost at each of the corner points (basic feasible solutions) of the feasible region.

6. Pick either the most profitable or least cost combination, which is an OPTIMAL SOLUTION. For example, suppose that our LP model is:

After going through steps 1 through 4, the feasible region (shaded area) is obtained, as shown in the following exhibit. Then all the corner points in the feasible region are evaluated in terms of their CM as follows:


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Corner Points

(a) 30 0


$25A + $40B

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$25(30) + $40(0) = $750
(b) 20 15 $25(20) + $40(15) = $1100
(c) 0 25

(d) 0 0

$25(0) + $40(25) = $1000

$25(0) + $40(0) = $0

The corner 20A, 15B produces the most profitable solution. GRAPHIC SOFTWARE
program for depicting accounting information in graphic form, including charts, diagrams, and signs. This
enhances understanding of financial statement accounts, trends, and relationships.


payoff given to a potential acquirer by a company targeted for a takeover. In most cases, the targeted company buys back its shares at a significantly higher price. In reciprocation for selling the shares back, the suitor agrees to end the attempted takeover.


amount of money earned (which is collected or will be collected) from the sale of goods minus the cost of the goods sold; also called GROSS PROFIT or gross margin. For example, if sales total $4000 and the cost of goods sold is $1200, the gross income is $2800 ($4000 $1200). Gross profit less operating expenses equals net income.


cost-based pricing approach in which the price is computed using a markup percentage based on a product's total
production costs.


percentage of each sales dollar remaining after a firm has paid for its goods; also called gross profit margin. It is calculated by dividing gross income (profits) by net sales. For example, assume that net sales are $80,000 and gross profit is $30,000. The gross margin ratio is 0.38 ($30,000/$80,000).


current market value in dollars of all final goods and services produced in the economy in a given period. GDP is normally stated in annual terms, though data are compiled and released quarterly. It consists of personal consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, government spending, and net exports (exports minus imports).


accounting procedure in which the purchase of merchandise is recorded at the gross amount of the invoice, without regard for the cash discount being offered. See also NET PRICE METHOD.


excess of sales over cost of sales; also called gross margin when expressed as a percentage.

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analysis of the profit variance that constitutes the departure between actual profit and the previous year's income or the budgeted figure; also called profit variance analysis. The primary goal of profit variance analysis is to improve performance and profitability.


system used to estimate inventory at the end of an interim period (e.g., quarter) when preparing INTERIM
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS. However, estimating inventory for annual reporting is not acceptable. The method
can be used to estimate what the inventory was at the date of a loss (e.g., fire, theft, other type of casualty loss) for
insurance reimbursement. Under the method, the expected GROSS-PROFIT RATIO is used. The ending inventory
can be computed by preparing a partial income statement starting with sales and ending with gross profit. Assume
beginning inventory is $15,000, purchases are $90,000, sales are $200,000, and the gross profit rate is 60%.

Sales $200,000
Less: Cost of goods sold

Beginning inventory Purchases
Cost of goods available

Less: Ending inventory

$ 15,000




Cost of goods sold 80,000
Gross profit (60% x $200,000) $120,000

The ending inventory must be $25,000 ($105,000 80,000). GROSS-PROFIT RATIO
gross profit divided by net sales. High ratios are favorable in that they indicate the business is earning a good return
on the sale of its merchandise, although that may also invite competition. See also GROSS PROFIT.


total sales before sales discounts and sales returns and allowances. It equals total unit sales times the selling price per unit. For example, if total units sold are 20,000 and the selling price is $5, gross sales are $100,000.


method for depreciating multiple-asset accounts using one rate. It is used to depreciate a collection of assets that are similar in nature and have approximately the same useful lives such as equipment. The method approximates a single unit cost procedure since the dispersion from the average is not significant. The method of computation and journal entries are basically the same as that of the COMPOSITE DEPRECIATION method.


presentation form that combines two or more companies sharing the same ownership and having similar types of operational structures. Consolidated statements usually are

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prepared for entities having common ownership but different types of operational structures, although parent and subsidiary companies are commonly consolidated regardless of their activities. See also COMBINED FINANCIAL STATEMENT; CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENT.


amount of change in some financial characteristic of a company.

1. percentage change in earnings per share, dividends per share, revenue, market price of stock, or total assets compared to a base year amount.

For example, growth in earnings per share equals:

2. percentage change in an item such as net income considering the time value of money. Here, a future value of
$1 table must be used. Assume net income in 2000 is $300,000 and in 2004 is $500,000. The future value of $1
table factor is 1.667 ($500,000/$300,000). The future value of $1 table indicates that the intersection of n = four
years and a factor of 1.667 is about 14%, as evidenced here:

Partial Future Value of $1 Table
Periods 10% 12% 14%
4 1.464 1.574 1.689

3. change in retained earnings divided by beginning stockholders' equity.

4. net income less dividends divided by common stockholders' equity. A high ratio reflects a company's ability to generate internal funds, and thus it does not have to rely on external sources.


said of shares of young companies with little or no earnings history. They are valued on the basis of anticipated future earnings and thus have high price-earnings ratios. They generally grow faster than the economy as a whole and also faster than the industry of which they are a part. They are risky because capital gains are speculative, especially in the case of young companies in new industries. An example of a growth stock is a high-tech company.


1. debt issued by one party with payment guaranteed by another party. A considerable number of railroad bonds have been guaranteed by firms other than the debtors. Some of the guaranties assure payment of both principal and interest; some assure interest only.

2. bonds issued by subsidiaries and guaranteed by parent companies or affiliates.

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very knowledgeable computer user who attempts to break into and corrupt a computer system.


a tax rule assuming that a newly acquired asset is in service for one-half of the taxable year regardless of when it is actually placed in service.


computer term for output printed directly on paper. The user types commands, instructions, or data on a keyboard. The computer's responses, as well as the information entered, are printed on paper, which gives the user a permanent copy of the input.


unit that stores information (e.g., data files and programs) within the computer; also called fixed disk. Advantages of hard disks relative to diskettes are greater storage ability (e.g., 20-megabyte hard disk), speed, durability, and reliability. Hard disks are necessary when several application programs have to be readily available and applications are needed for substantial volumes of information. They are needed to take advantage of 16-bit and 32-bit microprocessors requiring multiple functions and windowing abilities for high-access speed situations. Compared with floppy disks, however, hard disks cost more, are not as flexible, and are not interchangeable. Many hard disks are not removable from the CPU.


computer name for the electronic and mechanical devices that make up a computer, including (1) the CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU); (2) CATHODE-RAY TUBE (CRT) devices for both input and output; (3) printers;
(4) disk drives; (5) magnetic-tape units; (6) punched-card readers; (7) the console-control board for the computer;
(8) keyboard; and (9) modem.


technique used to find an accounting record within a computer file. The key field of the record is the input. A mathematical process leads to the approximate location of the desired accounting data within the file.


summation of numbers having no practical meaning as a control precaution; used by auditors primarily in a computer application. The purpose is to identify whether a record has been lost or omitted from processing. For example, check numbers may be summed to get a hash total. If the total of the check numbers processed does not agree with the hash total, a discrepancy exists, and investigation is required to uncover the error.


FILING STATUS category of a taxpaying entity. The head of household is an unmarried individual who maintains a household for another and satisfies the following conditions: (1) the

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taxpayer maintains a home in which a dependent relative lives for the whole year; (2) the taxpayer pays more than 50% of the cost of maintaining the home; and (3) the taxpayer is either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien.


1. process of protecting oneself against unfavorable changes in prices. Thus one may enter into an offsetting purchase or sale agreement for the express purpose of balancing out any unfavorable changes in an already consummated agreement due to price fluctuations. Hedge transactions are commonly used to protect positions in
(1) foreign currency, (2) commodities, and (3) securities.

2. financing an asset with a liability of similar maturity. HETEROGENEITY


condition in which the variance of the error term is not constant in REGRESSION (LEAST SQUARES) ANALYSIS.


understatement of owners' equity or net worth. This understatement can arise either from the undervaluation of assets or from a complimentary overaccrual of liabilities. For purposes of published financial statements, full disclosure must be made with respect to this departure from standard reporting practices. The ultimate effect of putting up a hidden reserve is that in a future period net income will be inflated by the amount of hidden asset value converted to cash.


approach to group activity costs as they vary with external end-unit volume, internal volumes, batch-related volumes, and cost object diversity-sensitivity.


algebraic procedure used to separate a SEMI-VARIABLE COST or MIXED COST into the fixed and the variable
components. The high-low method, as the name indicates, uses two extreme data points to determine the values of
a (the fixed cost portion) and b (the variable rate) in the COST-VOLUME FORMULA y = a + bx. The extreme
data points are the highest and lowest x y pairs.


acquisition of an asset less discounts plus all normal incidental costs necessary to bring the asset into existing use and location. Note that the list price is often higher than the acquisition price. Examples of incidental costs are taxes, transportation, installation, and insurance; also called cost principle. If an asset is acquired for the incurrence of a long-term liability rather than cash payment, it is recorded at the PRESENT VALUE of the future payments. An asset acquired in exchange for stock is recorded at the fair market value of the stock issued. If the fair value of the stock is not known, then the fair value of the asset received is used.

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financial accounting based on the original cost of an item ignoring inflationary increases. It is the only allowable method of preparing the primary financial statements that appear in the annual report. However, inventory and investments in securities are reflected at the lower of cost or market value. See also CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNTING; CURRENT COST ACCOUNTING.


supplemental section appearing in the corporate annual report to stockholders in which significant items such as income, revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, equity, earnings per share, and dividends are presented, usually over a period of at least five years (legal requirement).


owners of a firm's shares on the DATE OF RECORD indicated on the firm's stock ledger. Holders of record receive STOCK RIGHTS or DIVIDENDS when they are announced. Because of the time needed to make bookkeeping entries when a stock is traded, the stock will sell EX-DIVIDEND for four business days prior to the date of record.


corporation owning enough voting stock in another company to control its policies and management. Advantages of holding companies include: (1) the ability to control sizable operations with fractional ownership; (2) the isolation and diversification of risks through subsidiaries; and (3) the fact that approval of stock purchases by the stockholders of the acquired company is not required. Disadvantages of holding companies include: (1) partial multiple taxation when less than 80% of a subsidiary is owned; (2) the ease of enforced dissolution by the U.S. Department of Justice; and (3) the risks of negative leverage effects in excessive pyramiding.


increment or decrement in the value of an asset or liability for an accounting period. They may be realized or
unrealized depending upon whether the asset or liability has been exchanged or is still held. Realized gains or
losses are recognized in the financial statements. Only in a few cases are unrealized losses recognized, such as with
marketable securities and inventory applying the lower of cost or market value rule. However, permanent declines
in the value of assets such as obsolete machinery should be reflected in the accounts. It should be noted that if
current cost financial statements are prepared, holding gains and losses would be reflected.


time interval that property has been owned by the entity. HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION
deduction allowed for income tax purposes if certain requirements are met for maintaining an office in the home.
Requirements are that the portion of a home is exclusively used on a regular basis as a principal place of business,
or as a place for meeting with clients or customers in the normal course of the taxpayer's

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business. An additional requirement for employees holds that the office must be maintained only for the convenience of the employer.

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cost of an activity that has a similar cause-and-effect relationship with a cost object. Occurs when all the cost elements in an activity's cost pool are consumed in the same proportion by all cost objects. See also COST ELEMENT; ACTIVITY COST POOL; ACTIVITY COST DRIVER.


a group of overhead costs associated with activities that can use the same COST DRIVER. HOMOSCEDASTICITY
condition found in a type of scatter graph; also known as constant variance. It is one of the assumptions required
in a REGRESSION ANALYSIS in order to make valid statistical inferences about population relationships.
Homoscedasticity requires that the standard deviation and variance of the error terms (µ) are constant for all x (see
following graphs), and that the error terms are drawn from the same population. This indicates that there is a
uniform scatter or dispersion of data points about the regression line. If the assumption does not hold (see
following graphs), the accuracy of the b coefficient is open to question.


time series analysis of financial statements covering more than one accounting period; also called TREND ANALYSIS. It looks at the percentage change in an account over time. The percentage change equals the change over the prior year. For example, if sales in 20X0 are $100,000 and in 20X1 are $300,000, there is a 200% increase ($200,000/$100,000). By examining the magnitude of direction of a financial statement item over time, the analyst can evaluate its reasonableness. See also VERTICAL ANALYSIS.


technique used by the CPA to observe the client's accounting procedures to assure that the system of internal controls is running smoothly. An example is testing whether goods received from a

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vendor have been properly ordered, are of suitable type and quality as per inspection, and have been properly accounted for in the records.

H.R. 10 PLAN

connection point between the server and the workstation in a LAN.


method that recognizes a variety of human resources and shows them on a company's balance sheet. Under human resource accounting, a value is placed on people based on such factors as experience, education, and psychological traits, and, most importantly, future earning power (benefit) to the company. The idea has been well received by human-resource-oriented firms, such as those engaged in accounting, law, and consulting. Practical application is limited, however, primarily because of difficulty and the lack of uniform, consistent methods of quantifying the values of human resources. See also BEHAVIORAL ACCOUNTING.


term used in capital budgeting. Hurdle rate is the required rate of return on a long-term investment opportunity. A proposal would be accepted when the expected rate of return exceeds the hurdle rate. The hurdle rate should equal the incremental cost of capital. See also COST OF CAPITAL.


data base approach linking related data, programs, and pictures. HYPOTHESES TESTING
use of a statistical test to discriminate between two hypotheses at two specific risk (or probability) levels. They are
called the null (H0) and the alternative (H1) hypotheses. These two hypotheses are usually stated in terms of
(anticipated) population parametersfor example:

Statistics (e.g., ) from the random sample may serve as estimators of the population parameters. For example, in auditing, two commonly used alternative hypotheses are:

H0: The financial statement amount (e.g., book value) is correct.

H1: The financial statement amount is materially in error.

The risk levels, symbolized as a and b are specified for two types of errorsTYPE I and TYPE II, respectivelythat can occur in the decision process. A Type I error occurs when the null hypothesis (H0) is rejected when it is, in fact, true (i.e., the book value is correct, but the sample results lead you to believe otherwise). A Type II error occurs when the null hypothesis is accepted when it is, in fact, false (i.e., H1 is true).

The decision to accept or reject the null hypothesis is based on (1) statistics computed from the random sample and
(2) the probability of obtaining such values (determined from the underlying sampling distribution).

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largest volume of output possible if a facility maintained continuous operation at optimum efficiency, allowing for
no losses of any kind, even those deemed normal or unavoidable; also called maximum capacity, theoretical
capacity, or engineered capacity. Since it is impossible to obtain ideal capacity, unfavorable variances will result if
it is used to apply fixed cost. See also CAPACITY.


1. presence of unused capacity together with insufficient raw materials or skilled labor. When idle capacity exists, a firm can take on an incremental order without increasing the fixed costs.

2. economic situation in which the market will not absorb all of the maximum possible output at a price exceeding the variable cost of production. See also CAPACITY.

3. capacity that is potentially available but not currently being used, perhaps due to market pressures from competition, distribution constraints, or management policy (such as union contract laws, holidays, overtime rules); also called excess capacity. On the other hand, increased idle capacity may represent the rewards and evidence of improved productivity and efficiencies by operations.


measure of utilization of plant facilities. The variance results when a plant is underutilized (idle), and actual production falls below the expected, budgeted, or normal activity, known as DENOMINATOR ACTIVITY.

The variance is unfavorable if the denominator hours exceed the actual hours allowed; otherwise, it is favorable. For example, assume that the denominator activity in machine-hours was 5000 and the fixed overhead applied rate
is $6. The actual hours used were 4200. The idle capacity variance is (5000 4200) x $6 = $4800, an unfavorable
variance because the company's plant was underutilized.


cost of direct labor for employees unable to perform their assigned tasks because of machine breakdowns, shortage of materials, power failure, sloppy production scheduling, and the like. The cost of idle time is treated as part of factory overheadthat is, as part of indirect manufacturing costs that should be spread over all the production of a period.

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method used to determine the dilution of convertible securities that are not common stock equivalents entering into the computation of fully diluted earnings per share. The method assumes convertible securities are converted at the beginning of the year or at issuance date, if later. The TREASURY STOCK METHOD is used to account for any cash received from convertible securities when the if-converted method is used. However, theoretical stock acquisitions are assumed only if the market price of the stock is greater than the exercise price.


violation of law or governmental regulations by an audited entity or its management or employees acting on behalf of the entity.


1. unable to convert an investment to cash in a short period of time with a minimum capital loss.

2. lacking cash (or working capital) or having a low current ratio. See also LIQUID. IMPACT STATEMENT
document that analyzes the projected effects of a contemplated project. A primary reference point within this
statement concerns probable externalities (e.g., negative implications to the environment). An example would be
the proposal of a large industrial corporation located on an upriver site to dump some level of pollutants into the
air and streams. The proposal would lead to an environmental impact statement about the effects upon health.


1. amount by which stated capital has been decreased by distributions such as dividends or losses.

2. legal restriction enacted to protect creditors by limiting payments of dividends to retained earnings.

3. excess of liabilities over assets due to losses. IMPAIRMENT OF VALUE
permanent decline in the value of an asset. The entry is to debit the loss account and credit the asset for the
reduction in utility. Recovery of the asset's cost or book value is not a realistic expectation.


one where imperfect competition exists. Imperfect competition includes monopoly and oligopoly with one or more sellers controlling the market price. See also PERFECT MARKETS.


approach to implementing ABC with emphasis on achieving operational improvements. Activities and cost objects are disaggregated for high resolution; accuracy requirements are high.



1. to take custody of and seize property or money by some legal action (e.g., court mandate).

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2. in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, to reduce authority to incur debt by withholding some portion or all of an APPROPRIATION.


capitalized expenditure usually extending the useful life of an asset or improving it in some manner over and
above the original asset. Thus if an expenditure adds years to an asset or improves its rate of output, it would be
considered an improvement that is capitalized. In contrast, a maintenance or repair expense is not capitalized.


cost that is implied but not reflected in the financial reports of the firm; also called implicit cost. Imputed costs consist of the OPPORTUNITY COSTS of time and capital that the manager has invested in producing the given quantity of production and the opportunity costs of making a particular choice among the alternatives being considered.


interest assumed on a noninterest-bearing note, including discounted or zero-coupon instruments, or on a note with an unrealistically low interest rate. It applies to both notes payable and notes receivable. The imputed interest rate is the one the borrower would normally incur in a similar transaction. Assume a $10,000 one-year noninterest- bearing note payable was issued on 1/1/2000. It would be unrealistic to believe that someone would take a one-year note without interest. Thus, interest must be imputed, to arrive at the present value of the note on 1/1/2000. If we use a 10% imputed interest rate, the present value of the note is $9091 ($10,000/1.10). Hence, the note consists of a principal portion of $9091 and an imputed interest portion of $909.


loss or expense that is incurred by virtue of lost or reduced capacity, technological obsolescence, and/or abnormal wear and tear and that requires premature replacement or abandonment.


stock option granted employees under an option plan that provides a more favorable tax effect than QUALIFIED STOCK OPTIONS. With incentive stock options, employees receive the right to purchase a specified number of shares of company stock at a specified price during a specified period. ISOs are not taxable at the time of grant or at the time of exercise. Only when the stock is sold are the gains subject to federal taxation. Gains from incentive stock options will be taxed at an ordinary income tax rate. There is a cap on capital gain tax at 28%. Options may be exercised in any order. Also, an employer may not grant an employee more than $100,000 in stock options that first become exercisable in any one year.


1. money earned during an accounting period that results in an increase in total assets.

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2. items such as rents, interest, gifts, and commissions.

3. revenues arising from sales of goods and services.

4. excess of revenues over expenses and losses for an accounting period (i.e., net income).

term used for revenue and expense accounts.

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bond on which the payment of interest is required only when earnings are available. Typically, interest that is bypassed does not accumulate. Income bonds are commonly used during the reorganization of a failing or failed business firm.


nonoperating expenses of an organization that are listed in the final section of the income statement before arriving at net income. These costs, not usually subject to management control of day-to-day operations, are necessarily incurred in the operation of an ongoing enterprise and include interest expense, income taxes, and amortization of bond discount.


gross income not subject to tax, including: (1) interest on municipal securities; and (2) annuities and pensions that are returns of capital.


revenues and expenses after tax arising from the ongoing operations of the business for the accounting period. In arriving at income from continuing operations, NONRECURRING gains and losses are included. After income from continuing operations the following separate line items appear: INCOME FROM DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS, EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS, and cumulative effect of a CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE.


income (loss), net of tax, of a business segment that has been discontinued at year-end or will be discontinued shortly after year-end. Income from discontinued operations is a separate line item in the income statement shown between INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS and EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS. Note that the loss (gain) on disposal of a segment is a separate line item appearing directly under income from discontinued operations. In a year that includes the measurement date (date on which management is committed to a formal plan of action), the results of discontinued operations are those from the beginning of the year through the measurement date. Note that any income (loss) from operations after the measurement date and before the disposition date is considered part of the gain or loss on disposal. Footnote disclosure related to discontinued operations includes identifying the segment, the disposal date, and manner of disposal.


recognition of income at the time of sale or the rendering of the service. The transfer of title in an ARM'S LENGTH TRANSACTION makes the process of earning income complete, as does the delivery of a service.

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form of income management that reflects economic results, not as they are, but rather as management wishes them to look. This results in lower earnings quality since net income does not representatively portray the economic performance of the business entity for the period. Income smoothing relies not on falsehoods and distortions but on the wide leeway existing in alternatively accepted accounting principles and their interpretations. It is conducted within the structure of GAAP. In effect, it redistributes income statement credits and charges among periods. The prime objective is to moderate income variability over the years by shifting income from good years to bad years. Future income may be shifted to the present year or vice versa. In a similar vein, income variability can be modified by shifting expenses or losses from period to period. An example is reducing a DISCRETIONARY COST (e.g., advertising expense, research and development expense) in the current year to improve current period earnings. In the next year, the discretionary cost will be increased.

For analytical purposes, the analyst should restate net income for profit increases or decreases due to income smoothing attempts.


shifting income from one member of a family to another. This, of course, is done to reduce the tax effects of a person in a higher marginal tax bracket, by diverting, allocating, or assigning income to a person in a lower tax bracket. A parent in a higher tax bracket could, for example, give money or property to a child. Income generated by that gift would be taxed at the child's lower rate.


form showing the elements used in arriving at a company's NET INCOME for the accounting period; also called profit and loss statement. It must be included in the annual report. An illustrative condensed income statement follows:

Less: Cost of sales Gross Margin Less: Operating expenses (including selling expenses and general &
administrative expenses)
Income from operations
Add or Less: Other income and expenses
Income before tax
Less: Provision for income taxes
Income from continuing operations
Add or Less: Income from discontinued operations (net of tax)
Income before extraordinary items and cumulative effect
Add or Less: Extraordinary items (net of tax)
Add or Less: Cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle (net of tax)
Net income

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temporary account in which revenues and expenses are closed at the end of the year. Income summary shows the net income or net loss for the year since total revenue and total expenses have been closed to it. The resulting profit or loss is then transferred to retained earnings. See also CLOSING ENTRY.


government levy on the net earnings of an individual, corporation, or other taxable unit. The tax rate is usually a graduated one as earnings go from one tax bracket to another. Tax rates for individuals also depend on the status of the taxpayer (e.g., single, married). Income tax may include an addition to the regular tax such as a surtax. The maximum corporate tax rate is 35%. The income tax provision is shown as an expense in the income statement.


legal state of existence signifying that a corporate entity has been recognized; that is, a legal entity has been authorized by a state or other political authority to operate according to the entity's approved articles of incorporation or charter. Incorporated entities share basic attributes: an exclusive name, continued and independent existence from shareholders or members, paid-in capital, and limited liability.


decision-making method that utilizes the concept of RELEVANT COSTS; also known as relevant cost approach or differential analysis. Under this method, the decision involves the following steps: (1) gather all costs associated with each alternative; (2) drop the SUNK COSTS; (3) drop those costs that do not differ between alternatives; and
(4) select the best alternative based on the remaining cost data.

For example, assume the ABC Company is planning to expand its productive capacity. The plan consists of purchasing a new machine for $50,000 and disposing of the old machine without receiving anything for it. The new machine has a five-year life. The old machine has a five-year remaining life and a book value of $12,500. The new machine will reduce variable operating costs from $35,000 per year to $20,000 per year. Annual sales and other operating costs are shown below:

Present Machine New Machine
Sales $60,000 $60,000
Variable costs 35,000 20,000 Fixed costs:
(straight-line) 2,500 10,000
Insurance, taxes, etc. 4,000 4,000
Net income $18,500 $26,000

At first glance, it appears that the new machine provides an increase in net income of $7500 per year. The book value of the present machine, however, is a sunk cost and is irrelevant in this decision. Furthermore, sales and fixed costs such as insurance and taxes are also

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irrelevant since they do not differ between the two alternatives being considered. Eliminating all the irrelevant costs leaves us with only the incremental costs, as follows:

Savings in variable costs $15,000
Less: Increase in fixed costs 10,000 (a $2500 sunk cost is irrelevant)
Net annual cash savings arising
from the new machine $ 5,000


variation of the stand-alone technique, establishes a priority among users and allocates common costs to the primary party up to the amount of that user's stand-alone costs. The remaining common costs are then allocated to the incremental party or parties.


1. difference in costs between two or more alternatives. This is equivalent to the marginal cost concept but involves multiple changes in output and discrete output choices, rather than a single-unit change. For example, consider the two alternatives A and B, whose costs are as follows:

Incremental Costs
A B (B A)
Direct Materials $10,000 $10,000 $ 0
Direct Labor 10,000 $10,000 5,000

The incremental costs are simply B A (or A B) as shown in the last column.

2. cost associated with increasing the output of an activity or project above some base level.

3. cost associated with increasing the quantity of a cost driver; also known as differential cost. INCREMENTAL REVENUE ALLOCATION
allocation method establishing priorities among the items in a bundle. The primary product is assigned 100% of its
stand-alone revenue, with the remaining revenue from the bundle assigned sequentially to the other items.


condition in which INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION is not required for the undistributed earnings of a foreign subsidiary when there is sufficient evidence that those earnings will be undistributed indefinitely. A footnote is needed declaring the intention to reinvest the earnings indefinitely and the cumulative amount of the undistributed profits. When there is a change in circumstances and earnings will be remitted back to the U.S. parent, tax allocation is required.

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legal document that specifically states the conditions under which a bond has been issued, the rights of the bondholders, and the duties of the issuing corporation; also called BOND INDENTURE; deed of trust. An indenture normally contains a number of standard and restrictive provisions (COVENANTS), including a sinking fund requirement, a minimum debt-equity ratio to be maintained, and an identification of the collateral if the bond is secured. It also covers redemption rights and call provisions. The indenture provides for the appointment of a trustee to act on behalf of bondholders.


condition of accountant having no bias and being neutral regarding the client or another party in performing the audit function. Some independence guidelines for an auditor engaged in the attest function include: (1) no family relationship with the client's executives; (2) no financial interest in the company; and (3) no contingent fee based on the type of audit opinion rendered. The external auditor must furnish an impartial opinion on the client's financial position and operating performance. The audit opinion is based solely on the evidence found while conducting proper auditing procedures. Independence is created and maintained to enable the auditor to establish credibility for the audit opinion that financial statement users rely upon. See also INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTANT.


CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT (CPA) in public practice having no financial or other interest in the client
whose financial statements are being examined. The CPA must be completely objective and impartial to conduct
the attest function properly. Note that the term applies to an external auditor as distinguished from an internal
auditor on the client's staff. An external auditor who has been involved with the client as an underwriter, promoter,
trustee, or officer is not independent. See also INDEPENDENCE.


one that may take on any value in a relationship; for example, in y = f(x), x is the independent variable. For example, independent variables that influence sales are advertising and price. See also DEPENDENT VARIABLE.


feature of a contract or agreement designed to adjust its value for general price-level changes. An example is a COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT (COLA) in a labor contract.


obligation with interest payments tied to an inflation index. If price levels rise, the rate of bond interest is adjusted accordingly. See also INDEXATION.




method recommended when a comparison of financial statements covering more than two years is

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involved. In computing a series of index numbers, a base year must be selected and 100% assigned to it. The base year should be the one that is most typical or normal. Assume that the base year is 20X0. On 12/31/20X0 the cash balance of $8000 is assigned 100%. The cash balances are $10,000 at 12/31/20X1 and $14,000 on 12/31/20X2. The index number for 20X1 is 125% ($10,000/$8000) and for 20X2 is 175% ($14,000/$8000).


calls and puts on indexes of stocks. There are "broad" indexes applying to a wide range of firms and industries. There are also "narrow-based" indexes relating to one industry or economic sector. An advantage of investing in an index option is that an interest in many companies is possible with a limited investment. It should be noted, however, that options have a limited life, are used to speculate or to hedge, and are settled in cash. In other words, if an index option is exercised (not normally done), the investor would not receive (or pay) the underlying stock, but would, rather, settle in cash.


expense that is difficult to trace directly to a specific costing object; also called COMMON COST. National advertising that benefits more than one product and sales territory is an example of an indirect cost. Fixed factory overhead is another example. See also DIRECT COST.


labor not directly involved in production but essential to the manufacturing process, such as supervisory personnel and janitors. It is classified as part of FACTORY OVERHEAD.


1. situation in which responsibility for payment or satisfaction may arise in the future. An example is cosigning a loan for another party.

2. potential obligation, one that may eventually occur depending on some future event beyond the control of the company; also called CONTINGENT LIABILITY. Contingent liabilities may originate with such events as lawsuits, credit guarantee, and contested income tax assessments.


primarily supplies, including glue, nails, and other minor items. They are classified as part of FACTORY


one levied on a certain entity but not borne by that entity. For example, the retail sales tax is usually paid by the consumer in the form of an increase in price on goods or servicesthe retailer collects and passes on a tax actually borne by the consumer.


personal account that an employee can set up with a deposit that is tax deductible up to $2000 a year ($4000 for both spouses working). A working taxpayer

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not covered by another retirement plan may deduct IRA contributions. Also a taxpayer may deduct IRA

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contributions if ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME (AGI) is less than a certain amount. IRA funds are available to
their depositors, penalty-free, at the age of 59 1 Ú2or sooner in cases of death or disability. Early withdrawal of
deductible contributions for any other reason will cost the taxpayer a penalty.


debt issued by a municipality to finance plants and facilities that are then leased to private industrial businesses; also called industrial revenue bond. The subsequent lease payments are used to service the bonds. The intent of IDBs is to attract private industry to promote local economic development. IDBs appealed to investors because they were exempt from federal income taxes. Exemption for IDBs is being phased out. A new category of tax- exempt bonds, called qualified redevelopment bonds, is to be used to finance land acquisition and redevelopment in blighted areas.


professional who is engaged in the following activities: (1) product design and quality specification; (2) facilities design and layout; (3) design of production processes and machine systems; (4) work measurements; (5) quality control; and (6) scheduling and maintenance.


mean or median financial ratios for a particular industry. The computed ratios for a company being analyzed
should be compared to the industry average to form a basis of comparison. To what extent is the company better or
worse than typical? Industry ratios are published by financial information services such as Dun & Bradstreet.


in FINANCIAL RATIO ANALYSIS, industry average ratios used as standards to test whether ratios of a particular firm are normal. There are many widely used sources of industry standards. Robert Morris Associates, the national association of banks and credit officers, computes a set of 16 key ratios for over 300 lines of business. These ratios are published in Annual Statement Studies. See also FINANCIAL STATEMENT ANALYSIS.


general rise in the price level. When inflation is present, a dollar today can buy more than a dollar in the future. In the presence of hyperinflation, with prices rising at 100% a year or more, there is a tendency for people to prefer hard assets (such as real estate and precious metals) to financial assets (stocks and bonds) in their investment choices.


method of reporting that allows for the financial effects of changes in the price level. Two possible means of taking inflation into account are CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNTING and CURRENT COST ACCOUNTING.

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transformation of data by classifying, sorting, merging, recording, retrieving, transmitting, or reporting. DATA PROCESSING is any operation or combination of operations that transforms data into useful information, whereas information processing goes one step further to include information generation and INFORMATION RETRIEVAL.


utilization of micrographics or computer storage for filing, storing, and retrieving information. Micrographics includes microfilm and microfiche that can be indexed for later retrieval on special orders.


return filed with the Internal Revenue Service for which no tax liability is imposed. Examples of such returns are Form 1065 (partnership return), Form W-2, and Form 1099. The law charges a penalty for each failure to file an information return with the IRS and for each failure on the part of businesses to supply a copy of the information return to the taxpayer. The law also adds a penalty for each information return submitted to the IRS, or the taxpayer, that contains incorrect information.


system of transforming raw data into useful information for a decision maker. See MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM (MIS).


state tax levied upon the cash or fair market value of property received through inheritance. This tax is borne by the receiver of such property and not by the estate, as in federal ESTATE TAX.




cost of DIRECT MATERIAL, DIRECT LABOR, and other over-head items devoted to the production of a good or service.


study of linear production processes with fixed input coefficients. It attempts to develop a matrix relation-ship between the flow of goods and services from industries or branches of an economic system. The RECIPROCAL ALLOCATION METHOD that is used to allocate service department costs to production departments is an application of input-output analysis in accounting.


request for information; investigation. The auditor in conducting the examination seeks to obtain audit evidence by asking pertinent questions of client personnel or third parties. Answers obtained from such questions typically

require corroboration. For example, the auditor may ask an employee why promotion expense is so high for the period, and the reply may be that some of it represents nonbusiness items. The propriety of the promotion expense account must then be evaluated by examining source documents. Another example is that of an auditor

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asking an employee where a given asset is located so that the asset can be visually corroborated. The question- asking aspect of the auditor with regard to third parties may be in such form as confirmations and legal letters.


individual on the board of directors who is an employee of the company. See also OUTSIDE DIRECTOR. INSIDER
as defined by the Securities Act of 1934, corporate director, officer, or shareholder with more than 10% of a
registered security, who through influence of position obtains knowledge that may be used primarily for unfair
personal gain to the detriment of others. The definition has been extended to include relatives and others in a
position to capitalize on inside information.


failure of a company to meet its obligations as they become due. An analysis of insolvency concentrates on the operating and capital structure of the business. The proportion of long-term debt in the capital structure must also be considered. See also BANKRUPTCY.


time spent either looking for product flaws or reworking defective units.


federal office that performs audit and investigative activities with a focus upon the independent review and appraisal of the activities of some federal agencies. The office is generally required to make periodic reports to Congress, and specifically to the secretary or undersecretary of certain federal agencies. The office was created by the Inspector General Act of 1978.


deviation between actual income and trend income. The higher the index, the more instability associated with a firm's profitability. The index equals:

where y = reported net income

A simple TREND EQUATION solved by computer is used to determine trend income. INSTALLMENT SALE
1. sale made on the installment basis. Many business firmssuch as TV dealers, furniture stores, and appliance
dealersmake installment sales. Typically, a customer purchases merchandise by signing an installment contract in
which the customer agrees to a down payment plus installment payments of a fixed amount over a specified

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period. The installment receivable so created by the contract is usually classified as a current asset.

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2. transaction with a predetermined contract price in which payments are made on an installment basis over a period of time.


manner of recognizing revenue when cash is collected. That is, when each payment is received from the customer, a portion of gross profit on the sale (and the gain) is recognized (based on the gross profit percentage in the year of the sale), so that by the final payment the entire gross profit is recorded. For example, ABC Company reports income on the installment basis, and the following information is available:

Year of Sale Gross Profit % Collected During 2001
2000 46% $60,000
2001 40% 80,000

The realized gross profit on installment sales is computed as follows:

Promulgated GAAP prohibit accounting for sales by any form of installment accounting except under exceptional circumstances where collectibility cannot be reasonably estimated or assured. The doubtfulness of collectibility can be caused by the length of an extended collection period or because no basis of estimation can be established. In such cases a company can use either the installment (sales) method or the COST-RECOVERY METHOD.

A taxpayer can elect not to use the installment method. The election is made by reporting on a timely filed tax return the gain computed by the taxpayer's usual method of accounting (cash or accrual).


large and influential accountancy association in the British Isles. It issues guidelines for practitioners, evaluates credentials of prospective members, and holds summer school every year. The institute puts out numerous publications, including two journals, Accountancy and Accounting and Business Research.


collective organization made up of the Edinburgh Society and similar societies in Glasgow and Aberdeen. It dates in its original form to 1854. This institute issues guidance to practitioners, evaluates candidates for membership, and holds annual summer schools. It publishes THE ACCOUNTANT'S MAGAZINE.


educational branch of the Financial Analysts Federation, founded in 1947. The ICFA grants the CHARTERED FINANCIAL ANALYST (CFA)

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designation to persons who have met certain professional qualifications. Essentially, candidates must serve a two- year apprenticeship and pass a series of three annual examinations about such topics as accounting, economics, ethical standards and laws, and securities analysis to obtain the CFA designation. The ICFA is headquartered at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.


professional organization that was established to develop the status of internal auditing. It administers and confers the CERTIFIED INTERNAL AUDITOR (CIA) designation.


entity that trades large volumes of securities, such as banks, pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds,
labor unions, and corporate profit-sharing and pension plans. A very high percentage of daily trading on the stock
exchange results from purchases and sales by institutional investors.


agreement through an insurance contract, termed a policy, that one party, for an agreed premium, will provide insurance or pay the insured a specified sum of money, contingent upon the specified conditions within the insurance contract, such as loss of life or property of the insured. Employers provide many types of insurance for employees, including health, disability, and life insurance.


to provide or obtain INSURANCE for reimbursement against loss to minimize risk. INTANGIBLE ASSET
item lacking physical substance (e.g., goodwill) or representing a right granted by the government (e.g., patent,
trademark) or by another company (e.g., franchise). Intangibles have a life in excess of one year. All intangible
assets are amortized into expense over the period benefitted, not exceeding 40 years.


all necessary intangible expenditures incurred in drilling from the surface to the natural resource deposit. An oil or gas deposit has the option of either capitalizing (and depleting) or immediately expensing certain intangible drilling costs. Among the qualifying intangible costs are labor, taxes, repairs, supplies, power, and equipment rentals.


total value of an organization as a going concern less the total value of its net tangible assets, leaving the residual intangible value. This residual value may represent PATENTS, TRADEMARKS, SECRETS, GOODWILL, and the like. In theoretical terms, intangible value is the present value of excess earning power of an entity over the normal rate of return.


mathematical approach maintaining that solutions to mathematical problems should appear in whole num-

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bers (integers). For example, quantities like 122/3 chairs, 341/2 tables, 4.25 cars, or 2.75 persons may be

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unrealistic; yet simply rounding off the LINEAR PROGRAMMING solution to the nearest whole numbers may
not produce a feasible solution. The integer programming method allows one to find the optimal integer solution to
a problem without violating any of the constraints.


software package that combines many applications in one program. Previously, the accountant needed a utility program to load the data from one program into another program. Now there are integrated programs of two or more modules that inter-act. Integrated packages can move data among several programs utilizing common commands and file structures. In effect, there are multiple applications in memory simultaneously. An integrated package is recommended when identical source information is to be used for varying purposes and activities. For example, MS Office lets the accountant do word processing, outlining, telecommunications, graphics, data base, and spreadsheets and save each as a frame that can be integrated with the other frames.


test using simulated transactions and dummy master records within a client's master file so that test data are processed simultaneously with actual input. The objective is to substantiate control reliability.


cost consumed by each unit of the activity driver. It is assumed that the intensity of each unit of the activity driver for a single activity is equal. Unequal intensity means that the activity should be broken into smaller activities or that a different activity driver should be chosen. See also DIVERSITY.


multi-purpose, interactive financial modeling system that supports and facilitates the building, solving, and asking of what-if questions of financial models. IFPS is offered by Comshare, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


professional organization that meets every two to three years in different countries comprising the Americas. Technical aspects of the accounting profession are discussed at these meetings. Mexico City serves as the location for the secretariat of the organization.


in a coordinate system, the distance from the origin to the point at which a line or curve intersects an axis. For example, the y-intercept is the value a of the dependent variable y in the formula y = a + bx when x is zero. In a COST-VOLUME FORMULA, a is interpreted as the fixed cost portion of a mixed cost. See also COST FUNCTION.


general ledger account recording a transaction between related companies (e.g., affiliates). Typically, intercompany accounts are reciprocal records between the entities in

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their general ledgers. Examples are intercompany receivables and payables, and intercompany sales and purchases. In preparing combining or CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, intercompany account balances must be eliminated.


deduction of intercompany items when preparing the combining or consolidated balance sheet and income statement. Examples are intercompany loans and intercompany investments between the parent and subsidiary. In the case of extensive eliminations, an eliminations ledger may be used.


excess of sales over cost of sales for merchandise or revenue minus related expenses for services to a related company when consolidated financial statements are being prepared. Intercompany profit is fully eliminated irrespective of the MINORITY INTEREST. Thus only earnings applicable to the outside are reflected as being realized.


1. amount charged by a lender to a borrower for the use of funds. The interest rate is typically expressed on an annual basis. Interest equals principal x interest rate x period of time. For example, the interest on a $10,000, 8% loan for 9 months is: $10,000 x 8% x 9/12 = $600.

2. equity ownership of an individual or other entity in a business or property expressed in percentage terms or in dollars. For example, if an investor company owns 50,000 shares of the investee company's 150,000 outstanding shares, the investor has a 331/2% owner-ship interest.


ratio that equals income before interest and taxes, divided by interest; also called times-interest-earned ratio. The ratio reveals the number of times interest is covered by earnings. A potential creditor would like to see a high ratio because it indicates that the company is able to meet its interest obligations with room to spare.


Individual: itemized interest deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040. Interest can be only for the taxpayer's own debt and not for that of another individual. The taxpayer can deduct interest on a home mortgage for the principal residence and, within limits, for a second residence. Interest on a margin account with a broker is also deductible to the extent it offsets investment income.

Corporation: interest expense for business purposes that is tax deductible. Prepaid interest, however, is not deductible in the year of payment but has to be allocated over the period to which the interest amounts relate, irrespective of whether the cash basis or accrual basis is used.


current period cost of borrowing funds that is shown as a financial expense in the income statement. Assume that on

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11/1/2000 a $6000, one-year, 10% note is taken out. An accrual for interest expense is needed on 12/31/2000 for
$100 ($6000 x 10% x 2/12).


manner of determining interest expense or interest revenue. The effective interest rate is multiplied by the carrying value of the related debt or receivable at the beginning of the accounting period. The method results in a constant rate of interest but different dollar amounts each period. It is a preferred method over the straight-line method to amortize bond discount or premium. The amount of amortization equals the difference between the debit to interest expense (effective interest rate x carrying value of bond at beginning of year) and the cash payment (nominal interest rate x face value). Assume that on 1/1/2000 a $500,000, 10% bond is issued at 94%. The effective interest rate is 12%. The computation on 12/31/2000 for the bond discount is:

Interest expense (12% x $470,000) $56,400
Cash (10% x $500,000) $50,000
Bond discount (for difference) $ 6,400


actual return earned or expected to be earned on a debt instrument. See also OPPORTUNITY COST. INTEREST RATE
rate, usually expressed as a percentage per annum charged on money borrowed or lent. The interest rate may be
variable or fixed. See also VARIABLE RATE LOAN.

The various types of interest rates are:

(1) prime (interest) rate: rate charged on business loans to the most credit-worthy customers by the nation's leading banks. The prime rate fluctuates with changing supply and demand relationships for short-term funds.

(2) nominal or stated interest rate: predetermined loan rate. The stated interest rate often differs from the effective interest rate. If the interest is paid when a loan matures, the actual rate of interest paid is equal to the stated interest rate. However, if the interest is paid in advance, it is deducted from the loan, so that the borrower actually receives less money than requested, which will raise the interest rate above the stated rate. The actual rate thus paid is called the EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE, or YIELD. It is computed by dividing the dollar interest paid by the amount of loan proceeds available to the borrower. For example, for a $1000 loan with an annual interest of 10% with a provision of interest paid in advance, the effective rate is 11.11% [$100/($1000 minus $100) = $100/$900]. In bonds the BOND YIELD usually differs from the nominal (coupon) interest rate.

(3) discount rate; rate the Federal Reserve charges member banks for loans. It is also the interest rate used in determining the present value of future cash flows. See also DISCOUNT RATE.


contracts where the holder agrees to take delivery of a given amount of the related debt security at a later

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date (usually no more than three years). Futures may be in Treasury bills and notes, certificates of deposit,

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commercial paper, or GNMA certificates, etc. Interest rate futures are stated as a percentage of the par value of the
applicable debt security. The value of interest rate futures contracts is directly tied to interest rates. For example, as
interest rates decrease, the value of the contract increases. As the price or quote of the contract goes up, the
purchaser of the contract has the gain, while the seller loses. A change of one basis point in interest rates causes a
price change. Those who trade in interest rate futures do not usually take possession of the financial instrument. In
essence, the contract is used either to hedge or to speculate on future interest rates and security prices. For
example, a pension fund manager might use interest rate futures to hedge the bond portfolio position. Speculators
find financial futures attractive because of their potentially large return on a small investment due to the low
deposit requirement. However, significant risk exists.


possibility that the value of an asset will change adversely as interest rates change. For example, when market interest rates rise, fixed-income bond prices fall.


in computer terminology, means of interaction between two devices or systems that handle data (e.g., formats or codes) differently. Basically, an interface is a device that converts signals from one device into signals that the other device needs. There are printers with parallel interfaces, with serial interfaces, or with both types of interfaces. A common parallel interface is the Centronics Interface, which is used to send data to a printer. The RS 232 is a serial interface. A serial interface is used with a modem when data have to be sent to distant locations, usually over telephone lines. A parallel interface is usually used with a printer because the microcomputer and the printer are close to each other. Interfaces are also utilized between the micro-computer and the disk drives.


revenue received from other governmental agencies and municipalities. An example is grants. INTERIM AUDIT
1. part of an audit carried out while the accounting period of the full audit is still in process. During interim audit
work periods, the work scheduled may be confirmations, inventory observation, or other audit steps that will be
concluded during the final phase of the annual audit.

2. audit of an interim period (e.g., of quarterly statements). INTERIM FINANCIAL STATEMENT
statement issued for an accounting period of less than one year, such as quarterly or monthly. Interim financial
statements should be based on the accounting principles employed in the previous year's annual report unless a
change has been adopted in the current year. Interim financial statements are typ-

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ically unaudited. Footnote disclosure is given of seasonality effects. If a fourth quarter is not presented, any significant adjustments to it must be commented upon in the annual report.


auditing procedures and techniques conducted by INTERNAL AUDITORS primarily concentrating on adherence
to management policies, existence of proper internal controls, uncovering misappropriation of funds (i.e., fraud),
existence of proper record keeping, and effective operations of the business.


employee of the business entity who is conducting an internal audit. The internal auditor works independently of the accounting and other departments and is concerned with financial and/or operational activities of the organization. The internal auditor attempts to assure the accuracy of business records, uncover internal control problems, and identify operational difficulties. The internal auditor's opinion on the company's financial records does not have the same acceptance as that of a CPA doing the same work. See also EXTERNAL AUDITOR.


bimonthly publication of the INSTITUTE OF INTERNAL AUDITORS (IIA). Readership includes internal auditors, controllers, treasurers, CPAs, EDP auditors, managers, and financial managers. Subject matter includes internal auditing, internal control, information systems auditing, professional ethics, and financial management.


accounting procedure or physical control to safeguard assets against loss due to fraud or other irregularities. Internal check is an element of INTERNAL CONTROL. Weak internal check mechanisms mandate a greater degree of auditing procedures. An example of internal control is segregating the record keeping for an asset and its physical custody, such as in the case with inventory and cash. No one individual should have complete control over a transaction from beginning to end. Internal checks make it difficult for an employee to steal cash or other assets and concurrently cover up by entering corresponding amounts in the accounts. An example of internal check is the establishment of input and output controls within a data processing department. A group or person has the responsibility of checking control totals provided by the user department with those generated during the processing of the data. Examples of physical controls are guards and gates to restrict access.


plan of organization and all the methods and measures used by a business to monitor assets, prevent fraud, minimize errors, verify the correctness and reliability of accounting data, promote operational efficiency, and ensure that established managerial policies are followed. Internal control extends to functions beyond the accounting and

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financial departments. Accounting controls encompass safeguarding assets and the accuracy of financial records. They are designed to give assurance that transactions are properly authorized and are recorded to allow for financial statement preparation in accordance with GAAP. Further, accounting controls deal with maintaining accountability for assets, proper authorization to access assets, and periodic reconciliations between recorded assets on the books and the physical assets that exist. Administrative or managerial controls deal with operational efficiency, adherence to managerial policies, and management's authorization of transactions. Examples are quality control and employee performance reports. Accounting and administrative controls are not mutually exclusive since some procedures and records falling under accounting control may also be used for administrative control. An essential ingredient in maintaining internal control is the internal audit function. The CPA reports on the adequacy of existing controls within the entity. The external auditor must carefully evaluate the internal control system as a basis to determine the degree of audit procedures necessary in the circumstances.


record made up and kept within the entity in connection with its accounting records. It does not go to or come from external parties. Examples are employee time sheets, employee W-2s, inventory receiving reports, and duplicate purchase invoices. The auditor puts much more reliance on external documents than internal ones since they are derived from outside independent parties. Internal documents do not serve as very reliable evidence in the CPA's examination of a client's records. See also EXTERNAL DOCUMENT.


category of QUALITY COSTS incurred because products and services fail to conform to requirements prior to external sale, such as scrap and rework; a cost of nonconformance.


rate earned on a proposal. It is the rate of interest that equates the initial investment (I ) with the present value (PV) of future cash inflows. That is, at IRR, I = PV, or NPV (net present value) = 0. Under the internal rate of return method, the decision rule is: accept the project if IRR exceeds the cost of capital; otherwise, reject the proposal.

For example, consider the following data:

Initial investment $16,200

Estimated life 10 years

Annual cash inflows $ 3000

Cost of capital (minimum required of return) 10% Set up the following equality (I = PV):

Then PV = $16,200/$3000 = 5.400, which stands somewhere between 12% and 14% in the 10-year line of table 4 in the back of the book. Using the interpolation as follows:

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PV Factor
12% 5.650 5.650
IRR 5.400
14% 5.216
Difference 0.434 0.250

Therefore, IRR = 12% + (0.250/0.434)(14% - 12%)
= 12% + 0.576 (2%)
= 12% + 1.15% = 13.15%

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Because the investment's IRR (13.15%) is greater than the cost of capital (10%), the investment should be accepted.

The IRR method is easy to use as long as cash inflows are even from year to year. Where cash flows are uneven, the IRR must be determined by trial and error. Assume, for example, that a company is considering an investment project that promises cash inflows of $400,000, $600,000, and $1,000,000 for each of the next three years for a given investment of $1,490,000. The IRR is found by selecting a rate and discounting the cash inflows. If the PV is greater than I, select a higher rate until one is found that equates the PV of the cash inflows with I. In this example, the IRR is approximately 14%, determined as follows:

Present values (based on table 3)
Annual Cash Inflows 12% 14%
$ 400,000 $ 357,200 $ 350,800
600,000 478,200 461,400
1,000,000 712,000 675,000
$1,547,400 $1,487,200

An advantage of the IRR method is that it considers the TIME VALUE OF MONEY and is therefore more exact and realistic than ACCOUNTING RATE OF RETURN (ARR). Disadvantages are: (1) it fails to recognize the varying size of investment in competing projects and their respective dollar profitabilities, and (2) in limited cases, where there are multiple reversals in the cash-flow streams, the project could yield more than one internal rate of return.


financial data or other information accumulated by one individual to be communicated to another within the business entity. The information assists others in the managerial decision-making process. Examples are expense reports, capital budgeting analysis, and other reports designed to guide management rather than inform outsiders.


federal tax law of the United States that comprises the rules and regulations to be followed by taxpayers. The

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Internal Revenue Code of 1954 is being followed, including subsequent amendments and revisions.

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branch of the federal government in charge of collecting most types of taxes, such as personal, corporate, gift, estate, and excise. Some taxes are collected by other agencies, such as custom duties, tobacco, and alcohol. The IRS administers tax rules and regulations, and investigates tax improprieties. Criminal prosecution may be made by the IRS for tax fraud through the U.S. Tax Court. Examinations of tax returns can involve: (1) simple matters that are resolved by mail; (2) IRS office examination concentrating on additional verification by the taxpayer of selected items; or (3) field examination at the taxpayer's office or representative's office. A field audit is typically broader in scope than an office audit, covering many items on a tax return, and often for more than one year.


in GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING, fund used to account for goods or services given to one department by another on a cost reimbursement basis. The fund is profit and loss oriented and hence follows accrual accounting.


group consisting of members from influential accounting bodies in the U.S., England, West Germany, France, Canada, Japan, and other countries. The organization proposes internationally accepted accounting standards and issues discussion papers, drafts, and formal statements on important accounting issues. A major purpose of the committee is to aid comparability of financial reporting among countries.


panel of the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ACCOUNTANTS (IFA) that gives guidance to auditors in various countries.


organization that assists less-developed countries in strengthening their economies; also called World Bank. The IBRD makes loans to countries or firms for such purposes as roads, irrigation projects, and electric-generating plants.


body whose aim is to present and resolve international accounting and auditing issues to encourage uniformity, congruity, and international cooperation. This congress meets every five years.


organization of international representatives whose purpose is to develop and enhance concordance with respect to standards and accounting practices on a worldwide basis. It was formed in 1977.


organization created at the close of World War II to supervise the international financial

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system, to lend official reserves to nations with temporary payments deficits, and to decide when exchange rate adjustments are needed to correct chronic payments deficits.


system of linked smaller computer networks, international in scope, that facilitates data communication such as file transfer, electronic mail, and newsgroups between different entities.


temporary difference between years in which a transaction affects taxable income and accounting (book) income. Temporary differences originate in one period and subsequently reverse in another. The differences result from four types of transactions, as follows: (1) income included in taxable income after being included in book income (e.g., installment sale); (2) expenses deducted for taxable income subsequent to accounting income (e.g., warranty expense is deducted for book purposes in the year of sale but for tax purposes when paid); (3) income recognized for tax purposes prior to being included for accounting purposes (e.g., rental received in advance); and (4) expenses subtracted for taxable income before being deducted for accounting purposes (e.g., accelerated depreciation method for tax and straight-line depreciation for books). See also INTRAPERIOD TAX ALLOCATION; PERMANENT DIFFERENCE.


process used to estimate an unknown value between two known values by utilizing a common mathematical relation (e.g., proportion, function, linear, or logarithmic). Interpolation is commonly needed when consulting present value tables in which a present value interest factor is desired for a given period and unlisted interest rate. One would use the two closest listed interest rates, above and below the given interest rate, to estimate the present value factor needed for a given computation. Interpolation is more than likely used to find the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN on an investment project.

To illustrate the process of interpolation, let us assume that the investment required is $6000, the annual cost savings is $1000, and the life of the project is 10 years. The internal return can be determined as follows:

The relevant factor is investment required/annual cost savings = $6000/$1000 = 6.000.

Looking at the present value of an annuity of $1.00 (see table 4 in back of book) and scanning along the 10-period line, we find a factor of
6.000 will yield a rate of return between 10% and 12%. To find the rate, use the interpolation as follows:

Rate Present Value Factor


True rate 12%







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Therefore, the internal rate of return

= 10% + (0.145/0.495)(12% - 10%)
= 10% + 0.29 (2%) = 10% + 0.58% = 10.58%

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opinion regarding a set of facts. A degree of subjectivity is involved on the part of the individual, based on his or her experience, personality, and biases. For example, after performing a detailed analysis of the financial statements of a company, two financial analysts may differ in their perceptions of what the market price of the company's stock should be.


internal company Web sites developed by the company. INTRAPERIOD TAX ALLOCATION
distribution of tax for the current year in different parts of the financial statements. For example, tax expense is
shown on income before tax, cumulative effect of a change in principle net of tax, extraordinary items net of tax,
and prior period adjustments net of tax. See also INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION.


merchandise or supplies on hand or in transit at a particular point in time. The three types of inventory for a
manufacturing company are raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods. Included in inventory are (1)
goods in transit for which title has been received and (2) goods out on consignment. Inventory is recorded in the
accounting records typically at the lower of cost or market value. An inventory count usually occurs at year-end to
assure that the physical quantity equals the quantity per books. At the end of the accounting period, beginning and
ending inventories are presented in the income statement in the cost-of-goods-sold calculation, while ending
inventory is shown in the balance sheet under current assets.


monitoring the supplies, raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods by various accounting and reporting methods. Some controls are the maintenance of detailed stock records showing receipts and issuances; inventory ledger showing quantities and dollars; and written policies regarding purchasing, receiving, inspection, and handling. Periodic inventory counts should occur to verify that the inventory amounts per books physically exist. A good system of inventory control assists in reducing inventory ordering and carrying costs. See also ABC METHOD.


quantitative models designed to control inventory costs by determining the optimal time to place an order (or begin production) and the optimal order quantity (or production run). The timing of an order can be periodic (placing an order every X days) or perpetual (placing an order whenever the inventory declines to X units).


observation by an auditor, as part of the examination, of the taking of a company's physical inventory by

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the client staff. The auditor also checks on a sample basis the count arrived at by the employees to assure it is being done accurately. A review is also made of the client's written policies regarding the inventory counting process.


unrealized profit derived from holding inventory during a price rise. One measure of inventory profit is the difference between the original cost and the higher current replacement cost. Another measure is the increased value arising from the increase in the CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) since the acquisition date. Assume that on 1/1/2000, inventory was bought for $50,000. On 12/31/2000, the replacement cost is $54,000. The inventory profit is $4000.


1. appropriation of retained earnings to reflect future declines in price of inventory.

2. archaic term relating to the allowance account to reduce inventory from cost to market value in applying the lower of cost or market value rule. The reserve amount is usually calculated from inventory sheets for the specific items.

3. reserve for temporary liquidation of the LAST-IN, FIRST-OUT (LIFO) base, used in interim reporting; the LIFO base that is expected to be replenished by year end. Assume that the original cost of the liquidated LIFO base is $10,000 and its replacement cost is $12,000. The entry at the interim period is to debit cost of sales $12,000, credit inventory $10,000, and reserve for liquidation of LIFO base $2000.


file indicating how much inventory is on hand or on order. INVENTORY TURNOVER
equation that equals the cost of goods sold divided by the average inventory. Average inventory equals beginning
inventory plus ending inventory divided by 2. A low turnover rate may point to overstocking, obsolescence, or
deficiencies in the product line or marketing effort. However, in some instances a low rate may be appropriate,
such as where higher inventory levels occur in anticipation of rapidly rising prices or shortages. A high turnover
rate may indicate inadequate inventory levels, which may lead to a loss in business. Assume cost of sales is
$70,000, beginning inventory is $10,000, and ending inventory is $9000. The inventory turnover equals 7.37 times
($70,000/$9500). It should be noted that some compilers of industry data (e.g., Dun & Bradstreet) use sales as the
numerator instead of cost of sales. Cost of sales yields a more realistic turnover figure, but it is often necessary to
use sales for purposes of comparative analysis.


determination of the cost assigned to raw materials inventory, work-in-process, finished goods, and any other inventory item. Various methods are allowed in valuing inventory including LAST-IN, FIRST-OUT (LIFO), FIRST-IN, FIRST-OUT (FIFO), and WEIGHTED AVERAGE. Inventory is valued at the lower of cost or market

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value applied on either an item-by-item basis, a category basis, or a total basis.

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business activities that involve the acquiring and selling of long-term assets, the acquiring and selling of equity or debt securities other than trading, and the making and collecting of loans.



2. expenditure to acquire property, equipment, and other capital assets that produce revenue.

3. securities of other companies held for the long term, called long-term investments and shown in the noncurrent asset section of the balance sheet.

4. securities of other companies held for a very short term (short-term investments). They are shown as a MARKETABLE SECURITY in the current asset section of the balance sheet.


financial professional who specializes in making portfolio recommendations for clients. The adviser recommends a mix of investments (i.e., stocks, bonds, real estate) based on the particular needs of the client (i.e., tax rate, risk preferences, liquidity requirements). The investment adviser may also recommend specific companies in which to invest.


intermediary between an issuer of new securities and the investor. The investment banker buys new securities and then sells them to the public at a higher price, earning a profit on the spread. Depending on the arrangement with the issuing company, the investment banker may perform the functions of underwriting, distribution of securities, and advice and counsel.


responsibility center within an organization that has control over revenue, cost, and investment funds. It is a profit
center whose performance is evaluated on the basis of the return earned on invested capital. The corporate
headquarters or division in a large decentralized organization would be an example of an investment center.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT and RESIDUAL INCOME are two key performance measures of an investment


computer program that tracks investments in shares, cost, and revenue. Some investment software includes price and dividend histories of securities. Comparisons can be made with major market indicators. Automatic valuation of securities, including current value, unrealized gain or loss, and daily price change, can be made. Tax ramifications of investment decisions can be analyzed by some packages. A detailed listing of investment management software appears in the American Association of Individual

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Investors' newsletter and Barron's Educational Series' Finance and Investment Handbook. INVESTMENT TURNOVER
return earned on capital invested in a business. It equals:

A higher ratio indicates good use of the funds placed into the business.

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bill prepared by a seller of goods or services and submitted to the buyer. The invoice describes such items as date, customer, vendor, quantities, prices, freight, and credit terms of a transaction.


financial failure that is legally and formally declared by petition of the debtor's creditors, and not by the debtor. See also CHAPTER 11; CHAPTER 7.


sudden loss of an asset that does not occur in the ordinary course of business, such as destruction by fire or condemnation by a governmental agency. The difference between the cash received from the insurance company and the carrying value of the destroyed asset (or portion thereof) represents a loss or gain for financial reporting purposes. Under the INTERNAL REVENUE CODE, the loss on an involuntary conversion is recognized, but the gain is reflected only to the degree that the proceeds are not reinvested in similar property within two or three years subsequent to the conversion.


costs that may be either sunk costs or costs that do not differ among alternatives. ISO
9000 certification standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that serve as a
basis for quality standards for global manufacturers.


authorized shares that have been issued for cash, services, or other property. Included in issued shares are TREASURY SHARES. See also OUTSTANDING CAPITAL STOCK.


subtraction from adjusted gross income for individual taxpayers. Examples of allowable deductions are mortgage interest, certain casualty losses, medical expenses, contributions, and miscellaneous. The actual amount of deduction allowed is the excess of the total itemized deductions less the STANDARD DEDUCTION (previously called ZERO BRACKET AMOUNT). Only this residual amount is deducted from adjusted gross income to compute taxable income.

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customer order for a specific number of specially designed, made-to-order products. JOB ORDER COSTING
accumulation of costs by specific jobs, contracts, or orders. This costing method is appropriate when direct costs
can be identified with specific units of production. Job order costing is widely used by custom manufacturers such
as printing, aircraft, construction, auto repair, and professional services. Job order costing keeps track of costs as
follows: (1) direct material and direct labor are traced to a particular job; (2) costs not directly traceablefactory
overheadare applied to individual jobs, using a predetermined over-head rate. The overhead rate is equal to the
budgeted annual overhead divided by the budgeted annual activity units (direct labor-hours, machine-hours, etc.).
At the end of the year, the difference between actual overhead and overhead applied is closed to cost of goods sold,
if there is an immaterial difference. On the other hand, if a material difference exists, work-in-process, finished
goods, and cost of goods sold are adjusted on a proportionate basis based on units or dollars at year-end for the
deviation between actual and applied overhead.


subsidiary record for work-in-process inventory under a job order production system. A separate cost sheet is kept for each identifiable job, accumulating the direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead assigned to that job as it moves through production. The form varies according to the needs of the company. A sample job cost sheet follows:


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legal concept in which two or more persons have an obligation that can be enforced against them by joint action, against all members, and against themselves as individuals, hence several liability or responsibility.


common manufacturing costs incurred prior to the point, referred to as the SPLIT-OFF POINT, where JOINT PRODUCTS are identified as individual products. There are several methods of allocating joint costs to the joint products, including sales value and volume. See also COMMON COST; SELL-OR-PROCESS-FURTHER DECISION.


items that have a relatively significant sales value when two or more types are produced simultaneously from the same input by a joint process. For example, gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, and paraffin are the joint products produced from crude oil. See also SELL-OR-PROCESS FURTHER DECISION.


used in controlling job projects, the difference between the actual cost of work performed (CWP) and the budgeted CWP. This variance may further be divided into price and efficiency variances. It measures cost over-runs or under-runs.


difference between the budgeted cost of work performed and the budgeted cost of work scheduled. It measures the extent to which the project is ahead of or behind schedule.


income tax return that effectively provides that income earned by a husband and wife will be treated as though it had been earned by both equally. This is allowed even though one spouse may not have income or deductions. A joint return usually provides a favorable tax effect compared to the filing of a non-joint return.


assemblage of individuals formed to start and operate a business organization. A joint stock company generally shares the same characteristics as a corporation, but it does not provide limited liability, and in many states it lacks formal and official authorization. Once popular because of the ease of formation under the common law, joint stock companies are not seen as much today because it has become easier to form limited liability corporations under state authorization.


two or more persons to whom real or personal property is deeded or who together own an undivided interest in such property as a whole. Upon the death of one of the joint tenants, the deceased's property goes to the survivor without becoming an element of the estate of the deceased; also called joint tenancy with right of survivorship.



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joining together of two or more business entities or persons in order to undertake a specific business venture. A joint venture is not a continuing relationship such as a partnership but may be treated as a partnership for income tax purposes.


book or place where business transactions are first recorded in chronological order before being posted to the general ledger accounts. The general journal is used to record miscellaneous transactions that do not fit into SPECIAL JOURNALS (sales, purchases, cash receipts, cash disbursements, and payroll journals). A general journal will help link together debit and credit parts of transactions.


record of the accounting information for a business transaction. The entry is made in a journal and then posted to the ledger. The journal entry has a date, account(s) debited, and account(s) credited. If there is more than one debit or credit, it is referred to as a compound entry. Total debits must equal total credits. The journal entry is accompanied by a short explanation.


to make an entry for a transaction in the JOURNAL (book of original entry). For example, if rent is paid with cash, this transaction would be entered in the journal. Rent Expense is debited and Cash is credited. Transactions are entered on a daily basis in chronological order. Debits and credits are listed along with their appropriate explanations. Thus the journal reflects in one place all information about a transaction.


monthly publication of the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA). Its readership includes practicing CPAs, controllers, treasurers, private accountants, and academicians. All aspects of accounting appear in the Journal of Accountancy including auditing, management advisory services, financial accounting applications, international accounting, computer applications, professional ethics, and taxation.


semiannual publication of the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago. It is one of the leading academic journals. It includes an annual supplement containing papers presented at conferences held at the university. Subject matter concentrates on empirical, analytical, and experimental research in all areas of accounting.


one that documents and authorizes a business transaction. It will lead to a journal entry in a journal. JUDGMENT
1. accountant's opinion regarding a set of facts or evidence. Besides interpreting the meaning of the situation, the
accountant must also determine its perceived implications. For example, the degree of audit testing required in a
given situation depends on the auditor's judgment of the quality of the internal control system.

2. court order to pay money.

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determination by an auditor, based on personal experience and familiarity with the client, of the number of items, as well as the particular items, to be examined in a population. This function allows the accountant to maintain objectivity and thoroughness in testing the sampled items for accuracy. A judgmental sample may be appropriate when only a specific area within the universe is under auditor scrutiny or timely information is required. The sampling is not done on a random basis. Furthermore, there is no determination of a sampling error, nor any statistical conclusions about precision or confidence levels. See also RANDOM SAMPLE.


public accounting firm employee who has duties and responsibilities associated with the early years of professional practice and works under the close supervision of a senior accountant.


shares, issued to employees, that are usually subordinate to regular common stock. The subordination may apply to voting rights, dividends, or liquidation rights. Junior stock may be converted to common stock when the employees meet certain performance requirements.


the idea that inventory is manufactured (or acquired) only as the need for it arises or in time to be sold (or used). A major goal is to cut down on inventory investment.


a "demand-pull" approach that produces only what is necessary to satisfy the demand of the ensuing manufacturing process.


demand pull system. Purchases of materials and output depend on actual customer demand. Inventories are reduced greatly or eliminated, a few suppliers must reliably deliver small amounts on a frequent basis, plant layouts must become more efficient, a zero defects policy is established, and workers must be able to perform multiple tasks, including continuous monitoring of quality.

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Japanese term for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. Kaizen budgeting incorporates expectations for continuous
improvement into budgetary estimates. Kaizen costing determines target cost reductions for a period, such as a
month. Thus, variances are the differences between actual and targeted cost reduction. The objective is to reduce
actual costs below standard costs. The cost-reduction activities associated with the Kaizen approach minimize costs
throughout the entire product life cycle. Therefore, it has the advantage of being closely related to the entity's
profit-planning procedures. See TARGET COST.


Japanese word for card or ticket. It is essentially a Japanese information system for coordinating production orders and withdrawals from in-process inventory to realize just-in-time production. Originated from the use of cards to indicate a work station's need for additional parts. A basic kanban system includes a withdrawal kanban that states the quantity that a later process should withdraw from its predecessor, a production kanban that states the output of the preceding process, and a vendor kanban that tells a vendor what, how much, where, and when to deliver.


tax-deferred retirement plan for self-employed individuals meeting certain requirements; also called H.R. 10 plan. Self-employed individuals can contribute to their Keogh plan up to 25% of earnings, or a maximum of $30,000.


illegal practice in which a cash shortage is concealed by exploiting the time required for a check to clear. Assume XYZ Company has its home office on Long Island and a branch office in Chicago. The company has accounts with Long Island and Chicago banks. There is a shortage of $50,000 in the Long Island bank. The corporate bookkeeper covers this shortage by drawing a check on December 30, 2000, on the Chicago bank and depositing it to the account in the Long Island bank on the same day. The check is not entered as a cash disbursement in the current year. Rather, the transaction is recorded on January 2, 2001, and the check clears the Chicago bank on January 3, 2001. Unless the discrepancy is found, the Long Island bank balance and book balance reconcile on December 31, 2000, but do not reconcile on January 2, 2001. The auditor can uncover this irregularity by examining bank transfers prior to and after year-end to ascertain that the entry on the books is recorded in the same accounting period as the check is dated and the deposit in the Long Island bank is made. A schedule of interbank transfers should be made showing transfers of funds between bank accounts for several days before and after year- end. Included in the schedule are the dates of withdrawal and deposit per books and per bank. The CPA should trace transfer checks in transit at the balance sheet date to outstanding checks and deposits in transit in the respective bank reconciliations. The accountant should verify the deposit date of all transfers by tracing the deposit to the cutoff bank statement for the receiving bank.

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difference between the amount of labor time that should have been used and the labor that was actually used, multiplied by the standard rate. For example, assume that the standard cost of direct labor per unit of product A is
2.5 hours x $14 = $35. Assume further that during the month of March the company recorded 4500 hours of direct labor time. The actual cost of this labor time was $64,800, or an average of $14.40 per hour. The company produced 2000 units of product A during the month. The labor efficiency variance is (4500 5000) x $14 = $7000, where 5000 hours = 2.5 hours x 2000 units of output. This variance is favorable since the actual hours used are less than the standard hours allowed. This may be the result of efficient use of labor time due to automation or the use of improved production methods.


industry or company where labor costs are more important than capital costs. Labor intensive companies generally have greater earnings stability than CAPITAL INTENSIVE ones, because the former have a higher percentage of variable costs, while the latter have a higher percentage of fixed costs. However, labor intensive firms may experience difficulty during inflation due to employee discontent resulting from the decline in real earnings. But higher wage rates would be passed on in higher prices.


legislation enacted to protect workers' rights and the working environment. Significant labor laws were enacted with the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) and the Taft Hartley Act of 1948.


any deviation from standard in the average hourly rate paid to workers:

For example, assume that the standard cost of direct labor per unit of product A is 2.5 hours x $14 = $35. Assume further that during the month of March the company recorded 4500 hours of direct labor time. The actual cost of this labor time was $64,800, or an average of $14.40 per hour. The company produced 2000 units of product A during the month. The labor rate variance is ($14.40 $14.00) x 4500 hours = $1800, which is unfavorable since the actual hourly rate exceeded the standard rate. This may be the result of unavoidable increases in labor rates, or it may reflect excessive labor costs due to use of higher skilled labor commanding higher wages.


efficiency standard that is often set via time and motion studies and laboratory experiments regarding the various labor

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operations needed to produce the finished good. The standard time must incorporate allowances for normal loss of time due to rest periods, machine downtime, and fatigue. It may be computed as follows:

Basic labor time per unit (in hours) 2.0

Allowance for breaks, fatigue, and


machine, downtime

Allowance for rejects .3
Standard hours per unit 2.7


difference between the actual costs and the standard costs of direct labor. Labor variance is divided into two specific variances: LABOR RATE (PRICE) VARIANCE and LABOR EFFICIENCY VARIANCE. This breakdown is needed from a control standpoint.


one that lags behind the rest of the economy in output, employment, and contributions to the gross national product (GNP). A laggard industry in one nation may not be one in another nation.


series of indicators that follow or trail behind aggregate economic activity. Six lagging indicators are currently published by the government: unemployment rate, business expenditures, labor cost per unit, loans outstanding, bank interest rates, and book value of manufacturing and trade inventories. See also LEADING INDICATORS.


real estate held for productive use or investment. Land is recorded at the acquisition price plus incidental costs including real estate commissions, attorney's fees, escrow fees, title and recording fees, delinquent taxes paid by the buyer, surveying costs, draining, and grading of the property.

The cost of knocking down an old building to clear the land to construct a new building is charged to the land account. Amounts received from selling materials salvaged from the old building reduces the cost of the land.

Land is usually presented under the property, plant, and equipment section of the balance sheet. However, land bought for investment purposes or as a future plant site is classified under investments. If land is held by a real estate business for resale, it is shown as inventory.

Land is not subject to depreciation because it is not a wasting asset. LAND IMPROVEMENTS
items having limited lives, such as walkways, driveways, fences, and parking lots. The land improvement account
is subject to depreciation over the estimated lives of the improvements. It is a different account than land.


concealing a shortage by delaying the recording of cash receipts. For example, cash received from customer X is withheld by the cashier, and a subsequent cash receipt from customer Y is entered as a credit to X's account. Customer Y's account will not be credited

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until a collection is received from customer Z. If the money taken by the cashier is not replaced, there is an overstatement in total accounts receivable. However, by carefully shifting the overstatement from one customer to another the bookkeeper averts customer complaints when the monthly statements are received. Cashiers with access to the general accounting records have been known to transfer shortages to inventory or other accounts for temporary concealment. Lapping is possible when the bookkeeper receiving customer collections also records transactions to customer accounts. To prevent lapping, the accountant should prepare a control listing of cash receipts by a department not having access to the accounting records. But even without the control listing, it is difficult for the bookkeeper to have agreement between the detail of daily entries in the books and daily bank deposits. It should be noted that duplicate deposit tickets may be altered. The CPA should compare the duplicate copy with the original retained at the bank. In conclusion, the auditor should compare entries in the cash receipts journal and postings to customers' accounts to mailroom listings and daily deposit slips.


termination or forfeiture of an itemfor example, when coverage under an insurance contract expires because of nonrenewal.


specific accounting data regarding fixed assets. Included in the Schedule are the original purchase cost of each asset, additions to the assets, sales of the assets, accumulated depreciation, and depreciation expense. This type of worksheet aids in control over fixed assets by keeping detailed track of each fixed asset.


inventory method in which it is assumed that goods are sold in the reverse order of their acquisition. Thus cost of sales is based upon the most recent costs. Ending inventory is based upon the costs of the earliest purchase made. During a period of inflation, net income is lower under LIFO than under FIRST IN, FIRST-OUT (FIFO) because current costs are being matched against revenue. However, the ending inventory figure in the balance sheet will be lower under LIFO than FIFO, because inventory is being stated in older dollars. A company can increase or decrease its earnings through the timing of inventory acquisitions. See also DOLLAR VALUE LIFO.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), latest time at which an activity must be completed without holding up the complete project.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), latest time at which an activity must begin without holding up the complete project.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), latest time at which an activity can be completed without extending the completion time of the project.

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series of indicators that tend to predict future changes in economic activity; officially called Composite Index of 11 Leading Indicators. This series is published monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce and includes average work week, average weekly initial claims, index of net business formation, new orders, and stock prices. The index of leading indicators, the components of which are adjusted for inflation, has an excellent track record of forecasting ups and downs in the business cycle. See also LAGGING INDICATORS.


interval between placing an order and receiving delivery. For example, if it will take two weeks to receive a new delivery, the lead time is two weeks. See also REORDER POINT.


chart line representing the efficiencies gained from experience. Basically, it is a curve describing the relationship between the consecutive number of units produced (x-axis) and the time per unit produced (y-axis). More specifically, it is based on the statistical findings that as the cumulative output doubles, the cumulative average labor input time required per unit will be reduced by some constant percentage, ranging between 10% and 40%. The curve is usually designated by its complement. For example, if the rate of reduction is 20%, the curve is referred to as an 80% learning curve.

Applications of the learning curve theory include (1) pricing decisions, based on the estimates of expected costs;
(2) requirements for scheduling labor; (3) capital budgeting decisions; and (4) setting incentive wage rates.
The following data illustrate the 80% learning curve relationship: Quantity (in Units) Time (in Hours)

Per Lot Cumulative Total
15 15 600

15 30 960


Average Time
per Unit

30 60 1536

60 120 2460

120 240 3936

32.0 (40.0 x 0.8)

25.6 (32.0 x 0.8)

20.5 (25.6 x 0.8)

16.4 (20.5 x 0.8)

As can be seen, as production quantities double, the average time per unit decreases by 20% of its immediate previous time. It can be graphed as as seen in the illustration on the next page.


legal agreement whereby the lessee uses real or personal property of the lessor for a rental charge. The contract may provide for the time period of lease, designated purposes, and restrictions. See also CAPITAL LEASE; DIRECT FINANCING LEASE; OPERATING LEASE; SALES TYPE LEASE.



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agreement between the lessee and lessor specifying the lessee's rights to use the leased property for a given time at a specified rental payment. As rental payments are made, rent expense is charged. When the rental is paid in advance, a prepaid rent account (prepaid expense) that has to be allocated into expense over the rental period is recorded. If the prepayment is for a long-term lease, however, it is recorded as a deferred charge and then amortized. The amortization entry for a long-term lease is to charge rent expense and credit leasehold. See also LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENT.


upgrading made by a lessee to leased property. Examples are paneling and wallpapering. These improvements revert to the lessor at the expiration of the lease term. As improvement costs are incurred under an operating lease, the leasehold improvement account is charged. The leasehold improvement is amortized to expense over the shorter of the life of the improvement or the remaining lease term. If there is a lease renewal option and the prospect of renewal cannot be predicted with certainty, the amortization period should be the original lease term rather than the longer possible term. However, the amortization expense on a leasehold improvement is not tax deductible. Leasehold improvement is usually considered an INTANGIBLE ASSET, because the lessee does not own the leased property. However, some companies show it under the property, plant, and equipment section of the balance sheet.



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widely used statistical technique employed to study trends in revenue, costs, production, and other data and to investigate the relationships among accounting and financial variables. It fits a straight line through a set of points in such a way that the sum of the squared distances from the data points to the line is minimized. The least-squares method involves the following steps:

(1) Define the distance from the data point from the line, denoted by u, as follows:

where y = observed value and y´ = estimated value base on the line y´ = a + bx (see the following figure).

(2) Minimize the sum of the squared distances:

Using differential calculus yields the following equations, called NORMAL EQUATIONS:

Solving the equation for b and a yields:

where and

To illustrate the computations of b and a, refer to the following data. All the sums required are computed and shown here:

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Direct Labor- Hours (x) Factory Overhead (y) xy x2
9 hours $ 15 135 81
19 20 380 361
11 14 154 121
14 16 224 196
23 25 575 529
12 20 240 144
12 20 240 144
22 23 506 484
7 14 98 49
13 22 286 169
15 18 270 225
17 18 306 289
174 hours $225 3414 2792

From the table above:

Substituting these values into the formula for b first:

Therefore, y´ = 10.5836 + 0.5632 x


book in which all accounts of the business are kept. In effect, the ledger is a classification and summarization of financial transactions and the basis for the preparation of the balance sheet and income statement. The ledger also allows one to see the balance in a given account at a particular time. For example, the cash balance at the end of the month can be seen to determine whether the business has a cash problem. Also revealed in looking at the cash account are the cash receipts and cash disbursements for the period.

In a computerized environment, accounts may be stored on magnetic tape or disks instead of in a ledger binder. The accounting principles are, of course, still the same.


amount of stockholders' equity that cannot be reduced by the payment of dividends. It is defined by the par value of par-value issued stock or the stated value of no-par issued stock. See also PAR VALUE; STATED VALUE.

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on-line data base containing laws, legal cases, and tax regulations of interest to practitioners. LEGAL LIABILITY
1. obligation with specified terms and conditions by which a defined payment amount in money, goods, or services
is to be paid within a defined time period in return for a current benefit.

2. responsibility of the accountant to the client and third parties relying on the accountant's work. Accountants can be sued for fraud and negligence in performance of duties.


term used for economically poor nations exporting raw materials, fuels, minerals, and some food products to the industrialized, rich, and developed countries, in exchange mostly for manufactured goods; more often called developing countries. More and more less-developed countries are striving to industrialize by concentrating on manufacturing labor-intensive products and exporting them at prices lower than the ones offered by developed nations.


individual paying a rental fee to the LESSOR for the right to use real or personal property. The two methods used to account for leases by the lessee are the CAPITAL LEASE and the OPERATING LEASE.


owner of real or personal property who gives another the right to use it in return for rental payments. The three types of leases for the lessor are the DIRECT FINANCING LEASE, the SALES-TYPE LEASE, and the OPERATING LEASE. See also LESSEE.


financial instrument normally issued by the buyer's bank in which the bank promises to pay money up to a stated amount for a specified period for merchandise when delivered. It substitutes the bank's credit for the buyer's and eliminates the seller's risk. It is used in international trade.


auditor's letter addressed to the client. It contains the public accountant's conclusions regarding the company's accounting policies and procedures, internal controls, and operating policies. An evaluation is made of the present system, pointing out problem areas. Recommendations for improvement are cited.


client's letter addressed to the CPA on the audit engagement. It is usually signed by an officer of the company but may be signed by the corporate attorney. The letter states that the financial statements are the responsibility of management and that management's statements to the auditor during the audit process are true. Examples of representations include information regarding a sub-sequent event occurring after year-end and the existence of off-balance sheet contingencies. As per GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS), this letter is mandatory on an audit.

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term commonly used in finance and accounting to describe the ability of fixed costs to magnify returns to a firm's owners. OPERATING LEVERAGE, a measure of operating risk, refers to the fixed operating costs found in the firm's income statement. FINANCIAL LEVERAGE, a measure of financial risk, refers to financing a portion of the firm's assets, bearing fixed financing charges in hopes of increasing the return to its owners. Total leverage is a measure of total risk. The way to measure total leverage is to determine how EARNINGS PER SHARE (EPS) is affected by a change in sales.


acquisition of one company by another, typically with borrowed funds. Usually, the acquired company's assets are used as collateral for the loans of the acquiring company. The loans are paid back from the acquired company's cash flow. Another possible form of leveraged buyout occurs when investors borrow from banks, using their own assets as collateral to acquire the other company. Typically, public stockholders receive an amount in excess of the current market value for their shares.


1. lease arrangement of property financed by someone other than the lessee or lessor. A long-term creditor finances the lease, and recourse in the event of default is generally not available to the creditor via the lessor.

2. special lease arrangement involving a creditor, lessor, and lessee. A creditor finances most of the cost to acquire an asset, while the lessor puts in a small amount of cash and acquires the asset, using it as security. The asset is then leased to the lessee on a noncancellable basis, and periodic payments to the lessor service the debt. The lessor, having borrowed most of the funds to acquire the asset, has "leveraged" himself, while having both the rewards and the risks of the lease.


imposition or collection, usually by legal or governmental authority, of an assessment of a specified amount. An example is a tax assessment.


amount payable in dollars (e.g., accounts payable) or future services to be rendered (e.g., warranties payable). The party having the liability is referred to as the debtor. There are various types of liabilities. An actual liability actually exists and has a stated amount (e.g., bonds payable). An ESTIMATED LIABILITY also actually exists, but the amount has to be predicted (e.g., estimated tax liability). These liabilities are booked and are shown in the balance sheet as credit balances under current or noncurrent liabilities, depending upon whether they will be paid in a period of more or less than one year. A CONTINGENT LIABILITY is one that may or may not become due (e.g., notes receivable discounted; a pending lawsuit). A contingent liability is usually footnoted in the financial statement.

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dividend in the form of notes payable when the company is short of cash but has adequate retained earnings; also called SCRIP DIVIDEND. The cash payment for the dividend will take place in the future. The recipient of the liability dividend may hold it until the due date to collect funds or may be able to discount it before the maturity date to obtain immediate cash. The entry at the declaration date is to debit retained earnings and credit the liability scrip dividend payable. When paid, scrip dividend payable is debited and cash credited. In the case where the liability involves interest, the interest part of the cash payment is charged to interest expense with the principal portion being debited to scrip dividend payable.


method of computing deferred taxes based on the estimated tax rates to be in effect when the temporary difference reverses itself. The tax rate is adjusted for rate changes. The method is the only one allowed for financial reporting purposes and is balance-sheet oriented. See also DEFERRED TAX ALLOCATION METHOD; NET OF TAX METHOD.


right of a party, typically a creditor, to hold, keep possession of, or control the property of another to satisfy a debt, duty, or liability. A mortgage would create such a security interest or lien upon property in the event of default.


movement of a firm or its product through stages of development, growth, expansion, maturity, saturation, and decline. Not all products go through such a life cycle. For example, paper clips, nails, knives, drinking glasses, and wooden pencils do not seem to exhibit such a life cycle; most new products seem to, however. Some current examples include high-tech items such as computers, VCRs, and CDs.


forecasts of new product growth based on S-curves. Central to the analysis are the phases of product acceptance by the various groups such as innovators, early adapters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.


estimates of a product's revenues and expenses over its entire life cycle beginning with research and development, proceeding through the introduction and growth stages, into the maturity stage, and finally into the harvest or decline stage. Life-cycle budgeting adopts a LIFE-CYCLE COST approach. It is intended to account for the costs at all stages of the VALUE CHAIN (R&D, design, production, marketing, distribution, and customer service). This information is important for pricing decisions because revenues must cover costs incurred in each stage of the value chain, not just production. Life-cycle budgeting emphasizes the relationships among costs incurred at different value-chain stages, for example, the effect of reduced design costs on future customer-service costs.

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estimates of a product's revenues and expenses over its expected life cycle. The result is to highlight upstream and downstream costs in the cost planning process that often receive insufficient attention. Emphasis is on the need to price products to cover all costs, not just production costs.


policy taken out by the insured to pay the beneficiary a certain amount upon the insured's death. Proceeds on the death of the policyholder are includable in his or her gross estate under two sets of circumstances: (1) the insurance is payable to his or her estate and (2) the decedent possessed at least one incident of ownership in the policy. The latter means that the decedent either owned the policy until death, or transferred it but retained the right to change the beneficiary, borrow on the policy, and cancel it. To accomplish estate tax exclusion, transfer of the policy must occur more than three years prior to death.


audit of only specific accounts or transactions. LIMITED LIABILITY
one that does not go beyond the owner's investment in a business. A CORPORATION and LIMITED PARTNERS
enjoy this particular feature. The stockholders of a corporation usually have limited liability; they risk only their
investment in the business. Sole PROPRIETORS and general partners have unlimited liability. See also


business form that provides limited personal liability, as a corporation does. Owners, who are called members, can be other corporations. The members run the company unless they hire an outside management group. The LLC can choose whether to be taxed as a regular corporation or as a pass through to members. Profits and losses can be split among members any way they choose. The LLC rules vary by state.


member of a partnership whose liability for partnership obligations is limited to the investment in the partnership. A limited partner is not allowed to take active part in the management of the partnership. Limited partnerships have always been useful for tax shelters. However, limited partnerships are ruled passive investments and their tax benefits are severely limited. GENERAL PARTNERS have unlimited joint and several liability, and manage the partnership.


engagement consisting of procedures and inquiries that provide a reasonable basis to express limited assurance that no material changes are needed to the financial statements to bring them into conformity with GAAP. See also AUDIT; COMPILATION.


instruction to execute an order for a stock only at a specified price or better. The broker continues the order until a specified date or until the customer terminates it. Assume an investor places a limit order to buy at $10 or less a stock now selling at $11. If the stock goes up to $20, the broker will not execute a buy order; if it falls

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to $10, the broker will execute a buy order immediately. Note that the broker does not buy a stock for the broker's own account. The broker brings a buyer and seller together and executes a transaction for a commission. Only a dealer (or a broker-dealer acting in its capacity as a dealer) ever actually buys or sellsi.e., takes an inventory position.


typical categorical classifications in which authority and personnel structure are organized in a company. Line personnel usually are defined as deriving from direct operational activities such as financing, distribution, leadership, and strategic decision making. A manager is a line person. Staff personnel are usually advisory and facilitative in nature for the line personnel. An accountant is a staff person to upper management because accounting advice is given. Thus line personnel contribute directly to the firm's objectives, while staff contribute indirectly to the accomplishment of these objectives by advising and facilitating the execution of such objectives.


1. in LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP), the requirement that the measure of effectiveness, such as contribution margin or cost and resource usage, must be proportional to the level of each activity conducted individually. For example, each unit of a resource must make the same contribution to the objective function that every other unit of that resource makes.

2. in LINEAR REGRESSION, the requirement that the relationship between a mixed cost and an activity variable such as machine-hours is straight line in the form of y = a + bx. This means that the variable portion changes by a constant amount per hour no matter how many hours are used.


mathematical approach to the problem of allocating limited resources among competing activities in an optimal manner. Specifically, it is a technique used to maximize revenue, CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM), or profit function or to minimize a cost function, subject to constraints. Linear programming consists of two important ingredients: (1) objective function and (2) constraints, both of which are linear. In formulating the LP problem, the first step is to define the decision variables that one is trying to solve. The next step is to formulate the objective function and constraints in terms of these decision variables. For example, assume a firm produces two products, A and B. Both products require time in two processing departments, assembly and finishing. Data on the two products are as follows:

Assembly (hours) Finishing (hours) CM/unit


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The firm wants to find the most profitable mix of these products. First, define the decision variables as follows:

A = the number of units of product A to be produced
B = the number of units of product B to be produced

Then, express the objective function, which is to maximize total contribution margin (TCM), as:

Formulate the constraints as inequalities:

and do not forget to add the non-negative constraints:


method dealing with a straight-line relation-ship between variables. It is in the form of y = a + bx, whereas non- linear regression involves curvilinear relationships such as exponential and quadratic functions. See also LINEARITY; REGRESSION ANALYSIS.


power to give orders to subordinates. It contrasts with STAFF AUTHORITY, which is the authority to advise but not command others. Line managers are responsible for attaining the organization's goals as efficiently as possible. Production and sales managers typically exercise line authority.


budget typically used by governmental entities in which budgeted financial statement elements are grouped by administrative entities and object. These budget item groups are usually presented in an incremental fashion that is in comparison to previous periods. Line item budgets are used also in private industry for the comparison and budgeting of selected object groups and their previous and future estimated expenditure levels within an organization.


bank's moral commitment to make loans to a company for a specified maximum amount for a given period of time,
typically one year. There is usually no commitment fee charged on the unused line. However, a compensating
balance requirement often exists.


having cash or assets readily convertible into cash. A business entity is said to be liquid when it has cash or near- cash assets that are adequate to satisfy short-term liabilities when due.


cash asset (e.g., cash or an unrestricted bank account) or readily marketable security. A liquid asset can be converted into

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cash in a short time period without a material concession in price. Excluded from this definition are accounts receivable and inventory.


return of capital rather than a distribution of retained earnings. Such a dividend may occur with a natural resource company having wasting assets (e.g., oil, coal) or when a company in a state of liquidation desires to distribute cash or other assets on a pro rata basis to its owners. The journal entry is to debit paid-in capital and credit cash. Because the distribution to stockholders is from capital rather than earnings, no tax is paid on it.


process of closing a business entity, including selling or disposing of the assets, paying the liabilities, and having whatever is left over returned to the owners.


cash price or other consideration that can be received in a forced-sale of assets, such as that occurring when a firm is in the process of going out of business. Typically, the liquidation value is less than what could be received from selling assets in the ordinary course of business.


1. ability of current assets to meet current liabilities when due. The degree of liquidity of an asset is the period of time anticipated to elapse until the asset is realized or is otherwise converted into cash. A liquid company has less risk of being unable to meet debt than an illiquid one. Also, a liquid business generally has more financial flexibility to take on new investment opportunities.

2. immediate convertibility into cash without significant loss of value. For example, marketable securities are more liquid than fixed assets, because securities are actively traded in an organized market.


guideline showing the number of days in which current assets are removed from cash. The fewer the days removed, the better the entity's liquidity. An illustrative computation follows:

Amount x Days Away from Cash = Total
Cash $ 20,000 x
Receivable 50,000 x 30 $1,500,000
Inventory 80,000 x 50 4,000,000
$150,000 $5,500,000

Index =

$150,000 = 36.7 days



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stocks and bonds traded on an organized security exchange such as the NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE (NYSE) and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX). They are distinguished from unlisted securities, which are traded in the OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) MARKET. The organized exchanges have certain requirements that firms must meet before their stock can be listed. Among the requirements are size of the company, number of years in business, earnings record, number of shares outstanding, and market value of shares.


agreement by which an owner of property (the lender) allows another party (the borrower) to use the property for a specified time period, and in return the borrower will pay the lender a payment (usually interest), and return the property (usually cash) at the end of the time period. A loan is usually evidenced by a PROMISSORY NOTE. Examples are commercial, consumer, mortgage, and auto loan.


short- and long-term liabilities that have a due date and provide for interest. LOAN FUND
available for loans. Such funds may be restricted in the sense that only the income generated from the fund may be
used for making loans; in this case, the principal is placed in an endowment fund. In cases where both principal
and income may be available, all funds are placed in the loan fund group.


linking of microcomputers within a limited area or a common environment. An example is a network within a building. A LAN improves the client's efficiency and timeliness through the sharing of files, data, and messages. The system comprises hardware and software. A network operating system, network programs, and application programs for a shared environment are required.


box in a U.S. Postal Service facility, used to facilitate collection of customer remittances. The use of a lockbox also reduces processing float. The recipient's local bank collects from these boxes periodically during the day and deposits the funds in the appropriate corporate account. The bank also furnishes the company with a computer listing of payments received by account, together with a daily total. Because the lockbox arrangement has significant per-item cost, it is most cost-effective with low-volume, high-dollar payments.


facility where one sleeps away from home (e.g., hotel, apartment). For tax years beginning in 1987, lodging expenses are deductible by individuals as employee business expenses only if the aggregate amount of miscellaneous deductions exceeds 2% of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. Further, the tax law establishes rules for including in income qualified campus lodging provided by a school to an employee. In general, gross income does not include

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the value of qualified campus lodging. However, it is included to the extent the rent paid is less than the lesser of 5% of the appraised value of the lodging or the average rentals paid (by persons other than employees and students) to the school for comparable housing.


record kept of the use of an item, often for internal control purposes. For example, in a computer application, a log may be kept of those using data files, programs, or hardware devices. The log may include information about data, time-in and time-out, the use of the item, and the reason for use.


one that facilitates shipping, transportation, and warehousing activities. It aims to ensure customer service by getting adequate quantities of the finished product to the proper place in a cost- and time-efficient manner.


detailed report by an external auditor about the examination of a client's financial statements. It may add to, replace, or include the SHORT-FORM REPORT. The long-form report may contain the audit scope, auditor opinions regarding the financial position and operating performance of the client, percentage change in accounts, evaluation of financial status, and recommendations for client improvement in its accounting system.


one whose future benefit is expected for a number of years; also called long-term asset. It includes such noncurrent assets as building, equipment, and intangibles.


projections that cover more than one fiscal year; also called strategic budgeting. The five-year budget plan is most commonly used. See also ANNUAL BUDGET.


monies owed for a period exceeding one year. Examples are bonds payable and long-term notes payable. The
major features of the debt (i.e., interest rate, maturity date) are disclosed in the financial statements, usually in
footnotes. Long-term liabilities are distinguished from long-term debt because the former include obligations
requiring the rendering of future services (e.g., unearned revenue).


obligation payable in money, goods, or services for a period in excess of one year. It is presented under noncurrent liabilities in the balance sheet. Examples are mortgage payable and the noncurrent portion of warranties payable.


1. decrease in net assets for which no revenue is obtained and which arises from incidental transactions. Examples are the loss on the

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sale of a fixed asset, a catastrophe loss (e.g., fire loss, hurricane damage, flood loss), and a loss on the early extinguishment of debt. A loss is usually unanticipated and nonrecurring.

2. excess of expenses over revenue resulting in a net loss. LOSS CARRYBACK
offsetting the current year's net loss against net income of the previous years (currently three years) for tax
purposes. For financial reporting purposes, the tax effects of a loss carryback should be allocated to the loss period
and a refund in taxes should be obtained. See also LOSS CARRYFORWARD.


offsetting the current year's net operating loss against future years' (currently 20 years) net incomes for tax purposes, assuming that a LOSS CARRYBACK is not possible in whole or in part. For financial reporting purposes, the tax effects of a loss carry-forward should not be recognized until the year in which the tax liability is reduced unless earlier realization is assured beyond any reasonable doubt. This assurance is indicated when the entity has been profitable, future earnings are assured, and the loss results from a non-recurring event.


posting of a future loss that may result from some event or happening (e.g., probable damages from a lawsuit). Loss contingencies that are probable should be booked by a charge to the loss account and a credit to the estimated liability. In addition, there should be footnote references to the nature of the contingency. See also CONTINGENT LIABILITY; GAIN CONTINGENCY.


decline in usefulness and hence value of an asset. Loss of utility is the reason to write down the asset. An example is writing down an investment in securities for a permanent decline from cost to market value. Theoretically, an asset should be written down when the present value of its future cash flows is less than its historical cost.

LOTUS 1-2-3

see 1-2-3.


valuation rule based on CONSERVATISM. Certain accounts are shown at the lower of their historical cost or current replacement cost reflecting an unrealized loss in the financial statements. In the opposite case (unrealized gain), no accounting recognition is given. For example, inventory is reflected at the lower of cost or market on an item-by-item, category, or total basis. In applying the rule, however, market cannot exceed the ceiling (net realizable value = selling price less costs to complete and dispose) nor can market be less than the floor (net realizable value less normal profit margin).


acquisition of a group of assets for a single price. The cost should be allocated to the assets based on their fair

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market values. Assume $75,000 is paid to acquire land, building, and equipment having the fair market values of
$40,000, $25,000, and $35,000, respectively. The allocated cost is shown below:

Fair Market Value Allocated Cost
Land $ 40,000 $30,000
Building 25,000 18,750
Equipment 35,000 26,250
Total $100,000 $ 75,000

For example, the allocated cost assigned to the land account is arrived at as follows:

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cost allocation base that provides a systematic and contemporaneous method of applying overhead costs to work- in-process inventory. An overhead rate of cost per hour of work expended by a machine is applied to the work-in- process. With respect to modern mechanized production, such machine-hour-based rates produce more accurate application of overhead than rates based on direct labor-hours.


programming instructions that the computer can execute directly. The statements are in binary code, with each statement relating to one machine action. Each computer typically has its own machine language. See also ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE; BASIC (BEGINNERS ALL PURPOSE SYMBOLIC INSTRUCTION CODE).


technique that allows the user to combine several keystrokes into one. Macros are simply miniprograms that allow
the user to design a menu to include in a TEMPLATE. See also 1-2-3.


external storage device of Mylar tape coated with a material that can be magnetized to store information. Tape
length usually consists of seven or nine tracks. Only 6 or 8 bits, respectively, are used for data storage and the
additional bit is referred to as the PARITY bit. There is a row of bits, one for each track, in a binary code such as
ASCII for a number, character, or special symbol. Data on a tape can only be sequentially accessed. Each read or
write onto the tape transfers a whole block of data (i.e., records).


large computer that may support 100500 users at one time. Typically, mainframes have a word length of 64 bits and are significantly faster and have greater capacity than the minicomputer and the microcomputer. Mainframes are recommended when vast amounts of data must be processed.


periodic expenditures undertaken to preserve or retain an asset's operational status for its originally intended use. These expenditures do not improve or extend the life of the asset. An example is the cost of a tune-up for an automobile. Maintenance is an expense and is distinguished from CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS, which are capitalized.


determination whether to produce a component part internally or to buy it from an outside supplier. This decision

involves both qualitative and quantitative factors. Qualitative considerations include product quality and the necessity for long-run business relationships with subcontractors. Quantitative factors deal with cost. The quantitative effects of the make-or-buy decision are best

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seen through the RELEVANT COST APPROACH. For example, assume a firm has prepared the following cost estimates for the manufacture of a subassembly component based on an annual production of 8000 units:

Per Unit Total
Direct materials $ 5 $ 40,000
Direct labor 4 32,000
Variable overhead applied 4 32,000 Fixed overhead applied

(150% of direct labor cost)

6 48,000

Total cost $19 $152,000

The supplier has offered the subassembly at a price of $16 each. Two-thirds of fixed factory overhead, which represents executive salaries, rent, depreciation, and taxes, continue regardless of the decision. Should the company buy or make the product? The key to the decision lies in the investigation of those relevant costs that change between the make or buy alternatives. Assuming that the productive capacity will be idle if not used to produce the subassembly, we can make the following analysis:

Per Unit Total of 8000 units
Make Buy Make Buy
Purchase price $16 $128,000 Direct materials $ 5 $ 40,000
Direct labor 4 32,000
Variable overhead 4 32,000 Fixed overhead that can be

avoided by not making



Total relevant costs $15 $16 $120,000 $128,000

Difference in favor of


$ 1 $8,000

The make-or-buy decision must be investigated in the broader perspective of available facilities. The alternatives are: (1) leaving facilities idle; (2) buying the parts and renting out idle facilities; or (3) buying the parts and using unused facilities for other products.


liability insurance for the accountant against legal action in connection with professional services rendered. Insurance coverage varies but may include attorney fees and awarded damages. The accounting practitioner may be sued by clients and third parties (i.e., creditors, investors) relying on his or her work. The increasing cost of obtaining malpractice insurance is a problem of both accounting and other professions.

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consulting services performed by CPA firms to improve client efficiency and effectiveness. Within the CPA firms,
MAS departments are kept independent of other departments such as audit and tax. Examples of MAS services
include computer installation and use, marketing, and financial planning.


examination and appraisal of the efficiency and effectiveness of management in carrying out its activities. Areas of auditor interest include the nature and quality of management decisions, operating results achieved, and risks undertaken. See also OPERATIONAL AUDIT.


concept or policy by which management devotes its time to investigating only those situations in which actual results differ significantly from planned results. The idea is that management should spend its valuable time concentrating on the more important items (such as shaping the company's future strategic course). Attention is given only to material deviations requiring investigation. The tools that facilitate use of this concept include DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM (DSS); EXPERT SYSTEM; PERFORMANCE REPORT.


system of performance appraisal having the following characteristics: (1) each manager is required to take certain prescribed actions and to complete certain written documents; and (2) the manager and subordinates discuss the subordinate's job description, agree to short-term performance targets, discuss the progress made towards meeting these targets, and periodically evaluate the performance and provide the feedback.


broad service area covering aspects of organizational management, such as planning, finance, inventory, computers, and personnel. These services may include the design and implementation of MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS (MIS), strategic planning, DATA PROCESSING, hardware and software evaluation, data privacy and security, evaluation of management, and suggestions for improvement. Public accounting firms have expanded their services into management consulting. Some critics have expressed concerns that this may weaken auditor independence.


plan assuring that resources are obtained and used effectively and efficiently in the accomplishment of the organization's goals. Major characteristics of a management control system are: (1) it focuses on programs and RESPONSIBILITY CENTERS; (2) it is a total system in that it encompasses all aspects of a firm's

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information for managerial control, planned data (such as budgets, standards, and projections) and actual data.


five steps managers take in making decisions and following up on them. The five steps are: (1) the discovery of a problem or need; (2) alternative courses of action to solve the problem or meet the need are identified; (3) a complete analysis to determine the effects of each alternative on business operations is prepared; (4) with the supporting data, the decision maker chooses the best alternative; and (5) after the decision has been carried out, the accountant conducts a post decision review to see if the decision was correct or if other needs have arisen. Any data that relates to future costs, revenues, or uses of resources and that will differ among alternative courses of action are considered relevant decision information.


form of simulation used in management training. Both SIMULATION and management games are mathematical models, but they differ in purpose and mode of use. Simulation models are designed to simulate a system and to generate a series of financial and operating results regarding system operations. Games do the same thing except that in games human beings play a significant part; that is, participants make decisions at various stages. The major goals of the management game are:

(1) To improve decision making and analytical skills.

(2) To develop awareness of the need to make decisions lacking complete information.

(3) To develop an understanding of the interrelationships of the various functions of business (accounting, finance, marketing, production, etc.) within the firm and how these interactions affect overall performance.

(4) To develop the ability to function cooperatively and effectively in a small group situation.

Management games offer a unique means of training accountants and have been used successfully as an executive training device. These games generally fall into two categories: executive and functional. Executive games are general management games and cover all functional areas of business and their interactions and dynamics. Executive games are designed to train general executives. Functional games, on the other hand, focus on middle management decisions and emphasize particular functional areas of the firm. Examples of executive games in wide use include XGAME, COGITATE, and IMAGINIT. Examples of functional games include MARKSIM, FINSIM, and PERT-SIM.


computer-based or manual system that transforms data into information useful in the support of decision making. MIS can be classified as performing three functions:

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(1) To generate reportsfor example; financial statements, inventory status reports, or performance reports needed for routine or non-routine purposes.

(2) To answer what-if questions asked by management. For example, questions such as "What would happen to cash flow if the company changes its credit term for its customers?" can be answered by MIS. This type of MIS can be called SIMULATION.

(3) To support decision making. This type of MIS is appropriately called DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEM (DSS). DSS attempts to integrate the decision maker, the data base, and the quantitative models being used.


analysis and evaluation by the external auditor of management's performance, including an analysis of the quality
of decision making, efficiency of operations, profitability, corporate policies, internal controls, personnel relations,
social responsibility, marketing factors, and ability to keep up-to-date technologically, as well as factoring
economic and political considerations into decisions among other criteria.




section in FORM 10-K and in the ANNUAL REPORT to stockholders that is required by SEC Accounting Series Release No. 159. Management must summarize the reasons for changes in results of operations, capital resources, and liquidity, among others. The section is designed to help investors understand the extent to which accounting changes, as well as changes in business activity, have affected the comparability of year-to-year data. Investors will then be in a better position to assess the source and probability of recurrence in earnings. Examples of subjects to be discussed by management include material changes in discretionary costs, material changes in assumptions underlying deferred costs, and significant changes in product mix or in the relative profitability of lines of business.


1. executive whose function is to plan, organize, and control, and to make decisions in order to achieve organizational objectives.

2. in a public accounting firm, person in charge of an audit engagement. The manager is responsible for all aspects of the engagement, from initiation to closing and rendering an opinion.


extent to which a manager attempts to accomplish a goal. Managerial effort may include psychological as well as physical commitment to accomplish a goal. Motivation is the desire of managers to attain a specific goal (GOAL CONGRUENCE) and the commitment to accomplish the goal (managerial effort).

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process of identification, measurement, accumulation, analysis, preparation, interpretation, and communication of financial information that is used by management to plan, evaluate, and control within an organization. It is the accounting used for the planning, control, and decision-making activities of an organization. Managerial accounting is concerned with providing information to internal managers who are charged with directing, planning, and controlling operations and making a variety of management decisions. Managerial accounting can be contrasted with

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING, which is concerned with providing information, via financial statements, to stockholders, creditors, and others outside the organization. More specifically, the differences between financial and managerial accounting are summarized here:

Financial Accounting Managerial Accounting
(1) Provides data for external users. (1) Provides data for internal use.
(2) Is required by law. (2) Is not mandated by law.
(3) Is subject to GAAP. (3) Is not subject to GAAP.
(4) Must generate accurate and (4) Emphasizes relevance and
timely data. flexibility of data.
(5) Emphasizes the past. (5) Has more emphasis on the future.
(6) Looks at the business as a whole. (6) Focuses on parts as well.
(7) Primarily stands by itself. (7) Draws heavily from other
disciplines such as finance,
economics, and operations research.
(8) Is an end in itself. (8) Is a means to an end.


a combination of managerial effort and goal congruence. MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION SYSTEM
plan that either creates goods or provides services (or both). Manufacturing and production systems produce output
that ranges from highly standardized to highly customized. Depending on the type of system used, an appropriate
cost accounting system can be designed. For example, a JOB ORDER costing system is used by custom
manufacturers such as shipbuilders, aircraft manufacturers, and printers, while a process costing system is used by
processing industries such as refineries and chemical manufacturers.


plant layout in a lean JIT production environment. Cells are sets of machines, often grouped in semicircles,

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that produce a given product or product type. Each worker in a cell must be able to operate all machines and, possibly, to perform support tasks, such as setup activities, preventive maintenance, movement of work-in-process within the cell, and quality inspection. In a pull system, workers might often be idle if they are not multi-skilled. Hence, central support departments are reduced or eliminated, space is saved, fewer and smaller factories may be required, and materials and tools are bought close to the point of use. Manufacturing cycle time and setup time are reduced. As a result, on-time delivery performance and response to changes in markets are enhanced, and production of customized goods in small lots becomes feasible.


flow of manufacturing costs (direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead) from when incurred through the direct materials inventory, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods inventory accounts to the cost of goods sold account.


expenses associated with the manufacturing activities of the company. They consist of three categories: direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead.


quotient of the time required for value-added production divided by TOTAL CYCLE TIME. It is a measure of how well a company's manufacturing capabilities use time resources.


delay from the moment the order is ready for setup to its completion. Sometimes called manufacturing lead time or throughput time.






difference between the manufacturing overhead costs budgeted for the level of production achieved and the manufacturing overhead cost applied to production using the standard variable and fixed manufacturing overhead rates.


integrated information system that steps beyond first-generation MRP to synchronize all aspects (not just manufacturing) of the business, including production, sales, inventories, schedules, and cash flows. MRP-II uses an MPS (master production schedule), which is a statement of the anticipated manufacturing schedule for selected items for selected periods. MRP also uses the MPS. Thus, MRP is a component of an MRP-II system.

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1. partial payment made by an investor to a broker for securities purchased, with the remainder on credit. The broker retains the securities as collateral and charges the investor interest on the money owed. The Federal Reserve Board determines margin requirements. The margin requirement for stocks is higher than that for convertible bonds because of greater risk. Assume that with a margin requirement of 50% (present requirement), 100 shares of XYZ stock are bought at $100 per share. The actual amount invested is $5000, with a margin of $5000 on credit.

2. in commodities trading, deposits required by commodities exchanges. MARGINAL ANALYSIS
approach utilizing such concepts as marginal revenue, marginal cost, and marginal profit for economic decision
making. For example, decisions for allocating scarce resources are typically expressed in terms of the marginal
condition(s) that must be satisfied in order to attain an optimal solution. The familiar profit-maximizing rule of
setting production or sales volume at the point where "marginal revenue equals marginal cost" is one such


calculation showing the change in total cost as a result of a change in volume. For example, if one more unit of output causes an increase in total cost of $40, the $40 is the marginal cost. It is useful to calculate marginal cost to determine whether the rate of production should be changed. In general, as activity increases, economies of scale (LEARNING CURVE principle) set in because of greater experience and manufacturing efficiency. Eventually, however, a point is reached where diseconomies of scale (e.g., increased management supervision) occur, causing marginal costs to rise. When a company is at an optimum output level, marginal cost coincides with average total unit cost. The marginal cost curve is usually shown as a U-shape on a graph.

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change of the total revenue of a business resulting when an extra unit is sold.


rate paid on the last dollar of taxable income. For example, assume for married couples filing jointly that there are two tax brackets:

15% on taxable income equal to or below $29,750 28% on taxable income in excess of this amount

If income adds up to $50,000, total taxes paid will be $10,132.50:

First $29,750 of taxable income at 15% = $ 4,462.50
Remaining $20,250 at 28% = $ 5,670.00

The 15% and 28% are marginal tax rates, while the average tax rate is a little over 20% ($10,132.50/$50,000). MARGIN OF SAFETY
difference between the actual level of sales and BREAK-EVEN SALES. It is the amount by which sales revenue
may drop before losses begin and is often expressed as a percentage of budgeted sales:

The margin of safety is often used as a measure of OPERATING RISK. The larger the ratio, the safer the situation is since there is less risk of reaching the break-even point.


tax deduction allowed upon the transfer of property from one spouse to another. This deduction is allowed under the federal gift tax for lifetime transfers or under the federal estate tax for testamentary transfers of a decedent.


1. reduction of the original selling price. It may be due to any of several reasons, such as a decline in overall prices of goods, excessive competition, special sale, damaged merchandise, or excess supply. In markdown cancellation,

the markdown is partially offset at a subsequent date by increases in the prices of goods that had been marked down below the original selling price. See also MARKUP.

2. dealer markdowns in securities trading. MARKETABLE SECURITY
readily tradable equity or debt security with quoted prices, including commercial paper and Treasury bills. It is

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a near-cash asset and is classified under current assets. Marketable securities are recorded at cost, which consists of the market price and incidental costs to acquire, including brokerage commissions and taxes. Some types of securities, such as restricted stock, are not marketable.


aggregate of prices of stock of a certain type on one of the stock exchanges. Stock market indexes show how the market is doing and may assist the investor in picking the right type stocks at the proper time. For example, Standard & Poor's has several common stock indexes, such as the S&P 500.


1. price at which the seller and the buyer agree to trade on the open market.

2. in TRANSFER PRICING, best transfer price (i.e., the price that will maximize the profits of the company as a whole), under the following conditions: (1) a competitive market price exists; and (2) divisions are independent of each other. If divisions are free to buy and sell outside the company, the use of market prices preserves divisional autonomy and leads divisions to act in a manner that maximizes the profits of the company as a whole.


amount above the risk-free rate required to induce average investors to enter the market. MARKET SHARE VARIANCE
difference between the actual market share percentage and the budgeted market share percentage, times the actual
market size in units, times the budgeted weighted average unit contribution margin.


budgeted market share percentage, times the difference between the actual market size in units, times the budgeted weighted average UCM. One of the two components of SALES QUANTITY VARIANCE.


1. typically, price at which an item could be sold.

2. as used in the LOWER OF COST OR MARKET rule for inventory valuation, replacement cost subject to ceiling and floor limits.

1. method used to account for a BOND CONVERSION. The credit to common stock and premium on common
stock may be based either on the market value of the bond or the market value of the stock issued. The difference
between the book value of the bond and the market value credited to equity represents a gain or loss. See also


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2. valuation of inventory at its market value whether above or below cost recognizing an unrealized (holding) loss or gain. This method is not acceptable because to show inventory in excess of cost is not conservative.

3. method to account for trading (shown under current assets) and avail-able-for-sale (shown under noncurrent assets) equity and debt securities at their market value at the end of the reporting period. The difference between the cost and market value of the securities portfolio is presented as an unrealized loss or gain. For trading securities, the unrealized loss or gain is reported in the income statement. For available-for-sale securities, the unrealized loss or gain for the current year is reported under "other comprehensive income" in the income statement and the cumulative amount is reported under stockholders' equity in the balance sheet classified as "accumulated other comprehensive income."


method of analyzing the current behavior of some variable to predict its future behavior. One important application of this method in accounting is the estimation of that portion of the accounts receivable that will eventually become uncollectible.


1. increase on the original selling price. It is associated primarily with the pricing of items for sale in a retail or wholesale environment. Markup cancellation is a reduction on the price of merchandise that has been marked up on the original retail price. See also MARKDOWN.

2. amount added to the cost of an item to arrive at a selling price. Markup may be expressed as a percentage of cost or in dollars. For example, if an item costing $20 has a profit markup on cost of 30%, the selling price will be
$26 ($20 + $6).

3. dealer markups in securities trading.


accounting, distribution, and light manufacturing software ideal for medium-sized companies that can benefit from an outstanding combination of high performance, breadth of application, complete modularity, and exceptional ease of use.


plan of activities expressed in monetary terms of the assets, equities, revenues, and costs that will be involved in carrying out the plans. Simply put, a master budget is a set of projected or planned financial statements. It consists basically of a PRO FORMA INCOME STATEMENT, PRO FORMA BALANCE SHEET, and CASH BUDGET.
A budget is a tool used for both planning and control. At the beginning of the period, the budget is a plan or standard; at the end of the period, it serves as a control device to help management measure its performance against the plan so that future performance may be improved.


process of reporting expense on a cause-effect basis against the reported revenue it relates to. Net income is measured by

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the difference between revenue over associated expenses during the same period. Expenses are incurred in order to obtain that revenue. An example is the matching of sales commission expense to sales.


contingent grant awarded only if the receiving entity is able to put up (or independently raise) a sum equal to the amount provided by the granting entity.


1. raw material, direct or indirect. An example is steel to make a car. Usually accounted for separately by a debit to materials (stores control) and a credit to accounts payable or cash. When materials are transferred to work-in- process, inventory is credited.

2. relatively important and significant in dollar amounts. See also MATERIALITY. MATERIALITY
magnitude of an omission or misstatement of accounting data that misleads financial statement readers. Materiality
is judged both by relative amount and by the nature of the item. For example, even a small theft by the president of
a company is material. Unfortunately, the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB) has no
specific criteria as to what is or is not material. If an item is material, it should be disclosed in the body of the
financial statements or footnotes. Some CPA firms use a 5% test for materiality. The SEC in Accounting Series
Release No. 159 provides that an item is material if it changed by 10% or more relative to the prior year.


relative combination (or proportion) of components when a manufacturing process requires several different types of materials. The combination is not necessarily the standard. In many industries, such as chemicals, petroleum products, steel, and food, it is quite possible to vary the material mix and end up with essentially the same product. For example, in the textile industry, different mixes of fibers can produce the same quality of yarn.


effect on material costs of a deviation from the expected or standard mix of materials. See also PRODUCTION MIX VARIANCE.


computer-based information system designed to handle ordering and scheduling of dependent-demand inventories (such as raw materials, component parts, and subassemblies that will be used in the production of a finished product). MRP is designed to answer three questions: what is needed, how much is needed, and when is it needed. The primary inputs of MRP are a bill of materials, which tells what goes into a finished product; a master schedule, which tells how much finished product is desired and when; and an inventory-records file, which tells how much inventory is on hand or on order. This information is processed, using various computer programs to determine the net requirements

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for each period of the planning horizon. Outputs from the process include planned-order schedules, order releases, changes, performance-control reports, planning reports, and exception reports.


difference between what is paid for a given quantity of materials and what should have been paid, multiplied by
the actual quantity of materials used: Materials price variance = (actual price standard price) · actual quantity. In
reality, since material price variances are isolated at the time of purchase, it is customary to multiply the difference
between the actual price and the standard price by the actual quantity purchased rather than used. It is more often
called materials purchase price variance.


difference between the actual quantity of materials used in production and the standard quantity of materials
allowed for actual production, multiplied by the standard price per unit. Materials quantity variance = (actual
quantity standard quantity) · standard price per unit. The variance is unfavorable if the actual quantity exceeds the
standard quantity; it is favorable if the actual quantity is less than the standard.


difference between the actual and standard costs of materials. Materials variance is divided into two specific variances: MATERIALS PRICE VARIANCE and MATERIALS QUANTITY (USAGE) VARIANCE. This
breakdown is needed from a control standpoint.


mathematical representation of reality that attempts to explain the behavior of some aspect of it. The mathematical model serves the following purposes: (1) to find an optimal solution to a planning or decision problem; (2) to answer a variety of what-if questions; (3) to establish understandings of the relationships among the input data items within a model; and (4) to attempt to extrapolate past data to derive meaning. Mathematical models include techniques such as LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP), computer simulation, DECISION THEORY, REGRESSION ANALYSIS, ECONOMIC ORDER QUANTITY (EOQ), and BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS. See also FINANCIAL MODEL; MODEL; QUANTITATIVE METHODS (MODELS); SIMULATION MODELS.


due date of a debt at which time the PRINCIPAL must be paid. See also MATURITY VALUE.


amount to be paid on the maturity date of a financial instrument. It may be a greater amount (i.e., bond issued at a discount) or a lesser amount (i.e., bond issued at a premium) than the initial price. Maturity value is typically the

face value of a bond or

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note. Assume that a five-year $20,000 bond is issued at 95at a discount. The proceeds at issuance are $19,000, but at the due date of the five-year bond, the maturity value will be $20,000.


behavior that attempts to maximize such performance measures as revenue, profits, contribution margin, or expected net present value. For example, a marketing manager wishes to maximize sales revenue or market share of the firm's product or service. Profit maximization has been the traditional goal of the firm in classical economic theory.




rate that would apply to the various tiers of income subject to tax. As of 1998, the highest tax rate for individuals is


income tax allowance for business meals. It is limited to 50% of the amount on the individual's tax return. Food and beverages are not deductible unless the taxpayer (1) shows the item directly applied to the active conduct of the taxpayer's trade or business and (2) sufficient substantiation exists. No deduction is permitted unless business is discussed during, just before, or just after the meal. Further, the meal cannot be extravagant as defined by the IRS.


measure of central tendency; also called average. Mean and STANDARD DEVIATION are the two most widely used statistical measures that summarize the characteristics of the data. Suppose a new car dealer sells 630 cars during a 30-day period. Then the mean (average) daily sales is obtained by dividing the total number of cars by the number of days as follows:

Mean daily sales per day = 630/30 = 21 per day Symbolically,

where = the mean, xi = the values in the data, S (read as sigma) is the summation sign, and n = the number of observations in the data.


value of the midpoint variable when the data are arranged in ascending or descending order. For example, in the following data set: 2, 3, 4, 8, 8, the median is the value of the third variable since there are two variables above it and two variables below it. Therefore, the median of the five variables is 4.


itemized deduction allowed when total medical expense, less reimbursements by medical insurance plans, exceeds

7.5% of adjusted gross income. Examples of deductible items are doctor bills, laboratory tests, and transportation costs to the doctor's office.

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space within a computer where information and program are stored while being actively worked on; also called core. It is expressed in terms of the number of characters (BYTES) that can be retained. The memory of the computer is in the form of read-only (ROM) and RAM (RANDOM-ACCESS MEMORY) or read/write memory. It is this memory facility that distinguishes the computer from devices such as calculators and bookkeeping machines, which, although they have input, output, and processing capabilities, cannot store programs internally within the processing unit.


list of functions available in a software program or an on-line information service such as CompuServe. The user chooses from the menu much as one selects from a restaurant menu. A list of choices appears on the screen, and the particular function is selected by typing a number or letter corresponding to the desired command option or by using a mouse.


goods acquired for resale. Merchandise inventory is held by a merchandising concern including wholesalers and retailers. Contrast with FINISHED GOODS INVENTORY.


combination of two or more companies into one, with only one company retaining its identity. Typically, the larger of the two companies is the company whose identity is maintained. It often involves an exchange of stock, called POOLING-OF-INTERESTS, which avoids taxes; the purchase (accounting) method, where goodwill is recorded, can also be used. The merger of two companies can be accomplished in one of two ways. The acquiring company can negotiate with management of the other company, or it can make a TENDER OFFER directly to the stockholders of the company it wants to take over.


critical report published in 1976 indicating, among other things, that the accounting profession's structure and independence were in need of realignment. It suggested that accounting and auditing standards should be established by the federal government rather than by the profession itself. The actual title of this report, which was prepared by the Subcommittee on Reports, Accounting and Management of the U.S. Senate, is "The Accounting Establishment." Presently, no legislation has resulted from the release of this report.


term connoting the accounting for a person, company, or government agency, as distinguished from macro accounting, which is the accounting for aggregate economic activities of a nation. Micro accounting also applies to the accounting and reporting of financial information of subunits of the entity.


small, low-cost computer whose CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU) consists of a single integrated circuit known as the MICROPROCESSOR. It has a RAM for storing programs during their execution and usually a ROM for permanent storage of required programs.

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Microcomputers are basically 8-, 16-, 32-, or 64-bit microprocessors. They are typically used by one individual at a time. Small, personal, desk-top and portable computers are microcomputers.


general, all-purpose circuit, placed on a silicon chip. It is a power source of MICROCOMPUTERS. The microprocessor is at the heart of the micro-electronics revolution. This chip is used in calculators, watches, video games, microwave ovens, and, of course, computers. While a microprocessor is inexpensive, its power is equivalent to that of computers that cost several hundred thousand dollars in the 1960s.


computer that possesses the same components as large mainframes but has reduced memory and slower processing speeds. Before the advent of the minicomputer industry in the 1960s, companies wishing to automate were forced to use a large mainframe. With the evolution of minicomputers, managers could choose computers with substantially lower costs.


behavior that attempts to minimize such undesirable factors as cost, time, and inconvenience. Cost minimization is a usual goal of the production department of a firm. For example, a production department manager wishes to find the least cost combination of input materials in order to make a finished product. LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) models may be formulated in the format of either profit maximization or cost minimization.


safety cushion needed to avoid a possible cash shortage. In cash budgeting, projecting cash inflows (such as collections from customers) and cash disbursements (such as purchases and capital spending) is a difficult task. Even though the company attempts to forecast cash flows as accurately as possible, it is always a good idea to keep a certain minimum cash balance on hand.


regular rental payments excluding EXECUTORY COSTS to be made by the lessee to the lessor in a CAPITAL LEASE. The lessee reports an asset and liability at the discounted value of the future minimum lease payments.


condition that is recognized when the ACCUMULATED BENEFIT OBLIGATION is greater than the fair value of plan assets. However, no recognition is given in the opposite case. When an accrued pension liability exists, only an additional liability for the difference between the minimum liability and the accrued pension liability can be recorded. When an additional liability is recorded, it is offset by recognizing an intangible asset not exceeding the amount of unamortized prior service cost. If it does exceed that amount, the excess is shown as a reduction of stockholders' equity in an account called net loss not recognized as pension expense. Assume an accumulated benefit obligation of $500,000, and a fair value of pension

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plan assets of $400,000, leaving a minimum pension liability of $100,000. If we assume that the accrued pension liability is $40,000, then the additional pension liability is $60,000. The unamortized prior service cost is assumed to be $50,000. The journal entry to record the additional liability is:

Intangible Asset Pension Plan 50,000

Minimum Pension Liability Adjustment 10,000

Additional Pension Liability



levy imposed on taxpayers with large income to assure that all pay a fair share of the total tax burden. The
traditional minimum tax was replaced by the ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX (AMT) under the Tax Reform Act
of 1986. AMT not only replaced the minimum tax, but extended it to corporations. The tax base for minimum tax
starts with regular taxable income. This base then is adjusted by recomputing certain deductions and deferralssuch
as depreciation, long-term contracts, and installment sales gainin a manner that offsets to a great extent the
reduction that these items generate in regular taxable income. The base then is increased by certain TAX
PREFERENCE ITEMS (such as excess of accelerated depreciation over straight line).


ownership interest of those not in the consolidated group of companies when consolidated financial statements are prepared. An example is an outside group that owns 5% of the shares of a subsidiary, with the parent owning 95%.


incidental expense of a business, not classified as manufacturing, selling, or general and administrative expenses. It
is presented on an income statement after operating income. Miscellaneous expenses are immaterial. A more
precise designation or separate accounting for them results in a cost greater than the benefit received.


pointing to an interpretation that is not factual or is unrealistic. Facts or statements that may be misstated, distorted, augmented, omitted, and arranged in such a manner as to obscure and conceal material aspects of an item are misleading. The accountant carefully prepares, based on the reliance on accepted standards of auditing practice and statement presentation, financial information to avoid misleading inferences.



abstraction of a real-life system used to facilitate understanding and to aid in decision making. It has become a popular device in business. The model can be classified into three popular types: (1) physical model; (2) graphical model; and (3) mathematical model.

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Examples of physical models are childhood toys such as dolls and toy airplanes. Graphical models are abstractions of lines, symbols, shapes, or chartsfor example, a BREAK-EVEN CHART. Mathematical models are the ones that have stimulated most of the recent interest in models for decision making. Any mathematical formula or equation is a model. Mathematical models are used to solve planning and decision problems and to answer various what-if scenarios. Examples include the break-even model and LINEAR PROGRAMMING.


programming language, usually resembling

English, that is used to solve a specific task and generate various reports based on the solution and analysis. For example, financial-planning modeling languages such as IFPS (Integrated Financial Planning System) are computer software packages that help financial planners develop a financial model in English terms (not requiring any computer programming knowledge on the user's part), perform various analyses such as the WHAT-IF ANALYSIS, and generate PRO FORMA financial reports.


device that enables one computer to communicate with another over telephone lines. The word modem stands for modulator/ demodulator. To modulate is to change digital signals to analog, so data can be transmitted by audio tones over telephone lines to another computer whose modem can change the audio tones back to the needed digital (bits). To demodulate, the opposite of modulate, is to change analog to digital. The modem usually uses two tones: one stands for a 0 (zero) while the other stands for a 1 (the binary number system).The 56K modem is widely used. Transmission speed depends on the amount of data transferred and where it is going to or coming from. A faster modem should be used when typing is at a minimum and uploading or downloading is at a maximum.


a method of accelerated depreciation permitted by tax codes, as modified by recent changes. It classifies depreciable assets into one of several recovery periods, each of which has a designated pattern of allowable depreciation (double-declining balance, 150% declining balance, or straight-line with a half-year convention). See also ACCELERATED COST RECOVERY SYSTEM (ACRS).


governmental accounting method. Revenue is recognized when it becomes available and measurable. Expenditures are typically recognized in the period in which the liability is incurred except for: (1) inventories of materials and supplies that may be considered expenditures either when bought or used; (2) interest on general and special assessment long-term debt that is recognized on the date due; and (3) use of encumbrances. Most governmental funds follow the modified accrual method. See also ACCRUAL ACCOUNTING.


design of components that can be assembled in a variety of ways to meet individual consumer needs.

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asset or liability whose amounts are fixed or determinable in dollars without reference to future prices of specific goods or services. Their economic significance depends heavily upon the general purchasing power of money. The two types of monetary items are monetary assets and monetary liabilities. Monetary assets are those stated in current dollars needing no adjustment in the price-level balance sheet, such as cash, accounts receivable, and marketable securities at market value. Monetary liabilities are obligations payable in dollars requiring no adjustment in the price-level balance sheet, such as accounts payable and bonds payable. However, holding monetary items during a period of inflation will result in a PURCHASING POWER LOSS, GAIN in the price- level income statement. See also NONMONETARY ITEM.


1. cash.

2. term broadly used to refer to a medium of exchange and unit of value. MONEY MARKET
market for short-term (less than one year) debt securities. Examples of money market securities include U.S.
Treasury bills, federal agency securities, bankers' acceptances, commercial paper, and negotiable certificates of
deposit issued by government, business, and financial institutions.


check issued by a bank to a payee when an individual gives the bank funds in exchange. Payees sometimes require a money order since it is, in effect, guaranteed payment. An example is a person giving ABC Savings Bank $1000 and asking the bank to make out its own check payable to an auto dealer.


special type of SIMULATION, where the variables of a given system are subject to uncertainty. The technique gets
its name from the famous Mediterranean resort often associated with games of chance. In fact, the chance element
is an important aspect of Monte Carlo simulation: the approach can be used only when a system has a random, or
chance, component. Under this approach, a probability distribution is developed that reflects the random
component of the system under study. Random samples taken from this distribution are analogous to observations
made on the system itself. As the number of observations increases, the results of the simulation will tend to more
closely approximate the random behavior of the real system, provided an appropriate model has been developed.
Sampling is accomplished by the use of random numbers. Simulation applications include testing alternative
inventory policies and simulating a cash budget.


lien securing a note payable that has as collateral real assets and that requires periodic payments. For personal property, such

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as machines or equipment, the lien is called a CHATTEL MORTGAGE. Mortgages can be issued to finance the acquisition of assets, construction of plants, and modernization of facilities. The bank will require that the value of the property exceed the mortgage on that property. Mortgages have a number of advantages over other debt instruments, including favorable interest rates, fewer financing restrictions, and extended maturity date for loan repayment.


debt secured by a real asset. There are two types of mortgage bonds: senior mortgages, which have first claim on assets and earnings and junior mortgages, which have a subordinate lien. A mortgage bond may have a closed-end provision that prevents the firm from issuing additional bonds of the same priority against the same property or may be an open-end mortgage that allows the issuance of additional bonds having equal status with the original issue.


federal tax deduction allowed for interest paid or accrued within the taxable year with respect to mortgage indebtedness. Interest is deductible on mortgages secured by principal homes and second homes. A taxpayer may not write off interest on any part of the mortgage that exceeds the original purchase price plus improvements of property, unless the taxpayer uses the money for medical or educational purposes.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), the time that the activity would most likely take if it were repeated time and time again; denoted by m. See also EXPECTED TIME FOR AN ACTIVITY.


average that is updated as new information is received. With the moving average, an accountant employs the most recent observations to calculate an average, using the result as the forecast for the next period. For example, assume that the accountant has the following cash inflow data:

Month Cash Collections (000)
May 20
June 24
July 22
August 26
Sept. 25

Using a four-period moving average, the accountant computes the predicted cash collection for October as follows:

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method used under a PERPETUAL INVENTORY SYSTEM, which requires that a new weighted average cost must be calculated after each purchase. The new weighted average is computed in the same way as in the WEIGHTED AVERAGE INVENTORY METHOD; that is, the average cost is the cost of the units available for sale after the purchase divided by the number of units available for sale at that time. This average cost is used to determine the cost of each sale made prior to the next purchase.

For example, assume the following inventory data for Company J:

Inventory, March 1 100 units @ $10 per unit $1000
Purchases, March 10 80 units @ $11 per unit 880
Purchases, March 20 70 units @ $12 per unit 840
Goods available for sale 250 units $2720
Sales, March 18 90 units
Sales, March 27 50 units
140 units
Inventory, March 31 110 units

The moving average costs are computed as follows:

March 1, beginning


100 units@ $10 $1000

March 10, purchases 80 @ $11 880
March 10, balance 180 @ $10.44 $1880
March 18, sales 90 @ $10.44 940
March 18, balance 90 @ $10.44 $ 940
March 20, purchases 70 @ $12 840
March 20, balance 160 @ $11.125 $1780
March 27, sales 50 @ $11.125 556
March 30, balance 110 @ $11.125 $1224

Costs of goods sold (140 units) $940 + $556


Ending inventory (110 units @ $11.125)


deduction allowed from adjusted gross income of employees and self-employed individuals who paid or incurred moving costs. Two major requirements must be satisfied before a deduction is allowed: minimum distance moved and minimum period of employment. Direct costs, such as expenses of moving household goods, are deductible without limit. Indirect costs, such as premove househunting costs, however, are deductible within specified limits.


time spent moving a product from one operation or department to another. MRP

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condition that exists when independent variables are highly correlated with each other. In the presence of multicollinearity, the estimated REGRESSION COEFFICIENTS may be unreliable. The presence of multicollinearity can be tested by investigating the correlation (r) between the independent variables.


statistical classificatory technique similar to regression analysis that can be used to evaluate financial ratios. MULTIPLE OVERHEAD RATES
manner of measuring product costs. A different predetermined overhead rate is set for each department of a factory,
rather than having a single predetermined rate for the entire factory. When products are heterogeneous, receiving
uneven attention and effort as they move through various departments, departmental rates are necessary to achieve
more accurate and equitable product costs. For example, if department A is labor intensive, application of overhead
costs could be done more equitably on a basis of direct labor-hours or labor cost. If department B is machine
oriented, allocation should be based on machine hours. See also PLANTWIDE OVERHEAD RATE;


in GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING, entries made in more then one fund, when two or more funds each have authority over the same transaction. For example, the general fund may expend money to acquire fixed assets; however, the fund does not capitalize fixed assets. Thus the entry in the general fund is to debit expenditures and credit vouchers payable, and a memo entry is made in the general fixed asset account group to show the fixed asset.


statistical procedure that attempts to assess the relationship between a dependent variable and two or more
independent variables. Examples: Total factory overhead (the dependent variable) is related to both labor-hours and
machine-hours (the independent variables). Sales of a popular soft drink (the dependent variable) is a function of
various factors, such as its price, advertising, taste, and the prices of its major competitors (the independent
variables). See also REGRESSION ANALYSIS.


one providing multiple classifications and multiple intermediate differences. The multiple-step format reports amounts for the following income captions: (1) gross margin, (2) income from continuing operations, (3) income before extraordinary items, and (4) net income. An illustrative multiple-step income statement follows:

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Less: Sales returns and allowances
Net sales
Less: Cost of sales
Gross margin
Less: Operating expenses
Income from continuing operations
Add: Other revenue and expenses
Less: Other expenses and losses
Income before tax and extraordinary items
Less: Provision for taxes
Income before extraordinary items
Add or Less: Extraordinary items (net of tax)
Net income


reassignment of resource costs requiring one or more intermediate activity cost reassignments prior to cost assignment into the final cost objects.


simultaneous execution of two or more computer functions. MUNICIPAL BOND

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organization of financial officers working for municipalities. The goal of MFOA is to bring together representatives of various groups concerned with municipal accounting and to put into effect sound principles of accounting, budgeting, and reporting.


portfolio of securities professionally managed by the sponsoring management company or investment company that issues shares to investors. A no-load fund does not charge a sales commission to buy shares, whereas a load fund does charge one. Mutual funds also charge management fees. The major advantages of mutual funds are diversification, professional management, and ownership of a variety of securities with a minimal capital investment. Further, dividend rein-vestment and check-writing options may exist. Mutual funds are also convenient because recordkeeping is done by the fund. There are several drawbacks, however. Mutual funds may be costly to acquire because of sizable commissions and professional management fees. Traditionally, mutual fund performance on average has not outperformed the market as a whole. Quotations for mutual funds are stated in dollars and cents. The sale price is known as the NAV or net asset value. An illustrative quote for XYZ Stock Growth Fund follows:

The quotation tells us that a share in the fund on a particular day could be sold for $11.22the NAV. On the same date, a share could be

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bought for $12.26. The difference between the sale price and the purchase price is due to the commission charged on the purchase transaction. The NAV change value of + .02 indicates that the sale price (NAV) increased by 2 cents a share from the preceding day.

Mutual funds may be classified into types, according to organization, fees charged, methods of trading funds, and investment objectives. In open-end funds, investors buy from and sell their shares back to the fund itself. Closed- end funds operate with a fixed number of shares outstanding. These shares are traded like common stocks among individuals in secondary markets. Closed-end funds, although a variation of the investment company, have quite different investment characteristics from open-end funds. For example, they may sell at discounts or premiums to NAV and have variations within the category (e.g., dual-purpose funds).

Many different types of mutual funds exist, including growth stock funds, bond funds, money market funds, and tax-free security funds. A mutual fund family, which offers many various types of funds, typically allows its investors switching privileges at no cost or at a nominal fee.


group of CAPITAL BUDGET projects that compete with one another in such a way that the acceptance of one automatically excludes all others from further consideration. Analysis of competing projects using the NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV) and INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) methods may give decision results contradictory to each other. From a practical standpoint, the NPV method generally gives correct ranking to mutually exclusive projects.

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organization made up mostly of non-CPAs. It has made significant contributions over the years to the development
of management accounting principles. It has created the Institute of Management Accounting, which offers a


self-policing organization of brokers and dealers who handle OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) MARKET securities. The NASD functions principally along five lines: (1) it has developed a written code of fair practices dealing with such matters as the appropriateness of prices quoted to customers; (2) it has promulgated standard procedures in transactions between members; (3) it has improved the quality of service that the OTC market gives the investing public; (4) it undertakes to investigate and arbitrate disputes between parties and to take disciplinary measures when justified; and (5) it undertakes to study and make recommendations on pending legislation in the security field. It also owns and operates a computerized system providing price quotations for OTC and some exchange-listed securities. The system is known as NASDAQ, an acronym for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations system.


AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS' (AICPA) on-line data base containing recommended accounting practices and footnote references. It answers practice questions and gives proper accounting for a transaction or event. In accessing NAARS, a key word or group of words is used to describe the question or problem, and relevant references are obtained.


has as its purpose to determine how fraudulent financial reporting practices can be constrained. This commission defined fraudulent financial reporting as "intentional or reckless conduct, whether act or omission, that results in materially misleading financial statements."


necessary step in learning how macroeconomic variablessuch as the economy's total output, the price level, the level of employment, interest rates, and other variables are determined. The national income accounts provide regular estimates of GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP), the basic measure of the

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performance of the economy in producing goods and services. They are also useful because they provide a conceptual framework for describing the relationships among three key macroeconomic variables: output, income, and spending.


monthly magazine published by the National Society of Public Accountants. Subject matter covers accounting, information systems, education, and professional ethics. The readership consists mostly of public accountants, bankers, office managers, and data processing personnel.


method used by the CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT to assure various parties, such as bankers and
stockbrokers, that financial data under review by them is correct. Negative assurance tells the data user that nothing
has come to the CPA's attention of an adverse nature or character regarding the financial data reviewed. This type
of assurance is normally given to investment bankers and the SEC when the financial data are being used for stock
and bond issuance. In addition, this assurance is given whenever a CPA is asked to comment on financial
statements upon which a previous AUDIT OPINION has been rendered. (This type of assurance is unacceptable
for the basic financial statements on which a certifying audit has been performed.) Further, negative assurance
comments are made on unaudited financial statements and subsequent changes, indicating that nothing came to the
auditor's attention that suggests the statements do not comply with applicable accounting requirements; are not
fairly presented in conformity with GAAP applied on a consistent basis; or do not fairly present information shown
therein. Negative assurance is given because the auditor has not made an examination in conformity with
GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS). Negative assurance is not appropriate unless the
CPA has made an examination in accordance with GAAP for the accounting period before the current one. This is
due to the fact that the auditor needs evidence that can be related to COMFORT LETTER procedures. For negative
assurance to be permissible, the evidence must have been gathered directly by the CPA giving the assurance, and
not by another CPA.


written request by the external auditor sent to a party having a financial relationship with the client and asking for a reply only in the case of disagreement. For example, a company may mail a form on behalf of the CPA firm to sampled customers requesting them to notify the auditor only if a discrepancy in the account balance exists. See also POSITIVE CONFIRMATION.


term used in a business combination. Negative goodwill is accounted for under the PURCHASE (ACCOUNTING) METHOD when the fair market value of the net assets of the acquired company exceeds the purchase price paid. The credit difference

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reduces the noncurrent assets acquired (except for long-term investments) on a proportionate basis. If any

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remaining credit exists, it is accounted for as a deferred credit and amortized over the period benefitted, not
exceeding 40 years.


accountant's failure to conduct an audit with "due care." Ordinary negligence applies to judgment errors resulting from a lack of experience, training, or oversight: it is unintentional. Gross negligence results when the accountant recklessly disregards established accounting, reporting, and auditing standards. See also GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).


transfer price that is established through meetings between the buying and supplying divisions. Negotiated transfer prices, like market price- based transfer prices, are believed to preserve divisional autonomy. In case divisions cannot agree on a transfer price, some companies establish arbitrary procedures to help settle disputes. However, intervention by an arbitrator reduces divisional autonomy.


1. gross amount reduced by applicable reductions. For example, net sales equals gross sales less sales returns and
allowances and sales discounts. Another example is net purchases that equal gross purchases less purchase returns
and allowances and purchase discounts.

2. (informal) net profit after taxes. NET ASSETS
total assets less total liabilities. See also NET WORTH.


balance of increases in cash receipts over increases in cash payments resulting from a proposed capital investment. NET INCOME
revenue less all expenses; also called net profit. Other elements involved in computing net income include
extraordinary items (net of tax) and cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle (net of tax). See also


amount by which total costs and expenses exceed total revenue for the accounting period. See also NET INCOME. NET OF TAX
term used when certain items presented in the financial statements have been adjusted for all income tax effects.
Some examples of financial statement items shown net of tax in the income statement are extraordinary gains and
losses, cumulative effect of a CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLE, and INCOME FROM
DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS. In the retained earnings section of the balance sheet, PRIOR PERIOD
ADJUSTMENTS are presented net of tax.


unacceptable method of handling the effects of deferred taxes when temporary differences exist. Deferred taxes caused by temporary differences adjust the specific assets and liabilities to

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which they apply as well as the related revenues and expenses. See also DEFERRED TAX ALLOCATION METHOD; LIABILITY TAX ALLOCATION METHOD.


excess of operating expenses over operating revenues. It excludes income statement items that do not relate to normal business activities, such as extraordinary gains or losses. It also excludes financial expenses and revenue (i.e., interest expense, dividend income). See also LOSS CARRYBACK; LOSS CARRYFORWARD.


difference between the PRESENT VALUE (PV) of cash inflows generated by the project and the amount of the initial investment (I). The present value of future cash flows is computed using the COST OF CAPITAL (minimum desired rate of return, or HURDLE RATE) as the discount rate. See also NET PRESENT VALUE METHOD.


widely used approach for evaluating an investment project. Under the net present value method, the present value (PV) of all cash inflows from the project is compared against the initial investment (I). The NET PRESENT VALUE (NPV), which is the difference between the present value and the initial investment (i.e., NPV = PV I ), determines whether the project is an acceptable investment. To compute the present value of cash inflows, a rate called the COST OF CAPITAL is used for discounting. Under the method, if the net present value is positive (NPV
> 0 or PV > I ), the project should be accepted.


accounting procedure in which purchases are recorded at the net price after cash discounts rather than at the gross amount. When discounts are not taken, the amount paid in excess of the recorded purchase price is charged to a discounts lost account. See also GROSS PRICE METHOD.


1. amount received from the sale or disposal of property less all relevant deductions (direct costs associated with the sale or disposal).

2. amount received from the issuance of securities less FLOATATION COSTS. NET PROFIT


net cost of purchases, which is purchases minus purchase returns and allowances and purchase discounts plus
transportation. This calculation appears in the cost of goods sold section of the income statement.


1. expected selling price of an inventory item less expected costs to complete and dispose. This is the ceiling amount in applying the LOWER OF COST OR MARKET rule to inventory valuation.

2. gross accounts receivable less allowance for doubtful accounts, representing the expected collectibility of those receivables.

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gross sales less sales returns and allowances and sales discounts. NETWORK
METHOD (CPM) analysis. It (1) visualizes all of the individual tasks to complete a given job or program; (2)
points out interrelationships; and (3) is comprised of arrows linking circles (nodes).

2. system used as a complement to multiprogramming, time sharing, and satellite transmission of computer data and programs. Accounting, auditing, and tax practitioners may benefit from the linking of microcomputers through LOCAL AREA NETWORKS (LANS). LANs allow for data exchange, electronic mail, and pooling of data files.


total assets less total liabilities. Net worth, for an individual, is equal to his or her personal equity. In a business,
net worth represents the stockholders' equity. See also OWNERS' EQUITY.


technology in which computers actually try to learn from the database and operator what the right answer is to a question. The system gets positive or negative response to output from the operator and stores that data so that it will make a better decision the next time. While still in its infancy, this technology shows promise for use in accounting, fraud detection, economic forecasting, and risk appraisals. The idea behind this software is to convert the order-taking computer into a "thinking" problem solver.


absence of bias. For example, financial information should be neutral and is not intended to favor an investor over a creditor. Neutrality is one of the ingredients of RELIABILITY.


national stock exchange that is located at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets in New York City; often called the Big Board. It has a central trading location where securities are bought and sold in an auction market by brokers acting as agents for the buyer and seller. It is governed by a board of directors consisting of one-half exchange members and one-half public members. The NYSE is the largest exchange and generates the most dollar volume in large, well-known companies. Its listing requirements are the most restrictive. For a company to be listed on the NYSE for the first time, for example, the corporation must have at least 2000 stockholders owning 100 shares, and its aggregate market value must be $18 million or more.


inventory valuation method whereby the cost of sale of the item is based on the cost to replace it rather than on historical cost. For example, an item costing $10 with a replacement cost of $12 is sold for $20. Under NIFO, gross profit is $8

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($20 minus $12). This method is not GAAP. However, during inflationary periods a company may want to price ahead of inflation by establishing its selling price on a replacement-cost basis and would thus use NIFO as a basis for pricing.


network view of ABC in which the sources of the cost reassignments and downstream cost objects are thought of as "sending" and "receiving" nodes in a closed-system network.


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), circle in a network representing the beginning and ending of activities. A node symbolizes an event.


income statement account (revenue and expense) that is closed out at the end of the year. See also CLOSING ENTRY; REAL ACCOUNT.


par or stated value of a company's issued capital stock. NOMINAL INTEREST RATE
stated interest rate on the face of a debt security or loan. For example, if a bond having a face value of $100,000
has a coupon interest rate of 8%, the nominal interest is $8000, which will be paid each year. The terms nominal
interest rate and COUPON RATE are synonymous in discussing bonds; the latter term is still commonly used even
though it is rare these days for bonds to be issued with physical coupons. See also EFFECTIVE INTEREST


broad category of deductions, such as state and local sales taxes and certain miscellaneous deductions. Individuals cannot take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes. Also, no deduction is allowed for expenses related to attending a convention, seminar, or similar meeting unless such expenses are connected with a trade or business. Thus expenses for a convention, or for a meeting in connection with investments, financial planning, or other income-producing activity, will no longer be deductible. Certain miscellaneous itemized deductions, including unreimbursed employee business expenses, are deductible by individuals only if the aggregate amount of the deductions exceeds two percent of the taxpayer's ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME (AGI).


expense that did not require a cash outlay during the period under review. NONCASH INVESTING AND FINANCING TRANSACTIONS
significant investing and financing transactions that do not involve an actual cash inflow or outflow. They involve
only long-term assets, long-term liabilities, or stockholders' equity, such as the exchange of a long-term asset for a
long-term liability or the settlement of a debt by issuing capital stock.

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a category of QUALITY COSTS, including internal failure costs (a financial measure of internal performance) and external failure costs (a financial measure of customer satisfaction).


cost not subject to influence at a given level of managerial supervision. For instance, a manager's salary is not within the control of the manager himself. Rent of the factory building is another example. See also CONTROLLABLE COST.


tax paid but not allowed as a deduction. An example is for state and local sales taxes, making them examples of
nondeductible taxes.


note receivable or note payable that does not provide for interest. In this unrealistic case, IMPUTED INTEREST
on the note is required. Until tax reform, such notes were commonly used in transactions between parents and
children (e.g., crown loans) and are still permitted under limited circumstances. The term interest-bearing is also
used in contradistinction to discount or zero-coupon instruments.


situation where the relationship between variables is not directly proportional. For example, a per unit cost may
decrease as production increases, because of economies of scale. The following diagram shows a comparison
between a linear and a nonlinear cost function. See also LINEARITY.




method of handling an exchange between one business entity and another that results in the acquisition of assets or services or the satisfaction of liabilities by surrendering cash assets or services or issuing other obligations. For similar assets

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(i.e., truck for a truck), the new asset is recorded at the book value of the old asset. No gain or loss is recognized. However, there may be an exception because the new asset cannot be shown at more than its fair market value. A loss would be recognized if the fair market value of the new asset was less than the book value of the old asset. In a dissimilar exchange (i.e., truck for a machine), the new asset is recorded at the fair market value of the old asset. A gain or loss is recognized since the fair market value of the old asset will usually be different than its book value. Assume a fixed asset (new) having a fair market value of $15 is received in exchange for a fixed asset (old) costing $18 and having accumulated depreciation of $6. If a similar exchange is involved, the entry is:

Fixed asset (new) 12
Accumulated depreciation 6
Fixed asset (old)
If the fair market value of the new asset was $11 instead of $15, the exception would apply and the entry would be:

Fixed asset (new) 11
Loss 1
Accumulated depreciation 6
Fixed asset (old) 18

Assume instead there was a dissimilar exchange and the fair market value of the old asset was $14. The entry is:

Fixed asset (new) 14
Accumulated depreciation 6


Fixed asset (old)




item stated in older dollars and therefore requiring direct adjustment in the price-level financial statements. It is any financial statement item that is not classified as a MONETARY ITEM. Examples of nonmonetary assets are land, buildings, and autos. Nonmonetary liabilities are obligations not payable in money, such as those payable in services (i.e., warranties payable) or those that will adjust an expense (i.e., deferred income tax credit). Stockholders' equity accounts are also considered nonmonetary. Examples of nonmonetary income statement accounts are depreciation and amortization.


type of statistics applied to problems for which rank order is known, but the specific distribution is not; also known

as distribution-free statistics. Thus, various metals may be ranked in order of hardness without having any measure of hardness.


capacity that is useable but is temporarily in a nonproductive state due to setups, scheduled downtime, unscheduled downtime or rework (repeating production because the

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first run came out wrong, or discarding materials rendered unusable after an unsuccessful run).

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accounting policies, procedures, and techniques employed by NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. Nonprofit accounting is somewhat different for governmental units than for nongovernmental units (i.e., colleges, hospitals, voluntary health and welfare organizations, and charities). Governmental units employ fund accounting, which measures ACCOUNTABILITY rather than profitability. The MODIFIED ACCRUAL basis is typically employed by governmental funds. Nongovernmental units use the accrual basis.


group, institution, or corporation formed for the purpose of providing goods and services under a policy where no individual (e.g., stockholder, trustee) will share in any profits or losses of the organization. Profit is not the primary goal of nonprofit entities. Profit may develop, however, under a different name (e.g., surplus, increase in fund balance). Assets are typically provided by sources that do not expect repayment or economic return. Usually, there are restrictions on resources obtained. Examples of nonprofit organizations are governments, charities, universities, religious institutions, and some hospitals. Most nonprofit organizations have been granted exemption from federal taxes by the Internal Revenue Service. Many of these organizations refer to themselves according to the IRS Code section under which they receive exempt status (i.e., 502(c)(3) organization). This identification lets donors know that their contributions to this organization may be deductible for income tax purposes.


one whose equity or debt securities are not publicly traded on a stock exchange or in the over-the-counter market; it is not required to file financial statements with the SEC. Nonpublic companies are exempted from numerous accounting requirements (i.e., SEGMENT REPORTING).


1. transfer of assets or services from a business to its owners or to another entity, or vice versa.

2. exchange of dissimilar assets in a nonmonetary transaction. See also NONMONETARY EXCHANGE. NONRECURRING
income statement item that is either unusual in nature or infrequent in occurrence. An example is the gain or loss
on the sale of a fixed asset. Nonrecurring items are shown before arriving at income from continuing operations.
They are not shown with a tax or earnings per share effect. See also EXTRAORDINARY ITEM.


short-term, nonrecurring decision such as the following: (1) to accept or reject a special order; (2) to make or buy a certain part; (3) to sell or process further; or (4) to keep or drop a certain product line or division. In these types of decisions, a choice is

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income received by the taxpayer that is not taxable, such as a gift.

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income such as interest on a tax-free municipal bond that is not included in taxable income when preparing the federal tax return.


activity that increases the time spent on a product or service but does not increase its worth to the customer. The designation "nonvalue-added" reflects a belief that the activity can be redesigned, reduced, or eliminated without reducing the quantity, responsiveness, or quality of the output required by the customer or the organization. See also CUSTOMER VALUE and VALUE ANALYSIS.


cost of an operating activity that adds cost to a product or service, but, from a customer's perspective, does not increase its market value.


shares designated in the charter that do not have a par or assigned value printed on the stock certificate. However, some states authorize the issuance of no-par stock with a stated value. When no-par stock is issued, the entry is to debit cash and credit capital stock for the total proceeds received. No premium is required on the capital stock account. An advantage of no-par stock is that it avoids a contingent liability to stockholders in the case of a stock discount. One of the original reasons for no-par stock was to avoid state taxes based on par value, but states will sometimes tax nopar stock as if it had par value. A disadvantage of no-par stock is that inept directors may lower the value of outstanding shares by accepting minimal prices on new issues.


method of product costing. It includes actual costs of direct material and direct labor plus factory overhead applied by using predetermined overhead rates times actual units of inputs (such as direct labor hours, machine hours, direct material dollars, or direct labor cost). This method smoothes fluctuations in overhead costs that occur during the year. It also provides timely costing information that would not be available if the firm waited until year-end to determine the actual rates. See also EXTENDED NORMAL COSTING.


level of production that will satisfy average demand by consumers over a time span (often five years) that includes trend, seasonal, and cyclical factors. It is a long-run average expected activity that is a basis for developing the factory overhead application rate.

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1. annual average of product costs, not actual product costs that are affected by month-to-month fluctuations in production volume and by erratic or seasonal behavior of many overhead costs. Typical examples of erratic behavior include repairs and maintenance, fuel, air-conditioning costs, vacation and holiday pay, and the employer's share of Social Security taxes. All the costs that distort monthly overhead rates are collected in the annual overhead pool along with the kinds of overhead that do have uniform behavior patterns. In summary, normal costs are the sum of actual direct materials, actual direct labor, and applied factory overhead.

2. pension plan costs incurred during an accounting period for services performed during the period. See also


probability distribution. It has the following important characteristics: (1) the curve has a single peak; (2) it is bell- shaped; (3) the mean (average) lies at the center of the distribution, and the distribution is symmetrical around the mean; (4) the two tails of the distribution extend indefinitely and never touch the horizontal axis; (5) the shape of the distribution is determined by its MEAN (µ) and STANDARD DEVIATION (s).


As with any continuous probability function, the area under the curve must equal 1, and the area between two values of X (say, a and
b) represents the probability that X lies between a and b as illustrated on Figure 1. Further, since the normal is a symmetric distribution, it has the nice property that a known percentage of all possible values of X lie within ± a certain number of standard deviations of the mean, as illustrated by Figure 2. For example, 68.27% of the values of any normally distributed variable lie within the interval (µ 1s, µ + 1s).

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Percent 99.73%

No. of ± s's 3.00













The probability of the normal as given above is difficult to work with in determining areas under the curve, and each set of X values generates another curve as long as the means and standard deviations are translated to a new axis, a Z- axis, with the translation defined as

The resulting values, called Z-values, are the values of a new variable called the standard normal variate, Z. The translation process is depicted in Figure 3.


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The new variable Z is normally distributed with a mean of zero and a standard deviation of 1. Tables of areas under this standard normal distribution have been compiled and widely published so that areas under any normal distribution can be found by translating the X values to Z values and then using the tables for the standardized normal. For example, assume the total book value of an inventory is normally distributed with µ = $8000 and Û =
$1000. What percent of the population lies between $6000 and $10,000? To answer, first translate these two X- values to Z-values using the Z formula:

Referring to Figure 2, note that 95.45% of the population lies between these two values. Interpreted as a probability, the statement can be made that total book value will lie between $6000 and $10,000, with a probability of .9545.


ones obtained via the LEAST-SQUARES METHOD, which minimizes the sum of squares of the deviations of the actual points from the line y = a + bx. The idea is to obtain the line of best fit. The normal equations are:

where S denotes summation over all n observations. See also REGRESSION ANALYSIS. NORMAL PENSION COST
actuarial present value of benefits attributed by the pension formula to employee service performed during the
current year; also called service cost. Normal pension cost is funded dollar for dollar. See also PRIOR SERVICE


product deterioration that is expected even under the best operating conditions. It is inherent and unavoidable in the short run. Costs of normal spoilage are allocated to the remaining good units in inventory. Management establishes a normal spoilage rate that is acceptable under a given combination of production factors. Normal spoilage is a cost of goods produced. See also ABNORMAL SPOILAGE.


written promise to pay money at a future date. The payment consists of principal and usually interest. For example,
a $10,000 three-month 6% note will require a payment at maturity of $10,150 ($10,000 principal plus $150
interest). The interest of $150 equals $10,000 x 6% x 3/12. A note payable may be classified as either a current or
a noncurrent liability, depending on whether the note is due within one year or less. A note payable may be issued

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to make a purchase, to refinance an open account payable, or to borrow from the bank. See also NOTE RECEIVABLE.

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written promise to receive money at a future date, comprising principal and usually interest. Depending on whether the note is for one year or less, it can be classified as either a current or a noncurrent asset. Interest earned on the note is credited to the interest income account. See also NOTE PAYABLE.


discounted proceeds from a note, received by the holder of a customer's note, from a third party, usually a bank or finance company, prior to its maturity date. The proceeds received by the holder equal the maturity value less the bank discount (interest charge). The bank discount is based upon (1) the time period the bank will be holding the note and (2) the note's interest rate. The interest rate charged by the bank is usually higher than the interest rate on the note. The maturity value of the note equals the face value of the note plus interest. The bank discount equals the maturity value times the discount rate times the period the note is held by the bank. The net proceeds received by the payee at the time of discounting equals the maturity value less the bank discount. Note that notes receivable discounted represents a contingent liability to be footnoted.




check not covered by sufficient bank balance. In preparing its BANK RECONCILIATION, the depositing entity must deduct the NSF check from the cash book balance.



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characteristic obtained as a result of repeated experiments or repeated trials rather than on the basis of subjective
estimates. It is useful in estimating dollar value, quantity, or other characteristics of a given universe for purposes
of making statistical decisions.


goal of presenting useful information to financial statement users so that proper decisions can be made. Data presented should be comprehensive so that a good understanding of the entity's activities is possible. Financial information should aid in the evaluation of the amounts, timing, and uncertainties of cash flows. Also, financial reporting should furnish information about the firm's economic resources, claims against those resources, owners' equity, and changes in resources and claims. Financial reporting should provide information about financial performance during a period and management's discharge of its stewardship responsibility to owners. It should likewise be useful to the managers and directors themselves in making decisions on behalf of the owners.


goals financial statements are supposed to accomplish. The intent of financial statements is to provide information useful in economic decision making. In particular, the data should be useful in making investment and credit decisions. Financial statements should provide a reliable indication of a company's financial position, operating results, and changes in financial position. Also, statement components and categories should aid in decisions. Financial statements may provide information in addition to that specified by authoritative requirements and regulatory groups. Inasmuch as management knows the most about the business, it is encouraged to identify certain circumstances and explain their financial effects on the enterprise. Note that the FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1, "Objectives of Financial Statements," provides reporting goals.


freedom from subjective valuation and bias in making an accounting decision. Objectivity applies to a measurement having supporting evidence. Verifiability exists in that two accountants working independently of each other will come up with similar answers. An example of objectivity is recognizing revenue at time of sale because it emanates from an independent external transaction.


physical and visual verification by inspection of financial statement items or activities. The external auditor observes and evaluates how company employees conduct a variety of accounting

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related tasks such as documenting the existence and valuation of assets, safeguarding assets, approving expense accounts, and counting inventory. Observation tests may be conducted for substantive reasons, such as observing inventory, and for compliance purposes, such as the segregation of duties. However, an observation test does not require detailed physical inspection or examination of documentation. Depending on what is being tested and the method being used, the observation test may be performed by other than accounting personnel.


major factor in depreciation, resulting from technological or market changes. Wear and tear from use and natural deterioration through interaction of the elements are other factors that cause depreciation in assets. It is also a big factor in inventory risk.


federal law concerned primarily with the regulation of working conditions in commerce and industry. It contains guidelines and regulations issued by the Department of Labor that mandate standards with respect to occupational safety and health of workers involved in interstate commerce.


any exception to the standard trading unit of a security. For example, with minor exceptions a standard or round-
lot of stock is 100 shares, so any amount other than 100 shares or multiples thereof would be an odd-lot. The
commission rate on an odd-lot transaction usually includes an odd-lot differential, typically 1/8th of a point. Thus
the commission rate on an odd-lot transaction is relatively higher than on a round-lot transaction.


item representing a resource of the entity or something expected to have future economic benefit. It is a positive sign of financial position even though it is not shown in the balance sheet. A going concern is assumed here, since in liquidation unrecorded assets would generally not be realizable. Unrecorded assets include a tax loss carryforward benefit, a purchase contract for an item at a price significantly less than the going rate, anticipated rebates, and a contingent asset (as when the entity may receive a payment if a certain event occurs).


manner of obtaining funds, often through a long-term, noncancelable lease accounted for as an operating lease. Since the lease does not meet any of the four criteria for a CAPITAL LEASE, the present value of the lease obligation is not presented on the lessee's balance sheet.


item not reported in the body of the financial statements as a liability but possibly requiring future payment or services. These items include litigation, guarantees of future performance, and renegotiation of claims under a government contract.

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agency within the Executive Office of the President. The OMB has broad financial management power as well as the responsibility of preparing the executive budget. Among the other duties assigned OMB are: (1) to study and recommend to the president changes relative to the existing organizational structure of the agencies, their activities and methods of business, etc.; (2) to apportion appropriations among the agencies and establish reserves in anticipation of cost savings, contingencies, etc.; and (3) to develop programs and regulations for improved data gathering pertaining to the government and its agencies.


one that reduces the gross amount of another account to derive a net balance. Accumulated depreciation, which is a contra-account to fixed assets to obtain book value, is an example of an offset account. Discount on note payable, which is a reduction of notes payable to derive the carrying value, is another example.


error that cancels out another error; also called counterbalancing error. For example, if an accountant charged an expense to 20X1 when it should have been charged to 20X2, the effects of the two errors are cancelled out in 20X3. This occurs because in 20X1 the expense is overstated and the profit is understated whereas in 20X2 the expense is understated and profit overstated. Thus the beginning balance of retained earnings on 1/1/20X3 will be properly stated, since the effects of the errors offset each other. Thus over a period of two years, the effects of the errors in expense will counterbalance, and the total net income for the two years together will be the same as if the errors had not occurred. However, it should be noted that the yearly net income figures for 20X1 and 20X2 are still misstated, so the trend in earnings is distorted.


1. purchase or sale on credit. For example, the journal entry for a sale on account is to debit accounts receivable and credit sales.

2. partial payment on an obligation.

100% APPORTIONED COST DRIVER type of cost driver that relies entirely on an informed estimator's judgment of how much cost should be traced to each cost object and to which cost objects. Does not provide rates per unit of the cost driver (for predictive planning).

1-2-3 integrated business computer program, developed by Lotus Development Corporation, that combines a spreadsheet program, a data base manager, and a graphic program. It is commonly used in accounting applications allowing for worksheet preparation, projections, and handling what-if scenarios.


1. computer equipment under the control of the central processing unit (CPU). Examples are disk drives and printers.

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2. linking up one computer to another computer that is in a remote location. This connection is made possible by using the telephone lines. The computers transmit data to each other.


information transmitted by telephone, microwaves, and so on, that may be accessed with a decoding device (called a MODEM) and displayed on a monitor or as a printout. A data base for accountants may consist of information such as tax laws and regulations, accounting practices and footnote references, industry data, financial information on companies, investment information, or economic and political statistics. To take advantage of a data base that is typically stored on a MAINFRAME computer, one needs a computer, telecommunications software, a modem, and a telephone. To ascertain availability and description of data bases, reference can be made to various directories including Data Pro Directory of On-line Services.


term used to refer to equipment that operates under control of the central processing unit (CPU). On-line processing equipment can be placed in the same location as the CPU or in a remote location. Generally, on-line processing refers to processing using a terminal (input) that is remote from the CPU.


using a computer retrieval system to obtain information from a database such as on the Internet. OPEN ACCOUNT
1. account that has a nonzero credit or debit balance.

2. credit or charge accountthat is, an account initiated by a creditor on the basis of credit standing. It may also refer to a balance currently owing due to a credit sale, under mutually agreed-upon terms (such as method of payment, trade discounts, delivery date, and quantities).


management philosophy that gets all employees involved in increasing financial performance and ensures that all workers have access to operational and financial information necessary to accomplishing performance improvements.


one that issues new shares and stands ready to buy shares back at net asset value. There is usually no restriction on the amount of money that can be invested in a fund although management companies may decide at some point that the fund has gotten too large and may stop issuing new shares. The fact that there are no fixed number of shares outstanding distinguishes open-end funds from CLOSED-END MUTUAL FUNDS. See also MUTUAL FUND.


one or a series of entries usually undertaken upon forming a new enterprise, or new accounts, or a new accounting period. A new enterprise requires opening entries with respect to the owner's interests, assets, and liabilities on the books.

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business activities that involve the cash effects of transactions and other events that enter into the determination of net income.


part of the master budget process that begins with the sales budget and culminates in the pro forma income
statement. Its emphasis is on obtaining and using resources.


average time period between buying inventory and receiving cash proceeds from its eventual sale. It is determined
by adding the number of days inventory is held and the COLLECTION PERIOD for accounts receivable. Some
industries, such as distillery and lumber, have a long operating cycle.


decisions that involve routine tasks, such as planning production and sales, scheduling personnel and equipment, adjusting production rates, and controlling the quality of production.


shell program surrounding the Disk Operating System (DOS) of a personal computer. It turns the display into a desk-top that is basically a menu from which one selects and runs PC applications. A shell program is a software package with an integration capability. This is created when the resident operating system and application programs are surrounded with a superimposed "shell" of command structures and menus. Microsoft Windows, Linux, and IBM's OS/2, different examples of operating environments, do away with the DOS prompt. An alternative operating environment allows switching of programs, windowing, and cut-and-paste capabilities. Windowing is the capability to accommodate more than one program if the accountant wants the main memory partitioned to handle the programs. For each program in memory, a separate window is displayed on the screen.


costs associated with the selling and administrative activities of the company; also called nonmanufacturing expenses. They represent a PERIOD COST related to time rather than to the product. They are subdivided into SELLING EXPENSES and GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES.


revenue less cost of goods sold and related operating expenses applying to the normal business activities of the entity. It excludes financial related items (i.e., interest income, dividend income, interest expense), extraordinary items, taxes, and other peripheral activities. See also OPERATING LOSS.


rental of property between the lessee and lessor for a fee. An operating lease does not meet the criteria for a CAPITAL LEASE. An example is renting of an apartment or automobile. The lessee debits

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rental expense and credits cash. Rental expense should be recognized on a straight-line basis, unless another systematic and rational basis is more representative of the time pattern in which benefit use is derived. The lessee shows nothing about the lease on the balance sheet. Lessee footnote disclosure includes future minimum lease payments in aggregate and for each of the five succeeding fiscal years, contingent rentals, and sublease rentals. The lessor, upon receipt of rental payments, debits cash and credits rental revenue. The lessor also records depreciation expense on the leased item and any expenses related to the leased property, such as maintenance expense. Normal accrual basis accounting techniques are followed for the recognition of income and expense. The lessor reports on his balance sheet the leased asset less accumulated depreciation. Footnote disclosure by the lessor includes the cost of property on lease or held for leasing by major class, minimum future rentals in the aggregate and for each of the five succeeding years, and contingent rentals. See also DIRECT FINANCING LEASE; SALES TYPE LEASE.


measure of fixed costs in a company's operating structure. High operating leverage magnifies changes in earnings so that small changes in sales lead to earnings instability. Operating leverage can be measured through the following ratios: (1) fixed costs to total costs; (2) percentage change in operating income to the percentage change in sales volume; and (3) net income to fixed charges. An increase in (1) and (2) or a decrease in (3) shows higher fixed charges, resulting in greater instability.


amount by which the cost of goods sold plus operating expenses exceeds operating revenues. The net loss from operations applies only to the normal business activities of the entity. Excluded are financial revenue and expense items and ancillary operations of the firm (i.e., extraordinary items). However, interest would be an includable expense in calculating NET OPERATING LOSS for carry-forward purposes. See also OPERATING INCOME.


measure of profitability to sales to determine the return earned on the revenue generated. Some operating performance ratios are the profit margin (net income to sales), gross margin ratio (gross margin to sales), and operating profit margin (operating income to sales). The higher these ratios, the better the profitability earned on the company's sales.


net sales plus other regular income sources related to the normal business operations of the entity (e.g., lease income if a major activity).


one caused by fluctuations of operating income. This type of risk depends on variability in demand, sales price, input prices, and amount of OPERATING LEVERAGE. A business with a high degree of risk in its operations will have greater instability, often resulting in lower market price of stock and increased cost of financing.

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computer program that allows users to enter and run their software packages. The operating system allows the machine to recognize and carry out the accountant's command. Further, there are built-in routines permitting the user's software to conduct input-output operations without specifying the exact hardware configuration. The operating system normally consists of the job control program, the input/output control system, and the processing program. If a computer operates under one system, it cannot use programs designated for a different operating system.


evaluation made of management's performance and conformity with policies and budgets. The organization and its operations are analyzed, including appraisal of structure, controls, procedures, and processes. The objective is to appraise the effectiveness and efficiency of a division, activity, or operation of the entity in meeting organizational goals. Recommendations to improve performance are also made. The primary user of an operational audit is management. However, an operational audit is slightly different from a MANAGEMENT AUDIT since it concentrates on the organization. Many companies maintain internal audit staffs for the sole purpose of performing operational audits on a recurring basis. For each review, management receives a report from the audit team that will indicate how well the activities are performed, suggest improvements, and offer other conclusions drawn from the work.


higher order of an activity cost driver. Usually thought of as the driver of a business process. OPERATIONAL (OPERATING) BUDGET
one that embraces the impacts of operating decisions. It contains forecasts of sales, net income, the cost of goods
sold, selling and administrative expenses, and other expenses. The cornerstone of an operational budget is
forecasted sales. Therefore, the SALES BUDGET is the basic building block for the operational budget. Once the
sales budget is prepared, then the PRODUCTION BUDGET can be formulated. The operational budget also
consists of the ending inventory budget, direct material budget, direct labor budget, factory overhead budget,
selling and administrative budget, and budgeted income statement.


hybrid of job-order and process cost systems. Companies that manufacture goods that undergo some similar and some dissimilar processes use this system. Operation costing accumulates total conversion costs and determines a unit conversion cost for each operation. However, direct material costs are charged specifically to products as in job-order systems.


set of all activities associated with the production of goods and services. OPERATIONS RESEARCH (OR)

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strategy specifying how the firm will employ its production capabilities to support its corporate strategy. OPINION


3. accountant's judgment regarding a set of facts. For example, the auditor must formulate an opinion on the adequacy of a client's internal control system to determine the degree of audit testing required.


revenue forfeited by rejecting an alternative use of time or facilities. For example, assume a company has a choice of using its capacity to produce an extra 10,000 units or renting it out for $20,000. The opportunity cost of using that capacity is $20,000. A further example is the return lost by having money tied up in accounts receivable because of a collection problem. If the extra funds tied up in receivables for a three-month period were $400,000, on which the firm could earn 10% per annum, the opportunity cost is $10,000 ($400,000 · 3/12 · 10%).


method in which the concept of OPPORTUNITY COST is applied to solve a short-term, nonroutine decision problem. Opportunity cost represents the net benefit lost by rejecting some alternative course of action. Its significance in decision making is that the best decision is always sought, since it considers the cost of the best available alternative not taken. The opportunity cost does not appear on formal accounting statements. See also INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS.


computer tool that recognizes typed or printed characters (alphabetic and numeric) on paper so they can be recorded on disk or magnetic tape. Optical character recognition can also read foreign characters (e.g., Japanese).


capital structure with a minimum weighted-average cost of capital and thereby maximizes the value of the firm's stock, but it does not maximize EPS. Greater leverage maximizes EPS but also increases risk. Thus, the highest stock price is not reached by maximizing EPS. The optimal capital structure usually involves some debt, but not 100% debt. Ordinarily, some firms cannot identify this optimal point precisely, but they should attempt to find an optimal range for the capital structure. The required rate of return on equity capital (R) can be estimated in various ways, for example, by adding a percentage to the firm's long-term cost of debt. Another method is the CAPITAL ASSET PRICING MODEL (CAPM).


either the most profitable or the least costly solution that simultaneously satisfies all the constraints of a LINEAR PROGRAMMING (LP) problem. There are two important general

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properties of an optimal solution: (1) The optimal solution lies on the boundary of the feasible region; the

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implication of this property is that one can ignore the (infinitely many) interior points of the feasible solution
region when searching for an optimal solution. (2) The optimal solution occurs at one of the corner points of the
region; this property reduces even further the magnitude of the search procedure for an optimal solution. See also


typically profit maximizing price. OPTIMISTIC TIME
in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), the shortest possible time in which an
activity is likely to be completed, symbolized as a. See also EXPECTED TIME FOR AN ACTIVITY.


maximization or minimization of a special goal. OPTIMIZATION MODEL
type of mathematical model that attempts to optimize (maximize or minimize) an objective function without
violating resource constraints; also known as mathematical programming. Optimization models include LINEAR


1. ability or right to choose a certain alternative.

2. right to buy or sell something at a specified price within a specified period of time. If the right is not exercised within the specified time, the option expires.

A PUT option on a security (such as stock, commodity, or stock index) is an option to sell 100 shares of the underlying security at a specified price for a given period of time, for which the option buyer pays the seller (writer) a price, termed a premium. A CALL is the opposite of a put and allows the owner the right to buy 100 shares of the underlying security from the option writer at a specified price for a given period of time.

An Employee Stock Option is the option granted to key employees to buy company stock at a below-market price. ORDER ENTRY
1. recording of an order placed or received.

2. initial input system of the order processing system. Marketing is responsible for taking orders. Accounting is responsible for billing the customer and collecting payments.


all costs associated with preparing a purchase order. These include the cost of preparing a purchase invoice, telephone, salaries of purchasing clerks, and stationery.


delay between the placement of an order and its readiness for setup.



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1. earnings attributable to the nominal and recurring business operations of the entity.

2. in taxation, income on the sale of an investment held for 6 months or less. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE


visual diagram of an organization's structure that depicts formal lines of reporting, communication, and responsibility among managers. Below is a sample organization chart of the controllership.

expenditures incurred in launching a business. They include attorney's fees, various registration fees paid to state
governments, and other start-up costs. These costs are expensed as incurred.


initial amount recorded for an asset excluding any adjustments to the account subsequent to the initial acquisition date (e.g., betterments, additions). Original cost equals the price paid or present value of liability incurred or fair value of stock issued plus normal incidental costs necessary to put the asset into its initial use (i.e., installation, freight).


recording a business transaction in a journal. An explanation is given below the entry describing the particulars. The explanation may refer to supporting data (i.e., voucher) as the basis for the entry.


balance sheet category for minor assets not classified under the typical headings (e.g., current assets, intangible assets, and long-term investments). This type of asset may be immaterial in amount relative to total assets. An example is obsolete machinery to be sold.

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expenditure; also called outgo. For example, in CAPITAL BUDGETING, initial cash outlay for a machine is the
amount of the purchase price and the normal incidental costs to put it into operation, such as charges for delivery,
taxes, installation, and flooring.


expenditure by cash. See also OUTLAY. OUT-OF-POCKET COST
actual cash outlays made during the period for payroll, advertising, and other operating expenses. Depreciation is
not an out-of-pocket cost, since it involves no current cash expenditure.


member of the board of directors of an entity who is not an employee of that entity. An example is a banker sitting on the board of a client company. Such directors are important because they bring unbiased opinions regarding the company's decisions and diverse experience to the company's decision-making process. See also INSIDE DIRECTOR.


acquisition of products and services from sources outside the organization instead of producing them internally. OUTSTANDING CAPITAL STOCK
shares in the hands of stockholders. Outstanding shares are issued shares minus treasury shares. Dividends are
based on outstanding shares. See also TREASURY STOCK.


one issued by the company but not yet cleared by the bank. It is listed in the cash payments journal for the month but is not included on the bank statement for that month. In preparing the bank reconciliation, it is deducted from the bank balance. The exception is an uncleared CERTIFIED CHECK, which is not considered outstanding since both parties, the company and the bank, know about it and have subtracted it.


credit balance in the Factory Overhead account that arises when the overhead costs applied to WORK-IN- PROCESS exceed the overhead costs incurred during a period. Underabsorption results if there is a debit balance. See also OVERAPPLIED OVERHEAD.


amount by which the factory overhead added to work-in-process inventory at a predetermined overhead rate (and credited to factory overhead applied) exceeds the actual overhead shown in factory overhead control. See also PREDETERMINED OVER-HEAD RATE; UNDERAPPLIED OVERHEAD.


1. situation where a borrower draws money against a previously established line of credit. The basic cost to the borrower is the interest rate levied on the daily overdraft balance. The borrower typically pays interest only on funds used, since there is no compensating balance requirement, and only for the period in days for which the

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funds are taken. For this reason, the effective interest cost of an overdraft "loan" is the nominal or stated interest rate paid on the overdraft balance.

2. negative balance in a checking account caused by payment of checks drawn against insufficient funds. OVERHEAD APPLICATION






market for buying and selling securities not listed on organized stock exchanges. The OTC is typically a telephone market, with most business conducted by phone or, now, electronic device. Dealers, called market makers, stand ready to buy or sell specific securities for their own accounts. These dealers will buy at a bid price and sell at an asked price that reflects the competitive market conditions. The OTC market is the largest of all markets in the United States in dollar terms.


interest of the owners in the assets of the business represented by capital contributions and retained earnings. See also CREDITORS' EQUITY; NET WORTH.

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author of the first statement and commentary on double-entry bookkeeping. This treatise, published in Venice in 1494, was part of a work Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria Proportioni et Proportionalita. His treatise had great influence in Europe.


section of stockholders' equity that shows: (1) amount of stock a corporation has issued; (2) the premiums or discounts that have resulted from selling stock (paid-in capital in excess of par or stated value); (3) stock received from donations; and (4) the resale of TREASURY STOCK. Stockholders' equity consists of paid-in or contributed capital and retained earnings.


PAID-IN CAPITAL in excess of par or stated value. It is the result of selling capital stock (or issuing stock) at a price greater than par or stated value.


unrealized gain from holding an item while its market value has increased. The amount equals the difference between the current market price and the initial cost. Examples are appreciation in value of inventory or securities. Paper profits are realized profits at the time of sale, at which point income statement recognition is given to them.


simultaneous performance of two or more tasks by a computer. For example, parallel processing takes place when one instruction is being run while another instruction is being read from memory.


1. constant or coefficient of a variable in an equation or a system of equations. For example, in a COST- VOLUME FORMULA of the form y = a + bx, the constant a and the slope b are parameters. The total fixed costs, the unit variable cost, and the unit selling price are examples of parameters.

2. numerical characteristic of a population computed using every element in the population. For example, the mean and the mode are parameters of a population.



2. HOLDING COMPANY that is not engaged in a trade or business. PARETO ANALYSIS
analysis used to differentiate between the vital few and the trial many. It is based on the concept that about 80
percent of the problems come from 20 percent of the items. Pareto analysis can be used to identify cost drivers or
activity drivers that are responsible for the majority of cost incurred by ranking the cost drivers in order of value.

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Computers: number that is odd or even. Usually when bits (1's and 0's) are transferred or stored, there is an extra bit added so that the total number of 1's is always odd (alternatively, always even). This is referred to as the parity of the data. Since a transmission error has a one-half chance of altering the parity, frequent errors will warn the receiver of the data of possible errors.

Economics: term designating a constant spread between prices; for example, having a constant relationship between domestic and world sugar prices.

Labor law: salary equality among workers such as policemen and firemen. PARITY CHECK
test conducted by checking a unit of data (e.g., a word or a BYTE) for even or odd parity to ascertain whether a
mistake has taken place in reading, writing, or transmitting information. For instance, if data is written, the
computed parity bit is compared to the parity bit already appended to the data. If these match, it indicates the data
are correct. If they do not agree, a parity error exists.


measuring device for price levels in terms of an index number of 100. The price of a commodity or service is linked to another price or a cumulative average of prices determined from a historical base period. Subsequent changes in both price levels are reflected in an index number on a scale of 100. Parity price devices are employed frequently by the federal government for social and economic objectives. Farm price support programs are examples of such uses.




output divided by a single input factor. Factors of production may include direct materials, direct labor, over-head, or capital (for example, use of machinery instead of direct labor). A partial productivity measure comparing results over time determines whether the actual relationship between inputs and outputs has improved or deteriorated. A disadvantage of a partial productivity measure is that it relates output to a single factor of production and, therefore, fails to consider tradeoffs among input factors.


rarely issued type of preferred stock. In addition to receiving the regular specified dividend, preferred stockholders will "participate" with common stockholders in any extra dividends paid. There are two types of participating preferred stock, partially participating and fully participating. If partially participating, preferred stockholders participate above the preferential rate on a pro rata basis with common stockholders, but only up to an additional rate specified on the stock certificate. For instance, on a 7% preferred stock issue, the allowed participation may be up to 10%. Thus the participating privilege is limited to an additional 3%. With fully participating preferred stock, preferred stockholders enjoy a pref-

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erence for the current year at the preference rate (plus any cumulative preference) and they share on a pro rata basis in any dividends above the preference rate. For example, a 6% fully participating preferred stock receives its 6% preference rate plus a pro rata share based on the total par value of the common stock and preferred stock of excess dividends after common stockholders have received their matching 6% of par of the common stock.


system enabling key employees in a department to provide input into the budgetary process. Thus the accountant receives useful budgeting information from those affected by the budget. Participative budgeting is a good motivational tool because the people participating may work harder to accomplish the budgeting goals, cooperation is facilitated, and more realistic budgeting figures are obtained.


form of business organization created by an agreement between two or more persons who contribute capital and/or their services to the organization. Advantages are: (1) it is easily established with minimal organizational effort and costs; and (2) it is free from special government regulation. Disadvantages are: (1) it carries unlimited liability for the individual partners (firms organized as co-partner-ships do not dissolve with the death or withdrawal of a partner); (2) it is dissolved upon the withdrawal or death of any of the partners; and (3) its ability to raise large amounts of capital is limited. GENERAL PARTNERS are those who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the partnership and who are responsible for the partnership's total liabilities, while LIMITED PARTNERS are those who contribute only money, who are not involved in management decisions, and whose liability is limited to their investment.


amount arbitrarily assigned by the corporate charter to one share of stock and printed on the stock certificate. The par value represents the legal capital per share. There can be no dividend declared that would cause the stockholders' equity to go below the par value of the outstanding shares. Par value may be a minimum cushion of equity capital existing for creditor protection. The par value is the amount per share entered in the capital stock account. It is usually significantly lower than the market price per share.


secret character string that is required before one can log onto a computer system, thus preventing unauthorized persons from obtaining access to the computer. The primary reason for using a password is to protect confidential information from modification, destruction, misuse, and other security-related dangers by unauthorized persons.


exclusive right given by the government to the company to use, manufacture, and sell a product or process for a
20-year period without interference or infringement by other parties. Patent is classified as an

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intangible asset. Costs such as registration fees and attorney costs incurred in obtaining the patent are capitalized. Research and development costs applicable to developing the product, process, or idea are immediately expensed. Legal costs of a successful defense of a patent are capitalized and amortized over the remaining life. If the patent right is lost in court it should be written off and shown as an extraordinary charge. The cost of a patent purchased from an outsider is deferred and amortized. If the sole purpose of buying the outsider patent is to eliminate the competition, the amortization period is the remaining life of the company's patent that is being protected. The patent is amortized on a straight-line basis over its 20-year life, or its economic life, if less. As a practical matter, often the useful life is less than 20 years due to changes in the marketplace and new technology. If a patent is assigned to others, royalties obtained are accrued as revenue is earned.


amount owed to another party. It is presented as a liability in the balance sheet. A payable is an item that is unpaid, whether or not due. If a payable is due in one year or less (e.g., accounts payable), it is a current liability. If it is to be paid in more than one year, it is shown as a long-term liability. One type of payable is accrued expenses payable (e.g., salaries payable). The failure to satisfy a payable on the due date may result in a penalty (interest) charge, creditor action against the firm (e.g., lawsuit), or in an extreme case, bankruptcy.


length of time required to recover the initial amount of a capital investment. If the cash inflows occur at a uniform rate, it is the ratio of the amount of initial investment over expected annual cash inflows, or:

For example, assume projected annual cash inflows are expected to be $6000 a year for five years from an investment of $18,000. The pay-back period on this proposal is three years, which is calculated as follows: Payback period = $18,000/$6000 = 3 years. If annual cash inflows are not even, the payback period would have to be determined by trial and error. Assume instead that the cash inflows are $4000 in the first year, $5000 in the second year, $6000 in the third year, $6000 in the fourth year, and $8000 in the fifth year. The payback period would be 3.5 years. In three years, all but $3000 has been recovered. It takes one-half year ($3000/ $6000) to recover the balance. When two or more projects are considered, the rule for making a selection decision is as follows: Choose the project with the shorter payback period. The rationale behind this is that the shorter the payback period, the greater the liquidity, and the less risky the project. Advantages of the method include (1) it is simple to compute and easy to understand and (2) it handles investment risk effectively. Disadvantages of the method include (1) it does not recognize the TIME VALUE OF MONEY and (2) it ignores profitability of an investment.

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1 divided by the PAYBACK PERIOD (i.e., the reciprocal of the payback time). This often gives a quick, accurate estimate of the INTERNAL RATE OF RETURN (IRR) on an investment when the project life is more than twice the payback period and the cash inflows are uniform during every period. For example, XYZ Company is contemplating three projects, each of which would require an initial investment of $10,000, and each of which is expected to generate a cash inflow of $2000 per year. The payback period is five years ($10,000/ $2000), and the payback reciprocal is 1/5, or 20%. The table of the present value of an annuity of $1 shows that the factor of 5.00 applies to the following useful lives and internal rates of return:

Useful Life (Years)

IRR (%)

10 15
15 18
20 19

It can be observed that the payback reciprocal is 20% as compared with the IRR of 18% when the life is 15 years, and 20% as compared with the IRR of 19% when the life is 20 years. This shows that the pay-back reciprocal gives a reasonable approximation of the IRR if the useful life of the project is at least twice the payback period.


settlement of a charge for goods or services or satisfaction of liabilities with similar or identical mediums of exchange and value (e.g., money for money, goods for goods, and services for services). It also connotes a transaction where one medium of exchange is satisfied with another. For example, a carpenter fixes a lawyer's roof. The value of the work is $200 which is paid with one hour's worth of legal services.




ratio of cash dividends declared to earnings for the period. It equals dividends per share divided by earnings per share. Stockholders investing for income favor a higher ratio. Stockholders looking for capital gains tolerate low ratios when earnings are being reinvested to finance corporate growth. Assume cash dividends of $100,000, net income of $400,000, and outstanding shares of 200,000. The payout ratio equals 25% ($.50/$2.00).


employer costs incurred for employees' services. Payroll costs consist of the actual cash paid to the employees and the withheld amounts (liabilities) for employee's federal income taxes, FICA, and various voluntary health and benefit plans. Employer's payroll costs also consist of its matching share of employee's FICA taxes and contributions to the state and federal unemployment insurance programs.

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form with many columns that contains and summarizes payroll information (amount of money paid to employees less deductions). Information includes employee's name, regular hours, sick hours, overtime hours, federal income taxes withheld, medical insurance deductions, union dues, gross pay, and net pay. The payroll register may be used as a supplementary record or as a special journal.


taxes levied on employee's salaries or net income of self-employed individuals. Social Security taxes are imposed upon employees; self-employed individuals and employers are responsible for a matching amount. Unemployment taxes are levied only upon the employer.


accounting system programs for the IBM personal computer and compatibles developed by Peachtree Software of
Norcross, Georgia. The company currently offers Peachtree Complete, consisting of the following eight integrated
modules: general ledger, accounts receivable, sales invoicing, account payable, inventory control, fixed assets, job
cost, and payroll.


review of the work of one CPA or CPA firm by another CPA or CPA firm. The purpose of peer review is to assure that quality controls are being applied in conformity with AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA) Quality Control Standards. The review process includes looking at working papers and accounting procedures followed. Mandatory peer review applies to a CPA firm's accounting and auditing services but not to tax and management advisory services. The following is involved in the peer review process when appraising a CPA firm's quality control policies and procedures: (1) reviewing each organizational or functional level within the firm; (2) reviewing selected engagement working paper files and reports; and (3) reviewing documentation indicating the firm's compliance with membership requirements. At the completion of the peer review, the reviewer discusses the findings with the reviewee and issues a report. Sanctions may be imposed on deficient CPA firms including continuing professional education (CPE) training, censures and reprimands, fines, and suspension from membership.


method of pricing a standard product. It sets a low initial price for a product in order to gain quick acceptance in a broad portion of the market. It calls for a sacrifice of short-term profits in order to establish a certain amount of market share. One objective is to obtain a committed customer. See also SKIMMING PRICING.


low priced, highly speculative stock. A penny stock is usually traded on the OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) MARKET, but the New York and American stock exchanges also list penny stocks. Penny stock

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is issued by a company with a short life or with past instability in operations. These stocks typically experience volatility in price relative to the stock of established companies on the major stock exchanges.


resources set aside on a periodic basis by the employee and/or employer that will earn a return so that the accumulated principal and interest will be sufficient to meet employee retirement benefits. The pension fund money is retained by a trustee who directly pays the employees at retirement. Annuity payments to employees will be made from pension fund assets. The administration of the fund may be done by the employing company, a trustee, or an insurance company or other similar organization. See also DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN; DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION PLAN; KEOGH PLAN.


contractual arrangement in which the employer provides benefits to employees upon retirement. Many plans include disability and death benefits. A pension plan involves recognizing the employer's cost and the funding of pension benefits. Pension expense is tax-deductible to the employer. The employee is taxed when the pension annuity is received from employer contributions or originally not-taxed employee contributions. The two most common types of plans are DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PENSION PLAN and DEFINED BENEFIT PENSION PLAN. Pension plan provisions vary from company to company. For example, the pension plan may be contributory or noncontributory, meaning the employee may or may not also make payments to the pension plan.


obligation recognized by the employer for the future liability to make annuity payments to employees. The reserve is typically a liability when it results from charging pension expense. However, in a revocable plan, the reserve is considered an appropriation of retained earnings regardless of whether it effects specific assets.


method of computing depletion for income taxes. It is not allowed on financial statements; only COST
DEPLETION is permitted. For tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service Code allows businesses to deduct the
larger of cost depletion or percentage depletion in computing taxable income. It is computed as a percentage of
revenue. Rates allowed vary widely, from 22% for oil and certain minerals to 5% for sand and gravel. Percentage
depletion is often greater than cost depletion.


method that recognizes profit on a long-term construction contract as it is earned gradually during the construction period. This approach is preferred over the COMPLETED CONTRACT METHOD because it does a better job of matching revenue and expense in the period of benefit. It should be used when

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reliable estimates of the degree of completion are possible. It is more realistic and levels out the earnings. Under the method, the measure of revenue to be recognized each year is equal to percentage completed · contract price. One approach to estimate the percentage completed is based on the following relationship:

Any revenue that had been recognized in a prior period is subtracted from the cumulative total in arriving at the current period's income.

approach by which items in the financial statements are shown as percentages of a total; in the income statement,
each item is shown as a percentage of sales; in the balance sheet, each item is shown as a percentage of total assets


on a daily basis. The term is used to designate payment on a daily basis; e.g., the daily rate that an accountant charges for services performed.


market structure characterized by a very large number of buyers and sellers of a homogeneous (nondifferentiated) product. Entry and exit from the industry is costless, or nearly so. Information is freely available to all market participants, and there is no collusion among firms in the industry. It is difficult to identify a perfect market in reality; however, lumber and agriculture provide close approximations in the United States.


appraisal of how a particular activity is carrying out the company's policies and procedures. Such review may cover any activity within a department, division, or local area. A performance audit can be a review of a program to assure that it is satisfying its objectives. The program may apply to management and accounting procedures, guidelines, or policies. The performance audit may take into account the anticipated benefits of a program relative to the actual performance. Also relevant may be the costs and time associated with the activity. A report of management's abilities is typically prepared to meet particular goals. Included in the report are measures of the effectiveness of internal controls and efficiency of procedures and processes. The performance audit may be initiated by the organization or by external interested parties. However, the performance audit is not performed as a means to attest to the financial records and statements of the company. An example of a performance audit is how certain work routines are being conducted.


medium- to short-range budget used in governmental accounting. It is typical of the type incorporated by a

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PROGRAM PLANNING-BUDGETING SYSTEM (PPBS) but without references to long range goals.

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cumulative consideration of factors

(that may be subjective or objective) to determine a representative indicator or appraisal of an individual or entity's activity, or performance in reference to some subjective (or standard) over some period of time. Factors to consider may include degree of goal attainment, how items are measured, and what standards are to be applied. See also COST CENTER; INVESTMENT CENTER; PROFIT CENTER.


quantification of a company's or segment's efficiency or effectiveness in conducting business operations for the accounting period. Some possible measures of performance are revenue center, cost center, profit center, and investment center. In the revenue center approach, a comparison is made between actual revenue and expected revenue. With the cost center method, actual cost is compared to budgeted cost. The profit center is accountable for costs and revenues in deriving net income. It is even better to use an investment center method of performance evaluation because responsibility is placed not only for revenue and costs but also for the investment employed. Two investment center measurements are RETURN ON INVESTMENT and RESIDUAL INCOME.


statement that displays measurements of actual results of some person or entity's activity over some time period. These results are ideally compared with budgeted or standard measurements obtained under some conditional assumptions over the same period. Variations from such budget or standards are known as VARIANCES and may be favorable or unfavorable depending upon lower or higher measurements relative to the standards. Corrective action is taken for unfavorable performance.


expense that is not inventoriable; it is charged against sales revenue in the period in which the revenue is earned, also called period expense. Selling and general and administrative expenses are period costs. See also PRODUCT COST.


1. audit for an intermediate period (e.g., one month, three months).

2. audit carried out at specified intervals within the year. PERIODIC INCOME
proportional accounting, over time periods, for income already accounted for but not received (deferred revenue),
or income already received and accounted for but not earned (prepaid subscriptions), or income receivable in the
future and not recorded (interest on fixed-income securities).

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one that does not require a day-today record of inventory changes. Costs of materials used and costs of goods sold cannot be calculated until ending inventories, determined by physical count, are subtracted from the sum of opening inventories and purchases (or costs of goods manufactured in the case of a manufacturer).

For calculating the cost of ending inventory, there are several methods available: LIFO, FIFO, and WEIGHTED AVERAGE.


concept under which each accounting period has an economic activity associated with it, and the activity can be accounted for, measured, and reported.


places minimal emphasis on record keeping. However, a risk of substantial overstock or understock may arise unless inventories are checked for assurance that the model is still appropriate.


accounting period in which revenue is matched against related expenses (e.g., cost allocation). If an expenditure benefits a future period, it is charged to an asset account. However, if an expenditure benefits the current accounting period or if there is an inability to ascertain the period of benefit, it should be expensed in the current period.


auxiliary equipment used in computer systems. They include printers, CDs, tape and disk drives, and other input- output and storage devices. Peripherals do not include the central processing unit (CPU).


difference between book income and taxable income caused by an item that affects one but not the other. The difference will not reverse. For example, interest on municipal bonds is included in book income but not in taxable income. Another example: premiums on officers' life insurance that are not deductible for tax purposes but are for financial reporting. Tax expense on the INCOME STATEMENT is based on book income less permanent differences. See also INTERPERIOD INCOME TAX ALLOCATION.


separate file of working papers, documents, and schedules that will be used for ensuing AUDITS. A permanent file usually contains copies or summaries of various documents such as minutes of the board meetings, lease agreements, schedules of capital assets including fixed assets and capital stock, the charter of the corporation, and descriptions of the accounting methods, policies, and internal control systems of the company.


in not-for-profit accounting, assets that are restricted by outside agencies or persons, as contrasted with assets over which the entity has control and discretion. An example of a permanently restricted asset is donated property on which the donor has placed a restriction on its use.

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one keeping continual track of additions or deletions in materials, work-in-process, and cost of goods sold on a day-to-day basis. Physical inventory counts are usually taken at least once a year in order to check on the validity of the book records. Cost of goods sold therefore is kept on a day-to-day basis rather than being determined periodically. See also PERIODIC INVENTORY SYSTEM.


ANNUITY that goes on indefinitely. An example of a perpetuity is preferred stock that yields a constant dollar dividend indefinitely. The PRESENT VALUE of a perpetuity is A/i where A is the periodic payment (the amount of an annuity) and i is the DISCOUNT RATE per period. For example, assume that a perpetual bond has an $80- per-year interest payment and that the discount rate is 10%. The present value of this perpetuity is $800 ($80/0.10).


amount an individual can exclude from taxable income. The tax law provides a $2700 exemption for years
subsequent to 1997. Additional exemptions are provided for individuals 65 and older and also for the blind. If an
individual has dependents and meets the specified definitional requirements, an additional exemption is allowed for
each dependent.


field of financial planning for individuals. It involves (1) analyzing a client's personal finances; and (2) recommending how to improve the client's financial condition. Personal financial planning covers the following specific areas:

Analysis of current financial Long-term accumulation plans

Life insurance


Investment strategies Tax planning

Estate planning Disability insurance Cash flow analysis
Retirement income



computer program assisting users in examining revenue and expenses, comparing actual to budget, monitoring assets and liabilities, goal analysis, investment portfolio analysis, tax planning, and retirement planning. Personal financial planning templates can be used in conjunction with a spreadsheet program. An example of personal planning software is Andrew Tobias's Managing Your Money.


document prepared for an individual using the accrual basis of accounting rather than the CASH basis. A Statement of Financial Condition shows ASSETS at estimated current values listed by order of liquidity and maturity without classification as current and noncurrent. Business interests that constitute a

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large part of total assets should be shown separately from other investments. Only the person's interest (amount that person is entitled to) as beneficial owner should be included when assets are jointly owned. Liabilities are shown by order of maturity without classification as current or noncurrent. A Statement of Changes in Net Worth is optional showing the major sources and uses of net worth. Comparative financial statements are also optional. Footnote disclosures should be made of the following: (1) individuals covered by the financial statements; (2) major methods used in determining current value; (3) nature of joint ownership of assets; (4) face amount of life insurance owned; (5) NON-FORFEITURE rights that do not qualify for asset inclusion (i.e., pensions based on life expectancy); (6) methods and assumptions used to compute estimated income taxes; (7) maturities and interest rates relating to RECEIVABLES and debt; and (8) noncancellable commitments not reflected under liabilities (i.e., OPERATING LEASE).




project management system developed by the United States government that measures and controls costs by work packages. In this method, cost estimates must be made for each activity. Then the system monitors dollar expenditures for each activity as well as time expenditures. A variety of analyses can be performed, including the "crashing" of certain activities in the project. Also see PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT).


in PROGRAM EVALUATION AND REVIEW TECHNIQUE (PERT), the longest possible time in which an activity is likely to be completed, symbolized b. See also EXPECTED TIME FOR AN ACTIVITY.


minimal amount of money kept on hand by a business entity to meet small expenditures (e.g., postage, taxi fare). One individual (custodian) should be responsible for the fund to maintain control. The fund is available currency and is periodically reimbursed, usually monthly. At any point, the fixed amount of the fund consists of the total currency left and the vouchers (receipts) for the expenditures made. The vouchers should be perforated so they will not be used again.


determining the quantity of inventory on hand through an inventory count (i.e., quantity, weight). By multiplying
the quantity times the unit cost, the total inventory cost is derived. There are three types of physical inventories.
One is a continuous inventory to supplement the perpetual inventory records. Another is an inventory count of only
specific merchandise on a periodic basis. The third is an annual year-end count. The physical inventory is
compared to the book inventory. Discrepancies are noted and investigated. The financial statements must show
inventory at the perpetual amount.

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Assume book inventory is $10,000 and physical inventory is $9900. The entry for the inventory difference is to debit inventory shortage and credit inventory for $100.


observation, listing, counting, and measuring of the assets of a company, such as inventory, fixed assets, cash on hand, stocks, or bonds. It also includes other items such as insurance policies and contracts. The auditor typically substantiates the figure as per the financial records by physically determining the existence of the item and examining it. For example, the fixed asset account can be physically verified by inspecting the individual machines, buildings, or other fixed assets. The methods used for verification will depend on the scope of work required and type of asset being verified. With some types of items, the auditor will require the assistance of other professionals familiar with the itemfor example, with precious metals, minerals, construction projects, and some manufacturing activities. Standards of auditing require some form of physical verification when inventory is present in the financial statements of a company. The timing of the verification depends upon such factors as method of accounting used for the item, auditor's satisfaction with internal controls associated with the item, size of the item in dollars and physical bulk (gold vs. widgets), and other matters relating to the audit. See also INVENTORY CONTROL; INVENTORY OBSERVATION; INVENTORY VALUATION.


external auditor's opinion regarding the fairness of presentation of specific financial statement items. A piecemeal opinion is not permitted anymore under GENERALLY ACCEPTED AUDITING STANDARDS (GAAS). It was previously used in some cases where a disclaimer or adverse opinion was involved on the financial statements as a whole.


"management by fact" or scientific method approach to continuous improvement (the Deming Wheel). PDCA creates a process-centered environment, because it involves studying the current process, collecting and analyzing data to identify causes of problems, planning for improvement, and deciding how to measure improvement (Plan). The plan is then implemented on a small scale if possible (Do). The next step is to determine what happened (Check). If the experiment was successful, the plan is fully implemented (Act). The cycle is then repeated using what was learned from the preceding cycle.


selection of short- and long-term objectives and the drawing up of tactical and strategic plans to achieve those
objectives. In planning, managers outline the steps to be taken in moving the organization toward its objectives.
After deciding on a set of strategies to be followed, the organization needs more specific plans, such as locations,
methods of financing, hours of operations, and so on. As these

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plans are made, they will he communicated throughout the organization. When implemented, the plans will serve to coordinate, or meld together, the efforts of all parts of the organization toward the company's objectives.


fixed assets used in business operations, including land and buildings; sometimes termed PROPERTY, PLANT, AND EQUIPMENT.


noncurrent physical asset applicable to manufacturing activities. See also FIXED ASSET. PLANT LEDGER
SUBSIDIARY LEDGER that consists of supporting accounts to a company's general ledger fixed asset account.
The ledger provides the detail of individual assets necessary for proper control, tracking, record keeping, and
maintenance. Information concerning a particular asset such as those for acquisitions, additions, replacements,
extraordinary repairs, and retirements, is recorded in this account.


single predetermined overhead rate used in all departments of a company, rather than having a separate rate for each department. If the company's departments are homogeneous, the use of a single plantwide rate may be adequate as a means of allocating overhead costs to production jobs. See also MULTIPLE OVERHEAD RATES; PREDETERMINED OVERHEAD RATE.


one used as collateral to secure a debt obligation or contract. A footnote reference is given of the circumstances surrounding the pledged asset; otherwise, the asset appears as it would ordinarily be classified on the balance sheet and is not presented as an offset under liabilities.


1. system that uses a computer terminal located at the point of sales transaction so that the data can be captured immediately by the computer system.

2. general point for revenue recognition. GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP) require the recognition of revenue in the accounting period in which the sale is deemed to have occurred. For services, the sale is deemed to occur when the service is performed. In the case of merchandise, the sale takes place when the title to the goods transfers from seller to buyer. In many cases, this coincides with the delivery of the merchandise. As a result, accountants usually record revenue when goods are delivered.


method of accounting used in a BUSINESS COMBINATION. The method is used if the acquiring company issues voting common stock in exchange for voting common stock of the acquired company. It is a tax-free merger (exchange). To use the pooling method, all of the following twelve criteria have to be met: (1) a combining company is autonomous in that it must not have been a sub-

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sidiary of any other company within two years before the initiation date; (2) a combining company is independent, meaning it does not own 10% or more of another combining company's common stock at the initiation or consummation date; (3) the combining companies come together in a single transaction or within one year after initiation; (4) the acquired company issues voting common stock for substantially all (90% or more) of the voting common stock of the other company; (5) none of the combining companies change the equity interest of voting common stock in contemplation of the combination within two years prior to the combination; (6) reacquisition of shares is for reasons other than the business combination; (7) the relative percentage ownership of each stockholder remains the same; (8) stockholders are not restricted in voting rights; (9) the combination is completed at the consummation date with no pending provisions; (1012) there is an absence of planned transactions after the combination relating to (10) treasury stock acquisition, (11) financial arrangements to benefit former combining stockholders, and (12) disposal of a significant part of the combining company's assets within two years after combination. The accounting under the pooling-of-interests method follows: (1) the acquired company's net assets are brought forth at book value; (2) the retained earnings and paid-in capital of acquired company are brought forth; (3) the net income of the acquired company is picked up for the entire year regardless of acquisition date; and (4) expenses of the pooling are immediately charged against earnings. See also CONSOLIDATION; PURCHASE (ACCOUNTING) METHOD.


the overhead costs for a HOMOGENEOUS COST POOL divided by the appropriate COST DRIVER associated with the pool.


set of data consisting of all conceivable observations of a certain phenomenon. A SAMPLE contains only part of these observations. Examples of populations are: (1) number of defective and nondefective bolts produced in a factory on a given day; (2) heights and weights of students in a university; and (3) all possible outcomes (heads, tails) in successive tosses of a coin. Population can be finite or infinite. The first two examples are finite and the third example is infinite. Assume the auditor wants to verify promotion and entertainment expense of the company. The population is the total expense for the accounting period under examination. A sample can be derived on a random basis to check selected promotion and entertainment documentation so as to derive an inference about the population balance.


light MICROCOMPUTER that can easily be carried. Some portables have built-in expansion options. An example is the IBM PC Convertible that is battery-powered and weighs less than 13 pounds.


combining securities to reduce risk by diversification. An example of a portfolio is a mutual fund. This is a popular investment

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vehicle consisting of a variety of securities or assets that are professionally managed. A major advantage of investing in mutual funds is diversification. Investors can own a variety of securities with a minimal capital investment. Since mutual funds are professionally managed, they tend to involve less risk. To reduce risk, securities in a portfolio should have negative or no correlation to each other.


idea advanced by H. Markowitz about a well-diversified portfolio. The central theme of the theory is that rational investors behave in a way that reflects their aversion to taking increased risk without being compensated by an adequate increase in expected return. Also, for any given expected return, most investors will prefer a lower risk, and for any given level of risk, they will prefer a higher return to a lower return. Markowitz showed how quadratic programming could be used to calculate a set of "efficient" portfolios. An investor then will choose among a set of efficient portfolios the best that is consistent with the risk profile of the investor.


the financial condition of an entity.


written or oral request by the auditor of a party having financial dealings with the client about the accuracy of an item. A response is required whether the particular item is correct or incorrect. A positive confirmation can be sent to customers to verify account balances. See also NEGATIVE CONFIRMATION.


transfer from the journal to the ledger a debit or credit to the given account involved. POSTAUDIT
1. examination of a transaction after its occurrence. A postaudit determines if a company's policies and procedures
have been properly followed. The test may be to verify if paid invoices have necessary documentation and
approvals. This test verifies internal control procedures and work performed by clerks.

2. in an audit performed by a public accountant, period that exists between the completion of the auditor's field work and the issuance of the report on the financial statements. During this period, the auditor is in constant contact with the client while the audit report is prepared and the final review of the drafted financial statements takes place. The auditor has a responsibility to disclose subsequent events so that the financial statements are not misleading. See also PREAUDIT.


audit procedures applicable to the interval of time between the date of the financial statements and the completion date of the audit fieldwork. Attention is given to SUB-SEQUENT EVENTS materially affecting the fair presentation of the financial statements.

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one prepared from the general ledger for the end of the accounting period after preparing the closing entries. Since revenue and expense accounts have been closed out, the only accounts with balances are balance sheet accounts.


placing on a document or a check a date that follows the date of initiation or execution. An example is buying something on January 10th and dating the check January 25th, so the check cannot be cashed until later. See also ANTEDATE.


cost being shifted to the future with little effect on the efficiency of current operations. Routine maintenance is an


monthly journal published by Warren, Gorham and Lamont. The subject matter relates to all aspects of accounting, information systems, and estate planning. The reader-ship is primarily accountants in general practice.


highest activity level at which the factory can operate with an acceptable degree of efficiency, taking into consideration unavoidable losses of productive time (i.e., vacations, holidays, repairs to equipment); also called maximum practical capacity. See also CAPACITY.


substantiation that proper authorization exists for an act, such as making up a purchase order or entering into a contract. There is also examination of documentation prior to payment of an item, such as an invoice or payroll request. The controller is responsible for conducting preaudits. The internal auditor tests to assure that appropriate preaudit procedures are being carried out.


valuable commodities (e.g., gold and silver) representing a private store of value. Precious metals are liquid, have international markets, and provide a hedge against inflation, currency risk, and unfavorable political and economic developments. However, they are a volatile investment. Their prices typically increase in difficult periods and decline in good times. Precious metals usually go in the opposite direction of common stock; as common stock returns move down, returns on gold move up. Tax must be paid on the gain when sold. Precious metal ownership has several disadvantages including high storage cost, high transaction cost, and no annual dividend revenue.


independent CPA who either leaves the client willingly or is terminated and replaced by a SUCCESSOR AUDITOR.


rate, based on budgeted factory overhead cost and budgeted activity, that is established before a period begins.

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Budgeted activity units used in the denominator of the formula, more often called the denominator level, are measured in direct labor-hours, machine-hours, direct labor costs, or production units.


right of a current stockholder to maintain the percentage ownership interest in the company by buying new shares
on a pro rata basis before they are issued to the public. It prevents existing stockholders from dilution in value or
control. The typical procedure is that each existing stockholder receives a subscription warrant indicating how
many shares can be bought. Usually, the new shares are issued to the current stockholder at a lower price than the
going market price. In addition, brokerage commissions do not have to be paid. For example, if an individual owns
2% of the shares of a company that is coming out with a new issue of 100,000 shares, the individual is entitled to
buy 2000 shares at a favorable price to maintain the proportionate interest.


one having priority over another creditor when the company becomes bankrupt. For example, a secured creditor (who has secured assets in support of his claim) has precedence over a general creditor (who has loaned money to the business without collateral).


class of capital stock that has preference over common stock in the event of corporate liquidation and in the distribution of earnings. It usually pays dividends at a fixed rate, but there is also adjustable rate preferred and "Dutch auction" preferred. For example, 6% preferred stock means that the dividend equals 6% of the total par value of the outstanding shares. Except in unusual instances, no voting rights exist. Types include CUMULATIVE PREFERRED STOCK and PARTICIPATING PREFERRED STOCK.


1. fieldwork done prior to the end of the accounting period under examination in order to quicken the issuance of the audit report. The preliminary audit includes evaluating internal controls, financial records, and transactions. An analysis of account balances is begun. The CPA determines what audit scope and steps will be required so that an opinion on the financial statements may be rendered. The preliminary audit is different from a periodic audit because it typically involves no audit report and is an element of a regular annual audit.

2. first engagement with a client, examining the overall business and its accounting system and operations before deciding on the extent of audit procedures that will be necessary.

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1. excess of the amount received over the par or face value of a security. For example, if a $1000 bond is issued at 102, the premium on the bond is $20 ($1000 x 2%).

2. price paid for a contract.

3. periodic payment made on an insurance policy.

4. promotion item given away in a marketing effort.

5. excess paid over a typical expense item, such as a bonus above employee's regular salary.

6. extra payment made for incentive purposes.

7. price a call or put buyer pays to the writer (seller) for an option contract.

8. amount in excess of market value paid in a TENDER OFFER. PREMIUM ON CAPITAL STOCK
excess received over the par value of stock issued. The premium account is shown under the paid-in capital section
of stockholders' equity because it resulted from the issuance of stock. It is not an income statement account since
the company earns profit by selling goods and services to outsiders, not by issuing shares of stock to owners.


on-line data base containing federal tax laws, regulations, rulings, and decisions. Also contained are the Pension and Profit Sharing looseleaf service, ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), and other pension-related laws and tax opinions.


expenditures paid for in one accounting period but not completely used or consumed until the next accounting period. Examples of expenses paid in advance are insurance, advertising, and rent. Prepaid expenses are often of a recurring nature. They are shown under current assets.


event or action that has to be satisfied before the next event or action can occur. For example, an accounting student must take intermediate accounting before advanced accounting.


term used in the auditor's report where there exists adequate disclosure, reasonable detail, and absence of bias. Adequate disclosure requires all management information necessary to interpret financial statements. Reasonable detail requires that certain particulars of broad statement classifications be presented, such as intangible assets that are broken down into types. Absence of bias means that the auditor is independent and impartial and does not favor one party over another (i.e., STOCKHOLDER over investor).


current worth of future sums of money. The process of calculating present value, or discounting, is actually the opposite of finding the compounded future value. Recall from FUTURE VALUE that Fn = P(1 + i)n . Therefore, P = Fn/ [(l + i)n] = Fn [1/(1 + i)n ] = PVIF( i,n)

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where PVIF( i, n) is the present value of $1 and is given in table 3 in back of book.

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For example, assume Mr. B has been given an opportunity to receive $20,000 six years from now. If he can earn 10% on his investment, what is the most he should pay for this opportunity? To answer this question we need to find the present worth of $20,000 to be received six years from now. The PVIF(10%, 6 years) is in table 3 0.564. Therefore,

This means that Mr. B could be indifferent to the choice between receiving $11,280 now or $20,000 six years from now since the amounts are time equivalent at 10%.


a category of QUALITY COSTS incurred to prevent defects of products and services, such as quality training programs and quality circles.




statistic that equals market price per share divided by earnings per share. It is a good ratio to use in evaluating the investment possibility of a company. A steady decrease in the P/E ratio reflects decreasing investor confidence in the growth potential of the entity. Some companies have high P/E multiples reflecting high earnings growth expectations. Young, fast-growing companies often have high P/E stocks with multiples over 20. A company's P/E ratio depends on many factors such as risk, earnings trend, quality of management, industry conditions, and economic factors.


method of measuring the impact of changes in general purchasing power of the dollar. Inflation is measured and reported in the financial statements. Balance sheet and income statement accounts are restated to average current year dollars using the Consumer Price Index. Purchasing power gains and losses on MONETARY ITEMS are reflected in the price-level income statement. See also CONSTANT DOLLAR ACCOUNTING; CURRENT VALUE ACCOUNTING.


difference between actual unit price and standard unit price, multiplied by actual quantity of input used. It reflects a change between the expected price and actual price of input.

where a positive result indicates an increase in costs (i.e., an unfavorable variance), while a negative result means a reduction in costs (i.e., a favorable variance). See also LABOR RATE (PRICE) VARIANCE; MATERIALS PRICE VARIANCE; SALES PRICE VARIANCE.


decisions faced by top management and marketing managers. How much to charge for a product or service

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depends on a multitude of factors such as competition, cost, advertising, and sales promotion. Economic theory suggests that the best price for a product or service is the one that maximizes the difference between total revenue and total costs. However, in reality, the price charged is usually some form of cost-plus, which is later adjusted for market conditions and competition.


calculation used to indicate operating performance of companies with complex capital structures. It has as the numerator net income available to common stockholders and as the denominator the weighted-average common stock outstanding plus COMMON STOCK EQUIVALENTS. Common stock equivalents are shown only if they have a dilutive effect on earnings per share of 3% or more. Primary earnings per share is shown on the face of the income statement for income before extraordinary items and net income. Primary earnings per share equals:

in manufacturing, DIRECT MATERIAL plus DIRECT LABOR. It excludes overhead. See also CONVERSION


interest rate charged by banks to their most financially sound customers. The prime rate is a reference point for other interest ratessome are lower than the published prime, most are higher. For example, the interest rate on commercial paper is less than the prime interest rate. Most companies have to borrow from financial institutions at a rate in excess of the prime rate. The rate is influenced by the cost of funds to the bank and the rates borrowers will accept.


1. face amount of a financial instrument on which interest accrues. For example, a $25,000, 8%, one-year note has a principal portion of $25,000 and an interest portion of $2000.

2. carrying value of an obligation (i.e., bonds payable).

3. amount invested, excluding return on investment.

4. high-level individual (i.e., partner) in a CPA firm having major authority and responsibilities.

5. owner, especially one with executive authority, of a business firm. PRIOR PERIOD ADJUSTMENT
revenue or expenses applicable to a previous period. The beginning balance of retained earnings is adjusted for the
prior period adjustment (net of tax). An illustrative retained earnings section of the balance sheet follows:

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Retained Earnings 1/1/2000 Unadjusted Add or Deduct: Prior Period Adjustment Retained Earnings 1/1/2000 Adjusted Add: Net Income
Less: Dividends
Retained Earnings 12/31/2000

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The only two examples of prior period adjustments are: (1) the correction of an error made in a prior year; and (2) the recognition of a tax LOSS CARRYFORWARD benefit arising from a purchased subsidiary.


retroactive benefits cost for services rendered in periods prior to the initiation of a pension plan or an amendment to a plan. The cost of these retroactive benefits is the resulting increase in the projected benefit obligation. It involves the allocation of equal amounts to future years of service for active employees. See also NORMAL PENSION COST.


individual employed only by one organization as distinguished from an individual working for an independent accounting firm that serves many clients. The private accountant is an internal accountant reporting to the managers of the entity. A private accountant may be involved in preparing internal management reports for decision making such as capital budgeting, budgeting, and segmental performance analysis.


serving nonpublic companies. Member CPA firms participate in PEER REVIEW. The other section is the SEC
practice section.


firm owned by a few people. It is distinguished from a PUBLICLY HELD COMPANY, which is also a private
company, but whose shares are traded in the public market; also called a closed corporation or private corporation.
A publicly held company can either be closely held (meaning most of the public shares are owned or controlled by
a few people) or widely held, as with a company whose shares are listed on a national stock exchange.


sale of securities by the issuing company directly to an investor (generally a large institutional investor) rather than
an offering through the public exchange markets. A private placement does not have to be registered with the SEC,
as a PUBLIC OFFERING does, if the securities are not purchased for resale.


confidential communication, such as that between a client and his attorney. The receiver of the

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information (attorney) is not legally required to disclose it. Common-law privileged communication between the client and the CPA exists only in a few states where it is permitted by statute.


items received for winning a contest or in recognition of an activity. Cash prizes or awards generally must be included in taxable income. The prize or award can be excluded from taxable income only when the taxpayer assigns it to a charitable organization.


degree of likelihood that something will happen. Probabilities are expressed as fractions ( 1/2, 1/4, 3/4), as decimals (.5, .25, .75), or as percentages (50%, 25%, 75%) between 0 and 1. For example, a probability of 0 means that something can never happen; a probability of 1 means that something will always happen. The probability of an event is calculated as follows:

The probability of getting heads in one toss is: p(heads) = 1/(1 + 1) = 1/2 PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTION
table or graph showing the relative frequency of each of various outcomes. Widely known probability distributions
include the binomial distribution and the NORMAL DISTRIBUTION. A probability distribution of a possible
number of tails from two tosses of a fair coin may look like this:

Number of Tails Probability of This Outcome 0 .25
1 .50
2 .25


evaluation of internal controls, accounting policies, and other procedures of a business entity by an independent
CPA. Recommendations for improvement in procedures or activities in the system are made. An overall appraisal
may be made of the entire business, or the audit may be directed to a particular business segment. At the
conclusion of the audit, management receives a report that will list the findings. These audits are normally
performed by the internal audit staff in many companies and take place during the entire year. Where a company
does not have an internal audit staff, it may hire the auditor that certifies its financial statements to perform a
procedural review as part of the annual audit. When such an arrangement is made, management expects to receive
a separate report on this review, offering its findings with recommendations.


funds received from the sale of assets or issuance of securities such as capital stock or bonds.

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sequence or arterial network of logically related and time-based work activities to provide a specific output for an internal or external customer. For example, the assembly of a television set or the paying of a bill or claim entails several linked activities. See also BUSINESS PROCESS.


managing business processes to achieve a desired result. PROCESS BENCHMARKING


cost assigned to a business process based on the cost of the activities that compose the process. PROCESS COSTING
method that aggregates manufacturing costs by departments or by production processes. Total manufacturing costs
are accumulated by major categoriesdirect materials, direct labor, and factory overhead applied. Unit cost is
determined by dividing the total costs charged to a cost center by the output of that cost center. Process costing is
appropriate for companies that produce a continuous mass of like units through a series of operations or
processesgenerally used in such industries as petroleum, chemicals, oil refinery, textiles, and food processing. A
COST OF PRODUCTION REPORT is a cost sheet used for process costing that summarizes the total cost charged
to a department and the allocation between the ending work-in-process inventory and the units completed and
transferred to the next department or finished goods inventory. The output of a processing department during a
given period is measured in terms of equivalent units of production which is the expression of the physical units of
output in terms of doses or amount of work applied thereto. In computing the unit cost for a processing center,
when a beginning inventory of work-in-process exists, two specific assumptions about the flow of cost are
usedWEIGHTED AVERAGE and FIFO. Under weighted average, the costs in the beginning inventory are
averaged with the current period's costs to determine one average unit cost for all units passing through the cost
center in a given month. Under FIFO, costs in the beginning inventory are not mingled with the current period's
costs but transferred out as a separate batch of goods at a different unit cost than units started and completed
during the period.


set of three schedules that help managers track and analyze costs in a process costing system; it consists of the schedule of equivalent production, the unit cost analysis schedule, and the cost summary schedule.


actual amount of time spent working on a product.


1. device that can perform operations on data. Examples are the central processing unit (CPU) and a front-end processor. For instance,

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the CPU directs data and instructions to and from other devices in the computer system, like the computer's memory and input devices. It also interprets programs.

2. language processor, such as an assembler, compiler, or interpreter. PROCESS REENGINEERING
analysis of business processes resulting in radical change rather than incremental improvement. Redesign of
processes is intended to result in the elimination of unnecessary steps, reduction of circumstances in which
mistakes can occur, cost minimization, quicker response time, and better quality.


analytical method of identifying all activities and relating them to the events that cause or drive the need for the activities and the resources consumed.


probability of rejecting a good quality lot. PRODUCT COST
cost of inventory on hand, also called inventoriable cost. They are assets until the products are sold. Once they are
sold, they become expenses, i.e., cost of goods sold. All manufacturing costs are product costs. Examples are


set of procedures that accounts for an organization's product costs and provides timely and accurate unit cost information for pricing, planning and control, inventory valuation, and financial statement preparation.


performance measure of competitive strategy. A company that is first in the market with a new product has obvious advantages. Reducing development time is also important because product life cycles are becoming shorter, and organizations need to respond quickly and flexibly to new technology, changes in consumer tastes, and other competitive challenges. One financial measure of product development is BREAKEVEN TIME. CUSTOMER RESPONSE TIME is another crucial competitive factor.


group of products or services that have a defined relationship because of physical and production similarities. The term PRODUCT LINE is used interchangeably.


agreement to finance the acquisition of a product through debt. Another entity may buy a product on behalf of the purchaser. At the time of acquisition, the purchaser debits inventory and credits a liability for the amount owed to the other entity. When payment of the obligation is made, the liability is debited for the principal, interest expense is debited for the interest, and cash is paid for the total amount.


schedule for expected units to be produced. It sets forth the units expected to be manufactured to satisfy budgeted

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sales and inventory requirements. Expected production volume is determined by adding desired ending inventory to planned sales and then subtracting beginning inventory.


time it takes for production personnel to make the product available for shipment to the customer.


cost variance that arises if the actual production mix deviates from the standard or budgeted mix. In a multi- product, multi-input situation, the mix variances explain the portion of the quantity (usage, or efficiency) variance caused by using inputs (direct materials and direct labor) in ratios different from standard proportions, thus helping to determine how efficiently mixing operations are performed. The MATERIAL MIX VARIANCE indicates the impact on material costs of the deviation from the budgeted mix. The labor mix variance measures the impact of changes in the labor mix on labor costs.

Probable causes of unfavorable production mix variances are as follows: (1) substitution forced by capacity restraints; (2) poor production scheduling; (3) lack of certain types of labor; and (4) certain materials in short supply.




difference between the actual yield and the standard yield. YIELD is a measure of productivity. In other words, it is a measure of output from a given amount of input. For example, in the production of potato chips, a certain yield such as 40% or 40 pounds of chips for 100 pounds of potatoes might be expected. If the actual yield is less than the expected or standard yield for a given level of input, the yield variance is unfavorable. A yield variance is computed for labor as well as materials. A labor yield variance is considered the result of the quantity and/or the quality of labor used. The yield variance explains the remaining portion of the QUANTITY VARIANCE and is caused by a yield of finished product that does not correspond with the quantity that actual inputs should have produced. When there is no mix variance, the yield variance equals the quantity variance.

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Probable causes of unfavorable production yield variances are: (1) use of low quality materials and/or labor; (2) existence of faulty equipment; (3) use of improper production methods; and (4) improper or costly mix of materials and/or labor.


ratio of outputs to inputs. PRODUCTIVITY MEASURES
related to the efficiency, mix, and yield variances. They can be developed for both manufacturing and service
entities, although the latter may sometimes find that output is difficult to measure. Productivity is the relationship
between outputs and inputs (including the mix of inputs). The higher this ratio, the greater the productivity.
Improvements in productivity depend on technical efficiency and input trade-off efficiency. A process becomes
more technically efficient when, for any set of inputs that will produce a given output, nonvalue-added activities
are eliminated and value-added activities use the minimum resources needed to produce the given output.


activities performed to support the diversity of products in a manufacturing plant. PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE
period that starts with the initial product specification and ends with the withdrawal of the product from the
marketplace. A product life cycle is characterized by certain defined stages, including research, development,
introduction, maturity, decline, and abandonment. See LIFE CYCLE.




decisions that concern the relative amounts of each type of product or service that, given demand and resource constraints, will maximize total profits. For example, if the firm can sell as much as it can produce and has a single resource constraint, the decision rule is to maximize the contribution margin per unit of the constrained resource. However, given multiple constraints, the decision is more difficult and more sophisticated techniques must be used, such as linear programming for example.


manufacturing cost of a single unit of product; total cost of direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing over- head for the units produced divided by the total units produced.

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moral principles and standards of conduct guiding CPAs in performing their functions. Codes of professional ethics are established by organizations of CPAs, such as the American Institute of CPAs and state societies. A violation of professional ethics will make the accountant subject to disciplinary action. The accountant's professional ethics affect the reputation of the profession and the confidence of the public. Some of the professional ethic requirements follow. The CPA should be independent of clients served so that objectivity and integrity are maintained. For example, independence is violated if the CPA has a financial interest in the client, or is connected with the enterprise as an underwriter or director. The CPA must be professionally competent, exercise due professional care, properly plan and supervise the engagement, and obtain adequate data to form a conclusion about an engagement. CPAs cannot have their names associated with forecasts in such a way as to have users believe they vouch for the achievability. The CPA must follow GAAS in the pursuance of the audit function and may not express an unqualified opinion on financial statements if they depart from GAAP. The CPA must keep confidential information obtained from the client in the course of a professional engagement. Further, professional services cannot be offered on a contingent fee based on findings or results of services. A CPA in public practice shall not engage in an incompatible occupation creating a conflict of interest.


ability of a business entity to generate net income. Potential investors closely analyze a firm's current and prospective profitability since they affect dividends and market price of stock. See also PRICE-EARNINGS RATIO (P/E RATIO).


ratio of the total present value (PV) of future cash inflows to the initial investment (I). That is, PV/I. This index is
primarily used as a means of ranking projects in descending order of attractiveness. In a single project case, if the
index is greater than 1, the project should be accepted. For example, consider the following data:

Initial investment $12,950
Estimated life 10 years
Annual cash inflows $ 3,000
Cost of capital (minimum
required of return) 12%

The profitability index is 1.31 (PV/ I = $16,950/$12,950). Note PV = $3000 x PV of an annuity of $1 for 10 years and 12% = $3000 x 5.65 = $16,950. Since this project generates $1.31 for each dollar invested (or its index is greater than 1), it should be accepted.


level cost accumulation at which revenues are matched to cost consumption to analyze profitability.

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responsibility unit that measures the performance of a division, product line, geographic area, or other measurable
unit. Divisional profit figures are best obtained by subtracting from revenue only the costs the division manager
can control (direct division costs) and eliminating allocated costs common to all divisions (e.g., an allocated share
of company image advertising that benefits all divisions but is not controlled by division managers). Profit is a very
often used method to evaluate a division's financial success as well as the performance of its manager. In
determining divisional profit, a TRANSFER PRICE may have to be derived. The divisional profit center allows for
decentralization. as each division is treated as a separate business entity with responsibility for making its own


ratio of income to sales. (1) net profit margin equals net income divided by net sales. It indicates the entity's ability to generate earnings at a particular sales level. By examining a company's profit margin relative to previous years and to industry norms, one can evaluate the company's operating efficiency and pricing strategy as well as its competitive status with other companies in the industry. (2) gross profit margin equals gross profit divided by net sales. A high profit margin is desirable since it indicates the company is earning a good return over the cost of its merchandise sold.


hypothesis that the goal of a firm is to maximize its profit. PROFIT PLANNING
process of developing a profit plan that outlines the planned sales revenues and expenses and the net income or
loss for a time period. Profit planning requires preparation of a MASTER BUDGET and various analyses for risk
and what-if scenarios. Tools for profit planning include the COST-VOLUME-PROFIT (CVP) ANALYSIS and


plan by which corporate executives and employees receive a share of the company's net income on some equitable basis. Such basis may relate to salary level and service years. The maximum amount that an employer can deduct in any one year for the profit-sharing plan is 15% of compensation. Two or more profit-sharing plans are treated as one plan for purposes of limiting employer deductions. Under the present tax law, employer contributions are not limited to the employer's current or accumulated earnings.


difference between actual profit and budgeted profit. Profit, whether it is GROSS PROFIT in ABSORPTION COSTING or CONTRIBUTION MARGIN in DIRECT COSTING, is affected by three basic items: sales price, sales volume, and costs. In a multi-product firm, if all products are not equally profitable, profit is also affected by the

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mix of products sold. If actual profit is greater than budgeted profit, the total profit variance is favorable and credited; otherwise, it is unfavorable and debited. See also CONTRIBUTION MARGIN (CM) VARIANCE; SALES PRICE VARIANCE.


one that determines how profits vary with changes in volume. Profits are plotted on the vertical axis while units of
output are shown on the horizontal axis. See the sample chart below.

financial statement with amounts or other information that are fully or partially assumed. The assumptions
underlying these amounts are also typically given. For example, pro forma disclosure is required for a change in
accounting principle in the current year of what earnings would have been in the prior year if the new principle had
been used in the previous period. In this case, the pro forma disclosure is at the bottom of the income statement.






projected statement of cash flows. As with the regular statement, it classifies cash receipts and disbursements depending on whether they are from operating, investing, or financing activities. The direct presentation reports the

major classes of gross cash operating receipts and payments and the difference between them. The indirect presentation reconciles net income with net operating cash flow. The reconciliation requires balance sheet data, such as the changes in accounts receivable, accounts

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payable, and inventory, as well as net income. Thus, all the pro forma statements are interrelated. For example, the pro forma cash flow statement will include anticipated borrowing. The interest on this borrowing will appear in the pro forma income statement.


set of instructions written in a computer language directing operations to be performed. A utility program is a standard program that conducts routine tasks like merging files and sorting.


useful management tool for planning, coordinating, and controlling large, complex projects such as formulation of a MASTER BUDGET, construction of buildings, installation of computers, and scheduling of the closing of books. The development and initial application of PERT dates to the construction of the Polaris submarine by the U.S. Navy in the late 1950s. The PERT technique involves the diagrammatical representation of the sequence of activities comprising a project by means of a network consisting of arrows and circles (nodes), as shown in Figure
1. Arrows represent "tasks" or "activities," which are distinct segments of the project requiring time and resources. Nodes (circles) symbolize "events," or milestone points in the project representing the completion of one or more activities and/or the initiation of one or more subsequent activities. An event is a point in time and does not consume any time in itself as does an activity. An important aspect of PERT is the CRITICAL PATH METHOD (CPM). A path is a sequence of connected activities. In Figure 1, 2-3-4-6 is an example of a path. The CRITICAL PATH for a project is the path that takes the greatest amount of time. This is the minimum amount of time needed for the completion of the project. Thus, activities along this path must be shortened in order to speed up the project. To compute this, calculate the earliest time (ET) and the latest time (LT) for each event.


The earliest time is the time an event will occur if all preceding activities are started as early as possible. Thus, for event 4 in Figure 2, the earliest time is 19.3 (i.e., 13 + 6.3). The latest time is the time an event can occur without delaying the project beyond the deadline. The earliest time for the entire project is 49.5. Working backward from event 6 (finish) it is seen that the latest time for event 4 is 35.5. The SLACK for an event is the difference between the latest time and earliest time.

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For event 4 the slack is 35.5 19.3 = 16.2. This is the amount of time event 4 can be delayed without delaying the entire project beyond its due date. Finally, the critical path for the network is the path leading to the terminal event so that all events on the path have zero path. Figure 2 shows the earliest and latest times for each event.

Event Earliest Time Latest Time Slack 1 0 6.3 6.3
2 0 0 0
3 13 13 0
4 19.3 35.5 16.2
5 37 37 0
6 49.5 49.5 0

The path 2-3-5-6 is the critical path.

In a real-world application of PERT to a complex project, the estimates of completion time for activities will seldom be certain. To cope with the uncertainty in activity time estimates, proceed with three time estimates: an optimistic time (labeled a), a most likely time (m), and a pessimistic time (b). A weighted average of these three time estimates is then calculated to establish the expected time for the activity. The formula is: (a + 4m + b)/6. For example, given three time estimates, a = 1, m = 3, and b = 5, the expected time is [1 + 4(3) + 5]/6 = 3.


process of writing instructions for a computer. The program has to be turned into machine-readable form and put
into the computer. The program must be tested to assure accuracy, and supporting documentation prepared.


planning-oriented approach to developing a program budget. A program budget is a budget in which expenditures are based primarily on programs of

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work and secondarily on character and object. It is a transitional type of budget between the traditional character and object budget, on the one hand, and the performance budget on the other. The major contribution of PPBS lies in the planning process, i.e., the process of making program policy decisions that lead to a specific budget and specific multi-year plans.


interim billings for construction work or government contract work. The entry is to debit progress billings receivable and credit progress billings on construction in progress. Progress billings is a contra account to CONSTRUCTION-IN-PROGRESS. See also BILLINGS ON LONG-TERM CONTRACTS.


levy that requires a higher percentage payment on higher income. The personal income tax structure in the United States with its multiple brackets has been traditionally an example of a progressive tax. See also TAX RATE SCHEDULE.


broad, complex, multidisciplinary approach to the production of a good or service. PROJECT COSTING
cost system that collects information on activities and costs associated with a specific activity, project, or program.


actuarial present value as of a date of all benefits attributed by the pension benefit formula to employee service
performed before that date. It is measured using assumptions as to future compensation levels if the pension benefit
formula is based on those future salary levels (e.g., pay-related, final-pay). See also ACCUMULATED BENEFIT


making planning decisions for capital investments, many of which may extend over long periods. For example, the
decision to buy a particular piece of machinery and equipment is the result of project planning. Project planning
has long-term effects on the company's future profitability. CAPITAL EXPENDITURE analysis or COST-
BENEFIT ANALYSIS is a technique needed for project planning. See also CAPITAL BUDGETING.


choosing the best among alternative proposals on the basis of cost-benefit analysis. See also CAPITAL BUDGETING.


formal unconditional promise in writing to pay on demand or at a future date a definite sum of money. The person

who signs the note and promises to pay is called the maker of the note. The person to whom payment is to be made is called the payee of the note.

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cost of samples or promotional items made available to the public at large. Promotion expense is fully tax deductible. Examples are distributed merchandise samples and tickets to a show offered as a customer prize.


one paid in property. The dividend is recorded on the declaration date at the market value of the property. PROPERTY, PLANT, AND EQUIPMENT
long-lived fixed productive assets used in business activities. It is a noncurrent asset balance sheet classification.
Property, plant and equipment are shown at their book values. Examples are buildings and machinery. See also


in governmental accounting, one having profit and loss aspects; therefore it uses the accrual rather than modified accrual accounting method. The two types of proprietary funds are the ENTERPRISE FUND and the INTERNAL SERVICE FUND.


theory that assets are owned by the proprietor and liabilities are owed by him. The accounting equation is:

Capital is the net value of the business to the owner.

Under the proprietary theory, revenues increase capital, while expenses reduce it. Net income belongs to the owner, representing an increase in the proprietor's capital.

The proprietary theory best applies to single proprietorship entities because there exists a personal relationship between the management of the business and the owner. Often, in fact, they are the same person. It also applies to a partnership where net income is added each period to the partners' capital accounts.


1. assets minus liabilities of an organization. It equals contributed capital plus accumulated earnings.

2. form of business organization. See also SOLE PROPRIETOR. PRO RATA
basis for allocating an amount proportionately to the items involved. An amount may be proportionately distributed
to assets, expenses, funds, and so forth. For example, at year end, underapplied overhead may be allocated to
work-in-process, finished goods, and cost of sales based on the dollars or units applicable to those accounts.
Assume underapplied overhead is $1000, work-in-process is $4000, finished goods is $5000, and cost of sales is
$1000. The pro rata charge to work-in-process, for instance, would be $400 ($4000/$10,000 x $1000). The journal
entry is:

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Work-in-process 400
Finished goods 500
Cost of sales 100
Factory overhead



allocating or assigning an amount in proportion to some base to an activity, department, or product. Service costs are frequently allocated to user departments based on the base allocation formula/ procedure (e.g., number of employees, machine hours spent). See also ALLOCATION.


document that must accompany a new issue of securities. It contains the same information appearing in the registration statement, such as a list of directors and officers, financial reports certified by a CPA, underwriters, the purpose and use for the funds, and other reasonable information that prospective buyers of a security need to know. A preliminary prospectus, RED-HERRING (so named because of a red stamp indicating the tentative nature of the document during the period in which it is being reviewed for fraudulent or misleading statements by the SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC)), is issued prior to the final, statutory prospectus, which also contains offering instructions.


method by which data or software programs may be transferred between computers that are communicating. The three basic types of protocols are character-oriented, byte-oriented, and bit-oriented. Some examples are Protocol B and XModem Protocol. Protocol B, for instance, is used by the Compuserve Information Service. The Delphi Information Service and many electronic bulletin boards use the XModem Protocol. The use of protocols minimizes errors in transmission of data. Let us look at an example of protocol use. When XModem Protocol is used, a computer will transmit blocks of data. Each 128-byte block has a checksum that follows the block. Checksum is a certain number that is gotten by using the ASCII codes of all the block's bytes. When the computer that receives the data has its checksum equal to the checksum of the computer sending the data, then the receiving computer will ask for the block. If the checksum is different, then the same block will have to be transmitted again until the checksums are equal.


1. amount of an expense that must be recognized currently when the exact amount of the expense is uncertain. An example is an expense such as provision for income taxes.

2. contra asset account such as allowance for bad debts and allowance to reduce securities from cost to market value.

3. making an appropriation of retained earnings for a specified purpose. PROXY
1. power of attorney by which the holder of stock transfers the voting rights to another party. Sometimes PROXY
FIGHTS erupt with outside

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2. short for proxy statement, a written document that the SEC requires to be provided to shareholders before they vote by proxy on corporate matters. It typically contains proposed members of the BOARD OF DIRECTORS, INSIDE DIRECTORS' salaries, and any resolutions of minority stockholders and of management.


competition that erupts when outsiders attempt to gain control of a company's management. This requires soliciting a sufficient number of votes by proxy to unseat the existing management. The fights (battles) generally occur when the present management is performing poorly; however, the odds of outsiders winning a proxy fight are generally slim.


see PROXY.


1. investment made prudently and intelligently. A reasonable degree of safety and return are expected. See also

2. rule that allows an uninstructed trustee considerable discretionary authority to purchase investments of any type that an ordinarily prudent person would find suitable in the case at hand.


one performing professional accounting services for the public. The public accountant is licensed by a state to use the PA designation. Licensing requirements for a PA are significantly less than for a CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT.


profession that public accountants are engaged in. Independent public accountants perform many functions, including auditing financial statements, designing financial accounting systems, assisting in the managerial accounting function, providing managerial advisory services, and tax preparation. The public accountant may perform services for corporations, partnerships, individuals, and other organizations. The certified public accountant is regulated by state law and must meet stringent technical and ethical requirements. These requirements include passing the CPA examination, satisfying experience requirements (e.g., two years in New York), and abiding by the American Institute of CPA's Code of Professional Ethics.


enterprise whose ownership is held by the general public, including individuals, officers, employees, and
institutional investors. A publicly held company has stock listed on an exchange and must file financial statements
and reports with the SEC. See also PRIVATELY HELD COMPANY.


presenting new securities to the investing public, after registration requirements have been filed with the SEC. The securi-

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ties are usually made available to the public at large by a managing investment banker and its underwriting syndicate. In the public offering, unlike PRIVATE PLACEMENT, the corporation does not deal directly with the ultimate buyers of the securities. The public market is an impersonal one.


group consisting mostly of nonaccountants that oversees activities of CPA firms belonging to the AICPA's SEC practice section. The POB's objective is to assure quality professional services.


production system in which a customer's order triggers the purchase of materials and the scheduling of production for the required products.


manner of accounting for a business combination. It is used when cash and other assets are distributed or liabilities are incurred to effect the combination. The purchase method is used when one or more of the 12 criteria for the POOLING-OFINTERESTS METHOD are not met. Under the purchase method, the acquiring corporation records the net assets acquired at the fair market value of the consideration given. Any excess of the purchase price over the fair market value of the net identifiable assets is recorded as goodwill. The acquiring corporation then records periodic charges to income for the depreciation of the excess price over book value of net identifiable assets and for amortization of goodwill. Note that goodwill already on the books of the acquired company is not brought forth. Net income of the acquired company is brought forth from the acquisition date to year-end. Direct costs of the purchase reduce the fair value of securities issued. Indirect costs are expensed.


reduction given under the heading CASH DIS-COUNT or TRADE DISCOUNT. A cash discount is intended for prompt payments by the purchaser, whereas a trade discount represents a reduction in list price in return for quantity purchases.


form used by the purchasing department to order goods or merchandise. Several copies are usually prepared, each
on a different color paper. The original is sent to the supplier; this purchase order is an authorization to deliver the
merchandise and to submit a bill based on the prices listed. Carbon copies of the purchase order are usually routed
to the purchasing department, accounting department, receiving department, and finance department.


time it takes for raw materials and parts to be ordered and received so that production can begin. PURCHASE PRICE VARIANCE


event that occurs when holding MONETARY ITEMS during a period of inflation or deflation. A

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purchasing power loss occurs on holding monetary assets during inflation because of the decline in purchasing power of the dollar. A purchasing power gain arises, from a borrowing company's standpoint, on monetary liabilities in an inflationary environment, because the company will be paying back in cheaper dollars. Purchasing power gains or losses are shown in the price-level adjusted income statement. Assume that on 1/1/20X1 net monetary assets are $55,000, and during 20X1 the increase in net monetary assets is $6000. The relevant Consumer Price Indices are: 1/1/20X1 212.9, average for 20X1 220.9, and 12/31/20X1 243.5. The computation of the purchasing power loss for 20X1 follows:

Historical Cost

Conversion Factor

Average 20X1 Dollars

1/1/20X1 $55,000 x 220.9 $57,067
Increase in x
monetary items 6,000 220.9 6,000
12/31/20X1 $61,000 x 220.9 $55,338
Purchasing Power Loss $ 7,729

procedures, manual or computerized, followed by an organization to achieve the following basic objectives: (1) to
determine the quality and quantity needed and the time when an item is needed; (2) to obtain the best possible
price; and (3) to maintain information on sources of supply. The system should utilize such concepts as


method of accounting in which the financial statements of a subsidiary are presented to reflect the costs incurred by the parent company in buying the subsidiary instead of the subsidiary's historical costs. The purchase costs of the parent company are shown in the subsidiary's statements.


production system in which products are manufactured in long production runs and stored in anticipation of customers' orders.


1. option to sell a specific security at a specified price within a designated period for which the option buyer pays the seller (writer) a

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premium or option price. Contracts on listed puts (and CALLS) have been standardized at date of issue for periods of three, six, and nine months, although as these contracts approach expiration, they may be purchased with a much shorter life.

2. bondholder's right to redeem a bond prior to maturity. PV CHART

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1. reference in the audit report to a material limitation placed on the auditor's examination or to uncertainty
regarding a specific item in the financial statements. See also QUALIFIED OPINION, REPORT.

2. reservation in a proposed agreement making the agreement unenforceable unless a specified condition is met.

3. technical competence to perform a particular job, such as passing the CPA examination and meeting experience requirements in order to be licensed as a certified public accountant.


judgment by the CPA in the AUDIT REPORT that "except for" something, the financial statements fairly present the financial position and operating results of the firm. An "EXCEPT FOR" OPINION relates to a limitation placed on the scope of the audit. The result of the limitation is the failure of the CPA to obtain sufficient objective and verifiable evidence in support of business transactions of the company being audited. See also ADVERSE OPINION; DISCLAIMER; UNQUALIFIED OPINION.


plan granting an employee the right to purchase company stock at a later date at a specified option price that will most always be lower than the market price; also called incentive stock option. If the stock price goes below the option price, the company can issue the executive a second incentive option with a lower exercise price. There is a
$100,000 per employee ceiling on the value of stock covered by options that are exercisable in any one calendar year. Another advantage to the corporate executive of an incentive stock option is that no tax is paid until the stock bought with the option is sold.


considerations in decision making, in addition to the quantitative or financial factors highlighted by INCREMENTAL ANALYSIS. They are the factors relevant to a decision that are difficult to measure in terms of money. Qualitative factors may include: (1) effect on employee morale, schedules and other internal elements; (2) relationships with and commitments to suppliers; (3) effect on present and future customers; and (4) long-term future effect on profitability. In some decision-making situations, qualitative aspects are more important than immediate financial benefit from a decision.


measure of conformance of a product or service to certain specifications or standards. See also TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT; APPRAISAL COSTS; INTERNAL FAILURE COSTS; EXTERNAL FAILURE COSTS; PREVENTIVE COSTS.


all of the activities necessary to ensure that the customer receives satisfactory performance.

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responsibility of every employee, work group, department, or supplier to inspect the work. QUALITY CONTROL
1. procedures to establish an optimal level of audit performance by practitioners. Included are proper supervision
over field work, evaluation of internal control, and employment of generally accepted auditing standards. The
monitoring of a CPA firm's system of quality control by a peer reviewer involves consideration of the adequacy
and relevance of the CPA firm's procedures, practices, and compliance thereto, effectiveness of professional
development, and quality of the CPA firm's practice aids.

2. policies and techniques used to assure that some level of performance has been achieved. Included are controls in design and inspection. Variances from established norms are identified and rectified.

3. in manufacturing, procedures to achieve a desired level of satisfaction of the operation or product being produced. A number of tests and measurements may be required to determine that a part meets required specifications.


graph sometimes used in analyzing deviations of actual results from standards, known as VARIANCES. Measurements of actual results are shown on the graph and compared with measurements of the expected mean and upper and lower control limits, which are established by using statistical procedures. In statistical quality control charts, the upper and lower control limits are set three STANDARD DEVIATIONS from the mean. See also THREE-SIGMA LIMITS.

costs incurred because poor quality cost may exist or actually does exist.


extent that net income is realistic in portraying the operating pe