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Definition of ABC

ABC Image 1


see activity-based costing

Related Terms:

ABC inventory classification

A method for dividing inventory into classifications,
either by transaction volume or cost. Typically, category A includes that 20% of
inventory involving 60% of all costs or transactions, while category B includes
the next 20% of inventory involving 20% of all costs or transactions, and category
C includes the remaining 60% of inventory involving 20% of all costs or

ABC Test

A test used to determine the status of an employee under a state unemployment
insurance program, where a person is a contractor only if there is
an Absence of control by the company, Business conducted by the employee is
substantially different from that of the company, and the person Customarily
works independently from the company.

activity based costing (ABC)

A relatively new method advocated for the
allocation of indirect costs. The key idea is to classify indirect costs,
many of which are fixed in amount for a period of time, into separate
activities and to develop a measure for each activity called a cost driver.
The products or other functions in the business that benefit from the
activity are allocated shares of the total indirect cost for the period based
on their usage as measured by the cost driver.

activity-based costing (ABC)

a process using multiple cost drivers to predict and allocate costs to products and services;
an accounting system collecting financial and operational
data on the basis of the underlying nature and extent
of business activities; an accounting information and
costing system that identifies the various activities performed
in an organization, collects costs on the basis of
the underlying nature and extent of those activities, and
assigns costs to products and services based on consumption
of those activities by the products and services

Activity-based costing (ABC)

A cost allocation system that compiles costs and assigns
them to activities based on relevant activity drivers. The cost of these activities can
then be charged to products or customers to arrive at a much more relevant allocation
of costs than was previously the case.

attribute-based costing (ABC II)

an extension of activitybased costing using cost-benefit analysis (based on increased customer utility) to choose the product attribute
enhancements that the company wants to integrate into a product

Acid-test ratio

Also called the quick ratio, the ratio of current assets minus inventories, accruals, and prepaid
items to current liabilities.

ABC Image 1


A ratio that shows how well a company could pay its current debts using only its most liquid or “quick” assets. It’s a more pessimistic—but also realistic—measure of safety than the current ratio, because it ignores sluggish, hard-toliquidate current assets like inventory and notes receivable. Here’s the formula:
(Cash + Accounts receivable + Marketable securities) / (Current liabilities)

Acid-test Ratio

See quick ratio

acid test ratio (also called the quick ratio)

The sum of cash, accounts receivable, and short-term marketable
investments (if any) is divided by
total current liabilities to compute this ratio. Suppose that the short-term
creditors were to pounce on a business and not agree to roll over the
debts owed to them by the business. In this rather extreme scenario, the
acid test ratio reveals whether its cash and near-cash assets are enough
to pay its short-term current liabilities. This ratio is an extreme test that
is not likely to be imposed on a business unless it is in financial straits.
This ratio is quite relevant when a business is in a liquidation situation
or bankruptcy proceedings.

Asset-coverage test

A bond indenture restriction that permits additional borrowing on if the ratio of assets to
debt does not fall below a specified minimum.

Average-Cost Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the average
cost of beginning inventory and inventory purchases during a period to cost of goods sold and
ending inventory.

Average inventory

The beginning inventory for a period, plus the amount at the end of
the period, divided by two. It is most commonly used in situations in which just
using the period-end inventory yields highly variable results, due to constant and
large changes in the inventory level.

Best-interests-of-creditors test

The requirement that a claim holder voting against a plan of reorganization
must receive at least as much as he would have if the debtor were liquidated.

Blanket inventory lien

A secured loan that gives the lender a lien against all the borrower's inventories.

Book inventory

The amount of money invested in inventory, as per a company’s
accounting records. It is comprised of the beginning inventory balance, plus the
cost of any receipts, less the cost of sold or scrapped inventory. It may be significantly
different from the actual on-hand inventory, if the two are not periodically

ABC Image 2

Days' sales in inventory ratio

The average number of days' worth of sales that is held in inventory.

Distribution inventory

inventory intended for shipment to customers, usually
comprised of finished goods and service items.

dollar days (of inventory)

a measurement of the value of inventory for the time that inventory is held

Ending inventory

The dollar value or unit total of goods on hand at the end of an
accounting period.

Fair-and-equitable test

A set of requirements for a plan of reorganization to be approved by the bankruptcy court.

Finished goods inventory

Goods that have been completed by the manufacturing
process, or purchased in a complete form, but which have not yet been sold to

Finished goods inventory

Completed inventory items ready for shipment to

First-In, First-Out (FIFO) Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that
assigns the earliest inventory acquisition costs to cost of goods sold. The most recent inventory
acquisition costs are assumed to remain in ending inventory.

Fluctuation inventory

Excess inventory kept on hand to provide a buffer against
forecasting errors.

functional classification

a separation of costs into groups based on the similar reason for their incurrence; it includes
cost of goods sold and detailed selling and administrative

Hedge inventory

Excess inventories kept on hand as a buffer against contingent

ABC Image 3

In-transit inventory

inventory currently situated between its shipment and delivery

Inactive inventory

Parts with no recent prior or forecasted usage.

Incontestable Clause

This clause in regular life insurance policy provides for voiding the contract of insurance for up to two years from the date of issue of the coverage if the life insured has failed to disclose important information or if there has been a misrepresentation of a material fact which would have prevented the coverage from being issued in the first place. After the end of two years from issue, a misrepresentation of smoking habits or age can still void or change the policy.

Interest coverage test

A debt limitation that prohibits the issuance of additional long-term debt if the issuer's
interest coverage would, as a result of the issue, fall below some specified minimum.


This means dying without a will, in which case the provincial laws of the province in which the death occurred apply to the manner in which assets will be distributed. In other words, if you don't write your own will, the government will do it for you after your death and it may not be as you would have wished.


For companies: Raw materials, items available for sale or in the process of being made ready for
sale. They can be individually valued by several different means, including cost or current market value, and
collectively by FIFO, LIFO or other techniques. The lower value of alternatives is usually used to preclude
overstating earnings and assets.
For security firms: securities bought and held by a broker or dealer for resale.


Goods bought or manufactured for resale but as yet unsold, comprising raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods.


The cost of the goods that a company has available for resale.


Goods that a firm stores in anticipation of its later sale or use as an input.


The cost of unsold goods that are held for sale in the ordinary course of business or
that will be used or consumed in the production of goods to be sold.


Those items included categorized as either raw materials, work-inprocess,
or finished goods, and involved in either the creation of products or service
supplies for customers.

Inventory adjustment

A transaction used to adjust the book balance of an inventory
record to the amount actually on hand.

Inventory Days

The number of days it would take to sell the ending balance in inventory at the
average rate of cost of goods sold per day. Calculated by dividing inventory by cost of goods sold
per day, which is cost of goods sold divided by 365.

Inventory diversion

The redirection of parts or finished goods away from their intended

Inventory issue

A transaction used to record the reduction in inventory from a location,
because of its release for processing or transfer to another location.

Inventory loan

A secured short-term loan to purchase inventory. The three basic forms are a blanket
inventory lien, a trust receipt, and field warehousing financing.

Inventory receipt

The arrival of an inventory delivery from a supplier or other
company location.

Inventory returns

inventory returned from a customer for any reason. This receipt
is handled differently from a standard inventory receipt, typically into an inspection
area, from which it may be returned to stock, reworked, or scrapped.

inventory shrinkage

A term describing the loss of products from inventory
due to shoplifting by customers, employee theft, damaged and
spoiled products that are thrown away, and errors in recording the purchase
and sale of products. A business should make a physical count and
inspection of its inventory to determine this loss.

Inventory Shrinkage

A shortfall between inventory based on actual physical counts and inventory
based on book records. This shortfall may be due to such factors as theft, breakage, loss, or
poor recordkeeping.

Inventory turnover

The ratio of annual sales to average inventory which measures the speed that inventory
is produced and sold. Low turnover is an unhealthy sign, indicating excess stocks and/or poor sales.


The number of times a company sold out and replaced its average stock of goods in a year. The formula is:
(Cost of goods sold) / (Average inventory (beginning inventory + ending)/2 )

Inventory turnover

The number of times per year that an entire inventory or a
subset thereof is used.

Inventory Turnover

Ratio of annual sales to inventory, which shows how many times the inventory of a firm is sold and replaced during an accounting period.

inventory turnover ratio

The cost-of-goods-sold expense for a given
period (usually one year) divided by the cost of inventories. The ratio
depends on how long products are held in stock on average before they
are sold. Managers should closely monitor this ratio.

Inventory Turnover Ratio

Provides a measure of how often a company's inventory is sold or
"turned over" during a period. It is calculated by dividing the sales
figure for the period by the book value of the inventory at the end of
the period.

inventory write-down

Refers to making an entry, usually at the close of a
period, to decrease the cost value of the inventories asset account in
order to recognize the lost value of products that cannot be sold at their
normal markups or will be sold below cost. A business compares the
recorded cost of products held in inventory against the sales value of the
products. Based on the lower-of-cost-or-market rule, an entry is made to
record the inventory write-down as an expense.

Just-in-time inventory systems

Systems that schedule materials/inventory to arrive exactly as they are
needed in the production process.

Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the most recent inventory acquisition costs to cost of goods sold. The earliest inventory
acquisition costs are assumed to remain in ending inventory.

Maximum inventory

An inventory item’s budgeted maximum inventory level,
comprising its preset safety stock level and planned lot size.


The value of the products that a retailing or wholesaling company intends to resell for a profit.
In a manufacturing business, inventories would include finished goods, goods in process, raw materials, and parts and components that will go into the end product.

Minimum inventory

An inventory item’s budgeted minimum inventory level.

Moving average inventory method

An inventory costing methodology that calls for the re-calculation of the average cost of all parts in stock after every purchase.
Therefore, the moving average is the cost of all units subsequent to the latest purchase,
divided by their total cost.

Net inventory

The current inventory balance, less allocated or reserved items.

Obsolete inventory

Parts not used in any current end product.

Periodic inventory

A physical inventory count taken on a repetitive basis.

Periodic inventory system

An inventory system in which the balance in the inventory account is adjusted for the units sold only at the end of the period.

Perpetual inventory

A system that continually tracks all additions to and deletions
from inventory, resulting in more accurate inventory records and a running total for
the cost of goods sold in each period.

Perpetual inventory

A manual or automated inventory tracking system in which
a new inventory balance is computed continuously whenever new transactions

Perpetual inventory system

An inventory system in which the balance in the inventory account is adjusted for the units sold each time a sale is made.

Physical inventory

A manual count of the on-hand inventory.

Proxy contest

A battle for the control of a firm in which the dissident group seeks, from the firm's other
shareholders, the right to vote those shareholder's shares in favor of the dissident group's slate of directors.
Also called proxy fight.

proxy contest

Takeover attempt in which outsiders compete with management for shareholders’ votes. Also called proxy fight.

Raw materials inventory

The total cost of all component parts currently in stock that
have not yet been used in work-in-process or finished goods production.

Reconciling inventory

The process of comparing book to actual inventory balances,
and adjusting for the difference in the book records.

Seasonal inventory

Very high inventory levels built up in anticipation of large
seasonal sales.

Surplus inventory

Parts for which the on-hand quantity exceeds forecasted

Tick-test rules

SEC-imposed restrictions on when a short sale may be executed, intended to prevent investors
from destabilizing the price of a stock when the market price is falling. A short sale can be made only when either
1) the sale price of the particular stock is higher than the last trade price (referred to as an uptick trade) or
2) if there is no change in the last trade price of the particular stock, the previous trade price must be
higher than the trade price that preceded it (referred to as a zero uptick).

vendor-managed inventory

a streamlined system of inventory
acquisition and management by which a supplier can
be empowered to monitor EDI inventory levels and provide
its customer company a proposed e-order and subsequent
shipment after electronic acceptance

Vendor-managed inventory

The direct management and ownership of selected
on-site inventory by suppliers.

Work-in-process inventory

inventory that has been partially converted through the
production process, but for which additional work must be completed before it can
be recorded as finished goods inventory.







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