Financial Terms
Account Value

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Definition of Account Value

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Account Value

The sum of all the interest options in your policy, including interest.

Related Terms:


An explanation or report in financial terms about the transactions of an organization.


The process of satisfying stakeholders in the organization that managers have acted in the best interests of the stakeholders, a result of the stewardship function of managers, which takes place through accounting.


A collection of systems and processes used to record, report and interpret business transactions.


A broad, all-inclusive term that refers to the methods and procedures
of financial record keeping by a business (or any entity); it also
refers to the main functions and purposes of record keeping, which are
to assist in the operations of the entity, to provide necessary information
to managers for making decisions and exercising control, to measure
profit, to comply with income and other tax laws, and to prepare financial

Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release (AAER)

Administrative proceedings or litigation releases that entail an accounting or auditing-related violation of the securities laws.

Accounting change

An alteration in the accounting methodology or estimates used in
the reporting of financial statements, usually requiring discussion in a footnote
attached to the financial statements.

Accounting earnings

Earnings of a firm as reported on its income statement.

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Accounting entity

A business for which a separate set of accounting records is being

Accounting equation

The representation of the double-entry system of accounting such that assets are equal to liabilities plus capital.

Accounting equation

The formula Assets = Liabilities + Equity.

accounting equation

An equation that reflects the two-sided nature of a
business entity, assets on the one side and the sources of assets on the
other side (assets = liabilities + owners’ equity). The assets of a business
entity are subject to two types of claims that arise from its two basic
sources of capital—liabilities and owners’ equity. The accounting equation
is the foundation for double-entry bookkeeping, which uses a
scheme for recording changes in these basic types of accounts as either
debits or credits such that the total of accounts with debit balances
equals the total of accounts with credit balances. The accounting equation
also serves as the framework for the statement of financial condition,
or balance sheet, which is one of the three fundamental financial
statements reported by a business.

Accounting Errors

Unintentional mistakes in financial statements. accounted for by restating
the prior-year financial statements that are in error.

Accounting exposure

The change in the value of a firm's foreign currency denominated accounts due to a
change in exchange rates.

Accounting insolvency

Total liabilities exceed total assets. A firm with a negative net worth is insolvent on
the books.

Accounting Irregularities

Intentional misstatements or omissions of amounts or disclosures in
financial statements done to deceive financial statement users. The term is used interchangeably with fraudulent financial reporting.

Accounting liquidity

The ease and quickness with which assets can be converted to cash.

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Accounting period

The period of time for which financial statements are produced – see also financial year.

Accounting Policies

The principles, bases, conventions, rules and procedures adopted by management in preparing and presenting financial statements.

Accounting rate of return (ARR)

A method of investment appraisal that measures
the profit generated as a percentage of the
investment – see return on investment.

accounting rate of return (ARR)

the rate of earnings obtained on the average capital investment over the life of a capital project; computed as average annual profits divided by average investment; not based on cash flow

Accounting system

A set of accounts that summarize the transactions of a business that have been recorded on source documents.


‘Buckets’ within the ledger, part of the accounting system. Each account contains similar transactions (line items) that are used for the production of financial statements. Or commonly used as an abbreviation for financial statements.

Accounts payable

Money owed to suppliers.


Amounts a company owes to creditors.

Accounts payable

Amounts owed by the company for goods and services that have been received, but have not yet been paid for. Usually accounts payable involves the receipt of an invoice from the company providing the services or goods.

accounts payable

Short-term, non-interest-bearing liabilities of a business
that arise in the course of its activities and operations from purchases on
credit. A business buys many things on credit, whereby the purchase
cost of goods and services are not paid for immediately. This liability
account records the amounts owed for credit purchases that will be paid
in the short run, which generally means about one month.

Accounts payable

Acurrent liability on the balance sheet, representing short-term obligations
to pay suppliers.

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Accounts Payable

Amounts due to vendors for purchases on open account, that is, not evidenced
by a signed note.

Accounts Payable Days (A/P Days)

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

Accounts receivable

Money owed by customers.


Amounts owed to a company by customers that it sold to on credit. Total accounts receivable are usually reduced by an allowance for doubtful accounts.

Accounts receivable

Amounts owed to the company, generally for sales that it has made.

accounts receivable

Short-term, non-interest-bearing debts owed to a
business by its customers who bought goods and services from the business
on credit. Generally, these debts should be collected within a month
or so. In a balance sheet, this asset is listed immediately after cash.
(Actually the amount of short-term marketable investments, if the business
has any, is listed after cash and before accounts receivable.)
accounts receivable are viewed as a near-cash type of asset that will be
turned into cash in the short run. A business may not collect all of its
accounts receivable. See also bad debts.

Accounts receivable

A current asset on the balance sheet, representing short-term
amounts due from customers who have purchased on account.

Accounts Receivable

Amounts due from customers for sales on open account, not evidenced
by a signed note.

Accounts Receivable

Money owed to a business for merchandise or services sold on open account.

Accounts Receivable Days (A/R Days)

The number of days it would take to collect the ending
balance in accounts receivable at the year's average rate of revenue per day. Calculated as
accounts receivable divided by revenue per day (revenue divided by 365).

Accounts receivable turnover

The ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, a measure of how
quickly customers pay their bills.

accounts receivable turnover ratio

A ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by the year-end balance of accounts receivable. Technically
speaking, to calculate this ratio the amount of annual credit sales should
be divided by the average accounts receivable balance, but this information
is not readily available from external financial statements. For
reporting internally to managers, this ratio should be refined and finetuned
to be as accurate as possible.

Accrual accounting

The recording of revenue when earned and expenses when
incurred, irrespective of the dates on which the associated cash flows occur.

accrual-basis accounting

Well, frankly, accrual is not a good descriptive
term. Perhaps the best way to begin is to mention that accrual-basis
accounting is much more than cash-basis accounting. Recording only the
cash receipts and cash disbursement of a business would be grossly
inadequate. A business has many assets other than cash, as well as
many liabilities, that must be recorded. Measuring profit for a period as
the difference between cash inflows from sales and cash outflows for
expenses would be wrong, and in fact is not allowed for most businesses
by the income tax law. For management, income tax, and financial
reporting purposes, a business needs a comprehensive record-keeping
system—one that recognizes, records, and reports all the assets and liabilities
of a business. This all-inclusive scope of financial record keeping
is referred to as accrual-basis accounting. Accrual-basis accounting
records sales revenue when sales are made (though cash is received
before or after the sales) and records expenses when costs are incurred
(though cash is paid before or after expenses are recorded). Established
financial reporting standards require that profit for a period
must be recorded using accrual-basis accounting methods. Also, these
authoritative standards require that in reporting its financial condition a
business must use accrual-basis accounting.

Accruals accounting

A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred.

Accumulated Value

An amount of money invested plus the interest earned on that money.

Adjusted present value (APV)

The net present value analysis of an asset if financed solely by equity
(present value of un-levered cash flows), plus the present value of any financing decisions (levered cash
flows). In other words, the various tax shields provided by the deductibility of interest and the benefits of
other investment tax credits are calculated separately. This analysis is often used for highly leveraged
transactions such as a leverage buy-out.

Aggressive Accounting

A forceful and intentional choice and application of accounting principles
done in an effort to achieve desired results, typically higher current earnings, whether the practices followed are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or not. Aggressive
accounting practices are not alleged to be fraudulent until an administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding takes that step and alleges, in particular, that an intentional, material misstatement
has taken place in an effort to deceive financial statement readers.

Allowance for doubtful accounts

A contra account related to accounts receivable that represents the amounts that the company expects will not be collected.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

An estimate of the uncollectible portion of accounts receivable
that is subtracted from the gross amount of accounts receivable to arrive at the estimated collectible

approximated net realizable value at split-off allocation

a method of allocating joint cost to joint products using a
simulated net realizable value at the split-off point; approximated
value is computed as final sales price minus
incremental separate costs

Average accounting return

The average project earnings after taxes and depreciation divided by the average
book value of the investment during its life.

Average age of accounts receivable

The weighted-average age of all of the firm's outstanding invoices.

Balance of Payments Accounts

A statement of a country's transactions with other countries.

Benefit Value

The amount of cash payable on a benefit.

Bond value

With respect to convertible bonds, the value the security would have if it were not convertible
apart from the conversion option.

Book value

A company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities, such as debt. A
company's book value might be more or less than its market value.


An asset’s cost basis minus accumulated depreciation.

Book Value

The value of an asset as carried on the balance sheet of a
company. In reference to the value of a company, it is the net worth
(equity) of the company.

Book value

An asset’s original cost, less any depreciation that has been subsequently incurred.

book value

Net worth of the firm’s assets or liabilities according
to the balance sheet.

book value and book value per share

Generally speaking, these terms
refer to the balance sheet value of an asset (or less often of a liability) or
the balance sheet value of owners’ equity per share. Either term emphasizes
that the amount recorded in the accounts or on the books of a business
is the value being used. The total of the amounts reported for
owners’ equity in its balance sheet is divided by the number of stock
shares of a corporation to determine the book value per share of its capital


The theoretical amount per share that each stockholder would receive if a company’s assets were sold on the balance sheet’s date. Book value equals:
(Stockholders’ equity) / (Common stock shares outstanding)

Book value per share

The ratio of stockholder equity to the average number of common shares. Book value
per share should not be thought of as an indicator of economic worth, since it reflects accounting valuation
(and not necessarily market valuation).

Book Value per Share

The book value of a company divided by the number of shares

business-value-added activity

an activity that is necessary for the operation of the business but for which a customer would not want to pay

Capital account

Net result of public and private international investment and lending activities.

Capital Account

That part of the balance of payments accounts that records demands for and supplies of a currency arising from purchases or sales of assets.


What a company collected when it sold stock for more than the par value per share.

Carrying value

Book value.

Cash accounting

A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income
when it is received and expenses when they are paid.

Cash-surrender value

An amount the insurance company will pay if the policyholder ends a whole life
insurance policy.

Cash Surrender Value

This is the amount available to the owner of a life insurance policy upon voluntary termination of the policy before it becomes payable by the death of the life insured. This does not apply to term insurance but only to those policies which have reduced paid up values and cash surrender values. A cash surrender in lieu of death benefit usually has tax implications.

Cash Surrender Value

Benefit that entitles a policy owner to an amount of money upon cancellation of a policy.

Cash value added (CVA)

A method of investment appraisal that calculates the ratio of the net present value of an
investment to the initial capital investment.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

a professional designation in the area of management accounting that
recognizes the successful completion of an examination,
acceptable work experience, and continuing education requirements

Change in Accounting Estimate

A change in accounting that occurs as the result of new information
or as additional experience is acquired—for example, a change in the residual values
or useful lives of fixed assets. A change in accounting estimate is accounted for prospectively,
over the current and future accounting periods affected by the change.

Change in Accounting Estimate

A change in the implementation of an existing accounting
policy. A common example would be extending the useful life or changing the expected residual
value of a fixed asset. Another would be making any necessary adjustments to allowances for
uncollectible accounts, warranty obligations, and reserves for inventory obsolescense.

Change in Accounting Principle

A change from one generally accepted accounting principle to another generally accepted accounting principle—for example, a change from capitalizing expenditures
to expensing them. A change in accounting principle is accounted for in most instances
as a cumulative-effect–type adjustment.

Chart of accounts

A listing of all accounts used in the general ledger, usually sorted in
order of account number.

Concentration account

A single centralized account into which funds collected at regional locations
(lockboxes) are transferred.

Constant dollar accounting

A method for restating financial statements by reducing or
increasing reported revenues and expenses by changes in the consumer price index,
thereby achieving greater comparability between accounting periods.

Contra-asset account

An offset to an asset account that reduces the balance of the asset account.

Contra-equity account

An account that reduces an equity account. An example is Treasury stock.

Contract Accounting

Method of accounting for sales or service agreements where completion
requires an extended period.

Control account

An account maintained in the general ledger that holds the balance without the detail. The detail is maintained in a subsidiary ledger.

Conversion value

Also called parity value, the value of a convertible security if it is converted immediately.

cost accounting

a discipline that focuses on techniques or
methods for determining the cost of a project, process, or
thing through direct measurement, arbitrary assignment, or
systematic and rational allocation

Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB)

a body established by Congress in 1970 to promulgate cost accounting
standards for defense contractors and federal agencies; disbanded
in 1980 and reestablished in 1988; it previously issued
pronouncements still carry the weight of law for those
organizations within its jurisdiction

Creative Accounting Practices

Any and all steps used to play the financial numbers game, including
the aggressive choice and application of accounting principles, both within and beyond
the boundaries of generally accepted accounting principles, and fraudulent financial reporting.
Also included are steps taken toward earnings management and income smoothing. See Financial
Numbers Game.

Creative Acquisition Accounting

The allocation to expense of a greater portion of the price
paid for another company in an acquisition in an effort to reduce acquisition-year earnings and
boost future-year earnings. Acquisition-year expense charges include purchased in-process research
and development and an overly aggressive accrual of costs required to effect the acquisition.

Cumulative Effect of a Change in Accounting Principle

The change in earnings of previous years
based on the assumption that a newly adopted accounting principle had previously been in use.

Cumulative Effect of Accounting Change

The change in earnings of previous years assuming
that the newly adopted accounting principle had previously been in use.

Cumulative Translation Adjustment (CTA) account

An entry in a translated balance sheet in which gains
and/or losses from translation have been accumulated over a period of years. The CTA account is required
under the FASB No. 52 rule.

Current account

Net flow of goods, services, and unilateral transactions (gifts) between countries.

Current Account

That part of the balance of payments accounts that records demands for and supplies of a currency arising from activities that affect current income, namely imports, exports, investment income payments such as interest and dividends, and transfers such as gifts, pensions, and foreign aid.

Discounting of Accounts Receivable

Short-term financing in which accounts receivable are used as collateral to secure a loan. The lender does not buy the accounts receivable but simply uses them as collateral for the loan. Also called pledging of accounts receivable.

Discretionary account

accounts over which an individual or organization, other than the person in whose
name the account is carried, exercises trading authority or control.

double-entry accounting

See accrual-basis accounting.

Economic Value Added (EVA)

Operating profit, adjusted to remove distortions caused by certain accounting rules, less a charge
to cover the cost of capital invested in the business.

economic value added (EVA)

a measure of the extent to which income exceeds the dollar cost of capital; calculated
as income minus (invested capital times the cost of capital percentage)

economic value added (EVA)

Term used by the consulting firm Stern Stewart for profit remaining after deduction of the cost
of the capital employed.







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