Financial Terms
Assets

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Definition of Assets

Assets Image 1

Assets

A firm's productive resources.


ASSETS

Anything of value that a company owns.


Assets

Items owned by the company or expenses that have been paid for but have not been used up.


Assets

Things that the business owns.



Related Terms:

Acquisition of assets

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the selling firm's assets.


Assets requirements

A common element of a financial plan that describes projected capital spending and the
proposed uses of net working capital.



Current assets

Value of cash, accounts receivable, inventories, marketable securities and other assets that
could be converted to cash in less than 1 year.


Current assets

Cash, things that will be converted into cash within a year (such as accounts receivable), and inventory.


Assets Image 2

Current assets

Amounts receivable by the business within a period of 12 months, including bank, debtors, inventory and prepayments.


current assets

Current refers to cash and those assets that will be turned
into cash in the short run. Five types of assets are classified as current:
cash, short-term marketable investments, accounts receivable, inventories,
and prepaid expenses—and they are generally listed in this order in
the balance sheet.


Current Assets

Cash and other company assets that can be readily turned into cash within one year.


Exchange of assets

Acquisition of another company by purchase of its assets in exchange for cash or stock.


Financial assets

Claims on real assets.


financial assets

Claims to the income generated by real assets. Also called securities.


Fixed assets

Things that the business owns and are part of the business infrastructure – fixed assets may be
tangible or intangible.


fixed assets

An informal term that refers to the variety of long-term operating
resources used by a business in its operations—including real
estate, machinery, equipment, tools, vehicles, office furniture, computers,
and so on. In balance sheets, these assets are typically labeled property,
plant, and equipment. The term fixed assets captures the idea that the
assets are relatively fixed in place and are not held for sale in the normal
course of business. The cost of fixed assets, except land, is depreciated,
which means the cost is allocated over the estimated useful lives of the
assets.


Fixed Assets

Land, buildings, plant, equipment, and other assets acquired for carrying on the business of a company with a life exceeding one year. Normally expressed in financial accounts at cost, less accumulated depreciation.


Assets Image 3

Fixed Assets Turnover Ratio

A measure of the utilization of a company's fixed assets to
generate sales. It is calculated by dividing the sales for the period
by the book value of the net fixed assets.


Intangible assets

assets owned by the company that do not possess physical substance; they usually take the form of rights and privileges such as patents, copyrights, and franchises.



Intangible fixed assets

Non-physical assets, e.g. customer goodwill or intellectual property (patents and trademarks).


Long-term assets

Value of property, equipment and other capital assets minus the depreciation. This is an
entry in the bookkeeping records of a company, usually on a "cost" basis and thus does not necessarily reflect
the market value of the assets.


Longer-Term Fixed Assets

assets having a useful life greater than one year but the duration of the 'long term' will vary with the context in which the term is applied.


Net assets

The difference between total assets on the one hand and current liabilities and noncapitalized longterm
liabilities on the other hand.


Non-reproducible assets

A tangible asset with unique physical properties, like a parcel of land, a mine, or a
work of art.


Other assets

A cluster of accounts that are listed after fixed assets on the balance sheet,
and which contain minor assets that cannot be reasonably fit into any of the other
main asset categories.


Other current assets

Value of non-cash assets, including prepaid expenses and accounts receivable, due
within 1 year.


Personal Assets

assets, the title of which are held personally rather than in the name of some other legal entity.


Preferred Stock Stock that has a claim on assets and dividends of a corporation that are prior

to that of common stock. Preferred stock typically does not carry the right to vote.


Publicly traded assets

assets that can be traded in a public market, such as the stock market.



Quick assets

Current assets minus inventories.


RATE OF RETURN ON TOTAL ASSETS

The percentage return or profit that management made on each dollar of assets. The formula is:
(Net income) / (Total assets)


Real assets

Identifiable assets, such as buildings, equipment, patents, and trademarks, as distinguished from a
financial obligation.


real assets

assets used to produce goods and services.


Realizable Revenue A revenue transaction where assets received in exchange for goods and

services are readily convertible into known amounts of cash or claims to cash.


Reproducible assets

A tangible asset with physical properties that can be reproduced, such as a building or
machinery.


Residual assets

assets that remain after sufficient assets are dedicated to meet all senior debtholder's claims in full.


Return on assets (ROA)

Indicator of profitability. Determined by dividing net income for the past 12 months
by total average assets. Result is shown as a percentage. ROA can be decomposed into return on sales (net
income/sales) multiplied by asset utilization (sales/assets).


return on assets (ROA)

Although there is no single uniform practice for
calculating this ratio, generally it equals operating profit (before interest
and income tax) for a year divided by the total assets that are used to
generate the profit. ROA is the key ratio to test whether a business is
earning enough on its assets to cover its cost of capital. ROA is used for
determining financial leverage gain (or loss).


Return on total assets

The ratio of earnings available to common stockholders to total assets.


Return on Total Assets Ratio

A measure of the percentage return earned on the value of the
assets in the company. It is calculated by dividing the net income
available for distribution to shareholders by the book value of all
assets.


Tangible fixed assets

Physical assets that can be seen and touched, e.g. buildings, machinery, vehicles, computers etc.


Total Debt to Total Assets Ratio

See debt ratio


12B-1 fees

The percent of a mutual fund's assets used to defray marketing and distribution expenses. The
amount of the fee is stated in the fund's prospectus. The SEC has recently proposed that 12B-1 fees in excess
of 0.25% be classed as a load. A true " no load" fund has neither a sales charge nor 12b-1 fee.


12b-1 funds

Mutual funds that do not charge an upfront or back-end commission, but instead take out up to
1.25% of average daily fund assets each year to cover the costs of selling and marketing shares, an
arrangement allowed by the SEC's Rule 12b-I (passed in 1980).


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 insolvency

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


Accounting liquidity

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


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.


accumulated depreciation

A contra, or offset, account that is coupled
with the property, plant, and equipment asset account in which the original
costs of the long-term operating assets of a business are recorded.
The accumulated depreciation contra account accumulates the amount of
depreciation expense that is recorded period by period. So the balance in
this account is the cumulative amount of depreciation that has been
recorded since the assets were acquired. The balance in the accumulated
depreciation account is deducted from the original cost of the assets
recorded in the property, plant, and equipment asset account. The
remainder, called the book value of the assets, is the amount included on
the asset side of a business.


Acid-test ratio

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


ACID-TEST RATIO

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 (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.


acquisition

Takeover of a firm by purchase of that firm’s common
stock or assets.


Aggressive Capitalization Policies

Capitalizing and reporting as assets significant portions of
expenditures, the realization of which require unduly optimistic assumptions.


Aggressive Cost Capitalization

Cost capitalization that stretches the flexibility within generally
accepted accounting principles beyond its intended limits, resulting in reporting as assets
items that more reasonably should have been expensed. The purpose of this activity is likely to
alter financial results and financial position in order to create a potentially misleading impression
of a firm's business performance or financial position.


Amortization

See depreciation, but usually in relation to assets attached to leased property.


Amortization

Reduction in value of an asset over some period for accounting
purposes. Generally used with intangible assets. Depreciation is the term used
with fixed or tangible assets.


Asset activity ratios

Ratios that measure how effectively the firm is managing its assets.


Asset allocation decision

The decision regarding how an institution's funds should be distributed among the
major classes of assets in which it may invest.


Asset-Backed Securities

Bond or note secured by assets of company.


Asset-based financing

Methods of financing in which lenders and equity investors look principally to the
cash flow from a particular asset or set of assets for a return on, and the return of, their financing.


Asset classes

Categories of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate and foreign securities.


Asset Coverage

Extent to which a company's net assets cover a particular debt obligation, class of preferred stock, or equity position.


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.


Asset/equity ratio

The ratio of total assets to stockholder equity.


Asset/liability management

Also called surplus management, the task of managing funds of a financial
institution to accomplish the two goals of a financial institution:
1) to earn an adequate return on funds invested, and
2) to maintain a comfortable surplus of assets beyond liabilities.


asset mix

The weighting of assets in an investment portfolio among different asset classes (e.g. shares, bonds, property, cash, overseas investments.


Asset substitution

A firm's investing in assets that are riskier than those that the debtholders expected.


Asset substitution problem

Arises when the stockholders substitute riskier assets for the firm's existing
assets and expropriate value from the debtholders.


Asset swap

An interest rate swap used to alter the cash flow characteristics of an institution's assets so as to
provide a better match with its iabilities.


Asset turnover

The ratio of net sales to total assets.


asset turnover

a ratio measuring asset productivity and showing the number of sales dollars generated by each dollar of assets


asset turnover ratio

A broad-gauge ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by total assets. It is a rough measure of the sales-generating
power of assets. The idea is that assets are used to make sales, and the
sales should lead to profit. The ultimate test is not sales revenue on
assets, but the profit earned on assets as measured by the return on
assets (ROA) ratio.


Attribution Rules

Legislation under which interest, dividends, or capital gains earned on assets you transfer to your spouse will be treated as your own for tax purposes. Interest or dividends relating to property transferred to children under 18 also will be attributed back to you. The exception to this rule is that capital gains relating to property transferred to children under 18 will not be attributed back to you.


Balance sheet

Also called the statement of financial condition, it is a summary of the assets, liabilities, and
owners' equity.


BALANCE SHEET

A “snapshot” statement that freezes a company on a particular day, like the last day of the year, and shows the balances in its asset, liability, and stockholders’ equity accounts. It’s governed by the formula:
assets = Liabilities + Stockholders’ Equity.


Balance Sheet

A financial statement showing the financial position of a business – its assets, liabilities and
capital – at the end of an accounting period.


Balance Sheet

One of the basic financial statements; it lists the assets, liabilities, and equity accounts of the company. The Balance Sheet is prepared using the balances at the end of a specific day.


balance sheet

A term often used instead of the more formal and correct
term—statement of financial condition. This financial statement summarizes
the assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity sources of a business at a
given moment in time. It is prepared at the end of each profit period and
whenever else it is needed. It is one of the three primary financial statements
of a business, the other two being the income statement and the
statement of cash flows. The values reported in the balance sheet are the
amounts used to determine book value per share of capital stock. Also,
the book value of an asset is the amount reported in a business’s most
recent balance sheet.


Balance sheet

A report that summarizes all assets, liabilities, and equity for a company
for a given point in time.


balance sheet

Financial statement that shows the value of the
firm’s assets and liabilities at a particular time.


Balance Sheet

A financial report showing the status of a company's assets, liabilities, and owners' equity on a given date.


Balance sheet identity

Total assets = Total Liabilities + Total Stockholders' Equity


Bankruptcy

State of being unable to pay debts. Thus, the ownership of the firm's assets is transferred from
the stockholders to the bondholders.


Basic Earnings Power Ratio

Percentage of earnings relative to total assets; indication of how
effectively assets are used to generate earnings. It is calculated by
dividing earnings before interest and taxes by the book value of all
assets.


Beneficiary

This is the person who benefits from the terms of a trust, a will, an RRSP, a RRIF, a LIF, an annuity or a life insurance policy. In relation to RRSP's, RRIF's, LIF's, Annuities and of course life insurance, if the beneficiary is a spouse, parent, offspring or grand-child, they are considered to be a preferred beneficiary. If the insured has named a preferred beneficiary, the death benefit is invariably protected from creditors. There have been some court challenges of this right of protection but so far they have been unsuccessful. See "Creditor Protection" below. A beneficiary under the age of 18 must be represented by an individual guardian over the age of 18 or a public official who represents minors generally. A policy owner may, in the designation of a beneficiary, appoint someone to act as trustee for a minor. Death benefits are not subject to income taxes. If you make your beneficiary your estate, the death benefit will be included in your assets for probate. Probate filing fees are currently $14 per thousand of estate value in British Columbia and $15 per thousand of estate value in Ontario.
Another way to avoid probate fees or creditor claims against life insurance proceeds is for the insured person to designate and register with his/her insurance company's head office an irrevocable beneficiary. By making such a designation, the insured gives up the right to make any changes to his/her policy without the consent of the irrevocable beneficiary. Because of the seriousness of the implications, an irrevocable designation should only be made for good reason and where the insured fully understands the consequences.
NoteA successful challenge of the rules relating to beneficiaries was concluded in an Ontario court in 1996. The Insurance Act says its provisions relating to beneficiaries are made "notwithstanding the Succession Law Reform Act." There are two relevent provisions of the Succession Law Reform Act. One section of the act gives a judge the power to make any order concerning an estate if the deceased person has failed to provide for a dependant. Another section says money from a life insurance policy can be considered part of the estate if an order is made to support a dependant. In the case in question, the deceased had attempted to deceive his lawful dependents by making his common-law-spouse the beneficiary of an insurance policy which by court order was supposed to name his ex-spouse and children as beneficiaries.


big bath

A street-smart term that refers to the practice by many businesses
of recording very large lump-sum write-offs of certain assets or
recording large amounts for pending liabilities triggered by business
restructurings, massive employee layoffs, disposals of major segments of
the business, and other major traumas in the life of a business. Businesses
have been known to use these occasions to record every conceivable
asset write-off and/or liability write-up that they can think of in
order to clear the decks for the future. In this way a business avoids
recording expenses in the future, and its profits in the coming years will
be higher. The term is derisive, but investors generally seem very forgiving
regarding the abuses of this accounting device. But you never
know—investors may cast a more wary eye on this practice in the future.


Big Bath

A wholesale write-down of assets and accrual of liabilities in an effort to make the
balance sheet particularly conservative so that there will be fewer expenses to serve as a drag on future earnings.


Book profit

The cumulative book income plus any gain or loss on disposition of the assets on termination of the SAT.


Book Returns

Book yield is the investment income earned in a year on a portfolio of assets purchased over a number of years and at different interest rates, divided by the book value of those assets.


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.


book value

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


BOOK VALUE OF COMMON STOCK

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)


Broker

An agent who handles public orders to buy or sell financial assets.


Business Expansion Investment

The use of capital to create more money through the addition of fixed assets or through income producing vehicles.


Capital

The shareholders’ investment in the business; the difference between the assets and liabilities
of a business.


capital

A very broad term rooted in economic theory and referring to
money and other assets that are invested in a business or other venture
for the general purpose of earning a profit, or a return on the investment.
Generally speaking, the sources of capital for a business are
divided between debt and equity. Debt, as you know, is borrowed money
on which interest is paid. Equity is the broad term for the ownership
capital invested in a business and is most often called owners’ equity.
Owners’ equity arises from two quite different sources: (1) money or
other assets invested in the business by its owners and (2) profit earned
by the business that is retained and not distributed to its owners (called
retained earnings).


Capital

Expenditures Purchases of productive long-lived assets, in particular, items of property,
plant, and equipment.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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