Financial Terms
Average-Cost Inventory Method

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Definition of Average-Cost Inventory Method

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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.

Related Terms:

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.

Agency cost view

The argument that specifies that the various agency costs create a complex environment in
which total agency costs are at a minimum with some, but less than 100%, debt financing.

Agency costs

The incremental costs of having an agent make decisions for a principal.

All-in cost

Total costs, explicit and implicit.

Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.


An arithmetic mean of selected stocks intended to represent the behavior of the market or some
component of it. One good example is the widely quoted Dow Jones Industrial average, which adds the
current prices of the 30 DJIA's stocks, and divides the results by a predetermined number, the divisor.

Average accounting return

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

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Average age of accounts receivable

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

Average collection period, or days' receivables

The ratio of accounts receivables to sales, or the total
amount of credit extended per dollar of daily sales (average AR/sales * 365).

Average cost of capital

A firm's required payout to the bondholders and to the stockholders expressed as a
percentage of capital contributed to the firm. average cost of capital is computed by dividing the total
required cost of capital by the total amount of contributed capital.

Average life

Also referred to as the weighted-average life (WAL). The average number of years that each
dollar of unpaid principal due on the mortgage remains outstanding. average life is computed as the weighted average time to the receipt of all future cash flows, using as the weights the dollar amounts of the principal

Average maturity

The average time to maturity of securities held by a mutual fund. Changes in interest rates
have greater impact on funds with longer average life.

Average (across-day) measures

An estimation of price that uses the average or representative price of a
large number of trades.

Average rate of return (ARR)

The ratio of the average cash inflow to the amount invested.

Average tax rate

Taxes as a fraction of income; total taxes divided by total taxable income.

Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other
benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt finaning.

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Blanket inventory lien

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

Capitalization method

A method of constructing a replicating portfolio in which the manager purchases a
number of the largest-capitalized names in the index stock in proportion to their capitalization.

Carring costs

costs that increase with increases in the level of investment in current assets.

Cost company arrangement

Arrangement whereby the shareholders of a project receive output free of
charge but agree to pay all operating and financing charges of the project.

Cost of capital

The required return for a capital budgeting project.

Cost of carry

Related: Net financing cost

Cost of funds

Interest rate associated with borrowing money.

Cost of lease financing

A lease's internal rate of return.

Cost of limited partner capital

The discount rate that equates the after-tax inflows with outflows for capital
raised from limited partners.

Cost-benefit ratio

The net present value of an investment divided by the investment's initial cost. Also called
the profitability index.

Current rate method

Under this currency translation method, all foreign currency balance-sheet and income
statement items are translated at the current exchange rate.

Days' sales in inventory ratio

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

Direct estimate method

A method of cash budgeting based on detailed estimates of cash receipts and cash
disbursements category by category.

Dow Jones industrial average

This is the best known U.S.index of stocks. It contains 30 stocks that trade on
the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow, as it is called, is a barometer of how shares of the largest
U.S.companies are performing. There are thousands of investment indexes around the world for stocks,
bonds, currencies and commodities.

Equivalent annual cost

The equivalent cost per year of owning an asset over its entire life.

Execution costs

The difference between the execution price of a security and the price that would have
existed in the absence of a trade, which can be further divided into market impact costs and market timing

Financial distress costs

Legal and administrative costs of liquidation or reorganization. Also includes
implied costs associated with impaired ability to do business (indirect costs).

Fixed cost

A cost that is fixed in total for a given period of time and for given production levels.

Flow-through method

The practice of reporting to shareholders using straight-line depreciation and
accelerated depreciation for tax purposes and "flowing through" the lower income taxes actually paid to the
financial statement prepared for shareholders.

Friction costs

costs, both implied and direct, associated with a transaction. Such costs include time, effort,
money, and associated tax effects of gathering information and making a transaction.

Incremental costs and benefits

costs and benefits that would occur if a particular course of action were
taken compared to those that would occur if that course of action were not taken.

Information costs

Transaction costs that include the assessment of the investment merits of a financial asset.
Related: search costs.


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.

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 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.

Just-in-time inventory systems

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

Log-linear least-squares method

A statistical technique for fitting a curve to a set of data points. One of the
variables is transformed by taking its logarithm, and then a straight line is fitted to the transformed set of data

Market impact costs

Also called price impact costs, the result of a bid/ask spread and a dealer's price concession.

Market timing costs

costs that arise from price movement of the stock during the time of the transaction
which is attributed to other activity in the stock.

Monetary / non-monetary method

Under this translation method, monetary items (e.g. cash, accounts
payable and receivable, and long-term debt) are translated at the current rate while non-monetary items (e.g.
inventory, fixed assets, and long-term investments) are translated at historical rates.

Moving average

Used in charts and technical analysis, the average of security or commodity prices
constructed in a period as short as a few days or as Long as several years and showing trends for the latest
interval. As each new variable is included in calculating the average, the last variable of the series is deleted.

Net financing cost

Also called the cost of carry or, simply, carry, the difference between the cost of financing
the purchase of an asset and the asset's cash yield. Positive carry means that the yield earned is greater than
the financing cost; negative carry means that the financing cost exceeds the yield earned.

Normalizing method

The practice of making a charge in the income account equivalent to the tax savings
realized through the use of different depreciation methods for shareholder and income tax purposes, thus
washing out the benefits of the tax savings reported as final net income to shareholders.

Opportunity cost of capital

Expected return that is foregone by investing in a project rather than in
comparable financial securities.

Opportunity costs

The difference in the performance of an actual investment and a desired investment
adjusted for fixed costs and execution costs. The performance differential is a consequence of not being able
to implement all desired trades. Most valuable alternative that is given up.

Price impact costs

Related: market impact costs

Purchase method

Accounting for an acquisition using market value for the consolidation of the two entities'
net assets on the balance sheet. Generally, depreciation/amortization will increase for this method compared
with pooling and will result in lower net income.

Replacement cost

cost to replace a firm's assets.

Residual method

A method of allocating the purchase price for the acquisition of another firm among the
acquired assets.

Round-trip transactions costs

costs of completing a transaction, including commissions, market impact
costs, and taxes.

Search costs

costs associated with locating a counterparty to a trade, including explicit costs (such as
advertising) and implicit costs (such as the value of time). Related:information costs.

Shortage cost

costs that fall with increases in the level of investment in current assets.

Simple compound growth method

A method of calculating the growth rate by relating the terminal value to
the initial value and assuming a constant percentage annual rate of growth between these two values.

Simple moving average

The mean, calculated at any time over a past period of fixed length.

Statement-of-cash-flows method

A method of cash budgeting that is organized along the lines of the statement of cash flows.

Sunk costs

costs that have been incurred and cannot be reversed.

Temporal method

Under this currency translation method, the choice of exchange rate depends on the
underlying method of valuation. Assets and liabilities valued at historical cost (market cost) are translated at
the historical (current market) rate.

Trading costs

costs of buying and selling marketable securities and borrowing. Trading costs include
commissions, slippage, and the bid/ask spread. See: transaction costs.

Transactions costs

The time, effort, and money necessary, including such things as commission fees and the
cost of physically moving the asset from seller to buyer. Related: Round-trip transaction costs, Information
costs, search costs.

True interest cost

For a security such as commercial paper that is sold on a discount basis, the coupon rate
required to provide an identical return assuming a coupon-bearing instrument of like maturity that pays
interest in arrears.

Variable cost

A cost that is directly proportional to the volume of output produced. When production is zero,
the variable cost is equal to zero.

Weighted average cost of capital

Expected return on a portfolio of all the firm's securities. Used as a hurdle
rate for capital investment.

Weighted average coupon

The weighted average of the gross interest rate of the mortgages underlying the
pool as of the pool issue date, with the balance of each mortgage used as the weighting factor.

Weighted average life

See:average life.

Weighted average maturity

The WAM of a MBS is the weighted average of the remaining terms to maturity
of the mortgages underlying the collateral pool at the date of issue, using as the weighting factor the balance
of each of the mortgages as of the issue date.

Weighted average remaining maturity

The average remaining term of the mortgages underlying a MBS.

Weighted average portfolio yield

The weighted average of the yield of all the bonds in a portfolio.

Cost basis

An asset’s purchase price, plus costs associated with the purchase, like installation fees, taxes, etc.

Cost of goods sold

The cost of merchandise that a company sold this year. For manufacturing companies, the cost of raw
materials, components, labor and other things that went into producing an item.


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 )

MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System)

A depreciation method created by the IRS under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Companies must use it to depreciate all plant and equipment assets installed after December 31, 1986 (for tax purposes).


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.


An inventory valuation method that calculates a weighted average cost per unit for all the goods available for sale.
Multiplying that figure by the total units in ending inventory gives you the inventory’s value.

Absorption costing

A method of costing in which all fixed and variable production costs are charged to products or services using an allocation base.

Activity-based costing

A method of costing that uses cost pools to accumulate the cost of significant business activities and then assigns the costs from the cost pools to products or services based on cost drivers.

Avoidable costs

costs that are identifiable with and able to be influenced by decisions made at the business
unit (e.g. division) level.

Cash cost

The amount of cash expended.


A resource sacrificed or forgone to achieve a specific objective (Horngren et al.), defined
typically in monetary terms.

Cost behaviour

The idea that fixed costs and variable costs react differently to changes in the volume of
products/services produced.

Cost centre

A division or unit of an organization that is responsible for controlling costs.

Cost control

The process of either reducing costs while maintaining the same level of productivity or maintaining costs while increasing productivity.

Cost driver

The most significant cause of the cost of an activity, a measure of the demand for an activity
by each product/service enabling the cost of activities to be assigned from cost pools to products/services.

Cost object

Anything for which a measurement of cost is required – inputs, processes, outputs or responsibility centres.

Cost of capital

The costs incurred by an organization to fund all its investments, comprising the risk-adjusted
cost of equity and debt weighted by the mix of equity and debt.

Cost of goods sold

See cost of sales.

Cost of manufacture

The cost of goods manufactured for subsequent sale.

Cost of quality

The difference between the actual costs of production, selling and service and the costs that would be incurred if there were no failures during production or usage of products or services.

Cost of sales

The manufacture or purchase price of goods sold in a period or the cost of providing a service.

Cost-plus pricing

A method of pricing in which a mark-up is added to the total product/service cost.

Cost pool

The costs of (cross-functional) business processes, irrespective of the organizational structure of the business.

Cost–volume–profit analysis (CVP)

A method for understanding the relationship between revenue, cost and sales volume.

Direct costs

costs that are readily traceable to particular products or services.

Fixed costs

costs that do not change with increases or decreases in the volume of goods or services
produced, within the relevant range.







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