Financial Terms
Average cost of capital

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Definition of Average cost of capital

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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.

Related Terms:

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 cost of capital

See cost of capital.

weighted-average cost of capital

Weighted means that the proportions of
debt capital and equity capital of a business are used to calculate its
average cost of capital. This key benchmark rate depends on the interest
rate(s) on its debt and the ROE goal established by a business. This is a
return-on-capital rate and can be applied either on a before-tax basis or
an after-tax basis. A business should earn at least its weighted-average
rate on the capital invested in its assets. The weighted-average cost-ofcapital
rate is used as the discount rate to calculate the present value
(PV) of specific investments.

weighted average cost of capital

a composite of the cost of the various sources of funds that comprise a firm’s capital structure; the minimum rate of return that must be earned on new investments so as not to dilute shareholder value

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

The weighted average of the costs of the capital components
(debt, preferred stock, and common stock)

weighted-average cost of capital (WACC)

Expected rate of return on a portfolio of all the firm’s securities, adjusted for tax savings due to interest payments.

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

A weighted average of the component costs of debt, preferred shares, and common equity. Also called the composite cost of capital.

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discount rate

the rate of return used to discount future cash
flows to their present value amounts; it should equal or
exceed an organization’s weighted average cost of capital

optimal mix of capital

the combination of capital sources at which the lowest weighted average cost of capital is achieved


See: Weighted average cost of capital.


See weighted-average cost of capital.

"Soft" Capital Rationing

capital rationing that under certain circumstances can be violated or even viewed
as made up of targets rather than absolute constraints.

Absorption costing

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

absorption costing

a cost accumulation and reporting
method that treats the costs of all manufacturing components
(direct material, direct labor, variable overhead, and
fixed overhead) as inventoriable or product costs; it is the
traditional approach to product costing; it must be used for
external financial statements and tax returns

Absorption costing

A methodology under which all manufacturing costs are assigned
to products, while all non-manufacturing costs are expensed in the current period.

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.

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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.

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.

Actual cost

The actual expenditure made to acquire an asset, which includes the supplierinvoiced
expense, plus the costs to deliver and set up the asset.

actual cost system

a valuation method that uses actual direct
material, direct labor, and overhead charges in determining
the cost of Work in Process Inventory

Additional paid-in capital

Amounts in excess of the par value or stated value that have been paid by the public to acquire stock in the company; synonymous with capital in excess of par.

Additional paid-in capital

Any payment received from investors for stock that exceeds
the par value of the stock.

additional paid-in capital

Difference between issue price and par value of stock. Also called capital surplus.

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.

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.

All-in cost

Total costs, explicit and implicit.

Amortized Cost

cost of a security adjusted for the amortization of any purchase premium or

appraisal cost

a quality control cost incurred for monitoring
or inspection; compensates for mistakes not eliminated
through prevention activities

Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.

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

authorized share capital

Maximum number of shares that the company is permitted to issue, as specified in the firm’s articles of incorporation.


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.

Average (across-day) measures

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

Average age of accounts receivable

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

Average Amortization Period

The average useful life of a company's collective amortizable asset base.

Average Collection Period

average number of days necessary to receive cash for the sale of
a company's products. It is calculated by dividing the value of the
accounts receivable by the average daily sales for the period.

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 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.

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 Propensity to Consume

Ratio of consumption to disposable income. See also marginal propensity to consume.

Average Propensity to Save

Ratio of saving to disposable income. See also marginal propensity to save.

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.

average tax rate

Total taxes owed divided by total income.

Avoidable costs

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

backflush costing

a streamlined cost accounting method that speeds up, simplifies, and reduces accounting effort in an environment that minimizes inventory balances, requires
few allocations, uses standard costs, and has minimal variances
from standard

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.

Batch cost

A cost that is incurred when a group of products or services are produced,
and which cannot be identified to specific products or services within each group.

batch-level cost

a cost that is caused by a group of things
being made, handled, or processed at a single time

budgeted cost

a planned expenditure


Money invested in a firm.


The money, raised by selling stock or bonds or taking out loans, that you use to start, operate, and grow a business.


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


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).


The investment by a company’s owners in a business, plus the impact of any
accumulated gains or losses.


a) Physical capital: buildings, equipment, and any materials used to produce other goods and services in the future rather than being consumed today.
b) Financial capital: funds available for acquiring real capital.
c) Human capital: the value of the education and experience that make people more productive.


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


Any asset or stock of assets, financial or physical, capable of producing income.

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.

Capital allocation

decision Allocation of invested funds between risk-free assets versus the risky portfolio.

capital asset

an asset used to generate revenues or cost savings
by providing production, distribution, or service capabilities
for more than one year

Capital asset

A fixed asset, something that is expected to have long-term usage within
a company, and which exceeds a minimum dollar amount (known as the capitalization
limit, or cap limit).

Capital asset pricing model (CAPM)

An economic theory that describes the relationship between risk and
expected return, and serves as a model for the pricing of risky securities. The CAPM asserts that the only risk
that is priced by rational investors is systematic risk, because that risk cannot be eliminated by diversification.
The CAPM says that the expected return of a security or a portfolio is equal to the rate on a risk-free security
plus a risk premium.

Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

A model for estimating equilibrium rates of return and values of
assets in financial markets; uses beta as a measure of asset risk
relative to market risk

capital asset pricing model (CAPM)

Theory of the relationship between risk and return which states that the expected risk
premium on any security equals its beta times the market risk premium.

Capital budget

A firm's set of planned capital expenditures.

capital budget

management’s plan for investments in longterm
property, plant, and equipment

capital budget

List of planned investment projects.

Capital budgeting

The process of choosing the firm's long-term capital assets.

capital budgeting

Refers generally to analysis procedures for ranking
investments, given a limited amount of total capital that has to be allocated
among the various capital investment opportunities of a business.
The term sometimes is used interchangeably with the analysis techniques
themselves, such as calculating present value, net present value,
and the internal rate of return of investments.

Capital Budgeting

The process of ranking and selecting investment alternatives and
capital expenditures

capital budgeting

a process of evaluating an entity’s proposed
long-range projects or courses of future activity for
the purpose of allocating limited resources to desirable

Capital budgeting

The series of steps one follows when justifying the decision to purchase
an asset, usually including an analysis of costs and related benefits, which
should include a discounted cash flow analysis of the stream of all future cash flows
resulting from the purchase of the asset.

capital budgeting decision

Decision as to which real assets the firm should acquire.

Capital Consumption Allowance

See depreciation.

Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)

The annual depreciation expense allowed by the Canadian Income Tax Act.

Capital employed

The total of debt and equity, i.e. the total funds in the business.

Capital expenditures

Amount used during a particular period to acquire or improve long-term assets such as
property, plant or equipment.

capital expenditures

Refers to investments by a business in long-term
operating assets, including land and buildings, heavy machinery and
equipment, vehicles, tools, and other economic resources used in the
operations of a business. The term capital is used to emphasize that
these are relatively large amounts and that a business has to raise capital
for these expenditures from debt and equity sources.

Capital flight

The transfer of capital abroad in response to fears of political risk.

Capital Flows

Purchase by foreigners of our assets (capital inflows) or our purchase of foreign assets (capital outflows).

Capital gain

When a stock is sold for a profit, it's the difference between the net sales price of securities and
their net cost, or original basis. If a stock is sold below cost, the difference is a capital loss.

Capital gain

The gain recognized on the sale of a capital item (fixed asset), calculated
by subtracting its sale price from its original purchase price (less the impact of any
associated depreciation).

Capital Gain

An increase in the value of an asset.

capital gain

The positive difference between the adjusted cost base of an investment held as a capital property and the proceeds of disposition you receive when you sell it. When you sell such an investment for more than you paid, you realize a capital gain.

Capital gains yield

The price change portion of a stock's return.


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

Capital in excess par

Amounts in excess of the par value or stated value that have been paid by the public to acquire stock in the company; synonymous with additional paid-in capital.

capital investment analysis

Refers to various techniques and procedures
used to determine or to analyze future returns from an investment
of capital in order to evaluate the capital recovery pattern and the
periodic earnings from the investment. The two basic tools for capital
investment analysis are (1) spreadsheet models (which I strongly prefer)
and (2) mathematical equations for calculating the present value or
internal rate of return of an investment. Mathematical methods suffer
from a lack of information that the decision maker ought to consider. A
spreadsheet model supplies all the needed information and has other
advantages as well.

Capital Investments

Money used to purchase fixed assets for a business, such as land, buildings, or machinery. Also, money invested in a business on the understanding that it will be used to purchase permanent assets rather than to cover day-to-day operating expenses.

Capital lease

A lease obligation that has to be capitalized on the balance sheet.







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