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Definition of big bath

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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.



Related Terms:

Big Bang

The term applied to the liberalization in 1986 of the London Stock Exchange in which trading was
automated with the use of computers.


Big Board

A nickname for the New York Stock Exchange. Also known as The Exchange. More than 2,000
common and preferred stocks are traded. Founded in 1792, the NYSE is the oldest exchange in the United
States, and the largest. It is located on Wall Street in New York City.


"Soft" Capital Rationing

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


ABM (automated banking machine)

A bank machine, sometimes referred to as an automated teller machine (ATM).



Absolute Advantage

The ability to produce a good or service with fewer resources than competitors. See also comparative advantage.


Absolute priority

Rule in bankruptcy proceedings whereby senior creditors are required to be paid in full
before junior creditors receive any payment.


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Absolute Right of Return

Goods may be returned to the seller by the purchaser without restrictions.


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.


Abusive Earnings Management

The use of various forms of gimmickry to distort a company's true financial performance in order to achieve a desired result.


Abusive Earnings Management

A characterization used by the Securities and Exchange
Commission to designate earnings management that results in an intentional and material misrepresentation
of results.


Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.


Acceleration Clause

Clause causing repayment of a debt, if specified events occur or are not met.


Accounting

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


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accounting

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
reports.


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.


Accounting entity

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


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.


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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.


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.


ACCRUAL

A method of accounting in which you record expenses when you incur them and sales as you make them—not when you pay bills or receive checks in the mail.


Accrual

An expense for profit purposes even though no payment has been made.


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.


Accrual bond

A bond on which interest accrues, but is not paid to the investor during the time of accrual.
The amount of accrued interest is added to the remaining principal of the bond and is paid at maturity.


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.


Accrued expenses payable

expenses that have to be recorded in order for the financial statements to be accurate. Accrued expenses usually do not involve the receipt of an invoice from the company providing the goods or services.


accrued expenses payable

The account that records the short-term, noninterest-
bearing liabilities of a business that accumulate over time, such
as vacation pay owed to employees. this liability is different than
accounts payable, which is the liability account for bills that have been
received by a business from purchases on credit.


Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income

Cumulative gains or losses reported in shareholders'
equity that arise from changes in the fair value of available-for-sale securities, from the
effects of changes in foreign-currency Exchange rates on consolidated foreign-currency financial
statements, certain gains and losses on financial derivatives, and from adjustments for underfunded
pension plans.


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 of assets

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


Acquisition of stock

A merger or consolidation in which an acquirer purchases the acquiree's Stock.


Adjustable rate preferred stock (ARPS)

Publicly traded issues that may be collateralized by mortgages and MBSs.


Adjusted Earnings

Net income adjusted to exclude selected nonrecurring and noncash items of reserve, gain, expense, and loss.


Aggregate Supply

Total quantity of goods and services supplied.


Aggregate Supply Curve

Combinations of price level and income for which the labor market is in equilibrium. The short-run aggregate supply curve incorporates information and price/wage inflexibilities in the labor market, whereas the long-run aggregate supply curve does not.


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.


American Stock Exchange (AMEX)

The second-largest Stock Exchange in the United States. It trades
mostly in small-to medium-sized companies.


Annual fund operating expenses

For investment companies, the management fee and "other expenses,"
including the expenses for maintaining shareholder records, providing shareholders with financial statements,
and providing custodial and accounting services. For 12b-1 funds, selling and marketing costs are included.


applied overhead

the amount of overhead that has been assigned to Work in Process Inventory as a result of productive activity; credits for this amount are to an overhead account


Asset

Any possession that has value in an Exchange.


Asset

A resource, recorded through a transaction, that is expected to yield a benefit to a
company.


Asset

something that is owned; a financial claim or a piece of property that is a store of value.


Asset

Probable future economic benefit that is obtained or controlled by an entity as a result of
a past transaction or event.


asset

Anything owned by, or owed to, an individual or business which has commercial or Exchange value (e.g., cash, property, etc.).


Asset

All things of value owned by an individual or organization.


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-backed security

A security that is collateralized by loans, leases, receivables, or installment contracts
on personal property, not real estate.


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-Based Financing

Loans granted usually by a financial institution where the asset being financed constitutes the sole security given to the lender.


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 for asset swap

Creditors Exchange the debt of one defaulting borrower for the debt of another
defaulting borrower.


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 pricing model

A model for determining the required rate of return on an asset.


Asset pricing model

A model, such as the Capital asset Pricing Model (CAPM), that determines the required
rate of return on a particular asset.


Asset-specific Risk

The amount of total risk that can be eliminated by diversification by
creating a portfolio. Also known as company-specific risk or
unsystematic risk.


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.


Assets

A firm's productive resources.


ASSETS

Anything of value that a company owns.


Assets

Things that the business owns.


Assets

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


Assets requirements

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


Auction rate preferred stock (ARPS)

Floating rate preferred Stock, the dividend on which is adjusted every
seven weeks through a Dutch auction.


Automated Clearing House (ACH)

A collection of 32 regional electronic interbank networks used to
process transactions electronically with a guaranteed one-day bank collection float.


Automated Clearing House (ACH)

A banking clearinghouse that processes direct
deposit transfers.


Automated storage/retrieval system

A racking system using automated systems
to load and unload the racks.


Average accounting return

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


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
paydowns.


Average Propensity to Consume

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


Away

A trade, quote, or market that does not originate with the dealer in question, e.g., "the bid is 98-10
away from me."


Back-up

1) When bond yields and prices fall, the market is said to back-up.
2) When an investor swaps out of one security into another of shorter current maturity he is said to back up.


Balance of Merchandise Trade

The difference between exports and imports of goods.


Balance of payments

A statistical compilation formulated by a sovereign nation of all economic transactions
between residents of that nation and residents of all other nations during a stipulated period of time, usually a
calendar year.


Balance of Payments

The difference between the demand for and supply of a country's currency on the foreign Exchange market.


Balance of Payments Accounts

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


Balance of trade

Net flow of goods (exports minus imports) between countries.


Balance of Trade

See balance of merchandise trade.


Balance sheet

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



 

 

 

 

 

 

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