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high-low method

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Definition of high-low method

High-low Method Image 1

high-low method

a technique used to determine the fixed
and variable portions of a mixed cost; it uses only the highest
and lowest levels of activity within the relevant range

Related Terms:

NPV (net present value of cash flows)

Same as PV, but usually includes a subtraction for an initial cash outlay.

PV (present value of cash flows)

the value in today’s dollars of cash flows that occur in different time periods.
present value factor equal to the formula 1/(1 - r)n, where n is the number of years from the valuation date to the cash flow and r is the discount rate.
For business valuation, n should usually be midyear, i.e., n = 0.5, 1.5, . . .

Blow-off top

A steep and rapid increase in price followed by a steep and rapid drop. This is an indicator seen
in charts and used in technical analysis of stock price and market trends.

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.

Cash flow

In investments, it represents earnings before depreciation , amortization and non-cash charges.
Sometimes called cash earnings. Cash flow from operations (called funds from operations ) by real estate and
other investment trusts is important because it indicates the ability to pay dividends.

Cash flow after interest and taxes

Net income plus depreciation.

Cash flow coverage ratio

The number of times that financial obligations (for interest, principal payments,
preferred stock dividends, and rental payments) are covered by earnings before interest, taxes, rental
payments, and depreciation.

High-low Method Image 2

Cash flow from operations

A firm's net cash inflow resulting directly from its regular operations
(disregarding extraordinary items such as the sale of fixed assets or transaction costs associated with issuing
securities), calculated as the sum of net income plus non-cash expenses that were deducted in calculating net

Cash flow matching

Also called dedicating a portfolio, this is an alternative to multiperiod immunization in
which the manager matches the maturity of each element in the liability stream, working backward from the
last liability to assure all required cash flows.

Cash flow per common share

Cash flow from operations minus preferred stock dividends, divided by the
number of common shares outstanding.

Cash flow time-line

Line depicting the operating activities and cash flows for a firm over a particular period.

Cash-flow break-even point

The point below which the firm will need either to obtain additional financing
or to liquidate some of its assets to meet its fixed costs.

Current rate method

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

Direct estimate method

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

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

Future cash flows multiplied by discount factors to obtain present values.

Discretionary cash flow

Cash flow that is available after the funding of all positive NPV capital investment
projects; it is available for paying cash dividends, repurchasing common stock, retiring debt, and so on.

High-low Method Image 3

Equivalent annual cash flow

Annuity with the same net present value as the company's proposed investment.

Expected future cash flows

Projected future cash flows associated with an asset of decision.

Flower bond

Government bonds that are acceptable at par in payment of federal estate taxes when owned by
the decedent at the time of death.

Flow-through basis

An account for the investment credit to show all income statement benefits of the credit
in the year of acquisition, rather than spreading them over the life of the asset acquired.

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.

Free cash flows

Cash not required for operations or for reinvestment. Often defined as earnings before
interest (often obtained from operating income line on the income statement) less capital expenditures less the
change in working capital.

Hell-or-high-water contract

A contract that obligates a purchaser of a project's output to make cash
payments to the project in all events, even if no product is offered for sale.

High-coupon bond refunding

Refunding of a high-coupon bond with a new, lower coupon bond.

High price

The highest (intraday) price of a stock over the past 52 weeks, adjusted for any stock splits.

High-yield bond

See:junk bond.

Highly leveraged transaction (HLT)

Bank loan to a highly leveraged firm.

Incremental cash flows

Difference between the firm's cash flows with and without a project.

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

Low-coupon bond refunding

Refunding of a low coupon bond with a new, higher coupon bond.

Low price

This is the day's lowest price of a security that has changed hands between a buyer and a seller.

Low price-earnings ratio effect

The tendency of portfolios of stocks with a low price-earnings ratio to
outperform portfolios consisting of stocks with a high price-earnings ratio.

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.

Nominal cash flow

A cash flow expressed in nominal terms if the actual dollars to be received or paid out are given.

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.

Operating cash flow

Earnings before depreciation minus taxes. It measures the cash generated from
operations, not counting capital spending or working capital requirements.

Plowback rate

Related: retention rate.

Price-specie-flow mechanism

Adjustment mechanism under the classical gold standard whereby
disturbances in the price level in one country would be wholly or partly offset by a countervailing flow of
specie (gold coins) that would act to equalize prices across countries and automatically bring international
payments back in balance.

Production-flow commitment

An agreement by the loan purchaser to allow the monthly loan quota to be
delivered in batches.

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.

Real cash flow

A cash flow is expressed in real terms if the current, or date 0, purchasing power of the cash
flow is given.

Residual method

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

Scheduled cash flows

The mortgage principal and interest payments due to be paid under the terms of the
mortgage not including possible prepayments.

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.

Statement of cash flows

A financial statement showing a firm's cash receipts and cash payments during a
specified period.

Statement-of-cash-flows method

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

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.


Stock that has fallen out of favor with investors; tends to have a low P/E (price to earnings ratio).


A statement that shows where a company’s cash came from and where it went for a period of time, such as a year.


A section on the cash-flow statement that shows how much cash a company raised by selling stocks or bonds this year and how much was paid out for cash dividends and other finance-related obligations.


A section on the cashflow statement that shows how much cash came in and went out because of various investing activities like purchasing machinery.


A section on the cash-flow Stockholders’ equity statement that shows how much cash came into a company and how much went out during the normal course of business.

Cash Flow statement

A financial report that shows the movement in cash for a business during an accounting period.

Discounted cash flow (DCF)

A method of investment appraisal that discounts future cash flows to present value using a discount rate, which is the risk-adjusted cost of capital.

Allowance for doubtful accounts

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

Allowance method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected based on company experience.

Direct method

A method of preparing the operating section of the Statement of Cash Flows that uses the company’s actual cash inflows and cash outflows.

Direct write-off method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected by eliminating the account balances of specific nonpaying customers.

Indirect method

A method of preparing the operating section of the Statement of Cash Flows that does not use the company’s actual cash inflows and cash outflows, but instead arrives at the net cash flow by taking net income and adjusting it for noncash expenses and the changes from last year in the current assets and current liabilities.

Statement of Cash Flows

One of the basic financial statements; it lists the cash inflows and cash outflows of the company, grouped into the categories of operating activities, financing activities, and investing activities. The Statement of Cash Flows is prepared for a specified period of time.

cash flow

An obvious but at the same time elusive term that refers to cash
inflows and outflows during a period. But the specific sources and uses
of cash flows are not clear in this general term. The statement of cash
flows, which is one of the three primary financial statements of a business,
classifies cash flows into three types: those from operating activities
(sales and expenses, or profit-making operations), those from
investing activities, and those from financing activities. Sometimes the
term cash flow is used as shorthand for cash flow from profit (i.e., cash
flow from operating activities).

cash flow from operating activities, or cash flow from profit

This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.

statement of cash flows

One of the three primary financial statements
that a business includes in the periodic financial reports to its outside
shareowners and lenders. This financial statement summarizes the business’s
cash inflows and outflows for the period according to a threefold
classification: (1) cash flow from operating activities (cash flow from
profit), (2) cash flow from investing activities, and (3) cash flow from
financing activities. Frankly, the typical statement of cash flows is difficult
to read and decipher; it includes too many lines of information and
is fairly technical compared with the typical balance sheet and income

discounted cash flow (DCF)

Refers to a capital investment analysis technique
that discounts, or scales down, the future cash returns from an
investment based on the cost-of-capital rate for the business. In essence,
each future return is downsized to take into account the cost of capital
from the start of the investment until the future point in time when the
return is received. Present value (PV) is the amount resulting from discounting
the future returns. Present value is subtracted from the entry
cost of the investment to determine net present value (NPV). The net
present value is positive if the present value is more than the entry cost,
which signals that the investment would earn more than the cost-ofcapital
rate. If the entry cost is more than the present value, the net
present value is negative, which means that the investment would earn
less than the business’s cost-of-capital rate.

free cash flow

Generally speaking, this term refers to cash flow from
profit (cash flow from operating activities, to use the more formal term).
The underlying idea is that a business is free to do what it wants with its
cash flow from profit. However, a business usually has many ongoing
commitments and demands on this cash flow, so it may not actually be
free to decide what do with this source of cash. Warning: This term is
not officially defined anywhere and different persons use the term to
mean different things. Pay particular attention to how an author or
speaker is using the term.

negative cash flow

The cash flow from the operating activities of a business
can be negative, which means that its cash balance decreased from
its sales and expense activities during the period. When a business is
operating at a loss instead of making a profit, its cash outflows for
expenses very likely may be more than its cash inflow from sales. Even
when a business makes a profit for the period, its cash inflow from sales
could be considerably less than the sales revenue recorded for the
period, thus causing a negative cash flow for the period. Caution: This
term also is used for certain types of investments in which the net cash
flow from all sources and uses is negative. For example, investors in
rental real estate properties often use the term to mean that the cash
inflow from rental income is less than all cash outflows during the
period, including payments on the mortgage loan on the property.

operating cash flow

See cash flow from operating activities.

Free Cash Flow

The funds available for distribution to the capital providers of the
company after investments inside the company have been made

Operating Cash Flow

Income available after the payment of taxes, plus the value of the
non-cash expenses

algebraic method

a process of service department cost allocation
that considers all interrelationships of the departments
and reflects these relationships in simultaneous

cash flow

the receipt or disbursement of cash; when related
to capital budgeting, cash flows arise from the purchase,
operation, and disposition of a capital asset

direct method

a service department cost allocation approach
that assigns service department costs directly to revenueproducing
areas with only one set of intermediate cost
pools or allocations

dividend growth method

a method of computing the cost
of common stock equity that indicates the rate of return
that common shareholders expect to earn in the form of
dividends on a company’s common stock

FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that computes an average cost per equivalent
unit of production for the current period; keeps beginning
inventory units and costs separate from current period production
and costs

judgmental method (of risk adjustment)

an informal method of adjusting for risk that allows the decision maker
to use logic and reason to decide whether a project provides
an acceptable rate of return

method of least squares

see least squares regression analysis

method of neglect

a method of treating spoiled units in the
equivalent units schedule as if those units did not occur;
it is used for continuous normal spoilage

modified FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that uses FIFO to compute a cost per
equivalent unit but, in transferring units from a department,
the costs of the beginning inventory units and the
units started and completed are combined and averaged

net present value method

a process that uses the discounted
cash flows of a project to determine whether the
rate of return on that project is equal to, higher than, or
lower than the desired rate of return

operations flow document

a document listing all operations
necessary to produce one unit of product (or perform
a specific service) and the corresponding time allowed
for each operation

risk-adjusted discount rate method

a formal method of adjusting for risk in which the decision maker increases the rate used for discounting the future cash flows to compensate for increased risk

simplex method

an iterative (sequential) algorithm used to solve multivariable, multiconstraint linear programming problems

six-sigma method

a high-performance, data-driven approach to analyzing and solving the root causes of business problems

standard quantity allowed

the quantity of input (in hours or some other cost driver measurement) required at standard for the output actually achieved for the period

step method

a process of service department cost allocation
that assigns service department costs to cost objects after
considering the interrelationships of the service departments
and revenue-producing departments

strict FIFO method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that uses FIFO to compute a cost per equivalent unit and, in transferring units from a department, keeps the
cost of the beginning units separate from the cost of the
units started and completed during the current period

weighted average method (of process costing)

the method of cost assignment that computes an average cost per
equivalent unit of production for all units completed during
the current period; it combines beginning inventory units
and costs with current production and costs, respectively,
to compute the average

Bootstrapping, bootstrap method

An arithmetic method for backing an
implied zero curve out of the par yield curve.

Cash flow

Cash received and paid over time.

High-low-close chart

A financial chart usually used to plot the high, low,
open, and close price of a security over time. Plots are vertical lines whose top
is the high, bottom is the low, open is a short horizontal tick to the left, and
close is a short horizontal tick to the right.

Allowance for bad debts

An offset to the accounts receivable balance, against which
bad debts are charged. The presence of this allowance allows one to avoid severe
changes in the period-to-period bad debt expense by expensing a steady amount to
the allowance account in every period, rather than writing off large bad debts to
expense on an infrequent basis.

Discounted cash flow

A technique that determines the present value of future cash
flows by applying a rate to each periodic cash flow that is derived from the cost of
capital. Multiplying this discount by each future cash flow results in an amount that
is the present value of all the future cash flows.

First in, first-out costing method (FIFO)

A process costing methodology that assigns the earliest
cost of production and materials to those units being sold, while the latest costs
of production and materials are assigned to those units still retained in inventory.

Lower of cost or market

An accounting valuation rule that is used to reduce the
reported cost of inventory to its current resale value, if that cost is lower than its
original cost of acquisition or manufacture.

Moving average inventory method

An inventory costing methodology that calls for the re-calculation of the average cost of all parts in stock after every purchase.
Therefore, the moving average is the cost of all units subsequent to the latest purchase,
divided by their total cost.

Payback method

A capital budgeting analysis method that calculates the amount of
time it will take to recoup the investment in a capital asset, with no regard for the
time cost of money.

Purchase method

An accounting method used to combine the financial statements of
companies. This involves recording the acquired assets at fair market value, and the
excess of the purchase price over this value as goodwill, which will be amortized
over time.

Sales allowance

A reduction in a price that is allowed by the seller, due to a problem
with the sold product or service.

Statement of cash flows

Part of the financial statements; it summarizes an entity’s cash
inflows and outflows in relation to financing, operating, and investing activities.







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