Financial Terms key variable

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# Definition of key variable

## key variable

a critical factor that management believes will
be a direct cause of the achievement or nonachievement
of the organizational goals and objectives

# Related Terms:

## gross margin, or gross profit

This first-line measure of profit
equals sales revenue less cost of goods sold. This is profit before operating
expenses and interest and income tax expenses are deducted. Financial
reporting standards require that gross margin be reported in
external income statements. Gross margin is a key variable in management
profit reports for decision making and control. Gross margin
doesnâ€™t apply to service businesses that donâ€™t sell products.

## revenue-driven expenses

Operating expenses that vary in proportion to
changes in total sales revenue (total dollars of sales). Examples are sales
commissions based on sales revenue, credit card discount expenses, and
rents and franchise fees based on sales revenue. These expenses are one
of the key variables in a profit model. Segregating these expenses from
other types of expenses that behave differently is essential for management
decision-making analysis. (These expenses are not disclosed separately
in externally reported income statements.)

## unit margin

The profit per unit sold of a product after deducting product
cost and variable expenses of selling the product from the sales price of
the product. Unit margin equals profit before fixed operating expenses
are considered and before interest and income tax are deducted. Unit
margin is one of the key variables in a profit model for decision-making
analysis.

## Continuous random variable

A random value that can take any fractional value within specified ranges, as
contrasted with a discrete variable.

## Discrete random variable

A random variable that can take only a certain specified set of discrete possible
values - for example, the positive integers 1, 2, 3, . . .

## Endogenous variable

A value determined within the context of a model.

## Exogenous variable

A variable whose value is determined outside the model in which it is used. Also called
a parameter.

## Normal random variable

A random variable that has a normal probability distribution.

## Random variable

A function that assigns a real number to each and every possible outcome of a random experiment.

## Turnkey construction contract

A type of construction contract under which the construction firm is
obligated to complete a project according to prespecified criteria for a price that is fixed at the time the
contract is signed.

## Variable

A value determined within the context of a model. Also called endogenous variable.

## Variable annuities

Annuity contracts in which the issuer pays a periodic amount linked to the investment
performance of an underlying portfolio.

## 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.

## Variable life insurance policy

A whole life insurance policy that provides a death benefit dependent on the
insured's portfolio market value at the time of death. Typically the company invests premiums in common
stocks, and hence variable life policies are referred to as equity-linked policies.

## Variable price security

A security, such as stocks or bonds, that sells at a fluctuating, market-determined price.

## Variable rate CDs

Short-term certificate of deposits that pay interest periodically on roll dates. On each roll
date, the coupon on the CD is adjusted to reflect current market rates.

## Variable rated demand bond (VRDB)

Floating rate bond that can be sold back periodically to the issuer.

## Variable rate loan

Loan made at an interest rate that fluctuates based on a base interest rate such as the
Prime Rate or LIBOR.

## VARIABLE EXPENSES

Those that vary with the amount of goods you produce or sell. These may include utility bills, labor, etc.

## Semi-variable costs

Costs that have both fixed and variable components.

## Variable cost

A cost that increases or decreases in proportion with increases or decreases in the volume of production of goods or services.

## Variable costing

A method of costing in which only variable production costs are treated as product costs and in which all fixed (production and non-production) costs are treated as period costs.

## variable expenses

Expenses that change with changes in either sales volume
or sales revenue, in contrast to fixed expenses that remain the same
over the short run and do not fluctuate in response to changes in sales
volume or sales revenue. See also revenue-driven expenses and unitdriven
expenses.

## decision variable

an unknown item for which a linear programming
problem is being solved

## dependent variable

an unknown variable that is to be predicted
using one or more independent variables

## independent variable

a variable that, when changed, will
cause consistent, observable changes in another variable;
a variable used as the basis of predicting the value of a
dependent variable

## slack variable

a variable used in a linear programming problem
that represents the unused amount of a resource at
any level of operation; it is associated with less-than-orequal-
to constraints

## surplus variable

a variable used in a linear programming problem that represents overachievement of a minimum requirement; it is associated with greater-than-or-equal-to constraints

## variable cost

a cost that varies in total in direct proportion
to changes in activity; it is constant on a per unit basis

## variable costing

a cost accumulation and reporting method
that includes only variable production costs (direct material,
direct labor, and variable overhead) as inventoriable
or product costs; it treats fixed overhead as a period cost;
is not acceptable for external reporting and tax returns

## variable cost ratio

the proportion of each revenue dollar
represented by variable costs; computed as variable costs
divided by sales or as (1 - contribution margin ratio)

## variable overhead efficiency variance

the difference between budgeted variable overhead based on actual input activity and variable overhead applied to production

## variable overhead spending variance

the difference between total actual variable overhead and the budgeted amount of variable overhead based on actual input activity

## Variable cost

A cost that changes in amount in relation to changes in a related activity.
Variance
The difference between an actual measured result and a basis, such as a budgeted amount.

## variable costs

Costs that change as the level of output changes.

## Cold-Turkey Policy

Decreasing inflation by immediately decreasing the money growth rate to a new, low rate. Contrast with gradualism.

## Keynesianism

The school of macroeconomic thought based on the ideas of John Maynard keynes as published in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. A keynesian believes the economy is inherently unstable and requires active government intervention to achieve stability.

## New Keynesians

Economists who, like keynes, believe that for good reason wages and prices are sticky and so prolong recessions, suggesting a need for government policy.

## Variable Annuity

A form of annuity policy under which the amount of each benefit is not guaranteed or specified. The amounts fluctuate according to the earnings of a separate investment account.

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