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Definition of Obsolescence

Obsolescence Image 1


The reduction in utility of an inventory item or fixed asset. If it is an
inventory item, then a reserve is created to reduce the value of the inventory by the
estimated amount of obsolescence. If it is a fixed asset, the depreciation method and
timing will be set to approximate the rate and amount of obsolescence.

Related Terms:

ABC inventory classification

A method for dividing inventory into classifications,
either by transaction volume or cost. Typically, category A includes that 20% of
inventory involving 60% of all costs or transactions, while category B includes
the next 20% of inventory involving 20% of all costs or transactions, and category
C includes the remaining 60% of inventory involving 20% of all costs or

Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.

Accelerated depreciation

Any depreciation method that produces larger deductions for depreciation in the
early years of a project's life. Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS), which is a depreciation schedule
allowed for tax purposes, is one such example.

accelerated depreciation

(1) The estimated useful life of the fixed asset being depreciated is
shorter than a realistic forecast of its probable actual service life;
(2) more of the total cost of the fixed asset is allocated to the first
half of its useful life than to the second half (i.e., there is a
front-end loading of depreciation expense).

Accelerated depreciation

Any of several methods that recognize an increased amount
of depreciation in the earliest years of asset usage. This results in increased tax benefits
in the first few years of asset usage.

Account Value

The sum of all the interest options in your policy, including interest.

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.

Obsolescence Image 1

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

Accumulated depreciation

A contra-fixed asset account representing the portion of the cost of a fixed asset that has been previously charged to expense. Each fixed asset account will have its own associated accumulated depreciation account.

accumulated depreciation

A contra, or offset, account that is coupled
with the property, plant, and equipment asset account in which the original
costs of the long-term operating assets of a business are recorded.
The accumulated depreciation contra account accumulates the amount of
depreciation expense that is recorded period by period. So the balance in
this account is the cumulative amount of depreciation that has been
recorded since the assets were acquired. The balance in the accumulated
depreciation account is deducted from the original cost of the assets
recorded in the property, plant, and equipment asset account. The
remainder, called the book value of the assets, is the amount included on
the asset side of a business.

Accumulated depreciation

The sum total of all deprecation expense recognized to date
on a depreciable fixed asset.

Accumulated Value

An amount of money invested plus the interest earned on that money.

Acquisition of assets

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

Active portfolio strategy

A strategy that uses available information and forecasting techniques to seek a
better performance than a portfolio that is simply diversified broadly. Related: passive portfolio strategy

Adjustable rate preferred stock (ARPS)

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

Adjusted present value (APV)

The net present value analysis of an asset if financed solely by equity
(present value of un-levered cash flows), plus the present value of any financing decisions (levered cash
flows). In other words, the various tax shields provided by the deductibility of interest and the benefits of
other investment tax credits are calculated separately. This analysis is often used for highly leveraged
transactions such as a leverage buy-out.

Obsolescence Image 2

After-tax real rate of return

Money after-tax rate of return minus the inflation rate.

algebraic method

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

All equity rate

The discount rate that reflects only the business risks of a project and abstracts from the
effects of financing.

Allowance method

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

Amortizing interest rate swap

Swap in which the principal or national amount rises (falls) as interest rates
rise (decline).

Annual percentage rate (APR)

The periodic rate times the number of periods in a year. For example, a 5%
quarterly return has an APR of 20%.

annual percentage rate (APR)

Interest rate that is annualized using simple interest.

approximated net realizable value at split-off allocation

a method of allocating joint cost to joint products using a
simulated net realizable value at the split-off point; approximated
value is computed as final sales price minus
incremental separate costs

Arithmetic average (mean) rate of return

Arithmetic mean return.


Any possession that has value in an exchange.


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


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


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


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


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.


A firm's productive resources.


Anything of value that a company owns.


Things that the business owns.


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.

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 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.

balancing item

Variable that adjusts to maintain the consistency
of a financial plan. Also called plug.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

An international bank headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, which
serves as a forum for monetary cooperation among several European central banks, the Bank of Japan, and the
U.S. Federal reserve System. Founded in 1930 to handle the German payment of World War I reparations, it
now monitors and collects data on international banking activity and promulgates rules concerning
international bank regulation.

Barbell strategy

A strategy in which the maturities of the securities included in the portfolio are concentrated
at two extremes.

Base interest rate

Related: Benchmark interest rate.

Basic business strategies

Key strategies a firm intends to pursue in carrying out its business plan.

Benchmark interest rate

Also called the base interest rate, it is the minimum interest rate investors will
demand for investing in a non-Treasury security. It is also tied to the yield to maturity offered on a
comparable-maturity Treasury security that was most recently issued ("on-the-run").

Benefit Ratio Method

The proportion of unemployment benefits paid to a company’s
former employees during the measurement period, divided by the total
payroll during the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.

Benefit Value

The amount of cash payable on a benefit.

Benefit Wage Ratio Method

The proportion of total taxable wages for laid off
employees during the measurement period divided by the total payroll during
the period. This calculation is used by states to determine the unemployment
contribution rate to charge employers.

Blanket inventory lien

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

Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees

A committee formed in response to SEC chairman Arthur Levitt's initiative to improve the financial
reporting environment in the United States. In a report dated February 1999, the committee
made recommendations for new rules for regulation of financial reporting in the United States that
either duplicated or carried forward the recommendations of the Treadway Commission.

Bond value

With respect to convertible bonds, the value the security would have if it were not convertible
apart from the conversion option.

Book inventory

The amount of money invested in inventory, as per a company’s
accounting records. It is comprised of the beginning inventory balance, plus the
cost of any receipts, less the cost of sold or scrapped inventory. It may be significantly
different from the actual on-hand inventory, if the two are not periodically

book rate of return

Accounting income divided by book value.
Also called accounting rate of return.

Book value

A company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities, such as debt. A
company's book value might be more or less than its market value.


An asset’s cost basis minus accumulated depreciation.

Book Value

The value of an asset as carried on the balance sheet of a
company. In reference to the value of a company, it is the net worth
(equity) of the company.

Book value

An asset’s original cost, less any depreciation that has been subsequently incurred.

book value

Net worth of the firm’s assets or liabilities according
to the balance sheet.

book value and book value per share

Generally speaking, these terms
refer to the balance sheet value of an asset (or less often of a liability) or
the balance sheet value of owners’ equity per share. Either term emphasizes
that the amount recorded in the accounts or on the books of a business
is the value being used. The total of the amounts reported for
owners’ equity in its balance sheet is divided by the number of stock
shares of a corporation to determine the book value per share of its capital


The theoretical amount per share that each stockholder would receive if a company’s assets were sold on the balance sheet’s date. Book value equals:
(Stockholders’ equity) / (Common stock shares outstanding)

Book value per share

The ratio of stockholder equity to the average number of common shares. Book value
per share should not be thought of as an indicator of economic worth, since it reflects accounting valuation
(and not necessarily market valuation).

Book Value per Share

The book value of a company divided by the number of shares

Bootstrapping, bootstrap method

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

Break-even payment rate

The prepayment rate of a MBS coupon that will produce the same CFY as that of
a predetermined benchmark MBS coupon. Used to identify for coupons higher than the benchmark coupon
the prepayment rate that will produce the same CFY as that of the benchmark coupon; and for coupons lower
than the benchmark coupon the lowest prepayment rate that will do so.

Break-even tax rate

The tax rate at which a party to a prospective transaction is indifferent between entering
into and not entering into the transaction.

Broker loan rate

Related: Call money rate.

Bullet strategy

A strategy in which a portfolio is constructed so that the maturities of its securities are highly
concentrated at one point on the yield curve.

business-value-added activity

an activity that is necessary for the operation of the business but for which a customer would not want to pay

Buy-and-hold strategy

A passive investment strategy with no active buying and selling of stocks from the
time the portfolio is created until the end of the investment horizon.

Call money rate

Also called the broker loan rate , the interest rate that banks charge brokers to finance
margin loans to investors. The broker charges the investor the call money rate plus a service charge.

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.







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