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Definition of Sales

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Amounts earned by the company from the sale of merchandise or services; often used interchangeably with the term revenue.

Related Terms:

Conditional sales contracts

Similar to equipment trust certificates except that the lender is either the
equipment manufacturer or a bank or finance company to whom the manufacturer has sold the conditional
sales contract.

Contingent deferred sales charge (CDSC)

The formal name for the load of a back-end load fund.

Cost of sales

The manufacture or purchase price of goods sold in a period or the cost of providing a service.

Days' sales in inventory ratio

The average number of days' worth of sales that is held in inventory.

Days' sales outstanding

Average collection period.

Domestic International Sales Corporation (DISC)

A U.S. corporation that receives a tax incentive for
export activities.

Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC)

A special type of corporation created by the Tax Reform Act of 1984 that
is designed to provide a tax incentive for exporting U.S.-produced goods.

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Gross sales

The total sales recorded prior to sales discounts and returns.

Net sales

Total revenue, less the cost of sales returns, allowances, and discounts.

NET SALES (revenue)

The amount sold after customers’ returns, sales discounts, and other allowances are taken away from
gross sales. (Companies usually just show the net sales amount on their income statements, omitting returns, allowances, and the like.)


(also called average collection period). The number of days of net sales that are tied up in credit sales (accounts receivable) that haven’t been collected yet.

percentage of sales models

Planning model in which sales forecasts are the driving variables and most other variables are
proportional to sales.

Price/sales ratio (PS Ratio)

Determined by dividing current stock price by revenue per share (adjusted for stock splits).
Revenue per share for the P/S ratio is determined by dividing revenue for past 12 months by number of shares


A ratio that shows how much net income (profit) a company made on each dollar of net sales. Here’s the formula:
(Net income) / (Net sales)


A ratio that shows how much a company had to collect in net sales to make a dollar of profit. Figure it this way:
(Net sales) / (Net income)

return on sales

This ratio equals net income divided by sales revenue.

Sales Image 3

Sales allowance

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

Sales charge

The fee charged by a mutual fund when purchasing shares, usually payable as a commission to
marketing agent, such as a financial advisor, who is thus compensated for his assistance to a purchaser. It
represents the difference, if any, between the share purchase price and the share net asset value.

Sales discount

A reduction in the price of a product or service that is offered by the
seller in exchange for early payment by the buyer.

Sales discounts

A contra account that offsets revenue. It represents the amount of the discounts for early payment allowed on sales.

Sales forecast

A key input to a firm's financial planning process. External sales forecasts are based on
historical experience, statistical analysis, and consideration of various macroeconomic factors.

Sales journal

A journal used to record the transactions that result in a credit to sales.

Sales mix

The mix of product/services offered by the business, each of which may be aimed at different customers, with each product/service having different prices and costs.

sales mix

the relative combination of quantities of sales of the various products that make up the total sales of a company

Sales returns

A contra account that offsets revenue. It represents the amount of sales made that were later returned.

Sales Revenue Revenue recognized from the sales of products as opposed to the provision of


Sales Tax

A tax levied as a percentage of retail sales.

Sales Image 4

Sales-type lease

An arrangement whereby a firm leases its own equipment, such as IBM leasing its own
computers, thereby competing with an independent leasing company.

Sales-type Lease

Lease accounting used by a manufacturer who is also a lessor. Up-front gross
profit is recorded for the excess of the present value of the lease payments to be received across
a lease term over the cost to manufacture the leased equipment. Interest income also is recognized
on the lease receivable as it is earned over the lease term.

Sales value at split-off

A cost allocation methodology that allocates joint costs to joint
products in proportion to their relative sales values at the split-off point.

sales value at split-off allocation

a method of assigning joint cost to joint products that uses the relative sales values of the products at the split-off point as the proration basis; use of this method requires that all joint products
are salable at the split-off point

12B-1 fees

The percent of a mutual fund's assets used to defray marketing and distribution expenses. The
amount of the fee is stated in the fund's prospectus. The SEC has recently proposed that 12B-1 fees in excess
of 0.25% be classed as a load. A true " no load" fund has neither a sales charge nor 12b-1 fee.

Accounts receivable

Amounts owed to the company, generally for sales that it has made.

Accounts Receivable

Amounts due from customers for sales on open account, not evidenced
by a signed note.

Accounts receivable turnover

The ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, a measure of how
quickly customers pay their bills.

accounts receivable turnover ratio

A ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by the year-end balance of accounts receivable. Technically
speaking, to calculate this ratio the amount of annual credit sales should
be divided by the average accounts receivable balance, but this information
is not readily available from external financial statements. For
reporting internally to managers, this ratio should be refined and finetuned
to be as accurate as possible.


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-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.

Adjusted Cash Flow Provided by Continuing Operations

Cash flow provided by operating
activities adjusted to provide a more recurring, sustainable measure. Adjustments to reported cash
provided by operating activities are made to remove such nonrecurring cash items as: the operating
component of discontinued operations, income taxes on items classified as investing or financing activities, income tax benefits from nonqualified employee stock options, the cash effects of purchases and sales of trading securities for nonfinancial firms, capitalized expenditures, and other nonrecurring cash inflows and outflows.

Administrative pricing rules

IRS rules used to allocate income on export sales to a foreign sales corporation.

Advance commitment

A promise to sell an asset before the seller has lined up purchase of the asset. This
seller can offset risk by purchasing a futures contract to fix the sales price.

After-tax profit margin

The ratio of net income to net sales.


A grouping of sales producers according to region. Compare with Branch.

annual return

The fund return, for any 12-month period, including changes in unit value and the reinvestment of distributions, but not taking into account sales, redemption, distribution or other optional charges or income taxes payable by any unitholder that would reduce returns.

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

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.

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).

Back office

Brokerage house clerical operations that support, but do not include, the trading of stocks and
other securities. Includes all written confirmation and settlement of trades, record keeping and regulatory
Back-end loan fund
A mutual fund that charges investors a fee to sell (redeem) shares, often ranging from
4% to 6%. Some back-end load funds impose a full commission if the shares are redeemed within a
designated time, such as one year. The commission decreases the longer the investor holds the shares. The
formal name for the back-end load is the contingent deferred sales charge, or CDSC.

bad debts

Refers to accounts receivable from credit sales to customers
that a business will not be able to collect (or not collect in full). In hindsight,
the business shouldn’t have extended credit to these particular
customers. Since these amounts owed to the business will not be collected,
they are written off. The accounts receivable asset account is
decreased by the estimated amount of uncollectible receivables, and the
bad debts expense account is increased this amount. These write-offs
can be done by the direct write-off method, which means that no
expense is recorded until specific accounts receivable are identified as
uncollectible. Or the allowance method can be used, which is based on
an estimated percent of bad debts from credit sales during the period.
Under this method, a contra asset account is created (called allowance
for bad debts) and the balance of this account is deducted from the
accounts receivable asset account.

Before-tax profit margin

The ratio of net income before taxes to net sales.

Break-even analysis

An analysis of the level of sales at which a project would make zero profit.

break-even analysis

Analysis of the level of sales at which the company breaks even.

Break-Even Analysis

An analytical technique for studying the relationships between fixed cost, variable cost, and profits. A breakeven chart graphically depicts the nature of breakeven analysis. The breakeven point represents the volume of sales at which total costs equal total revenues (that is, profits equal zero).

breakeven point

The annual sales volume level at which total contribution
margin equals total annual fixed expenses. The breakeven point is only a
point of reference, not the goal of a business, of course. It is computed by
dividing total fixed expenses by unit margin. The breakeven point is
quite useful in analyzing profit behavior and operating leverage. Also, it
gives manager a good point of reference for setting sales goals and
understanding the consequences of incurring fixed costs for a period.

Breakeven point

The sales level at which a company, division, or product line makes a
profit of exactly zero, and is computed by dividing all fixed costs by the average
gross margin percentage.


A detailed schedule of financial activity, such as an advertising budget, a sales budget, or a capital budget.


an incidental output of a joint process; it is salable,
but the sales value of by-products is not substantial enough
for management to justify undertaking the joint process; it
is viewed as having a higher sales value than scrap

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 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.

cash burn rate

A relatively recent term that refers to how fast a business
is using up its available cash, especially when its cash flow from operating
activities is negative instead of positive. This term most often refers
to a business struggling through its start-up or early phases that has not
yet generated enough cash inflow from sales to cover its cash outflow for
expenses (and perhaps never will).

cash conversion cycle

Period between firm’s payment for materials
and collection on its sales.

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.

Cash Flow Provided by Operating Activities

With some exceptions, the cash effects of transactions
that enter into the determination of net income, such as cash receipts from sales of goods
and services and cash payments to suppliers and employees for acquisitions of inventory and

Circular Flow

Income payments to factors of production are spent to buy output. The receipts from these sales are used to pay factors of production, creating a circular flow of income.

Clearing house / Clearinghouse

An adjunct to a futures exchange through which transactions executed its floor are settled by a
process of matching purchases and sales. A clearing organization is also charged with the proper conduct of
delivery procedures and the adequate financing of the entire operation.

Collection fractions

The percentage of a given month's sales collected during the month of sale and each
month following the month of sale.

Commodities Exchange Center (CEC)

The location of five New York futures exchanges: Commodity
Exchange, Inc. (COMEX), the New York Mercantile exchange (NYMEX), the New York Cotton Exchange,
the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa exchange (CSC), and the New York futures exchange (NYFE). common size
statement A statement in which all items are expressed as a percentage of a base figure, useful for purposes of
analyzing trends and the changing relationship between financial statement items. For example, all items in
each year's income statement could be presented as a percentage of net sales.

Common-base-year analysis

The representing of accounting information over multiple years as percentages
of amounts in an initial year.
Common-size analysis The representing of balance sheet items as percentages of assets and of income
statement items as percentages of sales.

Contract Accounting

Method of accounting for sales or service agreements where completion
requires an extended period.

contribution margin

An intermediate measure of profit equal to sales revenue
minus cost-of-goods-sold expense and minus variable operating
expenses—but before fixed operating expenses are deducted. Profit at
this point contributes toward covering fixed operating expenses and
toward interest and income tax expenses. The breakeven point is the
sales volume at which contribution margin just equals total fixed

contribution margin ratio

the proportion of each revenue dollar remaining after variable costs have been covered;
computed as contribution margin divided by sales

Cost of goods sold

See cost of sales.

Cost–volume–profit analysis (CVP)

A method for understanding the relationship between revenue, cost and sales volume.

Days Statistics

Measures the number days' worth of sales in accounts receivable (accounts receivable
days) or days' worth of sales at cost in inventory (inventory days). Sharp increases in these measures
might indicate that the receivables are not collectible and that the inventory is not salable.


sales to customers who have bought goods or services on credit but who have not yet paid their debt.

degree of operating leverage

a factor that indicates how a percentage change in sales, from the existing or current
level, will affect company profits; it is calculated as contribution
margin divided by net income; it is equal to (1 - margin of safety percentage)

degree of operating leverage (DOL)

Percentage change in profits given a 1 percent change in sales.


Refers to the generally accepted accounting principle of allocating
the cost of a long-term operating asset over the estimated useful
life of the asset. Each year of use is allocated a part of the original cost of
the asset. Generally speaking, either the accelerated method or the
straight-line method of depreciation is used. (There are other methods,
but they are relatively rare.) Useful life estimates are heavily influenced
by the schedules allowed in the federal income tax law. Depreciation is
not a cash outlay in the period in which the expense is recorded—just
the opposite. The cash inflow from sales revenue during the period
includes an amount to reimburse the business for the use of its fixed
assets. In this respect, depreciation is a source of cash. So depreciation is
added back to net income in the statement of cash flows to arrive at cash
flow from operating activities.

Direct-Response Advertising

Advertising designed to elicit sales to customers who can be
shown to have responded specifically to the advertising in the past. Such costs can be capitalized
when persuasive historical evidence permits formulation of a reliable estimate of the future revenue
that can be obtained from incremental advertising expenditures.

Dividend yield (Funds)

Indicated yield represents return on a share of a mutual fund held over the past 12
months. Assumes fund was purchased 1 year ago. Reflects effect of sales charges (at current rates), but not
redemption charges.


In general, refers to a company's total sales less cost of sales and operating expenses, including interest and income tax.

earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT)

A measure of profit that
equals sales revenue for the period minus cost-of-goods-sold expense
and all operating expenses—but before deducting interest and income
tax expenses. It is a measure of the operating profit of a business before
considering the cost of its debt capital and income tax.


EBITDA divided by total sales or total revenue.

extraordinary gains and losses

No pun intended, but these types of gains
and losses are extraordinarily important to understand. These are nonrecurring,
onetime, unusual, nonoperating gains or losses that are
recorded by a business during the period. The amount of each of these
gains or losses, net of the income tax effect, is reported separately in the
income statement. Net income is reported before and after these gains
and losses. These gains and losses should not be recorded very often, but
in fact many businesses record them every other year or so, causing
much consternation to investors. In addition to evaluating the regular
stream of sales and expenses that produce operating profit, investors
also have to factor into their profit performance analysis the perturbations
of these irregular gains and losses reported by a business.

financial leverage

The equity (ownership) capital of a business can serve
as the basis for securing debt capital (borrowing money). In this way, a
business increases the total capital available to invest in its assets and
can make more sales and more profit. The strategy is to earn operating
profit, or earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT), on the capital
supplied from debt that is more than the interest paid on the debt capital.
A financial leverage gain equals the EBIT earned on debt capital
minus the interest on the debt. A financial leverage gain augments earnings
on equity capital. A business must earn a rate of return on its assets
(ROA) that is greater than the interest rate on its debt to make a financial
leverage gain. If the spread between its ROA and interest rate is unfavorable,
a business suffers a financial leverage loss.

Fixed asset turnover ratio

The ratio of sales to fixed assets.

Fixed Assets Turnover Ratio

A measure of the utilization of a company's fixed assets to
generate sales. It is calculated by dividing the sales for the period
by the book value of the net fixed assets.

fixed expenses (costs)

Expenses or costs that remain the same in amount,
or fixed, over the short run and do not vary with changes in sales volume
or sales revenue or other measures of business activity. Over the
longer run, however, these costs increase or decrease as the business
grows or declines. Fixed operating costs provide capacity to carry on
operations and make sales. Fixed manufacturing overhead costs provide
production capacity. Fixed expenses are a key pivot point for the analysis
of profit behavior, especially for determining the breakeven point and for
analyzing strategies to improve profit performance.

Gain-on-Sale Accounting

Up-front gain recognized from the securitization and sale of a pool
of loans. Profit is recorded for the excess of the sales price and the present value of the estimated
interest income that is expected to be received on the loans above the amounts funded on the loans
and the present value of the interest agreed to be paid to the buyers of the loan-backed securities.


What was spent to run the non-sales and non-manufacturing part of a company, such as office salaries and interest paid on loans.

Gray market

Purchases and sales of eurobonds that occur before the issue price is finally set.

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
doesn’t apply to service businesses that don’t sell products.

Gross profit

The difference between the price at which goods or services are sold and the cost of sales.
Income The revenue generated from the sale of goods or services.

Gross profit

The result of subtracting cost of goods sold from sales. Synonymous with gross margin.

Gross profit margin

Gross profit divided by sales, which is equal to each sales dollar left over after paying
for the cost of goods sold.







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