Glossary – Accounting

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There are 17 names in this directory beginning with the letter A.
Abnormal spoilage
Scrap or waste that should have been avoided. In other words, abnormal spoilage is the amount that is over and above the normal amount that is expected in a production process.

Absorption costing
Costing system wherein fixed manufacturing overhead is allocated to (or absorbed by) products being manufactured. This system, which treats fixed manufacturing costs as a product cost, is required for external financial statements.

A record in the general ledger that is used to collect and store similar information. For example, a company will have a Cash account in which every transaction involving cash is recorded. A company selling merchandise on credit will record these sales in a Sales account and in an Accounts Receivable account.

Accounting cycle
A term that describes the steps when processing transactions (analyzing, journalizing, posting, preparing trial balances, adjusting, preparing financial statements) in a manual accounting system. Today many of the steps occur simultaneously when using accounting software.

Accounting net income flows
The amounts reported on the income statement. Because of accrual accounting the net income flows will be different from the cash flow.

Accounting Principles Board (APB)
This group preceded the current Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The APB members served in a part-time capacity to determine the accounting standards from 1962 to 1973. The accounting rules established by the APB were titled Opinions and remain as part of the generally accepted accounting principles (unless superseded by standards issued by the FASB).

Accrual basis of accounting
The accounting method under which revenues are recognized on the income statement when they are earned (rather than when the cash is received). The balance sheet is also affected at the time of the revenues by either an increase in Cash (if the service or sale was for cash), an increase in Accounts Receivable (if the service was performed on credit), or a decrease in Unearned Revenues (if the service was performed after the customer had paid in advance for the service).

Accrual-type adjusting entry
An adjusting entry made at the end of the accounting period in order to report (1) revenues that have been earned but have not yet been entered into the accounting records, (2) expenses that have been incurred but have not yet been entered into the accounting records, (3) revenues already recorded that involve more than the current accounting period, or (4) expenses already recorded that involve more than the current accounting period.

Accumulated deficit
The term used in place of retained earnings when a corporation has a negative (debit) balance in its account Retained Earnings.

Adjusted trial balance
A listing of the general ledger accounts and their account balances at a point in time after the adjusting entries have been posted. The grand total of the accounts with debit balances should equal the grand total of the accounts with credit balances.

Administrative expenses
Administrative expenses are part of the operating expenses (along with selling expenses). Administrative expenses include expenses associated with the general administration of the business. Examples include the salaries and fringe benefits of the company president, human resource personnel, accounting, information technology, the depreciation expense for equipment and space used in administration, as well as supplies, utilities, etc.

The result after subtracting the income tax associated with a given amount. For example, if a corporation has a gain of $100,000 before tax, and its income tax rate is 30%, its after-tax gain is $70,000. If a corporation has a loss of $30,000 before tax, and its income tax rate is 30%, its after-tax loss is $21,000.

The systematic allocation of the discount, premium, or issue costs of a bond to expense over the life of the bond.

A series of equal amounts at equal time intervals. Also see annuity due, annuity in advance, annuity in arrears, and ordinary annuity.

Things that are resources owned by a company and which have future economic value that can be measured and can be expressed in dollars. Examples include cash, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, supplies, land, buildings, equipment, and vehicles.
Assets are reported on the balance sheet usually at cost or lower. Assets are also part of the accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Owner’s (Stockholders’) Equity.

Audited financial statements
Financial statements that bear the report of independent auditors attesting to the financial statements’ fairness and compliance with generally accepted accounting principles.

Average inventory
The average amount of inventory during a period of time. Since the amount reported in the Inventory account is the ending balance on one specific day, it is necessary to compute an average balance when relating this account to the cost of goods sold (which covers a period of time).