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Turnover ratios

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A turnover ratio represents the amount of assets or liabilities that a company replaces in relation to its sales. The concept is useful for determining the efficiency with which a business utilizes its assets. In most cases, a high asset turnover ratio is considered good, since it implies that receivables are collected quickly, fixed assets are heavily utilized, and little excess inventory is kept on hand. This implies a minimal need for invested funds, and therefore a high return on investment.

Conversely, a low liability turnover ratio (usually in relation to accounts payable) is considered good, since it implies that a company is taking the longest possible amount of time in which to pay its suppliers, and so has use of its cash for a longer period of time.

Examples of turnover ratios are:

  • Accounts receivable turnover ratio. Measures the time it takes to collect an average amount of accounts receivable. It can be impacted by the corporate credit policy, payment terms, the accuracy of billings, the activity level of the collections staff, the promptness of deduction processing, and a multitude of other factors.
  • Inventory turnover ratio. Measures the amount of inventory that must be maintained to support a given amount of sales. It can be impacted by the type of production process flow system used, the presence of obsolete inventory, management's policy for filling orders, inventory record accuracy, the use of manufacturing outsourcing, and so on.
  • Fixed asset turnover ratio. Measures the fixed asset investment needed to maintain a given amount of sales. It can be impacted by the use of throughput analysis, manufacturing outsourcing, capacity management, and other factors.
  • Accounts payable turnover ratio. Measures the time period over which a company is allowed to hold trade payables before being obligated to pay suppliers. It is primarily impacted by the terms negotiated with suppliers and the presence of early payment discounts.

The turnover ratio concept is also used in relation to investment funds. In this context, it refers to the proportion of investment holdings that have been replaced in a given year. A low turnover ratio implies that the fund manager is not incurring many brokerage transaction fees to sell off and/or purchase securities. The turnover level for a fund is typically based on the investment strategy of the fund manager, so a buy-and-hold manager will experience a low turnover ratio, while a manager with a more active strategy will be more likely to experience a high turnover ratio and must generate greater returns in order to offset the increased transaction fees.

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Types of financial analysis

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Financial analysis involves the review of an organization's financial information in order to arrive at business decisions. This analysis can take several forms, with each one intended for a different use. The types of financial analysis are:

  • Horizontal analysis. This involves the side-by-side comparison of the financial results of an organization for a number of consecutive reporting periods. The intent is to discern any spikes or declines in the data that could be used as the basis for a more detailed examination of financial results.
  • Vertical analysis. This is a proportional analysis of the various expenses on the income statement, measured as a percentage of net sales. The same analysis can be used for the balance sheet. These proportions should be consistent over time; if not, one can investigate further into the reasons for a percentage change.
  • Short term analysis. This is a detailed review of working capital, involving the calculation of turnover rates for accounts receivable, inventory, and accounts payable. Any differences from the long-term average turnover rate are worth investigating further, since working capital is a key user of cash.
  • Multi-company comparison. This involves the calculation and comparison of the key financial ratios of two organizations, usually within the same industry. The intent is to determine the comparative financial strengths and weaknesses of the two firms, based on their financial statements.
  • Industry comparison. This is similar to the multi-company comparison, except that the comparison is between the results of a specific business and the average results of an entire industry. The intent is to see if there are any unusual results in comparison to the average method of doing business.

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Direct deposit* can save you time and headaches when it comes to getting your employees paid. OnPay gives you two convenient ways to pay your employees. The first is to manually produce checks by e...

Organic growth

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Organic growth is the increase in sales of a business generated by those of its operations that were in existence at the beginning of the measurement period. The concept is used to differentiate between sales generated from existing operations and those operations that were acquired during the measurement period. In particular, organic growth is used to determine whether existing operations are in a state of decline, neutral growth, or expansion. It is entirely possible that organic "growth" will actually be negative.

For example, a company may report 100% growth during a period, but further analysis may reveal that 95% of the growth was from sales attributable to an acquisition and 5% to existing operations.

Organic growth can be caused by any of the following:

  • An increase in prices
  • An increase in units sold of existing products
  • Sales of new products from existing operations
  • Sales to new customers for products from existing operations
  • Sales generated by new distribution channels
  • Sales generated in new sales regions

Organic growth nearly always refers to changes in revenue, but can be used in reference to changes in profitability or cash flows.

The organic growth concept is a solid growth strategy for many businesses. This approach depends on internally-generated growth, rather than through acquisitions, and is a particularly viable option for a business that does not have sufficient cash to acquire other entities. However, this type of growth tends to be rather slow, especially when compared to the massive sales gains that can be achieved through an acquisition strategy. Also, organic growth could be in a sales segment that does not generate much cash flow, whereas an acquisition could generate sales in a more profitable segment of the market.

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Valuation account

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A valuation account is paired with an asset or liability account, and is used to offset the value of the assets or liabilities recorded in the account with which it is paired. The result of this account pairing is a net balance, which is the carrying amount of the underlying asset or liability. The "valuation account" term is a less-used phrase that has the same meaning as the contra account concept.

Examples of valuation accounts are:

  • Allowance for doubtful accounts (paired with the trade accounts receivable account)
  • Allowance for obsolete inventory (paired with the inventory account)
  • Accumulated depreciation (paired with the various fixed asset accounts)
  • Discount on bonds payable (paired with the bonds payable account)
  • Premium on bonds payable (paired with the bonds payable account)

The valuation account concept is useful for estimating any possible reductions in the values of assets or liabilities prior to a more definitive transaction that firmly establishes a reduction.

Valuation accounts are only used in accrual basis accounting. They are not used in cash basis accounting.

Similar Terms

A valuation account is also known as a valuation reserve or contra account.

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The chart of accounts most suitable for a small company

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A smaller business can dispense with many of the more specialized accounts and instead use an abbreviated chart of accounts. By doing so, it can greatly simplify the chore of recording business transactions. The following list of accounts may be adequate for compiling an income statement and balance sheet under a double entry bookkeeping system. However, please note that there are nearly always special accounts used in some industries, which are not mentioned in the following list. The basic accounts are:


  • Cash. Includes the balances in all checking and savings accounts.
  • Accounts receivable. Includes all trade receivables. It may be necessary to also have an "Other Receivables" account for other types of receivables, such as advances to employees.
  • Inventory. Includes raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory.
  • Fixed assets. Can be subdivided into multiple additional accounts, such as machinery, equipment, land, buildings, and furniture.
  • Accumulated depreciation. One account is generally used to compile the accumulated depreciation for all types of fixed assets.


  • Accounts payable. Includes all trade payables due to suppliers.
  • Accrued expenses. Includes all accrued liabilities, such as for wages and taxes.
  • Sales taxes payable. Includes all sales taxes billed to customers, and to be remitted to the applicable local governments.
  • Notes payable. Includes the remaining balance on all loans payable. For tracking purposes, it may be easier to create a separate account for each loan payable.

Equity (assumes a corporation)

  • Common stock. Includes the amount originally paid by shareholders for their stock.
  • Retained earnings. Includes all cash retained in the business from profits, which have not been distributed to shareholders.


  • Service revenues. Includes all sales related to the provision of services to customers.
  • Product revenues. Includes all sales of products to customers.
  • Repair revenues. Includes sales generated by repair work and the sale of spare parts to customers.


  • Cost of goods sold. This includes at least the material cost of items sold, and at a more sophisticated level, can include the cost of direct labor and allocated factory overhead.
  • Salaries and wages. Includes the cost of all salaries and wages not already included in the cost of goods sold.
  • Rent expense. Includes the cost of rent for building space, vehicles, equipment, and so forth.
  • Utilities expense. Includes the cost of heat, electricity, broadband, phones, and so forth.
  • Travel and entertainment expense. Includes the cost of travel, meals, housing, and related expenses incurred during employee travel on company business.
  • Advertising expense. Includes advertising and other marketing expenses.
  • Depreciation expense. Includes the expense related to depreciation. This is a non-cash expense.

Non-Operating Revenues and Expenses

  • Interest income. Includes income on all invested funds.
  • Interest expense. Includes interest paid and accrued on debts owed by the company to lenders.
  • Gain on sale of assets. Includes any gains on the sale of assets.
  • Loss on sale of assets. Includes any losses on the sale of assets.

It is best to consult with a CPA who understands a company's industry to see if any additional accounts should be added to this list. In general, however, the preceding chart of accounts should be sufficient for a small company.

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Direct Deposit Information and Forms | SunTrust Personal Banking


Set up direct deposit with SunTrust and get faster access to your paychecks, social security benefits, and any other payments.

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Add multiple bank accounts for employee direct deposit


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Throughput definition

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Throughput is the number of units that pass through a process during a period of time. This general definition can be refined into the following two variations, which are:

  • Operational perspective. Throughput is the number of units that can be produced by a production process within a certain period of time. For example, if 800 units can be produced during an eight-hour shift, then the production process generates throughput of 100 units per hour.
  • Financial perspective. Throughput is the revenues generated by a production process, minus all completely variable expenses incurred by that process. In most cases, the only completely variable expenses are direct materials and sales commissions. Given the small number of expenses, throughput tends to be quite high, except for those situations in which prices are set only slightly higher than variable expenses.

For operations, throughput can be increased by enhancing the productivity of the bottleneck operation that is constraining production. For example, an additional machine can be purchased, or overtime can be authorized in order to run a machine for an extra shift. The key point is to focus attention on the productivity of the bottleneck operation. If other operations are improved, the overall throughput of the system will not increase, since the bottleneck operation has not been enhanced. This means that the key focus of investment in the production area should be on the bottleneck, not other operations.

For financial analysis, throughput can be increased by altering the mix of products being produced, to increase the priority on those products that have the highest throughput per minute of time required at the constrained resource. If a product has a smaller amount of throughput per minute, it can instead be routed to a third party for processing, rather than interfering with the bottleneck operation. As long as some positive throughput is gained by outsourcing, the result is an increased overall level of the throughput for the company as a whole.

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The post Keeping Mobile Banking & Apps Safe on Your Smartphone appeared first on Diamond CU.

How do I set up my direct deposit and receive my earnings?

How do I set up my direct deposit and receive my earnings?

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The difference between an invoice and a statement

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A customer may receive an invoice and a statement from a supplier. What is the difference between these two documents? When a seller issues an invoice to a buyer, the invoice is related to a specific sale transaction where goods or services were provided to the buyer. Since the invoice relates to a specific sale transaction, it itemizes all of the information the buyer needs to know in order to pay the seller, including:

  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Item description
  • Item price
  • Shipping and handling charges
  • Sales tax
  • Total amount payable
  • Remit to address
  • Payment terms and early payment discount terms (if any)

The intent of an invoice is either to collect payment from the buyer, or to create evidence of the sale (if payment was made in advance or in cash). If payment was made at the time of sale, the invoice is stamped "Paid" before issuing it to the buyer.

When a seller issues a statement, the document itemizes all invoices that have not yet been paid by the buyer, as well as partial payments. In this case, the intent is to remind the buyer that it has an obligation to pay the seller. Since the statement is more aggregated than an invoice, it provides less detailed information at the invoice level. It typically includes the following items:

  • Statement date
  • Invoice numbers
  • Invoice dates
  • Invoice totals

A more sophisticated statement will aggregate invoice totals by time bucket, so that overdue invoices are clearly shown.

Invoices are issued whenever a sale has been completed, so they may be issued every day and in significant quantities. However, statements are usually only issued at regular intervals, such as once a month, as part of a company's collection activities.

From the perspective of the buyer, the receipt of an invoice triggers an accounting transaction, which is an account payable. Conversely, the receipt of a statement is strictly informational - it does not trigger the creation of an accounting transaction.

It can be unwise to treat a statement as an invoice and pay items listed on the statement, since it is possible that the buyer already paid for those items, but the payment has not yet been reflected in the seller's accounting system. A better alternative for the buyer is to make inquiries about any invoices that are listed on the statement, and obtain more detailed information before issuing a payment.

There can be some confusion between the invoice and statement terms when dealing with credit card providers, since they issue a "statement" that is actually an invoice.

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Deferred asset

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A deferred asset is an expenditure that is made in advance and has not yet been consumed. It arises from one of two situations:

  • Short consumption period. The expenditure is made in advance, and the item purchased is expected to be consumed within a few months. This deferred asset is recorded as a prepaid expense, so it initially appears in the balance sheet as a current asset.
  • Long consumption period. The expenditure is made in advance, and the item purchased is not expected to be fully consumed until a large number of reporting periods have passed. In this case, the deferred asset is more likely to be recorded as a long-term asset in the balance sheet.

Examples of expenditures that are routinely treated as deferred assets are:

  • Prepaid insurance
  • Prepaid rent
  • Prepaid advertising
  • Bond issuance costs

The reason for treating expenditures as deferred assets is that they would otherwise be charged to expense before the related benefits had been consumed, resulting in inordinately high expense recognition in earlier reporting periods, and excessively low expense recognition in later periods.

The deferred asset concept is not applied when a business uses the cash basis of accounting, since expenditures are recorded as expenses as soon as they are paid for under that method. Thus, these items would be charged to expense at once under the cash basis of accounting.

It is easy to forget about deferred asset items that are sitting on the balance sheet, which means that there tends to be a large write-off of these items at year end, when accounts are being examined by the auditors. To avoid this potentially large write-off, track all deferred asset items on a spreadsheet, reconcile the amounts on the spreadsheet to the account balance listed in the general ledger at the end of each reporting period, and adjust the account balance (usually with a periodic charge to expense) as necessary.

To avoid the labor associated with tracking deferred assets, consider adopting an accounting policy under which expenditures falling beneath a minimum amount are automatically charged to expense.

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Growing crop

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A growing crop is a bush, field, tree, or vine crop prior to being harvested. Field and row crops are typically planted from seeds or transplanted from beds, and then developed to the point of harvesting within a period of months. When these crops have a cycle of less than one year, they are referred to as annuals. Examples of annuals are barley, beans, cabbage, and corn.

All costs of growing crops are to be accumulated until harvesting time. This rule includes crop costs that are incurred before planting, such as the cost of soil preparation.

Some costs associated with growing crops are not incurred until after the harvest, perhaps not until the next year. For example, there may be a residue of harvested crops in the fields that is not cleared until the start of the next growing season. These costs should be accrued and allocated to the harvested crop.

The cost of growing crops should be reported at the lower of cost or market.

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Competitive advantage

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Competitive advantage is the ability of an organization to gain a material edge over its competitors. Having such an advantage can result in above-average profits or high levels of customer loyalty. There are many types of competitive advantage that a business can take advantage of, such as the following:

  • Having a supply of unusually inexpensive raw materials
  • Having access to a low-cost labor force
  • Owning a patent that is key to a product category
  • Having a large field servicing operation that can maintain products on short notice
  • Having a large chain of retail stores through which goods can be sold
  • Having a highly-regarded Internet store that experiences a large number of return visits
  • Having a design team that routinely produces leading-edge designs
  • Having a short product development cycle that pushes new products into the marketplace faster than what competitors can achieve

An example of how a core competency is used is to leverage a strong field service operation by noting the company's 24-hour response time when pitching a prospective sale to a customer. Another example is being able to offer a commodity product to a customer at an unusually low price, since the seller's workforce is located overseas, where labor costs are reduced by more than half.

Competitive advantage can be taken away by a determined competitor in one of two ways:

  • Match and then exceed the advantage offered by the company; or
  • Undermine the company's position by developing an entirely new competitive advantage that is highly prized by customers.

It is essential to maintain a competitive advantage, in order to sustain long-term profitability. This means that management must be aware of the advantage and continually reinforce it with ongoing investments in the targeted area.

A competitive advantage can even be achieved by unethical means, such as by offering bribes to the purchasing manager of a customer. Since other sellers are presumably not willing to engage in unethical behavior, the use of bribes can be seen as a competitive advantage.

The negative confirmation

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A negative confirmation is a document issued by an auditor to the customers of a client company. The letter asks the customers to respond to the auditor only if they find a discrepancy between their records and the information about the client company's financial records that are supplied by the auditor. For example, a confirmation letter tells a customer that the client company's records at year-end show an ending accounts receivable balance for that customer of $500,000. If the customer agrees with this number, it does not have to contact the auditor to confirm the supplied information. The auditor will then assume that the customer agrees with the information presented to it in the confirmation.

A negative confirmation is designed for use in situations where a client company's internal controls are already considered to be quite strong, so that the confirmation process is used as a secondary audit method for the accounts under review.

A positive confirmation is one in which the customer is required to send back a document, either confirming or disputing the account information sent to it by the auditor.

A negative confirmation does not require as much follow-up work by auditors as a positive confirmation, but is also not considered to be as high-quality a source of audit evidence as the positive confirmation, since some customers may not be bothering to send back a confirmation document, even though they have detected a discrepancy. For this reason, most auditors prefer to use positive confirmations over negative confirmations, despite the additional cost.

A negative or positive confirmation is not restricted for use with a client company's customers. They are also commonly used with suppliers to confirm small-dollar account balances. A negative confirmation is rarely used with a lender, since auditors want to be very sure about the ending debt balances reported by their clients. In this case, positive confirmations are nearly always used.

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Inventory change

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Inventory change is the difference between the inventory totals for the last reporting period and the current reporting period. The concept is used in calculating the cost of goods sold, and in the materials management department as the starting point for reviewing how well inventory is being managed. It is also used in budgeting to estimate future cash requirements. If a business only issues financial statements on an annual basis, then the calculation of the inventory change will span a one-year time period. More commonly, the inventory change is calculated over only one month or a quarter, which is indicative of the more normal frequency with which financial statements are issued.

For example, if the ending inventory at the end of February was $400,000 and the ending inventory at the end of March was $500,000, then the inventory change was +$100,000.

The inventory change calculation is applicable to the following areas:

  • Accounting. Inventory change is part of the formula used to calculate the cost of goods sold for a reporting period. The full formula is: Beginning inventory + Purchases - Ending inventory = Cost of goods sold. The inventory change figure can be substituted into this formula, so that the replacement formula is: Purchases + Inventory decrease  - Inventory increase = Cost of goods sold. Thus, it can be used to slightly compress the calculation of the cost of goods sold.
  • Inventory management. The materials management staff uses the inventory change concept to determine how its purchasing and materials usage policies have altered the company's net investment in inventory. They typically drill down from the inventory change figure and review changes for each type of inventory (e.g., raw materials, work in process, and finished goods), and then drill down further to see where changes arose at the level of each stock keeping unit. The result of this analysis may include changes in ordering policies, the correction of faulty bills of material, and alterations to the production schedule.
  • Cash budgeting. The budgeting staff estimates the inventory change in each future period. Doing so impacts the amount of cash needed in each of these periods, since a reduction in inventory generates cash for other purposes, while an increase in inventory will require the use of cash.

The concept is also used in a general sense to keep track of the overall investment in inventory, which management may monitor to see if working capital levels are increasing at too rapid a pace.

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Direct Deposit | Oklahoma | Tinker Federal Credit Union

Direct Deposit | Oklahoma | Tinker Federal Credit Union

Tinker Federal Credit Union

Sign up for direct deposit today, and you'll be thanking yourself for years to come. With direct deposit, your paycheck is automatically deposited to the TFCU account of your choice. You may never have to stand in line on payday again! Talk to your employer or the government agency that issues your payroll checks to see if direct deposit is an option for you. You will typically fill out a basic form requesting the following information, and they'll do the rest: TFCU routing number: 303085829 Your 13-digit account number A voided check to verify the routing & checking numbers The address of your financial institution: P.O. Box 45750 Tinker AFB, OK 73145-0750

How to become a CPA

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A CPA is a certified public accountant. This designation is awarded to those accountants who have fulfilled the training and experience requirements of their local state certification organizations. The certification is considered highly desirable within the accounting profession, since it is listed as a job requirement for many positions, even those that do not involve auditing. The three key requirements for becoming a CPA are as follows:

  • Training. Complete an accounting-related course of studies that fulfills the training requirements of the applicable state board of accountancy. This usually involves the completion of a bachelor's degree in accounting, though it is also possible to fulfill the requirement with a master's degree in accounting, or in some other business discipline, as long as a sufficient number of accounting classes are taken. A major consideration is that many state boards of accountancy require that a CPA candidate have completed 150 semester hours of course work, which is more than the number typically required to obtain a bachelor's degree. Consequently, many CPA candidates must first complete five years of college before completing this requirement.
  • Experience. Complete the designated number of years as an auditor, as required by the state board of accountancy. This is usually two years, during which the individual is under the supervision of a CPA.
  • Test. Achieve a passing score on all parts of the CPA examination. If a passing score is obtained on fewer than all of the course sections, a test taker does not have to take these sections again, subject to certain time restrictions. If a time restriction is exceeded, one must pass the exams for these sections a second time.

Many people who are interested in obtaining the CPA certification will attend review sessions that are sponsored by review services. These sessions are intended to highlight those accounting and auditing concepts that are most likely to appear on the CPA examination. While not required, these review sessions can improve one's odds of passing the examination.

Once all of these requirements have been met, an individual can become a CPA. However, there are additional requirements for maintaining the certification. The CPA must complete an average of 40 hours per year of continuing professional education, as well as pay an annual fee to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which is expensive. If these additional steps are not taken, then the CPA certification will lapse. If a person wants to be reinstated as a CPA, this requires taking a remedial amount of continuing professional education, and being reinstated with the AICPA.

Entering Direct Deposit Account Information

Entering Direct Deposit Account Information

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Expense accounting

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Expense accounting involves the proper recognition and recordation of a consumed expenditure or an incurred obligation. This process is critical to recognizing expenses in the correct amount and reporting period. The following activities are needed in expense accounting:

Consumed Expenditures - Occurs when a supplier invoice is received or cash payment made in exchange for goods or services.

  1. Decide whether the amount is to be treated as an expense or asset. If the item can be consumed over multiple periods, it is likely to be treated as an asset.
  2. If an expense, recognize it within the correct expense account, such as direct materials, supplies, or utilities.
  3. If an asset, record it in either the prepaid expenses account (for short-term assets) or a fixed assets account (for longer-term assets).
  4. If a prepaid expense, monitor it each month and charge it to expense as consumed.
  5. If a fixed asset, charge a consistent portion of it to depreciation expense in each month, until it is fully consumed.
  6. If no invoice has been received or payment made, there may still be an obligation to pay a supplier. If so, create a reversing journal entry that records an accrued expense in the current period, and reverses it in the next period. Doing so ensures that the expense is recognized in the correct period. When the invoice is received or payment made in the next period, it offsets the reversal, resulting in no net entry in the following period.

Incurred Obligations - Occurs when a business takes on an obligation to pay a third party.

  1. Decide whether there is a probable obligation and the amount can be clearly determined. If so, record a liability. The offset to the liability is a charge to expense.
  2. Review the obligation in later periods to see if the amount has changed. If so, adjust the liability and the offsetting expense.

The expense accounting noted here is used in an accrual basis accounting system.

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Service department definition

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

A service department is a cost center that provides services to the rest of a company. The manager of a service department is responsible for keeping costs down, or meeting the costs stated in a budget. The services provided by a service department are then allocated to the other departments of a business that use these services.

Some of the costs of a service department may not be allocated elsewhere, due to cost overages that cannot be passed through to other departments (as defined in service agreements that state the costs that can be allocated).

Examples of service departments are:

  • Maintenance department. Bills the production department for labor and equipment consumed during the maintenance of machinery. Costs are commonly accumulated by individual maintenance job for each machine.
  • Janitorial. Bills all departments for cleaning services, frequently on a square footage basis.
  • Purchasing. Bills a variety of departments for its efforts in procuring goods and services for them. The allocation may be based on total dollars purchased or the number of purchase orders placed.
  • Information technology. Bills departments for their use of IT storage, bandwidth, by user, or some other reasonable method of allocation.

Elements of the accounting department can be considered a service department, since payments to suppliers can be traced back to the ordering departments, and customer billings are related to customer-specific profitability tracking.

If the charges of service departments are assigned to the production area, these cost allocations will probably be included in a cost pool, and then allocated to goods produced. This means that some service department allocations may not be charged to expense until several months later, when the related goods are sold and charged to the cost of goods sold account.

There is a moderate trend favoring the outsourcing of service departments, on the grounds that outside suppliers keep tighter control over their costs, and so will charge less than an in-house department. Outsourcing of this type should be adopted with care, to ensure that only non-critical service functions are shifted out of a business.

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Direct Deposit

Direct Deposit


Direct deposit is the deposit of electronic funds directly into a bank account rather than through a physical paper check.

Payroll records

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Payroll records contain information about the compensation paid to employees and any deductions from their pay. These records are needed by the payroll staff to calculate gross pay and net pay for employees. Payroll records typically include information about the following items:

  • Bereavement pay
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Deductions for pensions, benefits, charitable contributions, stock purchase plans, and so forth
  • Direct deposit information
  • Gross wages
  • Hours worked
  • Manual check payments
  • Net wages paid
  • Salary rates
  • Vacation and/or sick pay

The information in payroll records have traditionally been stored on paper documents, but can also be recorded as electronic documents.

Payroll records can be considered a subset of the information stored in human resources records, which can contain considerably more information than items pertaining to just employee pay and deductions.

The time period over which payroll records must be retained will depend upon government requirements. The Internal Revenue Service typically states a required retention period in each document it issues dealing with payroll issues. In general, wage calculations should be retained for two years, while collective bargaining agreements should be retained for three years.

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Payroll Management 

Elastic demand

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

Elastic demand refers to the variability in the number of units sold when the price of a product or service changes. The concept is used to set the prices of products and services. A product is said to have elastic demand if sales drop in concert with an increase in price, or sales jump in concert with a decrease in price. In some cases, the quantity sold does not change appreciably, even when there is a significant change in price. If so, this is called inelastic demand.

From a pricing formulation perspective, elastic demand is of considerable concern. If it is not possible to increase prices without experiencing a sharp decline in sales volume, a business must essentially rely on cost reductions or expansion into new sales regions to generate a profit over the long term. Price elasticity is particularly common when the products of competing companies are not well differentiated, or where substitute products are readily accessible.

Conversely, a company is in a much better position when customers are willing to accept price increases and still maintain approximately the same sales volume, thereby increasing company profits. Inelasticity arises when a company can clearly separate the features of its products from those of competitors, and customers assign value to these differences.

Elastic demand can be defined with the following formula:

% Change in unit demand ÷ % Change in price

A product is said to be price inelastic if this ratio is less than 1, and price elastic if the ratio is greater than 1. Revenue should be maximized when you can set the price to have an elasticity of exactly 1.

Similar Terms

Elastic demand is also known as price elasticity of demand.

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by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

FIFO is a cost layering concept under which the first goods purchased are assumed to be the first goods sold. The concept is used to devise the valuation of ending inventory, which in turn is used to calculate the cost of goods sold.

The FIFO concept (also known as first in, first out) is best shown with an example. ABC Company buys ten green widgets for $5 each in January, and an additional ten green widgets in February for $7 each. In March, it sells ten widgets. Based on the FIFO concept, the first ten units that ABC purchased should be charged to the cost of goods sold, on the theory that the first units into inventory should be the first ones removed from it. Thus, the cost of goods sold in March should be $50, while the value of the inventory at the end of March should be $70. Even if some of the actual $7 green widgets were sold in March, the FIFO concept states that the cost of the earliest units should still be charged to the cost of goods sold first.

A company that uses FIFO will find that the costs it maintains in its records for its inventory will always be the most current costs, since the last items purchased are still assumed to be in stock. Conversely, the cost of the oldest items will be charged to the cost of goods sold. In a normal inflationary environment, this means that the cost of goods sold will be relatively low in comparison to current costs, which will increase the amount of taxable income; also, the inventory value reported on the balance sheet will approximately match current costs.

Alternative methods of accounting for inventory are the weighted average method, the last-in first-out method, and the specific identification method.

The FIFO concept also applies to the actual usage of inventory. When inventory items have a relatively short life span, it can be of considerable importance to structure the warehousing storage system so that the oldest items are presented to pickers first. Doing so reduces the risk of inventory spoilage.

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Unclassified balance sheet

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

An unclassified balance sheet does not provide any sub-classifications of assets, liabilities, or equity. Instead, this reporting format simply lists all normal line items found in a balance sheet, and then presents totals for all assets, liabilities, and equity. This approach does not include subtotals for any of the following classifications:

A balance sheet that includes these subtotals is called a classified balance sheet, and is the most common form of presentation. This presentation is needed in order to derive liquidity ratios, such as the current ratio, that depend on the presentation of current asset and current liability subtotals.

An unclassified balance sheet can be appropriate when there are few line items to report, as may be the case for a shell company or a small business that has very few assets or liabilities. It may also be used for internal reporting purposes, where managers have less need for subtotals. If this approach is used, assets are presented in order of liquidity, so that cash is presented first and fixed assets are presented last. Similarly, liabilities are presented in order of when they are due, so that accounts payable are listed first and long-term loans are listed last.

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The working ratio

by Steven Bragg @ Articles - AccountingTools

The working ratio compares the operating expenses of a business to its revenue. The ratio reveals whether a company can at least recover its operating expenses from sales. It is used as a general indicator of the financial health of a business, though it yields a figure that is imprecise. The ratio is most commonly used by third parties as part of their analysis of a business. The calculation of the working ratio is to divide total annual operating expenses, not including depreciation, by annual gross revenue. The formula is:

(Annual operating expenses - Depreciation expense) ÷ Annual gross revenue

If the ratio is less than 1, it implies that the business can recover its operating expenses. A ratio of greater than 1 indicates that the company cannot be profitable without significant changes to its cost structure and/or pricing.

The working ratio is not one of the more reliable performance measures, for the following reasons:

  • It does not include financing costs
  • It assumes that a ratio of 1 is good, when in reality, that is (at best) zero profitability
  • The denominator should use net revenue, rather than gross revenue, thereby including the impact of sales returns and allowances.
  • It does not account for projected changes in operating expenses.
  • It assumes that cash flows exactly equate to the amounts of operating expenses and gross revenues stated in the formula, which may not be the case.

In short, the working ratio is excessively imprecise, and so is not recommended as a method for evaluating the financial condition of a business.

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Business Ratios Guidebook 
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