Accounting Terminology - Glossary
The drawee’s signed assent on bill of exchange, to the order of the drawer. This term is also used to describe a bill of exchange that has been accepted.
Accounting policies are the specific accounting principles and the methods of applying those principles adopted by an enterprise in the preparation and presentation of financial statements.
Recognition of revenues and costs as they are earned or incurred (and not as money is received or paid). It includes recognition of transactions relating to assets and liabilities as they occur irrespective of the actual receipts or payments.
Accrual/Mercantile Basis of Accounting
The method of recording transactions by which revenues, costs, assets and liabilities are reflected in the accounts in the period in which they accrue. The ‘accrual basis of accounting’ includes considerations relating to deferrals, allocations, depreciation and amortisation. This basis is also referred to as mercantile basis of accounting.
A developing but not yet enforceable claim against another person which accumulates with the passage of time or the rendering of service or otherwise. It may arise from the rendering of services (including the use of money) which at the date of accounting have been partly performed, and are not yet billable.
An expense which has been incurred in an accounting period but for which no enforceable claim has become due in that period against the enterprise. It may arise from the purchase of services (including the use of money) which at the date of accounting have been only partly performed, and are not yet billable.
A developing but not yet enforceable claim by another person which accumulates with the passage of time or the receipt of service or otherwise. It may arise from the purchase of services (including the use of money) which at the date of accounting have.
Revenue which has been earned in an accounting period but in respect of which no enforceable claim has become due in that period by the enterprise. It may arise from the rendering of services (including the use of money) which at the date of accounting have been partly performed, and are not yet billable.
The total to date of the periodic depletion charges on wasting assets.
Payment made on account of, but before completion of, a contract, or before acquisition of goods or receipt of services.
The amortizable amount less any portion already provided by way of amortization.
The information provided annually by the management of an enterprise to the owners and other interested persons concerning its operations and financial position. It includes the information statutorily required, e.g., in the case of a company, the balance sheet, profit and loss statement and notes on accounts, the auditor’s report thereon, and the report of the Board of Directors. It also includes other information voluntarily provided e.g., value added statement, graphs, charts, etc.
An account sometimes included as a separate section of the profit and loss statement showing application of profits towards dividends, reserves, etc.
Tangible objects or intangible rights owned by an enterprise and carrying probable future benefits.
Authorised Share Capital
The number and par value, of each class of shares that an enterprise may issue in accordance with its instrument of incorporation. This is sometimes referred to as nominal share capital.
The cost of an item at a point of time as determined by applying an average of the cost of all items of the same nature over a period. When weightages are also applied in the computation, it is termed as weighted average cost.
Debts owed to an enterprise which are considered to be irrecoverable.
A statement of the financial position of an enterprise as at a given date, which exhibits its assets, liabilities, capital, reserves and other account balances at their respective book values.
Bill of Exchange
An instrument in writing containing an unconditional order, signed by the maker, directing a certain person to pay a certain sum of money only, to or to the order of a certain person or to the bearer of the instrument.
Shares allotted by capitalization of the reserves or surplus of a corporate enterprise.
The amount at which an item appears in the books of account or financial statements. It does not refer to any particular basis on which the amount is determined e.g., cost, replacement value, etc.
Borrowing costs are interest and other costs incurred by an enterprise in connection with the borrowing of funds.
A formal document constituting acknowledgment of a debt by an enterprise usually given under its common seal and normally containing provisions regarding payment of interest, repayment of principal and security, if any. It is transferable in the appropriate manner.
A demand pursuant to terms of issue to pay a part or whole of the balance remaining payable on shares or debentures after allotment.
Called-up Share Capital
That part of the subscribed share capital which shareholders have been required to pay.
Generally refers to the amount invested in an enterprise by its owners e.g. paid-up share capital in a corporate enterprise. It is also used to refer to the interest of owners in the assets of an enterprise.
Assets, including investments not held for sale, conversion or consumption in the ordinary course of business.
Future liability for capital expenditure in respect of which contracts have been made.
The finances deployed by an enterprise in its net fixed assets, investments and working capital. Capital employed in an operation may, however, exclude investments made outside that operation.
Capital Profit/Capital Loss
Excess of the proceeds realised from the sale, transfer, or exchange of the whole or a part of a capital asset over its cost. When the result of this computation is negative, it is referred to as capital loss.
A reserve of a corporate enterprise which is not available for distribution as dividend.
Expenditure on capital assets which are in the process of construction or completion.
Cash comprises cash on hand and demand deposits with banks
Cash equivalents are short term, highly liquid investments that are readily convertible into known amounts of cash and which are subject to an insignificant risk of changes in value.
Cash Basis of Accounting
The method of recording transactions by which revenues and costs and assets and liabilities are reflected in the accounts in the period in which actual receipts or actual payments are made.
A reduction granted by a supplier from the invoiced price in consideration of immediate payment or payment within a stipulated period.
The net profit as increased by non-cash costs, such as depreciation, amortization, etc. When the result of the computation is negative, it is termed as cash loss.
Carrying amount is the amount at which an asset is recognized in the balance sheet, net of any accumulated amortization and accumulated impairment losses thereon.
An encumbrance on an asset to secure an indebtedness or other obligations. It may be fixed or floating.
A bill of exchange drawn upon a specified banker and not expressed to be payable otherwise than on demand.
Security which is given in addition to the principal security against the same liability or obligation.
Costs of disposal
Costs of disposal are incremental costs directly attributable to the disposal of an asset, excluding finance costs and income tax expense.
A contingency is a condition or situation, the ultimate outcome of which, gain or loss, will be known or determined only on the occurrence, or non-occurrence, of one or more uncertain future events.
An asset the existence, ownership or value of which may be known or determined only on the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events.
An obligation relating to an existing condition or situation which may arise in future depending on the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events.
One or two or more accounts which partially or wholly off-set another or other accounts.
The amount of expenditure incurred on or attributable to a specified article, product or activity.
Cost of Purchase
The purchase price including duties and taxes, freight inwards and other expenditure directly attributable to acquisition, less trade discounts, rebates, duty drawbacks, and subsidies in respect of such purchase.
Cost of Goods Sold
The cost of goods sold during an accounting period. In manufacturing operations, it includes (i) cost of materials; (ii) labour and factory overheads; selling and administrative expenses are normally excluded.
Cost incurred to convert raw materials or components into finished or semi-finished products. This normally includes costs which are specifically attributable to units of production, i.e., direct labour, direct expenses and subcontracted work, and production overheads as applicable in accordance with either the direct cost or absorption costing method. Production overheads exclude expenses which relate to general administration, finance, selling and distribution.
A debenture which gives the holder a right to its conversion, wholly or partly, in shares in accordance with the terms of issue.
A dividend payable on cumulative preference shares which, if unpaid, accumulates as a claim against the earnings of a corporate enterprise, before any distribution is made to the other shareholders.
Cumulative Preference Shares
A class of preference shares entitled to payment of cumulative dividends. Preference shares are always deemed to be cumulative, unless they are expressly made non-cumulative.
Cash and other assets that are expected to be converted into cash or consumed in the production of goods or rendering of services in the normal course of business.
Liability including loans, deposits and bank overdraft which falls due for payment in a relatively short period, normally not more than twelve months.
Postponement of recognition of a revenue or expense after its related receipt or payment (or incurrence of a liability) to a subsequent period to which it applies. Common examples of deferrals include prepaid rent and taxes, unearned subscriptions received in advance by newspapers and magazine selling companies, etc.
The excess of liabilities over assets of an enterprise at a given date. The debit balance in the profit and loss statement.
The debit balance in the profit and loss statement.
A measure of exhaustion of a wasting asset represented by periodic write o of cost or other substituted value.
Depreciation is a measure of the wearing out, consumption or other loss of value of a depreciable asset arising from use, euxion of time or obsolescence through technology and market changes. Depreciation is allocated so as to charge a fair proportion of the depreciable amount in each accounting period during the expected useful life of the asset. Depreciation includes amortisation of assets whose useful life is predetermined.
Depreciable amount of a depreciable asset is its historical cost, or other amount substituted for historical cost in the financial statements, less the estimated residual value.
Depreciable assets are assets which
(i) are expected to be used during more than one accounting period; and
(ii) have a limited useful life; and
(iii) are held by an enterprise for use in the production or supply of goods and services, for rental to others, or for administrative purposes and not for the purpose of sale in the ordinary course of business.
Any method of calculating depreciation for an accounting period.
A percentage applied to the historical cost or the substituted amount of a depreciable asset (or in case of diminishing balance method, the historical cost or the substituted amount less accumulated depreciation).
Diminishing Balance Method
A method under which the periodic charge for depreciation of an asset is computed by applying a fixed percentage to its historical cost or substituted amount less accumulated depreciation (net book value). This is also referred to as written down value method.
A reduction from a list price, quoted price or invoiced price. It also refers to the price for obtaining payment on a bill before its maturity.
A distribution to shareholders out of profits or reserves available for this purpose.
The view of the relationship between the accounting entity and its owners which regards the entity as a separate person, distinct and apart from its owners.
A share which is not a preference share. Also sometimes called ordinary share.
Exchange difference is the dierence resulting from reporting the same number of units of a foreign currency in the reporting currency at dierent exchange rates.
Incurring a liability, disbursement of cash or transfer of property for the purpose of obtaining assets, goods or services.
A cost relating to the operations of an accounting period or to the revenue earned during the period or the benefits of which do not extend beyond that period.
That portion of an expenditure from which no further benefit is expected. Also termed as expense.
Extraordinary items are income or expenses that arise from events or transactions that are clearly distinct from the ordinary activities of the enterprise and, therefore, are not expected to recur frequently or regularly.
Fair value is the amount for which an asset could be exchanged or a liability settled between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction.
Fair Market Value
The price that would be agreed to in an open and unrestricted market between knowledgeable and willing parties dealing at arm’s length who are fully informed and are not under any compulsion to transact.
A charge having priority over other charges.
First In, First Out (FIFO)
Computation of the cost of items sold or consumed during a period as though they were sold or consumed in order of their acquisition.
Asset held with the intention of being used for the purpose of producing or providing goods or services and is not held for sale in the normal course of business.
That cost of production which by its very nature remains relatively unaected in a defined period of time by variations in the volume of production.
Deposit for a specified period and at specified rate of interest.
Fixed or Specific Charge
A charge which attaches to a particular asset which is identified when the charge is created, and the identity of the asset does not change during the subsistence of the charge.
A general charge on some or all assets of an enterprise which are not attached to specific assets and are given as security against a debt.
A financial instrument is any contract that gives rise to both a financial asset of one enterprise and a financial liability or equity shares of another enterprise.
Foreign currency is a currency other than the reporting currency of an enterprise.
A share to which title is lost by a member for non-payment of call money or default in fulfilling any engagement between members or expulsion of members where the articles specifically provide therefor.
A reserve the utilization of which is not restricted in any manner.
A system of classification of expenses and revenues and the corresponding assets and liabilities to each function or activity, rather than by reference to their nature.
An account usually of the nature of a reserve or a provision which is represented by specifically earmarked assets.
Fundamental Accounting Assumptions
Basic accounting assumptions which underlie the preparation and presentation of financial statements. They are going concern, consistency and accrual. Usually, they are not specifically stated because their acceptance and use are assumed. Disclosure is necessary if they are not followed.
A monetary benefit, profit or advantage resulting from a transaction or group of transactions.
A revenue reserve which is not earmarked for a specific purpose.
Going Concern Assumption
An accounting assumption according to which an enterprise is viewed as continuing in operation for the foreseeable future. It is assumed that the enterprise has neither the intention nor the necessity of liquidation or of curtailing materially the scale of its operations.
An intangible asset arising from business connections or trade name or reputation of an enterprise.
Gross Margin or Gross Profit
The excess of the proceeds of goods sold and services rendered during a period over their cost, before taking into account administration, selling, distribution and financing expenses. When the result of this computation is negative it is referred to as gross loss.
Government refers to government, government agencies and similar bodies whether local, national or international.
Government grants are assistance by government in cash or kind to an enterprise for past or future compliance with certain conditions. They exclude those forms of government assistance which cannot reasonably have a value placed upon them and transactions with government which cannot be distinguished from the normal trading transactions of the enterprise.
Gross book value
Gross book value of a fixed asset is its historical cost or other amount substituted for historical cost in the books of account or financial statements. When this amount is shown net of accumulated depreciation, it is termed as net book value.
Income and Expenditure Statement
A financial statement, often prepared by non-profit making enterprises like clubs, associations etc. to present their revenues and expenses for an accounting period and to show the excess of revenues over expenses (or vice versa) for that period. It is similar to profit and loss statement and is also called revenue and expense statement.
Asset which does not have a physical identity e.g. goodwill, patents, copyright etc.
Inventories are assets:
(a) held for sale in the ordinary course of business;
(b) in the process of production for such sale; or
(c) in the form of materials or supplies to be consumed in the production process or in the rendering of services.
Expenditure on assets held to earn interest, income, profit or other benefits.
Assets held not for operational purposes or for rendering services i.e. assets other than fixed assets or current assets (e.g. securities, shares, debentures, immovable properties).
Issued Share Capital
That portion of the authorized share capital which has actually been offered for subscription. This includes any bonus shares allotted by the corporate enterprise.
A joint venture is a contractual arrangement whereby two or more parties undertake an economic activity, which is subject to joint control.
Last In, First Out (LIFO)
Computation of the cost of items sold or consumed during a period on the basis that the items last acquired were sold or consumed first.
The financial obligation of an enterprise other than owners’ funds.
Right of one person to satisfy a claim against another by holding or retaining possession of that other’s assets/property.
Liability which does not fall due for payment in a relatively short period, i.e., normally a period not more than twelve months.
A lease is an agreement whereby the lessor conveys to the lessee in return for a payment or series of payments the right to use an asset for an agreed period of time.
An accounting concept according to which all relatively important and relevant items, i.e., items the knowledge of which might influence the decisions of the user of the financial statements are disclosed in the financial statements.
A transfer of interest in specific immovable property for the purpose of securing a loan advanced, or to be advanced, an existing or future debt or the performance of an engagement which may give rise to a pecuniary liability. The security is redeemed when the loan is repaid or the debt discharged or the obligations performed.
Net Assets/Shareholders’ funds/Net Worth
The excess of the book value of assets (other than fictitious assets) of an enterprise over its liabilities. This is also referred to as net worth or shareholders’ funds.
Net Fixed Assets
Fixed assets less accumulated depreciation thereon up-to-date.
Net Profit/Net loss
The excess of revenue over expenses during a particular accounting period. When the result of this computation is negative, it is referred to as net loss. The net profit may be shown before or after tax.
Net realizable value
Net realizable value is the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business less the estimated costs of completion and the estimated costs necessary to make the sale.
Diminution in the value of an asset by reason of its becoming out-of date or less useful due to technological changes, improvement in production methods, change in market demand for the product or service output of the asset, or legal or other restrictions.
The net profit arising from the normal operations and activities of an enterprise without taking account of extraneous transactions and expenses of a purely financial nature.
Paid-up Share Capital
That part of the subscribed share capital for which consideration in cash or otherwise has been received. This includes bonus shares allotted by the corporate enterprise.
Preference Share Capital
That part of the share capital of a corporate enterprise which enjoys preferential rights in respect of payments of fixed dividend and repayment of capital. Preference shares may also have full or partial participating rights in surplus profits or surplus capital.
Expenses relating to the formation of an enterprise. These include legal, accounting and share issue expenses incurred for formation of the enterprise.
Payment for expense in an accounting period, the benefit for which will accrue in the subsequent accounting period(s).
The total cost of direct materials, direct wages and other direct production expenses.
Prior Period Item
Prior period items are income or expenses which arise in the current period as a result of errors or omissions in the preparation of the financial statements of one or more prior periods.
A general term for the excess of revenue over related cost. When the result of this computation is negative it is referred to as loss.
Profit and Loss Account
A financial statement which presents the revenues and expenses of an enterprise for an accounting period and shows the excess of revenues over expenses (or vice versa). It is also known as profit and loss account.
An instrument in writing (not being a bank note or currency note) containing an unconditional undertaking, signed by the maker, to pay a certain sum of money only to, or to the order of, a certain person or to the bearer of the instrument.
An amount written o or retained by way of providing for depreciation or diminution in value of assets or retained by way of providing for any known liability the amount of which cannot be determined with substantial accuracy.
Provision for Doubtful Debts
A provision made for debts considered doubtful of recovery.
A concept of care and caution used in accounting according to which (in view of the uncertainty attached to future events) profits are not anticipated, but recognised only when realised, though not necessarily in cash. Under this concept, provision is made for all known liabilities and losses, even though the amount cannot be determined with certainty and represents only a best estimate in the light of available information.
Redeemable Preference Share
The preference share that is repayable either after a fixed or determinable period or at any time decided by the management (by giving due notice), under certain conditions prescribed by the instrument of incorporation or the terms of issue.
Repayment as per given terms normally used in connection with preference shares and debentures.
The portion of earnings, receipts or other surplus of an enterprise (whether capital or revenue) appropriated by the management for a general or a specific purpose other than a provision for depreciation or diminution in the value of assets or for a known liability. The reserves are primarily of two types: capital reserves and revenue reserves.
A reserve created on the revaluation of assets or net assets of an enterprise represented by the surplus of the estimated replacement cost or estimated market values over the book values thereof.
Residual value is the amount which an enterprise expects to obtain for an asset at the end of its useful life after deducting the expected costs of disposal.
Revenue is the gross inflow of cash, receivables or other consideration arising in the course of the ordinary activities of an enterprise from the sale of goods, from the rendering of services, and from the use by others of enterprise resources yielding interest, royalties and dividends. Revenue is measured by the charges made to customers or clients for goods supplied and services rendered to them and by the charges and rewards arising from the use of resources by them. In an agency relationship, the revenue is the amount of commission and not the gross inflow of cash, receivables or other consideration.
Any reserve other than a capital reserve.
An allotment of shares on the issue of fresh capital by a corporate enterprise to which a shareholder is entitled on payment, by virtue of his holding certain shares in the enterprise in proportion to the number of shares already held by him. (Shares allotted to certain categories of debenture holders pursuant to the rights enjoyed by them are sometimes called right shares)
Sales Turnover/Gross Turnover/Gross Sales
The aggregate amount for which sales are eected or services rendered by an enterprise. The terms gross turnover and net turnover (or gross sales and net sales) are sometimes used to distinguish the sales aggregate before and after deduction of returns and trade discounts.
Loan secured wholly or partly against an asset.
Aggregate amount of money paid or credited as paid on the shares and/ or stocks of a corporate enterprise.
The excess of the face value of shares over their issue price.
The interest of the shareholders in the net assets of a corporate enterprise. However, in the case of liquidation it is represented by the residual assets after meeting prior claims.
Share Issue Expenses
Costs incurred in connection with the issue and allotment of shares. These include legal and professional fees, advertising expenses, printing costs, underwriting commission, brokerage, and also expenses in connection with the issue of prospectus and allotment of shares.
Share warrants or options are financial instruments that give the holder the right to acquire equity shares.
The excess of the issue price of shares over their face value.
A fund created for the repayment of a liability or for the replacement of an asset.
Straight Line Method
The method under which the periodic charge for depreciation is computed by dividing the depreciable amount of a depreciable asset by the estimated number of years of its useful life.
Subscribed Share Capital
That portion of the issued share capital which has actually been subscribed and allotted. This includes any bonus shares allotted by the corporate enterprise.
Substance over Form
An accounting concept according to which the substance and not merely the legal form of transactions and events governs their accounting treatment and presentation in financial statements.
Sundry Creditors / Trade Creditors/Trade payables
Amount owed by an enterprise on account of goods purchased or services received or in respect of contractual obligations. Also termed as trade creditors or account payables or Trade payables.
Sundry Debtors / Trade Debtors/ Trade Receivables
Person from whom amounts are due for goods sold or services rendered or in respect of contractual obligations. Also termed as debtors, trade debtors, account receivables, trade receivables.
Credit balance in the profit and loss statement after providing for proposed appropriations, e.g., dividend or reserves.
A reduction granted by a supplier from the list price of goods or services on business considerations other than for prompt payment.
That portion of an expenditure whose benefit has not yet been exhausted.
Unissued Share Capital
That portion of the authorised share capital for which shares have not been oered for subscription.
Dividend which has been declared by a corporate enterprise but has not been paid, or the warrant or cheque in respect whereof has not been dispatched within the prescribed period.
Useful life is either
(i) the period over which a depreciable asset is expected to be used by the enterprise; or
(ii) the number of production or similar units expected to be obtained from the use of the
asset by the enterprise