Here Are 10 Financial Terms Everyone Should Know

Return on investment measures the efficiency of an investment, including the amount of return on an investment relative to its cost. Accountants can also use ROI to compare the efficiency of more than one investment. To calculate ROI, subtract the cost of investment from the current value of investment, and divide that by the cost of the investment. A popular metric, ROI helps investors choose the best investment opportunities. On credit, also called on account, is an agreement for an individual or company to pay for a good or service at a later date. A journal entry refers to a business transaction recorded in a business’s general ledger.

The Internal Revenue Service requires companies to spread out the cost of depreciating assets over time. Students can use this accounting dictionary to look up accounting terms, definitions, and acronyms. Accounting majors and learners from other disciplines may find this resource helpful for understanding how businesses can make smart financial decisions. Students may also use this guide to keep track of and analyze their own individual finances to make better-informed personal finance decisions.

Income Statement

Typical items listed as business assets are cash on hand, accounts receivable, buildings, equipment, inventory, and anything else that can be turned into cash. The accrual basis of accounting is an accounting method of recording income when it’s actually earned and expenses when they actually occur. Accrual basis accounting is the most common approach used by larger businesses to record and maintain financial transactions. A type of policy that provides coverage over the lifetime of the insured and also offers a component called cash value that you can tap into while you’re still alive. Using the cash value, however, means you could reduce your death benefit and may owe taxes. Premiums for permanent life insurance are typically more expensive than for term life insurance . A number used by banks and other financial institutions to measure a borrower’s creditworthiness.

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  • The gain, however, is only on paper until the asset is actually sold.
  • The principal is a business finance key term and is the original amount that is borrowed or the outstanding balance to be repaid less interest.
  • Companies can deduct some eligible expenses from their taxes.

For example, if you have a five-year ARM, you will have a set rate for the first five years. Then the rate will change based on the terms of your mortgage. This means your monthly mortgage payment could start out low, but then rise after the fixed-rate period is over. Stocks, for instance, have the potential to provide growth over time, but may also be more volatile. Bonds tend to have slower growth, but are generally perceived to have less risk. A common investment strategy is to diversify your portfolio across multiple asset classes in order to spread out risk while taking advantage of growth. The money that goes into these accounts comes out of earnings pretax, so you don’t pay taxes on the amount you put away every year.

Also known as A/R , accounts receivables is another business finance 101 term that means the money owed to your small business by others for goods or services rendered. These accounts are labeled as assets because they represent a legal obligation for the customer to pay you cash for their short-term debt. Gross profit, also called gross income or sales profit, is the profit businesses make after subtracting the costs related to supplying their services or making and selling their products. Accountants calculate gross profit by subtracting the cost of goods sold from revenue. Analysts can look at gross profit as indicative of a company’s efficiency at delivering services or producing goods. Capital refers to a person’s or organization’s financial assets.

Insurance Terms

Using GAAP can improve the consistency and transparency of financial reporting across organizations. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires publicly traded companies to use GAAP.

financial definitions for dummies

Return on Investment is a performance measure used to evaluate the returns of an investment or compare efficiency of different investments. Interest Rate Calculator to help you compute the effective interest rate based on the number of periods, type of interest rate, and initial balance amount. An account held by an impartial third party on behalf of two parties in a transaction.

What Is Finance?

Overview of what is financial modeling, how & why to build a model. Learn Excel online with 100’s of free Excel tutorials, resources, guides & cheat sheets! CFI’s resources are the best way to learn Excel on your own terms.

Various methods of depreciation are used by businesses to decrease the recorded value of assets. Here are some business terms and finance terms that will help you find your way to successful small business funding. Always be learning as a business owner, no matter where you are in your career—there’s always a new tool to master, new problems to solve, and new vocabulary to understand.

financial definitions for dummies

This business finance key term is a legal obligation to repay or otherwise settle a debt. Liabilities are considered either current or long-term and are listed on a business’s balance sheet.

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You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy. Gordon Scott has been an active investor and technical analyst of securities, futures, forex, and penny stocks for 20+ years. He is a member of the Investopedia Financial Review Board and the co-author of Investing to Win. And are one of the costliest ways to fund your small business. It is one of the fastest ways to access cash for emergencies. Bootstrapping refers to the use of profits earned to reinvest in the business. There is a wide range of topics that people in the financial industry are concerned with.

A profit and loss statement, also called an income statement, shows the expenses, costs and revenues for a company during a specific time period. This financial statement, along with the cash flow statement and the balance sheet, provides information about a business’s financial health and ability to generate profit. Also known as statements of revenue and expense or profit and loss statements, income statements provide information about businesses’ expenses and revenue in specific periods of time. Along with balance sheets and statements of cash flows, income statements offer insight into companies’ financial health.

You’ve probably heard the words “stocks and bonds” used together, but they’re actually pretty different. How that money is paid back is determined by the conditions you bought the bond under. Liquidity relates to how easily an individual or business can convert an asset to cash for its full market value. The most liquid asset, cash, can easily and quickly convert to other assets. Accounting liquidity measures how easily someone can pay for things using liquid assets. Market liquidity refers to how easily a market facilitates the transparent buying and selling of assets at stable prices.

How effectively a company handles the cash it possesses and how it pays down its debts are both indicators of its ability to grow and increase shareholder value. Company earnings announcements contain terms that any beginning investor needs to understand to know the health of the firm. More new housing, built to modern-day standards, needs to be made available before the shaking begins, and governments need to plan for a long-term recovery with a plan to finance it.

For example, a student who takes an accounting course and encounters an unfamiliar acronym can consult this list. Learners can also use the links in this guide to find in-depth information on accounting concepts and principles. In every company, especially blue-chip companies, there are claims of specific individuals or separate companies.

Accounts Receivable

A business’s accounts payable, wages, taxes, and accrued expenses are all considered liabilities. COAs help companies organize their finances and provide insight into organizations’ financial health for investors and stakeholders.

This is an individual who guarantees to cover the balance owed on a debt if you or your business cannot meet the repayment obligation. A FICO score is another type of credit score used by potential lenders for evaluating the wisdom of entering a contract with you and your business. FICO scores comprise a substantial part of the credit report that lenders use to assess credit risk. It was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, hence the name FICO. A tangible, long-term asset used for the business and not expected to be sold or otherwise converted into cash during the current or upcoming fiscal year is called a fixed asset.