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What are Accounts Payable?

On a balance sheet, Accounts Payable is a section under ‘Liabilities’ that details the obligations the company has to pay off short-term debts. Goods and services rendered to a company by suppliers, banks, utilities, and so forth will need to be paid for in the short term, and these bills are accounted for in the Accounts Payable. In a Company's Balance Sheet, the Payables will appear in the Current Liabilities section, and these tend to have cycles of 30-90 days in which they should be paid. Continue reading...

What is Accounts Payable for Accounting?

Accounts Payable is part of the Current Liabilities section of a company’s books. Accounts Payable are the short-term expenses and debts that a company must pay out in the near future. These might include utility bills and regular expenses, debt service, and bills to regular suppliers and vendors. The amounts that appear in the Payables, as they are also called, have not been paid out yet, but are scheduled to be paid within the current quarter, generally. Continue reading...

What is Liability?

As a general statement, a liability refers to some form of currency (money or service) that is owed from one party to another, typically in the form of debt or a balance outstanding. On a balance sheet, a company’s liabilities would include its loans, accounts payable, outstanding debt. Short-term liabilities are generally those owed within a year, whereas long-term liabilities might stretch beyond that. Continue reading...

What is an Accounts Payable Subsidiary Ledger?

Accounts payable may have enough items within it to require its own department in the company, or just a subsidiary ledger to supplement the General Ledger of the company. A subsidiary ledger gives full details of a line-item in the general ledger, especially when it is too detailed to include in the general ledger. The Accounts Payable Subsidiary Ledger will contain all of the transaction details for each credit and debit in the Payables history from a specific period. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is Cash Accounting?

Cash Accounting is the accounting method where only finalized transactions are documented. Larger, publicly traded companies are actually not allowed to use Cash Accounting because it can’t keep up with all the Payable, Receivables, and so forth that large companies have to keep on their books. Instead, larger companies are required by the SEC to use Accrual Accounting, which makes ledger entries for cash that has not yet be paid or received, among other things. Continue reading...

What is Accounts Receivable for Accounting?

Also simply called Receivables, the Accounts Receivable line on a General Ledger will contain the amounts owed to the company which are due to be received in the near future. If a company offers financing for the items it sells, or it has regular payments coming in for things such as rent, leases, monthly subscription or membership fees, and so on, they will have substantial numbers in their accounts receivable. Continue reading...

What is an Adjunct Account?

An adjunct account increases the valuation of a liability account. An adjunct account is commonly used when accounting for a bond issue sold at a premium. The par value of the bonds sold is included in one line as a credit to Bonds Payable, and the increased premium in placed in another line as a credit to Premium on Bonds payable. The technical term for the account into which a discounted bond’s discount is placed is a Contra Account. Continue reading...

What is Account Reconcilement?

Account reconcilement is the act of comparing and affirming multiple records of the same financial information. To “reconcile the books” is to compare different records of the same accounts to ensure that they match up. One might reconcile all the different record-keeping for the same account, such as copies of checks and receipts, to be sure that they add up to the balance and ledger shown on a bank account statement. It could be that the recipient of a check has not yet cashed it, and it is important to keep all records “synced” with one another. Continue reading...

What are the 403(b) Contribution Limits?

The contribution limits are increased over time with cost-of-living adjustments. 403(b) contribution limits are currently the same as 401(k) limits, and are adjusted for inflation at the same rate. As of 2016, if you are under age 50, you may contribute up to $18,000. If you’re over 50, you can also make a catch-up contribution of up to $6,000, for a total of $24,000 for the year. 403(b)s also allow an additional form a catch-up for employees who have been at the job for over 15 years and whose contributions in the past average out to less than $5,000 per year. These catch-ups are called Fifteen Year Cap Expansion Option or just service-based catch-ups. Continue reading...

What is Federal Income Tax?

The Federal Government has established several ways to generate the revenue needed to pay for the operations of government agencies and capital improvements benefiting society. The primary source of these funds is through income taxes, which are assessed based on the earnings of an individual. Federal income taxes are paid by individuals in proportion to their earnings, after reducing the considered earnings by the allowable tax deductions. Continue reading...

What is Account History?

Account history is a term especially useful for investment accounts, where transactions beyond a current month or year’s records are useful for reference. Most people are familiar with the transaction history that is available for the current month, quarter, or year on an individual’s savings, checking, and credit card accounts. These are often called “activity ledgers” or something similar. Account history that reaches further back might be more useful for investment accounts, where the current value of investments, and their cost basis, will depend heavily on account history from potentially years in the past. This sort of query can be made easily with online investment account viewing software from a broker or custodian company. Continue reading...

How Often Can I Contribute to My 401(k)?

Generally 401(k) contributions will be automatically deducted from payroll. Contributions to a 401(k) account are generally taken out of compensation during payroll, before taxes are withheld. For example, if you receive monthly paychecks, the contributions into your 401(k) occur monthly. Some employers may be more flexible and allow employees to make deposits when it is convenient, or to adjust their contributions at year-end, but larger employers will probably not have time for that, unless it is built into the plan interface in a way that makes it convenient for the payroll department at the sponsoring place of employment. Remember, any contributions must be within the limits allowed by the plan. Excess contributions must be corrected promptly. Continue reading...

What is a Margin Account?

A margin account is one in which an investor uses borrowed money to purchase additional securities. An investor is almost always required to use the securities in the account as collateral for the borrowed money. The objective of a margin account is for the investor to magnify gains, but the opposite can also be true, and losses may lead the investor to have to sell securities in the account to cover the loan balance. There’s more upside in a margin account, but there’s more downside too. Continue reading...

What are Accounts Receivable?

Accounts Receivable is part of the Assets on a Balance Sheet, and it details the money due to the company from its customers or debtors in the near future. Accounts Receivable will include money which should be received by the company from those who owe it. This appears in the Current Assets section of the Balance Sheet. The money should be receivable within the next 30 or 90 days, generally. This might be rent payments or other bills which are paid regularly or after the goods or services have been rendered. An account receivable also might include interest due. Continue reading...

What is a Lifeline Account?

Lifeline accounts are offered by some banks, and are required in some states to be offered by all banks — they give low-income individuals an opportunity to bank without paying fees or observing a minimum balance. This is done in an effort to promote social mobility by giving everyone access to banking services. You are likely to be able to find a bank that offers free checking accounts anyway, but some states have mandated that banks allow for so-called “lifeline accounts,” which have fewer features than other checking accounts but which may be the only banking option available for low-income banking customers. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Controls?

Internal control systems and procedures can ensure the accuracy and reliability of financial accounts at a business. Accounting controls are meant to ensure that the numbers being put onto the books are accurate. Internal controls are the practices that employees are trained to do, and may be audited on, which general involve some oversight or double-checking to filter out mistakes. This not only prevents mistakes, but also malfeasance, embezzlement and fraud. Accounting done wrong can result in criminal penalties, bankruptcy, and tax problems. Continue reading...

What is the Accounting Cycle?

The Accounting Cycle includes all of the documentation that is collected and all of the controls and systems in place to ensure accurate accounting. The Accounting Cycle begins with the point of sale, with documentation for the transaction (invoice or receipt) and the internal expenses and inventory. There are conventions, controls and systems in place to account for and control the flow of information in a company at each stage of the process to ensure that accounts are as accurate as possible. The Accounting Cycle may refer to the length of time between trial balances, such as monthly, quarterly, or annually. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Policies?

Accounting policies are the internal controls of a company which stipulate the methods by which the books will be kept. Accounting policies are the agreed-upon accounting methods, conventions, and practices of an accounting cycle. A business must establish guidelines and training to ensure that accounts are kept in ways that satisfy their needs for documentation, security, liquidity, management, and the observation of applicable laws. Continue reading...

What are Accounting Records?

Accounting records are the supporting documents that verify the history of transactions, audits, and reports. Accounting documents are sometimes required to be kept on file for a certain number of years. They may be paper or electronic records. Records may include point-of-sale documents such as receipts and invoices, as well as inventory delivery and audit records, and the results of internal and third-party audits from various periods. Continue reading...