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What are Accounting Methods?

Accounting Methods are the overarching style of accounting and bookkeeping which determine the practices, procedures, systems, and controls which should be put in place. There are two main methods of accounting that businesses and individuals can use to approach their accounting, and these are known as cash basis and accrual basis. The IRS expects businesses to choose early one which method they will use, and it can be difficult to change accounting styles later on. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Statement?

A Bank Statement is a report issued to an account holder on a regular basis, such as monthly, which contains the account balance as of the date of the report and usually a history of transactions for the period. A Bank Statement will usually be mailed, either by the postal service or electronically, to a banking customer every month. The statement will represent a summary of the bank’s records for the recent month on a particular account, and will probably show all transactions posted to the account, along with the ending balance of the account as of the date of the mailing. Continue reading...

What is Cash and Cash Equivalents?

Cash and cash equivalents are negotiable instruments which have a stable value and are highly liquid. Cash and Cash Equivalents is a phrase used often in the financial world. Generally money market accounts are the most used cash equivalent. They are invested in currency, and their goal is to preserve the value of the the investor’s dollars. Money market accounts are basically completely liquid, and investors can even write checks and make ATM withdrawals from their money market accounts. Continue reading...

What is Cash Collateral?

Cash collateral is liquid cash and cash equivalents designated as collateral for loans and debts of various sorts. One frequently used example of cash collateral is cash used in short selling of securities in a brokerage account. While securities equal to significantly more than the required cash margin can be substituted for cash, the most cost-effective and least risky way to maintain margin requirements is with cash and cash equivalents. Continue reading...

What is a Basis Point?

When percentages being used to describe a security are very small, basis points are often used to describe the numbers. A Basis Point (bp) is 1/100th of a percent, so 1% = 100 bps. This metric is used when discussing financial instruments for which very small changes in percentages can make a difference. For example, rates on single premium immediate annuities change weekly, and generally only by a few basis points. These small changes can make a difference competitively week-to-week, because a few basis points can translate to thousands of dollars of income over time. Other places where basis points are used include: advisory and management fees, moves in indexes and securities, bonds, and so on. Continue reading...

What is Adjusted Cost Basis?

Adjusted Cost Basis (ABC) is the value of an item for tax purposes, adjusted for depreciation and expenditures. Sometimes abbreviated ABC, adjusted cost basis is the valuation of an item for tax purposes; that is, if it is to be bought or sold, what gains or losses would be assigned to it? Some business assets are depreciated on a set schedule, such as equipment. For equipment sold or taken as part of an acquisition a few years after it was purchased, the depreciation factor would reduce the value of the item for tax purposes by perhaps as much as 20% per year. If a company spent significant amounts of money improving a facility, the cost basis of the facility would go up by that amount. Continue reading...

What is Cash Budget?

Budgeting is the act of planning accounts for the future. A cash budget plans out the expected cash flow of a business. Sales and production estimations are used along with historical cash flow data to project where money will come from and where it will be spent in the months ahead. A cash budget tends to be laid out on a monthly basis. Accounting is the documentation of the outlay of all expenses and income from the past, while budgeting is act of building an outlay for the future. A cash budget tries to ensure that there is more cash coming in than going out; any excess cash can be rolled forward into the budget plans for the following months, and this is called a cash roll. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow?

Cash flow is the liquid flow of cash and cash equivalents into and out of a business. Cash flow is an accounting metric that keeps track of the liquid assets going into and out of a business, project, or fund. Cash flow does not include accounts receivable, necessarily, because those funds may not be in-hand at the present time. The cash conversion cycle (CCC) and some valuation calculations will use cash flow numbers. Accounts may demonstrate positive or negative cash flow, which is either adding to or decreasing total assets. Continue reading...

What is Cash On Delivery?

Sometimes when orders are made for the delivery of goods at a person’s residence or place of business, they can choose to only pay once the goods have been delivered. Payment by COD (Cash On Delivery) is an option that older Americans are likely more familiar with than younger Americans, but it still takes place. In this payment arrangement, a customer can wait until the goods have been delivered before actually paying for them. Continue reading...

What is Cash-Flow Financing?

Cash flow financing is an alternative method of securing a loan, in which cash flows are the collateral, not assets. In cash flow financing, also known as cash flow loans, a lending institution will base their decisions regarding the size of the loan and the loan repayment schedule on future expected cash flows of the company. The cash flows serve as collateral instead of assets, as in an asset-backed loan. Continue reading...

What is a Cash Conversion Cycle?

A business with a fast ‘cash conversion cycle’ can efficiently use funds and resources to fulfill the different needs of the business and to generate more business. In the simplest terms, the ‘cash conversion cycle’ is an accounting and efficiency model which measures how fast a retailer can disburse cash to suppliers and then receive cash from customers. To be more descriptive, the business would use cash from Receivables, to get Inventory (and cover Payables), sell that Inventory, and Receive cash again. Continue reading...

What is a Cash Flow Statement?

A statement of cash flows is an accounting report which describes the changes in cash flows, which is distinct from net income. Cash Flow Statements are an important part of corporate accounting. While net income reports include non-cash items such as depreciation, as well as accounts receivable and accounts payable, cash flow statements will isolate the cash transactions in and out of the company. This helps get an idea of whether the company can pay its bills in a timely manner and so forth. Continue reading...

What is Discounted Cash Flow?

Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) uses an estimated future cash flow amount and a Discount Rate to determine the Present Value (PV). An investor or business executive might project an estimated future cash flow for a business based on recent growth rates, industry information, futurism, estimated inflation, etc. The most common future cash flow to use is free cash flow, which takes out capital expenditures. Continue reading...

What is Operating Cash Flow (OCF)?

Operating cash flow is the amount of cash a company is able to generate from its operations - i.e., how much real cash flow is being generated after accounting for expenses. It is calculated by adjusting net income for items like depreciation and changes in inventory. A company’s OCF is an important metric in determining whether it can generate cash flow without requiring external financing. The timeliness and frequency of cash flows is important as well, in that a company ideally produces consistent and favorable OCF. Continue reading...

What is the Operating Cash Flow Ratio?

The operating cash flow ratio, or OCF ratio, is used to measure whether a company’s cash flows are sufficient to cover current liabilities. It essentially measures how many times a company can use cash flow from operations to cover debt expenses. It can be measured by dividing a company’s cash flow from operations by its current liabilities. Companies with high (relative to their peers or other companies in the sector OCF ratios are generally in good financial health, meaning they can adequately cover ongoing liabilities with cash flow from operations. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow to Debt Ratio?

The cash flow to debt ratio measures a company’s operating cash flow versus its total debt. It is a useful tool for measuring a company’s ‘coverage,’ which looks at how well equipped a company is to meet its ongoing debt obligations (interest payments, for example) based on the amount of cash it generates through sales/service. There are different methodologies for calculating the ratio, but the most conservative are using free cash flow as the numerator and all redeemable debt (short-term, long-term, preferred stock) as the denominator. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow After Taxes?

Cash flow after taxes (CFAT) is nearly the same thing as EBITDA, but with taxes left in. One way to arrive at Cash Flow After Taxes is to take the net income of the business and add in interest, amortization, depreciation and other non-cash expenses. This is one item away from the formula for EBITDA, which also adds tax back in to arrive at the Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. Continue reading...

What is Cash Flow from Investing Activities?

In the Cash Flow Statement, the cash flow in and out of investments, whether in shares of other companies or in capital assets, is recorded. The gains or losses from investment activities, including but not limited to shares of other companies (non-controlling interest) and the gains or losses experienced with subsidiaries, as well as negative cash flow or positive cash flow into or out of capital investment projects such as production infrastructure, are recorded in a portion of the Cash Flow Statement called Investing Activities. Continue reading...

What is the Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR)?

The Price to Cash Flow Ratio (PCFR) is a valuation measure that looks at a company’s stock price relative to its cash flow per share. Generally speaking, the lower the ratio, the better chance the company is undervalued - it basically means the company produces a lot of cash flow relative to how much it costs to acquire a share on the open market. A very high PCFR indicates that a company is trading at a high price relative to the amount of cash flow it produces. Start-up technology companies, for instance, would generally have high PCFRs because they may not produce high levels of cash flow in early stages, but investors may bid up the price in anticipation of future growth. Continue reading...

What are the Basics of Stocks?

This article and the ones that follow should give you a solid foundation in the knowledge of stocks and their use as financial instruments. We have established the basic structure of a common stock share: a company issues stock to raise capital, the owner of the stock is entitled to participate in the profits of the company, and stocks are traded in the Secondary Market between buyers and sellers who assume the risk and receive any proceeds that arise from price changes. Continue reading...