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What is 'Pro Forma'?

Pro Forma is a term used frequently in the context of a company’s financial statement, and refers to the manner in which figures are presented. In Latin the term “Pro Forma” means “as a matter of form,” and in the case of a financial statement refers to how figures are presented either in present form or as projections. For publicly traded corporations, statements prepared with the pro forma method are generally made ready ahead of a planned transaction such as an acquisition, merger, or some change in corporate structure based on new investment or capital changes. Continue reading...

What is an Income Statement?

An income statement is a business’s financial statement that gives the income results from operations and non-operations activity. It is also called a profit and loss statement or a statement of operations. It is one of the major financial statements in the world of corporate accounting. The others are the balance sheet, the statement of cash flows, and the statement of shareholder’s equity. The income statement will included revenues and gains from investments and “secondary operations”, but it will not include cash flows in or out which may stem from other accounting periods. 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 Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement?

A Profit and Loss Statement, also referred to as an “income statement,” is a corporate statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and expenses incurred by a company during a specific time period, such as a quarter or a fiscal year. The main difference between a P&L statement and a balance sheet is that the P&L is designed to show changes in line items over the period analyzed, versus a balance sheet which simply shows a comprehensive snapshot of a company’s asset and liabilities on a set date. Continue reading...

What is a Bank Reconciliation Statement?

It is a useful practice to compare the balance reported by the bank and your internal accounting, in the form of a Bank Reconciliation Statement. Bank Reconciliation is the useful practice of comparing the records of the bank and a business's internal accounting for a specific accounting period. Many businesses produce Bank Reconciliation Statements (BRS) on a monthly basis. There may be pending transactions that have not settled yet, such as outstanding checks to vendors, which have shown up on the business’s books but are not represented in the bank account balance. It can be important to identify which transactions have shown up on the bank’s ledger and which ones have not. 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 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 an Earnings Recast?

An earnings recast is a revision of previous earnings reports, in which a company has made different choices with their accounting methodology that they feel are a better representation of their accounts. A common time to do this is after a company has divested itself of a subsidiary, when it will publish recast financial statements from the preceding years that show the company’s performance without the subsidiary being included. Continue reading...

What are Financials Stocks?

Financial stocks are those that make up the financial sector, which encompasses banks, lenders, wire houses, and other companies that facilitate the flow of capital and debt. Real estate companies can also fall under this category. Financials tend to do well when yield curves are steep and the regulatory environment favors banks. When credit markets aren’t under strain financials tend to perform well. 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 Financial Liquidity?

Financial liquidity refers to the ease with which an asset can be converted to cash. Assessing financial liquidity is important on a corporation’s balance sheet, as it serves as an indication of how readily a company can pay off debts or weather a crisis. Continue reading...

What are Consolidated Financial Statements?

Consolidated financial statements are required when one company owns a controlling interest in another company. They must adhere to the same accounting principals as a the financial statements for a single company. Some detail tends to be lost if the parent company and subsidiaries have very different operations. If a company owns more than 50% of another company, their financial statements will be consolidated into one, according to GAAP. Up to that point, the interest in another company can be accounted for using cost-method or equity-method accounting. Continue reading...

What is a Financial Advisor?

The term "Financial Advisor" applies to professionals who are compensated for helping to implement investment strategies, but it is a broad and non-specific term. There are thousands of people who are called “Financial Advisors” – but within this category are various professions with different specialties and compensation structures. There are Financial Advisors, Financial Planners, Investment Managers, Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs), and at times even CPAs, insurance agents, and lawyers are included in this umbrella term. Continue reading...

Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The answer to this question will depend on the preferences and circumstances of each individual. As your assets grow and your financial picture becomes more complex (with unclear tax implications, and interdependent asset classes), then the answer is more likely to be yes. For those investors with a more modest-size portfolio, it may not be necessary. Financial modeling tools and market research publications are widely available, and while they are not one-size-fits-all answers, they can serve investors quite well when used wisely. Investors who choose not to consult an advisor must be willing to educate themselves. Continue reading...

What are the Best Financial Programs to Use?

What are the Best Financial Programs to Use?

There are many apps and online programs that investors can use, often for free, to help keep an eye on their holdings and to track their investment portfolio. In addition to the software accessible through your custodian, you might want to look at the programs available through Morningstar, Microsoft Money, and others. Apps on your phone (CNBC, TheStreet, Barron’s, MarketWatch, etc.) can keep you updated on market news related to your stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs. You can also subscribe to market commentaries delivered via email. Continue reading...

What are Financial Statements and Why are They Important?

What are Financial Statements and Why are They Important?

Decoding the world of financial statements can seem daunting, but they are pivotal in understanding a company's fiscal health. These records, more than just numbers and charts, offer a transparent view into a business's activities and achievements. From the snapshot provided by the balance sheet to the profitability insights from the income statement, each document tells a part of the company's financial story. Investors, accountants, and various stakeholders rely on these tools to make informed decisions, be it for taxation, financing, or investment opportunities. This guide delves deep into the intricacies of these statements, shedding light on their types, components, and the power of their analysis. Whether you're an industry professional or a curious individual, understanding these statements is crucial in today's data-driven business landscape. Continue reading...

What are the Best Internet Sources for Financial Information?

The internet is overflowing with the advice, analysis, and chest-pounding of millions of self-purported gurus and market commentary services. There are plenty of well-informed and trustworthy sources out there, too. There are literally millions of websites providing you with various kinds of financial information, advice, recommendations, opinions, rumors, get-rich-quick schemes, and “facts.” There is a short list of companies that are well-established with a reputation worthy of trust: Morningstar, Moody’s, Fidelity, Schwab, Goldman Sachs, etc. Continue reading...

Where Do I Find a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor can be found through an online search, at events, or through the recommendation of friends. Believe it or not, while there are thousands of resources and databases, the best way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. You will need to determine a few basic criteria when looking for a Financial Advisor, such as geographical location, his or her age bracket, years of experience, frequency and medium of communication, and the amount of fees you are willing to pay. While there are thousands of resources and databases, sometimes the easiest way to find a Financial Advisor is to ask your friends. Continue reading...

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a financial advisor capable of investment and insurance/estate planning. For an advisor that wants the “CFP” designation, they must complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements, which include extensive exams in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning and retirement. They must also complete continuing education courses. Continue reading...

What is a Good Financial Advisor?

What is a Good Financial Advisor?

A good financial advisor should care as much about your investments as you do, and be personable and knowledgeable enough to make the relationship worth your time, money, and trust. Choosing a Financial Advisor is a bit like choosing a caretaker for your child: you would want someone who gives you a sense of security, who has professional references or the recommendation of a trusted friend, years of experience, is reliable and honest, can foster growth, and ideally, will care about your child almost as much as you do. Continue reading...