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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 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 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 is Accounts Receivable Subsidiary Ledger?

The Accounts Receivable Subsidiary Ledger will be a separate ledger from a company’s General Ledger, where all of the information pertaining to all Accounts Receivable will be reported. Receivables may have only a line-item on the General Ledger of a company, but may have an entire department dedicated to servicing the receivable accounts. Because there may be a large amount of information in just the Receivables sub-account, there is often a Subsidiary Ledger dedicated to the minutia of all the Accounts Receivable business. 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...

What is Form 706 GS (D): Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Form 706 is the Estate Tax return, and it has a section concerning Generation-Skipping Transfers. 706 GS (D), specifically, is the form which 706: GS (D-1) is the corresponding form if the transfer is associated with a trust, which is filed by the trustee. The Generation-Skipping Tax attempts to prevent an estate from transferring too many assets directly to grandchildren instead of children for the purpose of shielding heirs from estate taxes. The form for reporting Generation Skipping Transfers is 706 GS (D), where 706 is the Estate Tax Return filing. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?

Mortgages take a while to process, but a broker or bank can lock in a rate for themselves or their clients. Locking-in rates costs money somewhere along the line, and the longer the rate is locked in, the more it costs. 60 days is generally the longest time frame you will see a rate locked in, due to the cost associated with that risk. Mortgage rates can be locked in for a period of time long enough to underwrite the loan. This might be for a period as short as 20 days or as long as 60 days. Continue reading...

How Does Blockchain Technology Work?

Blockchains are intended to maintain integrity in the system without anyone needing to monitor or control it. By instituting a system of checks and balances that functions on its own accord through rules programmed into the protocol, and which also makes decisions and keeps records based on consensus throughout a peer-to-peer network, a blockchain oversees its own activities without requiring any trust in a central authority or the other parties involved. Continue reading...

How do Bitcoin Transactions Work?

Two words: blockchain technology. Transactions in bitcoin are encoded, packed into a block of other transactions, and all of these are sent out to thousands of computers running blockchain computations, known as hashes. All of these computers are running similar algorithms designed to force honest work and to take time for the computers to complete. The purpose of this step is merely forcing the blockchain to require time, energy, and effort, and to be randomized and decentralized when it is validating transactions. Whichever computer solves it first receives an incentive reward, and the entire blockchain, comprised of all computers running bitcoin client software, then updates the ledger to include the most recent validated transactions. Continue reading...

What is a Merger?

A merger is the voluntary melding of two companies into one, when the owners believe the change is mutually beneficial. A merger could happen between two companies that were competitors, called a horizontal merger, or between companies who are part of the same supply chain, called a vertical merger. A merger between two companies who are based in the same industry but serve different markets could also be called a market extension. Continue reading...

What is Minority Interest?

Minority interest is a portion of a company’s stock that is not owned by the parent company, and refers to a type of ownership that generally cannot exert influence over a company’s business decisions. If an outside investor or another company has a less than 50% stake in a company via shares, then they are said to have a minority interest. From an accounting standpoint, only the dividends of a minority interest are counted on a company’s books. If they exert influence over the decision-making, then a percentage of the income may also need to be included. Continue reading...

What are Articles of Partnership?

Articles of Partnership lay out the nature of the agreement entered into by partners in business entity. Also called a ‘partnership agreement,’ articles of partnership plainly describe the nature of the partnership, which partners are General Partners and which are Limited Partners, and other important details. Partnerships can take the form of Limited Liability Partnerships, General Partnerships, and even S Corporations (but those file articles of incorporation instead). Continue reading...

What is an Account Balance?

An account balance is the amount either credited to or owed on a ledger assigned to a particular entity or line-item. The balance of an account is the net debit or credit assigned to it after all transactions have been documented for a current period. Transactions might be deposits, withdrawals, interest credited, fees, or other activity. The account in question could be a personal savings or checking account, or a ledger account at a business or institution, or another form of account, such as the macroeconomic concept of current national account. Accounts are said to be “in the red” when there is a net debit (negative) amount, and “in the black” when there is a net positive balance (net credit). Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Broker?

Mortgage brokers act as agents for consumers looking for the best deal possible on a home mortgage loan. Lenders at banks may not be able to find the most competitive interest rates out there. Mortgage brokers can help consumers become more educated about the various kinds of loans out there, some of which are subsidized by the government. Mortgage brokers find and place mortgage loans with consumers who need it to buy a house. Continue reading...

What is a Bond Ladder?

A bond ladder is a portfolio of bonds that have different maturities, that may range from months to years in difference. A bond ladder is designed to reduce interest rate risk and create predictable income streams. An investor will build a bond ladder often in an effort to reduce interest rate risk and also to create predictable income streams, where coupon payments happen at different times and principal is also returned in various intervals. Continue reading...

What is a Letter of Credit?

A letter of credit is a provided by a bank or financial institution on behalf of a borrower or buyer, to ensure the seller that payments will be made on time and in full. In the event that the buyer is unable to make payment on the purchase, the bank will have to step-in to cover the full or remaining amount of the purchase. Letters of credit are often used in international transactions to guarantee that payment will be received. Continue reading...

What are the main Accounting Methods?

There are two main kinds of accounting methods: accrual accounting and cash accounting. Depending on who is speaking, accounting “methods” may also extend to the GAAP vs pro-forma distinction. For the most part, accounting methods can be defined based on the year in which the revenues and expenses are put on the books. In cash accounting, only the revenues and expenses which are collected and paid in the current year or period are documented. Continue reading...

What is GAAP?

Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored company which purchases mortgages from banks and securitizes them for sales to investment banks or individuals. Freddie Mac is not a government organization, but was established by a congressional mandate in the 1970’s. It’s proper name is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). The company’s purpose is to make mortgage debts into marketable securities by purchasing the mortgage risk and cash flow from banks and dividing into tranches which are sold to or through investment banking institutions. The securitized mortgages are known as Collateralized Mortgage Obligations, or CMO’s. Continue reading...

Is Bitcoin Legal?

Bitcoin remains a technology and a currency that primarily exists outside of the influence and control of governments and regulated markets. In most places, it is accepted for what it is. In some countries, it is explicitly banned. Bitcoin is technically illegal in a few parts of the world, but for the most part, it remains in the extra-legal realm, existing outside of the traditional legal system and the regulated markets. Bitcoin was created in large part to be difficult to understand and to pin down, to be part of the fringe and underground that could not be controlled by a central authority. It is open-source, so no one owns the rights to the code, and the community of programmers interested in shaping the future of cryptocurrency frequently attempts to make small upgrades and tweaks to blockchain technology in the interest of creating more efficient, more scalable blockchain cryptocurrency. Continue reading...

What is Accrual Accounting?

Accrual accounting is the counterpart to cash accounting, and the accrual method puts expenses and revenues on the books as soon as they are contractually agreed-upon. Accrual accounting is required by GAAP conventions for all publicly traded companies who have over $5 million in annual revenues. This method is the counterpart to cash accounting, which may be more useful to smaller businesses. In accrual accounting, the expenses and revenues which are agreed upon are written onto the business’s ledger at the current time, regardless of when payment will actually settle on the transaction. When a sale is made or service is performed, the revenue from the activity is documented, even if no cash is received in the current period. Continue reading...