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Cafeteria Plan - A benefit plan maintained by an employer for the benefit of the employees under which each participant has the opportunity to select the benefits they desire. Certain minimum choices and nondiscriminatory rules apply.

Call Loan - Loan repayable on demand. Also known as DEMAND LOAN.

Callable Instrument - BOND which accords an issuer the right to redemption before it is due.

Cap - To limit. Capital - ASSETS intended to further production. The amount invested in a PROPRIETORSHIP, PARTNERSHIP, or CORPORATION by its owners.

Capital Gain - Portion of the total GAIN recognized on the sale or exchange of a noninventory asset which is not taxed as ORDINARY INCOME. Capital gains have historically been taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income.

Capital Stock - Ownership shares of a CORPORATION authorized by its ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION. The money value assigned to a corporation's issued shares. The BALANCE SHEET account with the aggregate amount of the PAR VALUE or STATED VALUE of all stock issued by a corporation.

Capitalized Cost - Expenditure identified with goods or services acquired and measured by the amount of cash paid or the market value of other property, CAPITAL STOCK, or services surrendered. Expenditures that are written off during two or more accounting periods.

Capitalized Interest - INTEREST cost incurred during the time necessary to bring an ASSET to the condition and location for its intended use and included as part of the HISTORICAL COST of acquiring the asset.

Capitalized Lease - LEASE recorded as an ASSET acquisition accompanied by a corresponding LIABILITY by the LESSEE.

Capital Projects Funds - Funds used by a not-for-profit organization to account for all resources used for the development of a land improvement or building addition or renovation.

Carrying Value - Amount, net or CONTRA ACCOUNT balances, that an ASSET or LIABILITY shows on the BALANCE SHEET of a company. Also known as BOOK VALUE.

Carryovers - Provision of tax law that allows current losses or certain tax credits to be utilized in the tax returns of future periods.

Cash Basis - Method of bookkeeping by which REVENUES and EXPENDITURES are recorded when they are received and paid.

Cash Equivalents - Short-term (generally less than three months), highly liquid INVESTMENTS that are convertible to known amounts of cash.

Cash Flows - Net of cash receipts and cash disbursements relating to a particular activity during a specified accounting period.

Casualty Loss - Any loss of an asset due to fire storm act of nature causing asset damage from unexpected or accidental force. Generally it is deductible regardless of whether it is business or personal.


Certificate of Deposit (CD) - Formal instrument issued by a bank upon the deposit of funds which may not be withdrawn for a specified time period. Typically, an early withdrawal will incur a penalty.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) - Individual who is trained to develop and implement financial plans for individuals, businesses, and organizations, utilizing knowledge of income and estate tax, investments, risk management analysis and retirement planning. CFPs are certified after completing a series of requirements that include education, experience, ethics and an exam. CFPs are not regulated by a governmental authority.

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) - Internal AUDITOR who has satisfied the examination requirements of the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Certified Management Accountant (CMA) - An accreditation conferred by the Institute of Management Accountants that indicates the designee has passed an examination and attained certain levels of education and experience in the practice of accounting in the private sector.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) - ACCOUNTANT who has satisfied the education, experience, and examination requirements of his or her jurisdiction necessary to be certified as a public accountant.



Claim for Refund - A refund is not automatically mailed if one is due. A taxpayer, whether business or individual, must file a request on a form. It must also be filed within the timeframe allotted or the refund may be lost. An individual can claim a refund back to whatever year it was due but it will only be paid three years back or less.

Clean Opinion - AUDIT opinion not qualified for any material scope restrictions nor departures from GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP). Also known as UNQUALIFIED OPINION.

Closed-End Mutual Fund - MUTUAL FUND with a fixed number of shares outstanding that may be bought or sold. CMO - See COLLATERALIZED MORTGAGE OBLIGATION.

Collateral - ASSET provided to a CREDITOR as security for a loan.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligation (CMO) - SECURITY whose cash flows equal the difference between the cash flows of the collateralizing ASSETS and the collateralized obligations of a securitized TRUST. Characteristics of CMO residuals vary greatly and can be extremely complex in nature.

Combined Financial Statement - FINANCIAL STATEMENT comprising the accounts of two or more entities.

Comfort Letter - Letter provided by a company's independent public accountant to an underwriter when the underwriter has a DUE DILIGENCE responsibility under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 regarding financial information included in an offering statement.

Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) - An alliance of five professional organizations dedicated to disseminating appropriate internal control standards.

Common Stock - CAPITAL STOCK having no preferences generally in terms of dividends, voting rights or distributions. (See PREFERRED STOCK.)

Company Level Controls - Controls that exist at the company level that have an impact on controls at the process, transaction, or application level.

Comparative Financial Statement - FINANCIAL STATEMENT presentation in which the current amounts and the corresponding amounts for previous periods or dates also are shown.

Compensatory Balance - Funds that a borrower must keep on deposit as required by a bank.

Compilation - Presentation of financial statement data without the ACCOUNTANT'S assurance as to conformity with GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (GAAP).

Compilation Engagement - Agreement between a CPA firm and its client to issue a COMPILATI0N REPORT. (See ACCOUNTANTS' REPORT.)

Compilation Report

Compliance Audit - Review of financial records to determine whether the entity is complying with specific procedures or rules.

Complex Trust - A trust that is to be distinguished from a simple trust in the fact that it permits accumulation or distribution of current income during the tax year and provides for charitable contributions.

Compound Interest Principles - Interest computed on principal plus interest earned in previous periods.

Comprehensive Income - Change in EQUITY of a business enterprise during a period from transactions and other events and circumstances from sources not shown in the income statement. The period includes all changes in equity except those resulting from INVESTMENTS by owners and distributions to owners.

Confirmation - AUDITOR'S receipt of a written or oral response from an independent third party verifying the accuracy of information requested.

Conservatism - An investment strategy aimed at long-term capital
appreciation with low risk; moderate; cautious; opposite of aggressive behavior; show possible losses but wait for actual profits. Concept which directs the least favorable effect on net income.

Consistency - ACCOUNTING postulate which stipulates that, except as otherwise noted in the FINANCIAL STATEMENT, the same accounting policies and procedures have been followed from period to period by an organization in the preparation and presentation of its financial statements.

Consolidated Financial Statements - Combined FINANCIAL STATEMENTS of a parent company and one or more of its subsidiaries as one economic unit.

Consolidation - BUSINESS COMBINATION of two or more entities that occurs when the entities transfer all of their NET ASSETS to a new entity created for that purpose. (See MERGER.)

Constructive Receipt - A taxpayer is considered to have received the income even though the monies are not in hand, it may have been set aside or otherwise made available. An example is interest on a bank account.

Contingent Liability - Potential LIABILITY arising from a past transaction or a subsequent event.

Continuing Operations - Portion of a business entity expected to remain active.

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) - Educational programs for CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (CPAs) to keep informed on changes that occur within the profession. State Boards for Public Accountancy and the AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS (AICPA) each have separate CPE requirements.

Contra Account - ACCOUNT considered to be an offset to another account. Generally established to reduce the other account to amounts that can be realized or collected.

Control Deficiency - This exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent or detect misstatements on a timely basis.

Control Risk - Measure of risk that errors exceeding a tolerable amount will not be prevented or detected by an entity's internal controls.

Controls Tests - Tests directed toward the design or operation of an internal control structure policy or procedure to assess its effectiveness in preventing or detecting material misstatements in a financial report.

Convertible Stock - Stock that may be exchanged for other SECURITIES of the issuer.

Corporation - Form of doing business pursuant to a charter granted by a state or federal government. Corporations typically are characterized by the issuance of freely transferable CAPITAL STOCK, perpetual life, centralized management, and limitation of owners' LIABILITY to the amount they invest in the business.

Cost Accounting - Procedures used for rationally classifying, recording, and allocating current or predicted costs that relate to a certain product or production process.

Cost Recovery Method - METHOD OF REVENUE RECOGNITION which recognizes profits after costs are completely recovered. Generally used only when the total amount of collections is highly uncertain. In tax, the ACCOUNTING METHOD used to depreciate ASSETS.

Coverdell Education Savings Account (Education IRA) - A tax exempt trust exclusively for the purpose of paying qualified higher education costs of the trusts designated beneficiary.


Credit - Entry on the right side of a DOUBLE-ENTRY BOOKKEEPING system that represents the reduction of an ASSET or expense or the addition to a LIABILITY or REVENUE. (See DEBIT.)

Credit Agreement - Arrangement in which one party borrows or takes possession in the present by promising to pay in the future.

Credit Balance - BALANCE remaining after one of a series of bookkeeping entries. This amount represents a LIABILITY or income to the entity. (See BALANCE.)

Creditor - Party that loans money or other ASSETS to another party.

Current Asset - ASSET that one can reasonably expect to convert into cash, sell, or consume in operations within a single operating cycle, or within a year if more than one cycle is completed each year.

Current Liability - Obligation whose LIQUIDATION is expected to require the use of existing resources classified as CURRENT ASSETS, or the creation of other current liabilities.

Current Value - (1) Value of an ASSET at the present time as compared with the asset's HISTORICAL COST. (2) In finance, the amount determined by discounting the future revenue stream of an asset using COMPOUND INTEREST PRINCIPLES.


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