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Broswe Glossary Terms: A

Property that a business owns, including cash and receivables, inventory, etc. Assets are any possessions that have value in an exchange. The more formal definition is the entire property of a person, association, corporation, or estate applicable or subject to the payment of debts. What most people understand as business assets are cash and investments, accounts receivable, inventory, office equipment, plant and equipment, etc. Assets can be long-term or short-term, and the distinction between these two categories might be whether they last three years, five years, 10 years, or whatever; normally the accountants decide for each company and what's important is consistency. The government also has a say in defining assets, because it has to do with tax treatment; when you buy a piece of equipment, if you call that purchase an expense then you can deduct it from taxable income. If you call it an asset you can't deduct it, but you can list it on your financial statement among the assets. The tax code controls how businesses decide to categorize spendings into assets or expenses.

Capital assets:
Long-term assets, also known as Plant and Equipment, or fixed assets. These terms are interchangeable. Assets are generally divided into short-term and long-term assets, the distinction depending on how long they last. Usually the difference between short term and long term is a matter of accounting and financial policy. Five years is probably the most frequent division point, meaning that assets that depreciate over more than five years are long-term assets. Ten years and three years are also common. Business Plan Pro sets a starting value for capital assets in either the Start-up or the Past Performance table, depending of course on the nature of the company, whether it is start-up or ongoing. In the start-up table, the capital assets are called "." In the Past Performance table, they are labeled "Capital Assets." As the plan unfolds into months and year, depreciation decreases the net value of capital assets, and capital expenditure increases total assets. Depreciation appears in the Profit and Loss table, because it is an expense. Capital expenditure appears in the Cash Flow table, because it isn't an expense. Amounts typed into the Capital Expenditure row of the cash flow will increase the Capital Assets total in the Balance Sheet Table.

Current assets:
The same as short-term assets.

Long term assets:
Assets like plant and equipment that are depreciated over terms of more than five years, and are likely to last that long, too.

Return on assets:
Net profits divided by total assets. A measure of profitability.

Short term assets:
Cash, securities, bank accounts, accounts receivable, inventory, business equipment, assets that last less than five years or are depreciated over terms of less than five years. Also called Current Assets.

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