16.1. General Concepts

This chapter presents many additional accounting treatments for frequently encountered business and less-frequently found personal activities that need recording in accounting books. The explanations below cover both the description and purpose of the activity, and they include also the usual accounting treatments (bookings or recordings) for these transactions.

These concepts have evolved over centuries of experience by those keeping accounting records and will help you maximize your record keeping’s utility and meaningfulness.

This section introduces categorization of assets in the balance sheet based on time or the asset’s useful life (current and long-term). Sometimes assets are also considered from the standpoint of their liquidity , which is regarded as how close or distant the asset is from being turned into cash. Near-cash assets are relatively quickly converted to cash (e.g., accounts receivable), while assets requiring rather a long time to convert to cash are considered to be relatively fixed in their non-cash state (e.g., heavy equipment, buildings, land). (Fixed does not mean they were repaired!)

You should find that current assets parallel those with more liquidity, while long-term and fixed assets are those with much less liquidity. Finally, below you will find a few assets that could be either current or long-term based on the nature of the facts constituting them.