Accounting, Business Studies and Economics Dictionary

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Ultra vires – Refers to an action outside the proper authority or power of a corporation or corporate officer as established in the corporate charter (Latin for "beyond the power").

Unabsorbed costsThe costs that occurs when the specific cost structure that is being used does not fully reflect all fixed and/or variable cost.

Unallocated costs These costs represent the entity's costs that are not associated either in a direct or indirect way in providing a item or service for sale.

Unanticipated inflationInflation that catches people by surprise.

Unaudited opinion Refers to the giving of a qualified opinion by a person who is a CPA but who has not conducted an audited of the relevant financial statements.

Unavoidable costs – These costs will need  to be incurred regardless of the decision to make or buy a certain part or keep or drop a certain product line; these costs cannot be recovered or saved. Much or all of fixed costs in those cases are unavoidable costs, e.g. property taxes and rent.

UnbudgetedRefers to any items and/or different amounts of monies that are not currently in the budget.

Uncertainty - When an outcome mayor may not occur and its probability of occurring is not known.

Uncollectible account (bad debt) – This refers to accounts receivable, note receivable, or other type of receivable that is unlikely to be paid.

Under applied/over applied factory overheadThis is the any residual or not allocated factory overhead that still remains once all other known overhead costs have been assigned to the different applicable items.

Underemployment - Where people who want full­time work are only able to find part-time work.

Understandability - The term indicating that financial information is stated in terms that enable users to perceive its significance.

Undeposited funds account- Is an account that shows money received but not yet banked. It may include cash, cheques, credit card payments, etc. Also referred to as a 'cash in hand' account.

Underbudgeted -  Refers to an item within a specific budget where the amount that has been  budgeted is not sufficient in order to cover the actual amount that is needed.

UnderrecordedThis term is normally referring to an understatement of the amount of the total which would of have been recorded if all accurate data had been included and/or considered; e.g. revenues, under recorded costs, population, an such like.

Underwriting – Is the acceptance of risk in return for payment.

Undistributed profits - Earnings of a firm that are not distributed to shareholders as dividends but are retained by the firm. Also called retained earnings/profit.

Unearned revenue - 1. The payment received prior to providing a good or service. Since an obligation exists on the part of the company to provide goods or services for which the advance payment was received, unearned revenue is recorded as a liability . An example is a retainer received by an attorney. When the services are performed, revenue is then earned. Or 2. in taxation, revenue obtained other than from personal services.

Unemployment - Those members of the labour force who are willing and able to work cannot find a job. ILO Unemployment or Labour Force Survey method - Records those memebrs of the labour force out of work and has been looking for a job in the past four weeks and is available to take up work in the next two weeks. The measue is claculated by an interview survey of approximately 60,000 households.

Unemployment equilibrium – A situation where macroeconomic equilibrium occurs at a level of real GDP below long run aggregate supply.

Unemployment rateUnemployment expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

Unexpired - This means it has not come to an end or been terminated yet.

Unexpired cost – This refers to all costs, including Inventory costs and miscellaneous prepaid or deferred costs, that are associated with the revenue of future periods. Unexpired costs are carried to future periods as assets because they represent future benefits.

Unfavorable balance of payments - A debit balance on some part of the international payments accounts (payments exceed receipts); often refers to the balance on current account plus capital account (that is, everything except the official settlements account).

Unfavorable varianceIs when there is an excess of actual costs over standard costs. Unfavorable variances typically require further investigation for possible causes

Unfunded– This means no funds have been provided for a specified obligation or liability.

Uniformity – Is the term describing the presentation of financial statements by different companies using the same accounting procedures, measurement concepts, classifications, and methods of disclosure.

Unincorporated business - One which does not have a separate legal identity. See also sole traders and partnerships.

Union density - The actual membership of a trade union as a percentage of the total possible membership

Unissued stock – Refers to shares that have been authorised but have not been issued. Assume authorised shares of 500,000 and issued shares of 200,000. The unissued shares are 300,000.

Unit cost – Cost per unit of output, equal to total variable cost divided by total output. Also called average variable cost. For example, if total manufacturing costs are $100,000 and the production volume for a given period is 10,000 units, the unit production cost is $10 per unit ($100,000/10,000 units).

Unit elastic demand - An elasticity of demand of 1; quantity demanded and price change in equal proportions.

Universal benefits - Benefits paid to everyone in a certain category irrespective of their income or assets.

Unlimited liability - Where the owner of a business is personally liable for all business debts.

Urban population - The number of people living in urban areas as a percentage of the total population

Uruguay round - The most recent talks of GATT concluded in January 1994. They tackled the enormous increase in non tariff restrictions imposed in the 1980s, agricultural protection and the trade in services. They were concluded several years later after several serious breakdowns, ultimately between the  USA and the EU over agricultural protection.

UnrealisedNormally refers to an action or event that has occurred but is not yet been reflected in a recorded transaction. Unrealised gains and losses are those that would happen if the investor sold the asset or security that they currently holds.

Unrealised gain or loss - The change in value of an asset that is still being held. It is distinguished from a realised gain or loss on the sale of the asset.

Unsecured loan - Is borrowing that is not secured by a mortgage on a specific property. It is backed only by the borrower's credit rating. Unsecured loans are typically short term.

Unusual losses or gainsThese are material losses and gains that are either occur infrequently or are unusual in nature, but not both.  The items are normally excluded from being placed in the extraordinary item classification.

Usage varianceThis variance relates to the difference between the actual quantity of materials used and the budgeted quantity of materials used.

Useful lifeRefers to the expected length of time, normally given in years, during which a depreciating asset will continue to be productive.

Utility - 1. economic and highly subjective term describing satisfaction of a specified want. Utility and usefulness are not necessarily synonymous terms. Artwork may be functionally useless but yet provide great utility to an art lover. Or 2. value of a certain outcome or payoff to someone; the pleasure or displeasure that person would derive from that outcome.

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If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.
Albert Einstein

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