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If you want the exact answer to just about every accounting question then it is there for you for free but in techno-accountant babble at asc.fasb.org. However most of you don t want to do all that work you want a quick and easy rule of thumb that works 90% of the time without you having to leave this article and that is exactly what you will get. The key here is conservatism we are much more worried about overvaluing an asset then we are at undervaluing. Therefore the rule of thumb is that assets are valued at the lessor of cost (what you paid for it) or fair market value (what you could get if you sold it right now).
Second your balance sheet is how anyone that you will ever want to do business with will understand your business. Think about getting a loan the first thing your banker wants to see are your financial statements and the first page of your financial statements is your balance sheet. Why is it first? Perhaps because it is the most important. Now think about your situation; you re applying for a loan or a grant or you want to do business with the federal government or an investor is thinking about either coming on board or buying you out and you present your financial statements to them.
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This is the basis of balance sheet accounting. Another option in the disposition of an asset is that the asset is sold for cash and it is a wash within the assets. A simple example of balance sheet accounting is that a car is sold and therefore the automobile account is reduced by credit. However cash was received was an increase in another asset cash. Therefore the cash account would be debited and total assets would remain unchanged. This happens quite often with short-term investments and it is rarely noticed or noted. Sometimes it is helps to wrap your mind around balance sheet accounting to look at it from the stand point of a liability or the equity accounts. Say a liability is paid down or equity is purchased. This would be a debit to either of these accounts. There had to be an asset outlay for either of these events to happen probably and outlay of cash. This would be a credit to the asset account and the balance sheet would be balanced. Though this is a simplistic view it gets the point across. Since investments are considered assets they are treated the same way. Investments are listed in order from shortest term or most liquid to longest term or least liquid. They are also listed by the percentage of ownership owned. For example if an investor own fifty percent of a business that business is listed under assets and there is a denotation with it that says fifty percent or fifty percent owned or some other version of the same thing. This is so that there is full disclosure for any users of the financial statement. Thus investments have a huge impact on balance sheet accounting.For more information on investing in investment opportunities usually or