Liabilities

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A liability is an accounting term for anything of value a company or an individual owes. Liabilities can include financial liabilities usually debt or fixed goods which have yet to be delivered. Publicly-traded companies are required to list a summary of their assets and liabilities every quarter on their balance sheet, where accounting rules determine how liabilities are categorized and valued. The opposite of a liability is an asset - something of positive value, or something the company owns.

Types of Liabilities

From an accounting perspective, liabilities are divided into two broad categories:

Current Liabilities

Current liabilities are debts or obligations which are due within a year. Current liabilities are reported on the company's balance sheet and include Short-Term Debt, accrued liabilities and Accounts payable.

  • Short-term bank loans: which are a form of short-term debt that the company takes out.
  • Accounts payable: which is money owed to a company, for a good or service. This includes unpaid bills.

By the principle of prudence, current liabilities are reported in the balance sheet at their least favorable valuation.

Long-Term Liabilities

Long-term liabilities are liabilities that will not be paid off or are not due within a year. Long-term liabilities are also reported on the company's balance sheet and include items such as long-term bank loans and bonds issued by the company. They are generally subject to interest payments. Examples include: company cars, computers and investment in another company.

References

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