ALTMAN Z-SCORE Definition

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ALTMAN Z-SCORE reliably predicts whether or not a company is likely to enter into bankruptcy within one or two years: If the Z-Score is 3.0 or above - bankruptcy is not likely. If the Z-Score is 1.8 or less - bankruptcy is likely.A Z-Score between 1.8 and 3.0 is the gray area, i.e., a high degree of caution should be used. Probabilities of bankruptcy within the above ranges are 95% for one year and 70% within two years. A Z-Score between the two is the gray area. Obviously a higher Z-Score is desirable. It is best to assess each individual companys Z-Score against that of the industry. In low margin industries it is possible for Z-Scores to fall below the above. In such cases a trend comparison to the industry over consecutive time periods may be a better indicator. It should be remembered that a Z-Score is only as valid as the data from which it was derived i.e. if a company has altered or falsified their financial records/books, a Z-Score derived from those "cooked books" is of lesser use.

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RULES-BASED ACCOUNTING is where specific accounting rules are set forth and must be followed in order to comply with GAAP. For example, if an airline company leases a jet, the company must follow specific GAAP rules to determine if the transaction is an operating lease or a capital lease. The main difference being that a capital lease would have to appear on the balance sheet of the airline. Therefore, two virtually identical lease transactions could be classified entirely differently based upon how they follow the GAAP leasing rules. See also PRINCIPLES-BASED ACCOUNTING.

BILLS PURCHASED, in trade finance, allows a seller to obtain financing and receive immediate funds in exchange for a sales document not drawn under a letter of credit. The bank will send the sales documents to the buyers bank on behalf of the seller.

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