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INVENTORY AND PURCHASES BUDGET represents what a business plans to buy and how much inventory it intends to hold over a given timeframe, is based on three factors: a business' desired ending inventory, cost of goods sold, and beginning inventory. A business's desired ending inventory will drive that business' budgeted purchases over a given period of time. A larger desired ending inventory will typically lead to a larger Purchases Budget and vice-versa. While the Purchases Budget, a component of the Inventory and Purchases Budget, represents an estimate of future purchases, this is an accrual-based accounting figure, and it is the Disbursements for Purchases Budget (another component of the Inventory and Purchases Budget) that drives a company's cash flows.

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INTEREST RATE is the rate of interest charged for the use of money, usually expressed as an annual rate. The rate is derived by dividing the amount of interest by the amount of principal borrowed. For example, if a bank charged $100 a year to borrow $1,000, the interest rate would be 10%. Interest rates are quoted on bills, notes, bonds, credit cards and many kinds of consumer and business loans. Rates in general tend to rise with inflation and in response to the Federal Reserve raising key short-term rates. A rise in interest rates has a negative effect on the stock market because investors can get more competitive returns from buying newly issued bonds instead of stocks. It also hurts the secondary market for bonds because rates look less attractive compared to newer issues.

STEPPED COSTS is a cost that increases by a reasonably constant sum each time volume or activity increases by a predictable, constant, multiple. The smallest step costs are variable costs, which increase by a discrete amount each time output or activity increases by one unit. Larger steps will consist of what are, effectively, fixed costs over a particular range of output. Some costs increase, or decrease, in significant steps when output or activity passes certain limits. For instance, if a bus company regularly has more passengers on a route than can be carried by a single vehicle it may be necessary to use an additional bus. Running an additional bus will double the cost of operating on that route. Similarly, a manufacturing firm may have a policy of employing one supervisor for every ten production workers. In which case the firm will need one supervisor for 1-10 employees, two supervisors for 11-20 employees, and so on. So, if demand rises to the point where 21 production employees are required an extra supervisor must be employed. Costs that behave in this way are called stepped costs.

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