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MATERIALITY PRINCIPLE requires accountants to use generally accepted accounting principles except when to do so would be expensive or difficult, and where it makes no real difference if the rules are ignored. If a rule is temporarily ignored, the net income of the company must not be significantly affected, nor should the readers ability to judge the financial statements be impaired.

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COMMON SIZE ANALYSIS, as used in vertical analysis of financial statements, an item is used as a base value and all other accounts in the financial statement are compared to this base value. On the balance sheet, total assets equal 100% and each asset is stated as a percentage of total assets. Similarly, total liabilities and stockholders equity are assigned 100%, with a given liability or equity account stated as a percentage of total liabilities and stockholders equity. On the income statement, 100% is assigned to net sales, with all revenue and expense accounts then related to it in percentages. See COMMON SIZED PERCENTAGES.

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