SUBSTANCE OVER FORM Definition

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SUBSTANCE OVER FORM is an accounting concept where the entity is accounting for items according to their substance and economic reality and not merely their legal form. This concept is one of the key determinants of reliable information. For most transactions there will be no difference, so no issue arises. In some cases however, the two diverge and the choice of how to present the transactions can give very different results. This difference occurs when an asset or liability is not recognized in the accounts even though benefits or obligations may result from the transaction, or oppositely.

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ORDER OF PERMANENCE is where fixed assets are entered in the balance sheet in descending order of permanence (i.e. land first, then buildings, then equipment ...).

WARRANT, in government accounting, is an order drawn authorizing payment to a designated payee. In securities, it is a security entitling the holder to buy a proportionate amount of stock at some specified future date at a specified price, usually one higher than current market. This "warrant" is then traded as a security, the price of which reflects the value of the underlying stock. Warrants are issued by corporations and often used as a "sweetener" bundled with another class of security to enhance the marketability of the latter. Warrants are like call options, but with much longer time spans -- sometimes years. In addition, warrants are offered by corporations whereas exchange traded call options are not issued by firms.

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