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  • Something of economic value that can be exchanged or traded. Assets can be highly liquid (quickly convertible into cash) or illiquid. For accounting purposes, an asset that is highly liquid is normally referred to as a “current asset” and is normally given the foremost position on the balance sheet of a company. A current asset has a useful lifespan of less than a year—for example, accounts receivable, marketable securities, and cash balances. A long-lived asset, on the other hand, has a longer life span—for example, plant, equipment, and patents. Under generally accepted accounting principles, most assets are recorded at their historical cost (book value) except in exceptional cases. In corporate finance, cumulative asset is a combination of shareholders' equity and total liabilities (debts).


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