Unusual Item


DEFINITION of 'Unusual Item'

In financial accounting, unusual items are line items on an income statement which are reported separately from the normal income of the business due to their irregular nature. Unusual items can generally be categorized as one of three types: extraordinary items, discontinued operations and adjustments due to a change in accounting methodology. As a general guideline, unusual items can be thought of as being either strange one-off occurrences or accounting phenomena that are not likely to occur again in the future.

BREAKING DOWN 'Unusual Item'

Reporting unusual items separately is important to ensure the transparency of financial reporting. Unusual items are unlikely to recur, so separating these items allows users to better assess the continuing income generating capacity of the business. Investors are focused on the future returns that a company is able to generate, and often prefer to ignore unusual fluctuations which may obscure a company's true prospects.

  1. Profit and Loss Statement (P&L)

    A financial statement that summarizes the revenues, costs and ...
  2. Discontinued Operations

    A segment of a company's business that has been sold, disposed ...
  3. Nonrecurring Gain Or Loss

    A one-time or highly infrequent profit or loss. One-time gains ...
  4. Financial Statements

    Records that outline the financial activities of a business, ...
  5. Exceptional Item

    Charges incurred that must be noted on a company's balance sheet, ...
  6. Extraordinary Item

    Gains or losses included in a company's financial statements, ...
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  1. Does working capital include salaries?

    A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a profit and loss (P&L) statement and why do companies publish them?

    A profit and loss (P&L) statement, or balance sheet, is essentially a snapshot of a company's financial activity for ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do dividends affect the balance sheet?

    Dividends paid in cash affect a company's balance sheet by decreasing the company's cash account on the asset side and decreasing ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Who actually declares a dividend?

    It is a company's board of directors who actually declares a dividend. The declaration date is the first of four important ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are dividends considered an expense?

    Cash or stock dividends distributed to shareholders are not considered an expense on a company's income statement. Stock ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do dividends go on the balance sheet?

    The only account recorded on the balance sheet, when dividends are declared and before they are paid out to a company's shareholders, ... Read Full Answer >>

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