Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents is a line item on the balance sheet, stating the amount of all cash or other assets that are readily convertible into cash. Any items falling within this definition are classified within the current assets category in the balance sheet.

Examples of cash are:

Examples of cash equivalents are:

The two primary criteria for classification as a cash equivalent are that an asset be readily convertible into a known amount of cash, and that it be so near its maturity date that there is an insignificant risk of changes in value due to changes in interest rates by the time the maturity date arrives. If there is any question about whether a financial instrument can be classified as a cash equivalent, consult with the company's auditors.

Cash and cash equivalents information is sometimes used by analysts in comparison to a company's current liabilities to estimate its ability to pay its bills in the short term. However, such an analysis may be flawed if there are receivables that can be readily converted into cash within a few days.

Related Courses

Optimal Accounting for Cash 
How to Audit Cash
The Balance Sheet