Assets are what the company owns. They are broken down into two categories, current and long-term assets. Current assets include anything that should be turned into cash in the next twelve months like accounts receivable, and inventory. Long-term assets include physical assets like property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets like goodwill, software, & patents that have a useful life of more than a year.
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(Excerpts from Financial Intelligence, Chapter 11 – Assets)
Though most assets are valued at purchase price less accumulated depreciation, there is one exception to this approach. It’s known as the mark-to-market rule, and use of the rule is often called mark-to-market accounting. The rule allows (and in some cases requires) certain classes of assets to be listed at their current market value. To qualify for this kind of treatment, assets must meet two criteria. One, their value must be able to be determined without an appraisal. Two, they must be held by the company as short-term investments.