Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
Value that a person or company possesses that does not appear on its balance sheet. One may have a hidden asset due to an accounting convention. For example, a company may be required to depreciate an asset faster than its actual value declines. This results in a higher net worth for the company than would be reflected in its books. A hidden asset is also called a hidden reserve or a hidden value.
The amount by which shareholder equity in a company exceeds the amount claimed on its financial statements. Secret reserves arise when a company overstates its liabilities or understates its assets, usually because its accounting practices depart from GAAP. In such cases, the company must declare that its accounting is different from that of most other companies. The secret reserve may eventually be converted to cash and distributed to shareholders. It is also called the hidden reserve.
The amount by which a firm's net worth is understated. For example, overdepreciation results in assets and net worth being carried on the firm's financial statements at less than market value.