A situation in which a company must meet some unexpected expenses, perhaps resulting in a shortage of cash. For example, a company may set aside a certain amount of funds to cover bad debt. If bad debt exceeds expectations, and the company must write off more funds than it intended, it is said to have a reserve deficiency. Reserve deficiencies reduce profits and may cause a problem with liquidity.
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A shortage in funds set aside as a reserve for a specific purpose. For example, during a recession a firm may find the reserve fund covering allowance for bad debts deficient when the amount of bad debts exceeds expectations. A reserve deficiency will penalize the firm's profits if the firm has to set aside additional funds to offset the deficiency.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.