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Available-for-Sale Security

Available-for-Sale Security

What Is an Available-for-Sale Security?

An available-for-sale security (AFS) is a debt or equity security purchased with the intent of selling before it arrives at maturity or holding it for a long period would it be a good idea for it not have a maturity date. Accounting standards require that companies arrange any investments in debt or equity securities when they are purchased as held-to-maturity, held-for-trading, or available-for-sale. Available-for-sale securities are reported at fair value; changes in value between accounting periods are remembered for accumulated other far reaching income in the equity section of the balance sheet.

How an Available-for-Sale Security Works

Available-for-sale (AFS) is an accounting term used to portray and arrange financial assets. It is a debt or equity security not classified as a held-for-trading or held-to-maturity security — the two different sorts of financial assets. AFS securities are nonstrategic and can typically have a ready market price available.

The gains and losses derived from an AFS security are not reflected in net income (in contrast to those from trading investments), yet appear in the other far reaching income (OCI) classification until they are sold. Net income is reported on the income statement. Therefore, unrealized gains and losses on AFS securities are not considered the income statement.

Net income is accumulated over different accounting periods into retained earnings on the balance sheet. Interestingly, OCI, which incorporates unrealized gains and losses from AFS securities, is moved into "accumulated other extensive income" on the balance sheet toward the finish of the accounting period. Accumulated other far reaching income is reported just below retained earnings in the equity section of the balance sheet.


Unrealized gains and losses for available-for-sale securities are remembered for the balance sheet under accumulated other far reaching income.

Available-for-Sale versus Held-for-Trading versus Held-to-Maturity Securities

As referenced above, there are three classifications of securities — available-for-sale, held-for-trading, and held-to-maturity securities. Held-for-trading securities are purchased and held principally for sale in the short term. The purpose is to create a gain from the quick trade as opposed to the long-term investment. On the opposite finish of the range are held-to-maturity securities. These are debt instruments or equities that a firm plans on holding until its maturity date. A model would be a certificate of deposit (CD) with a set maturity date. Available for sale, or AFS, is the trick all category that falls in the middle. It is comprehensive of securities, both debt and equity, that the company plans on holding for some time however could likewise be sold.

According to an accounting point of view, every one of these categories is dealt with diversely and influences whether gains or losses show up on the balance sheet or income statement. The accounting for AFS securities is like the accounting for trading securities. Due to the short-term nature of the investments, they are recorded at fair value. In any case, for trading securities, the unrealized gains or losses to the fair market value are kept in operating income and show up on the income statement.

Changes in the value of available-for-sale securities are recorded as an unrealized gain or loss in other thorough income (OCI). A few companies incorporate OCI information below the income statement, while others give a separate schedule specifying what is remembered for total thorough income.

Recording an Available-for-Sale Security

In the event that a company purchases available-for-sale securities with cash for $100,000, it records a credit to cash and a debit to available-for-sale securities for $100,000. In the event that the value of the securities declines to $50,000 by the next reporting period, the investment must be "down on paper" to mirror the change in the fair market value of the security. This reduction in value is recorded as a credit of $50,000 to the available-for-sale security and a debit to other exhaustive income.

In like manner, on the off chance that the investment goes up in value the next month, it is recorded as an increase in other thorough income. The security needn't bother with to be sold for the change in value to be recognized in OCI. It is for this reason these gains and losses are thought of "unrealized" until the securities are sold.


  • Investments in debt or equity securities purchased must be classified as held to maturity, held for trading, or available for sale.
  • Available-for-sale securities are reported at fair value.
  • Available-for-sale securities (AFS) are debt or equity securities purchased with the intent of selling before they arrive at maturity.
  • Unrealized gains and losses are remembered for accumulated other extensive income inside the equity section of the balance sheet.