© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Finance Glossary

Just call us Bond. Amortized bond.

Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Book Value


A balance sheet term. It's what things are worth at liquidation. If you own a company with stuff like machines, equipment, and inventory (stuff you sell), you'll figure out what things are worth now and how much they decline in value each year. Book value helps you understand how much everything is worth right now if you suddenly need to liquidate (or are just applying for a business loan).


Caterpillar Tractor bought a smelting stove to melt iron at high temperatures. They paid $10 million for it. It should last 20 years and then they can sell it for scrap for $2 million. Using advanced calculus, we can ascertain that it will have depreciated $8 million in the 20 years that they use it. Using arithmetic depreciation, it will have declined in value $8 million / 20 = $400,000 per year in value. By year 10 of having owned the smelting stove, it will have depreciated $4 million. The book value of that stove will be held on the balance sheet of CAT as $6 million.