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Accretion of Discount


Accretion of discount is a financial term that refers to the gradual increase in the value of a discounted bond over time as it approaches its maturity date. This process occurs because the bond was initially purchased at a price lower than its face value, creating a discount. Consequently, as the bond gets closer to maturity, its value progressively increases until it reaches its full par or face value.


The phonetic transcription of “Accretion of Discount” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be:əˈkriːʃən ʌv ˈdɪskaʊnt

Key Takeaways

  1. Accretion of discount is a financial term that refers to the gradual increase in the value of a bond or security that has been purchased at a discount to its face value.
  2. Accreting the discount allows investors to account for the bond’s interest income, which becomes taxable even though it has not been paid out in cash, but rather accumulates over the life of the security.
  3. The accounting of the accretion also allows for the proper calculation of yields, return on investment, and the eventual maturity of the bond, ensuring investors have an accurate understanding of the bond’s performance over time.


The term Accretion of Discount is important in business and finance as it represents the gradual increase in the value of a discounted bond over time until it reaches its par or face value at maturity. This process enables investors to predict and account for the bond’s income for tax and financial planning purposes, ensuring accurate financial reporting and analysis. By understanding the concept of accretion, companies and investors can make informed decisions about their bond portfolios, gauge the actual yield on a bond, and assess the financial health of the company or investment, resulting in more effective and fruitful investment strategies.


Accretion of Discount is a significant concept in the finance and business sector, specifically in bond markets and investments. The purpose of this concept is to provide a more accurate representation of the true earnings and value of fixed-income securities such as bonds, particularly those issued at a discount to their face value. The accretion method allows investors to gradually recognize and incorporate the difference between the bonds’ purchase price and their face value over the life of the investment. This steady increase in the bonds’ book value results in a more precise approximation of their actual worth at any given point in time, enabling investors to gain a clearer understanding of their portfolios’ performance and make more informed decisions. Accretion of Discount also serves as a tool for measuring the interest or income generated by discounted bonds. Since these bonds do not make regular coupon payments like other securities, the accretion process helps determine the periodic income that can be attributed to an investor’s bond holdings. As the discount is steadily amortized over the bond’s life, the investor’s interest income gradually grows to reflect the increasing value of the investment. Ultimately, accretion of discount aligns with the concept of time value of money as it factors in both the time horizon and the inherent value associated with earning income over time. By using the accretion method, the financial market participants can have a more comprehensive view of their investments’ performance and ensure compliance with relevant accounting and tax/reporting requirements.


Accretion of Discount is the process of adjusting the cost basis of a bond or other fixed-income investment purchased at a discount to its face value over time. As the bond approaches its maturity date, its value gradually increases until it reaches its full par value. Here are three real-world examples in the context of business and finance: 1. Zero-Coupon Bonds: These bonds are issued at a discount to their face value, and they do not pay interest (coupon) during their life. Instead, the bondholder receives the full face value at the time of maturity. The accretion of discount happens during the life of the bond when the value accrues towards the face value as it approaches the maturity date. For accounting and tax purposes, the bondholder must report the accreted interest each year, despite not receiving regular interest payments. 2. Private Equity Investments: In the case of private equity investments, companies may issue convertible preferred shares to investors at a price lower than the conversion price. As these preferred shares are converted to common shares in the future, the discount on the convertible shares accrues over time. Upon conversion, the value of common shares reflects the fully accreted value, accounting for the discount received by the investor during their initial investment. 3. Distressed Debt: Distressed debt refers to the purchase of corporate bonds or loans at a deep discount to the face value due to a high risk of default from companies facing financial difficulties. Investors who buy these distressed debt instruments expect to achieve capital appreciation through accretion of discount as the company recovers financially. As the company improves its financial position, the risk of default decreases, and the value of the debt instrument gradually increases, reflecting the accretion of discount.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Accretion of Discount?
Accretion of Discount is an accounting method that gradually increases the cost basis of a fixed-income security, such as a bond, over its holding period. It occurs as the difference between the security’s discounted purchase price and its par, or face, value narrows as it approaches maturity.
How is Accretion of Discount calculated?
Accretion of Discount is calculated using either the straight-line method or the effective interest method. The straight-line method spreads the discount equally over the entire holding period, while the effective interest method calculates the accretion based on the compound interest earned by the security.
What is the purpose of Accretion of Discount?
The purpose of Accretion of Discount is to provide a more accurate reflection of a bond’s or security’s value over its entire holding period. It allows investors and analysts to determine the current value of a security while accounting for the amortization of the discount, giving a better representation of its true worth.
How does Accretion of Discount impact taxes?
Accretion of Discount affects the investor’s taxable income by recognizing a portion of the discount as interest income each year. This gradually increases the taxable income that investors need to report while also increasing the cost basis of the bond over time, reducing the capital gains or increasing the capital loss once the bond is sold or redeemed.
Is Accretion of Discount applicable to all bonds?
No, Accretion of Discount is generally applicable to bonds which are purchased at a discount, such as zero-coupon bonds or other fixed-income securities that are bought below their par value. It does not apply to bonds purchased at a premium or those purchased at par value.
What is the difference between Accretion of Discount and Amortization of Premium?
Accretion of Discount refers to the process of increasing the cost basis of a bond purchased at a discount, while Amortization of Premium refers to the process of reducing the cost basis of a bond purchased at a premium (above par value). Both methods aim to properly account for the bond’s change in value over its holding period.

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