Accounting entry which reflects materially-large cost (such as that incurred for plant shutdown) or materially-large revenue (such as that realized from sale of a piece of land) that is unlikely to recur and which does not derive from a firm's normal line of business. All extraordinary items must be disclosed and explained by the management in the financial statements, showing the firm's earnings before and after taking into account the effects of extraordinary items. Some firms use them to 'massage' their financials in order to make them look better or worse then they actually are (see creative accounting). Also called special item. See also exceptional item.
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