materiality

The accounting guideline that permits the violation of another accounting guideline if the amount is insignificant. For example, a profitable company with several million dollars of sales is likely to expense immediately a $200 printer instead of depreciating the printer over its useful life. The justification is that no lender or investor will be misled by a one-time expense of $200 instead of say $40 per year for five years. Another example is a large company's reporting of financial statement amounts in thousands of dollars instead of amounts to the penny.