account for

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

account for (something)

1. To determine the location or state of a person or thing. After the plane crash, authorities were unable to account for five of the passengers, and they still haven't found them. The cashier was unable to account for the missing cash from the register at the end of her shift. In the event of a fire drill, you must be able to promptly account for all of your students.
2. To give an explanation of something, typically at the request of someone who wants to fill a gap in information. When Justin finally got home, his parents demanded that he account for his whereabouts earlier in the night. Can you account for the missing files? Then we'll need to interview your secretary and see if she can account for the period of time missing from the call log.
See also: account, for
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

account for someone or something

to know the state of or whereabouts of someone or something. (Usually in reference to some person or thing placed in one's charge.) They cannot account for three of the passengers.
See also: account, for

account for something

to explain something. Your explanation accounts for everything that has happened.
See also: account, for
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

account for

1. Be the determining factor in; cause. For example, The heat wave accounts for all this food spoilage, or Icy roads account for the increase in accidents.
2. Explain or justify, as in Jane was upset because her son couldn't account for the three hours between his last class and his arrival at home . Both of these related usages are derived from the literal meaning of the phrase, that is, "make a reckoning of an account." [Second half of 1700s]
See also: account, for
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

account for

1. To keep a record of how money has been spent: The job of the treasurer is to account for every penny that is earned or spent.
2. To know or find out where something or someone is: She has accounted for every item that was missing.
3. To explain or justify something: This is a good theory, and it accounts for all the data that the scientists collected. How do you account for their strange behavior?
4. To form some proportion or amount of a larger whole or group: These useless catalogs account for at least half the mail we get every day.
5. To be the reason or explanation for something: His good manners account for his popularity.
See also: account, for
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
First, there are situations in which, under the transition rules, it would be advantageous to treat amounts as having been deferred and taken into account for FICA tax purposes in previous years.
(4) If the entity asserts that it maintains effective control over securities transferred under a repurchase agreement, the contractual agreement may be such that the entity actually surrendered control over the securities and therefore should account for the transfer as a sale instead of a secured borrowing.
The second most frequently used accounting method (employed by approximately 26% of the utilities) was to account for decommissioning costs exclusively as a liability accrued over the life of the nuclear plant.
While management did not identify any such events or circumstances, it included procedures to identify and properly account for them in MUSE's accounting policies and procedures documentation.
Contributions made on or before the last day of the partnership's tax year will increase a partner's "book" capital account for purposes of the limitation imposed by the alternate test for economic effect.
Moreover, according to a study by the Pentagon's logistics commanders, these regulations account for one-third of procurement costs, a figure corroborated by officials at Martin Marietta Corporation and Hughes Aircraft Company.
115, Accounting for Certain Investments in Debt and Equity Securities, businesses must account for the securities in their financial statements.
Although some companies have "rough" estimates of their future liabilities, few employers that account for postretirement benefits on a "pay-as-you-go" basis have detailed analyses of their current costs, future expenses, and potential liabilities for their retiree health benefit plans.
94-1 provides guidance on how to account for investments in limited partnerships that operate qualified affordable housing projects.
Despite software's widespread use, there is no authoritative guidance on how to account for the costs of computer software purchased or developed for an entity's own use.
Additionally, up to 20 key codes can be used for each account for reporting purposes, which provides an almost unlimited reporting capability.
The issues are determining (1) the creditor's initial cost basis of the debt security received in the restructuring of a loan and (2) how the creditor should account for any difference between its basis in the loan and the security's fair value at the restructuring date.
When prescribed statutory accounting practices do not cover the accounting for a transaction, insurance enterprises sometimes use generally accepted accounting principles to account for the transaction.
The third issues addresses how to account for changes in coverage based on past experience under the contract.