The primary purpose of this function is to calculate accrued interest on a security (typically a bond), when the bond is sold or transfered to a new owner on a date other than the issue date or an interest payment date. This convention of handling accrued interest simplifies the payments for the issuer regardless of multiple settlement dates.

ACCRINT takes 6 required arguments and 2 optional arguments:

Syntax: ACCRINT(issue, first_interest, settlement, rate, par, frequency, [basis], [calc_method])

#1)
Using the ACCRINT function with only the required arguments:
Note:
See also the ACCRINTM function for a security that pays interest at maturity (i.e. zero coupon bonds).
#2)
Using the ACCRINT function with the optional arguments:
The arguments for the ACCRINT function are:
Argument Required? Description
issue Required The security's issue date.
first_interest Required The security's first interest date.
settlement Required The security's settlement date. The security settlement date is the date after the issue date when the security is traded to the buyer.
rate Required The security's annual coupon rate.
par Required The security's par value. If you omit par, ACCRINT uses $1,000.
frequency Required The number of coupon payments per year. For annual payments, frequency = 1; for semiannual, frequency = 2; for quarterly, frequency = 4.
basis Optional The type of day count basis to use.
calc_method Optional A logical value that specifies the way to calculate the total accrued interest when the date of settlement is later than the date of first_interest.
Note:
The optional basis and calc_method arguments are explained further in #3) and #4) below.
#3)
About the optional basis argument:
Possible basis argument values:
US bonds typically use the 0 - US (NASD) 30/360 basis, which is the Excel default value if this optional argument is omitted.
#4)
About the optional calc_method argument:
#5)
Digging deeper:

NC = number of quasi-coupon periods that fit in odd period. If this number contains a fraction, raise it to the next whole number.

Ai = number of accrued days for the ith quasi-coupon period within odd period.

NLi = normal length in days of the ith quasi-coupon period within odd period.

#6)
A few more things:
Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so they can be used in calculations. By default, January 1, 1900 is serial number 1, and January 1, 2014 is serial number 41640 because it is 41,640 days after January 1, 1900.
issue, first_interest, settlement, frequency, and basis are truncated to integers.
If issue, first_interest, or settlement is not a valid date, ACCRINT returns the #VALUE! error value.
If rate ≤ 0 or if par ≤ 0, ACCRINT returns the #NUM! error value.
If frequency is any number other than 1, 2, or 4, ACCRINT returns the #NUM! error value.
If basis < 0 or if basis > 4, ACCRINT returns the #NUM! error value.
If issuesettlement, ACCRINT returns the #NUM! error value.

Summary

The primary purpose of the ACCRINT function is to calculate accrued interest on a security (typically a bond), when the bond is sold or transfered to a new owner on a date other than the issue date or an interest payment date.
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