The transcendental functions are those that “transcend” the ones we deal with in beginning algebra courses (e.g., polynomials). These functions include exponential functions, trigonometric functions, and the inverse functions of both. Many real-life phenomena are expressed in terms of transcendental functions. For example, when an investment is accruing compound interest, the value of the investment increases exponentially. Thus it is very important to become “fluent” in the arithmetic of exponential functions if we want to know how fast the interest is accruing at a particular instant.