Accrued Expenses Journal Entry: Debit or Credit?

If the company receives an invoice for $5,000, accounting theory states the company should technically recognize this transaction because it is contractually obligated to pay for the service. Accrued interest is recorded on an income statement at the end of an accounting period. Accrued interest is recorded differently for the borrower and lender.

  1. The prepaid expense is a prepayment for a good or service that has not yet been delivered.
  2. Accrued expense is considered a liability because it is an amount that the business owes to another entity for a good or service already rendered.
  3. Accrual accounting notes when income and expenses happen, while cash-basis accounting notes income and expenses as they’re paid.
  4. Accounts payable, on the other hand, is the total amount of short-term obligations or debt a company has to pay to its creditors for goods or services bought on credit.
  5. With the accrual basis of accounting, your businesses’ finances become more transparent and predictable.

A debit increases expense accounts, and a credit decreases expense accounts. Oppositely, a credit increases liability accounts, and a debit decreases accrued expenses debit or credit liability accounts. Accrued expenses, also known as accrued liabilities, can be either a credit or a debit depending on the situation.

Cash basis accounting vs. accrual accounting**

Accrued expenses are recognized by debiting the appropriate expense account and crediting an accrued liability account. A second journal entry must then be prepared in the following period to reverse the entry. An example of an accrued expense is when a company purchases supplies from a vendor but has not yet received an invoice for the purchase. Employee commissions, wages, and bonuses are accrued in the period they occur although the actual payment is made in the following period. The bookkeeper creates a debit of $1,500 to the IT account in the General Ledger. If we use accounting software to record the transaction, an automated rule will add a credit of $1,500 to the accrued expenses liability account.

Accrued Liability vs. Accounts Payable (AP)

This will allow the company to make better decisions on how to spend its money. A balance sheet shows what a company owns (its “assets”) and owes (its “liabilities”) as of a particular date, along with its shareholders’ equity. In every journal entry, at least two accounts will change, where one is debited and the other is credited.

Payables should represent the exact amount of the total owed from all of the invoices received. Since cash basis accounting only recognizes expenses when the invoice has been received, it has no use for accounts payable or accounts receivable. It leaves a negative (credit) balance in the related expense account.

To illustrate an accrued expense, let’s assume that a company borrowed $200,000 on December 1. The agreement requires that the company repay the $200,000 on February 28 along with $6,000 of interest for the three months of December through February. As of December 31, the company will not have an invoice to process and will not be paying the interest until it is due on February 28.

In this case, the utility company would make a journal entry to record the cost of the electricity as an accrued expense. This would involve debiting the “expense” account and crediting the “accounts payable” account. The effect of this journal entry would be to increase the utility company’s expenses on the income statement, and to increase its accounts payable on the balance sheet. Accruals and deferrals are the basis of the accrual method of accounting, the preferred method by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The accruals are made via adjusting journal entries at the end of each accounting period, so the reported financial statements can be inclusive of these amounts.

The term accounts payable (AP) refers to a company’s ongoing expenses. These are generally short-term debts, which must be paid off within a specified period of time, usually within 12 months of the expense being incurred. Companies that fail to pay these expenses run the risk of going into default, which is the failure to repay a debt. Accrued expenses are payments that a company is obligated to pay in the future for goods and services that were already delivered. Put simply, a company receives a good or service and incurs an expense. In the world of accounting, there is a rhythm of sorts that has to be followed in order to account for financials properly.

For example, a company with a bond will accrue interest expense on its monthly financial statements, although interest on bonds is typically paid semi-annually. The interest expense recorded in an adjusting journal entry will be the amount that has accrued as of the financial statement date. A corresponding interest liability will be recorded on the balance sheet. Companies using the accrual method of accounting recognize accrued expenses, costs that have not yet been paid for but have already been incurred. Accrued expenses make a set of financial statements more consistent by recording charges in specific periods, though it takes more resources to perform this type of accounting.

A prepaid expense refers to payments made in advance, for an expense that hasn’t been incurred yet intended to pay for something not yet received. Since cash was paid out, the asset account Cash is credited and another account needs to be debited. Because the rent payment will be used up in the current period (the month of June) it is considered to be an expense, and Rent Expense is debited.

Accrual Method

An accountant usually marks a debit and a credit to their expense accounts and accrued liability accounts respectively. Accrued expenses are the total liability that is payable for goods and services consumed or received by the company. But they reflect costs in which an invoice or bill has not yet been received. As a result, accrued expenses can sometimes be an estimated amount of what’s owed, which is adjusted later to the exact amount, once the invoice has been received.

Accrued Expenses vs. Accounts Payable

An accrual is a record of revenue or expenses that have been earned or incurred but have not yet been recorded in the company’s financial statements. This can include things like unpaid invoices for services provided, or expenses that have been incurred but not yet paid. But, when you pay the amount due, you reverse the original record with another journal entry. Is accrued expenses debit or credit, since it represents a company’s obligation to make future cash payments?

What Qualifies as an Accrued Expense?

At the end of a calendar year, employee salaries and benefits must be recorded in the appropriate year, regardless of when the pay period ends and when paychecks are distributed. For example, a two-week pay period may extend from December 25 to January 7. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.






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