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4 3 Record and Post the Common Types of Adjusting Entries Principles of Accounting, Volume 1: Financial Accounting

By March 7, 2022February 26th, 2024Bookkeeping

When posting any kind of journal entry to a general ledger, it is important to have an organized system for recording to avoid any account discrepancies and misreporting. To do this, companies can streamline their general ledger and remove any unnecessary processes or accounts. Check out this article “Encourage General Ledger Efficiency” from the Journal of Accountancy that discusses some strategies https://www.wave-accounting.net/ to improve general ledger efficiency. Except, in this case, you’re paying for something up front—then recording the expense for the period it applies to. In February, you record the money you’ll need to pay the contractor as an accrued expense, debiting your labor expenses account. Once you’ve wrapped your head around accrued revenue, accrued expense adjustments are fairly straightforward.

  1. After 12 full months, at the end of May in the year after the business license was initially purchased, all of the prepaid taxes will have expired.
  2. Thus, adjusting entries are created at the end of a reporting period, such as at the end of a month, quarter, or year.
  3. Two main types of deferrals are prepaid expenses and unearned revenues.

First, record the income on the books for January as deferred revenue. Then, in March, when you deliver your talk and actually earn the fee, move the money from deferred revenue to consulting revenue. If you do your own bookkeeping using spreadsheets, it’s up to you to handle all the adjusting entries for your books. This journal entry can be recurring, as your depreciation expense will not change for the next 60 months, unless the asset is sold. If your business typically receives payments from customers in advance, you will have to defer the revenue until it’s earned.

Accrued Expenses

Assume that as of January 31 some of the printing services have been provided. Since a portion of the service was provided, a change to unearned revenue should occur. The company needs to correct this balance in the Unearned Revenue account. As shown in the preceding list, adjusting entries are most commonly of three types. The first is the accrual entry, which is used to record a revenue or expense that has not yet been recorded through a standard accounting transaction. The second is the deferral entry, which is used to defer a revenue or expense that has been recorded, but which has not yet been earned or used.

Using the above payroll example, let’s say as of Dec. 31 your employees had earned wages totaling $8,750 for the period from Dec. 15 through Dec. 31. They didn’t receive these wages until Jan. 1, because you pay your employees on the 1st and 15th of each month. Press Post and watch your fixed assets automatically depreciate and adjust on their own. Other methods that non-cash expenses can be adjusted through include amortization, depletion, stock-based compensation, etc. The adjusting entry in this case is made to convert the receivable into revenue.

Again, this type of adjustment is not common in small-business accounting, but it can give you a lot of clarity about your true costs per accounting period. The same process applies to recording accounts payable and business expenses. In contrast to accruals, deferrals are cash prepayments that are made prior to the actual consumption or sale of goods and services. Accruals refer to payments or expenses on credit that are still owed, while deferrals refer to prepayments where the products have not yet been delivered. Here are the Equipment, Accumulated Depreciation, and Depreciation Expense account ledgers AFTER the adjusting entry above has been posted.

Depreciation is always a fixed cost, and does not negatively affect your cash flow statement, but your balance sheet would show accumulated depreciation as a contra account under fixed assets. Accruals are revenues and expenses that have not been received or paid, respectively, and have not yet been recorded through a standard accounting transaction. For instance, an accrued expense may be rent that is paid at the end of the month, even though a firm is able to occupy the space at the beginning of the month that has not yet been paid. After 60 months, the balance in the Accumulated Depreciation account is $6,000 and therefore the equipment is fully depreciated and has no value. After the asset is fully depreciated, no further adjusting entries are made for depreciation no matter how long the company owns the asset. Deferrals are adjusting entries for items purchased in advance and used up in the future (deferred expenses) or when cash is received in advance and earned in the future (deferred revenue).

Why adjusting entries are important

The final type is the estimate, which is used to estimate the amount of a reserve, such as the allowance for doubtful accounts or the inventory obsolescence reserve. These adjustments are made to more closely align the reported results and financial position of a business with the requirements of an accounting framework, such as GAAP or IFRS. This generally involves the matching of revenues to expenses under the matching principle, and so impacts reported revenue and expense levels. In essence, the intent is to use adjusting entries to produce more accurate financial statements. The depreciation expense shows up on your profit and loss statement each month, showing how much of the truck’s value has been used that month. This means it shows up under your Vehicle asset account on your balance sheet as a negative number.

The Need for Adjusting Entries

The remaining $900 in the Supplies account will appear on the balance sheet. This amount is still an asset to the company since it has not been used yet. Accounts Receivable increases (debit) for $1,500 because the customer has not yet paid for services completed.

Adjusting entries are needed to account for the depreciation expense and update the asset’s carrying value. This is the last type of small business financial solutions and wave we will cover in this article. Depreciation expenses are the reductions in a tangible asset’s value.

A business may earn revenue from selling a good or service during one accounting period, but not invoice the client or receive payment until a future accounting period. These earned but unrecognized revenues are adjusting entries recognized in accounting as accrued revenues. An adjusting journal entry is an entry in a company’s general ledger that occurs at the end of an accounting period to record any unrecognized income or expenses for the period. When a transaction is started in one accounting period and ended in a later period, an adjusting journal entry is required to properly account for the transaction.

If it’s been a while since your last Accounting 101 class, we won’t blame you for needing a little refresher on adjusting entries. Put simply, an adjusting entry updates an existing journal entry for a specific accounting period. “Deferred” means “postponed into the future.” In this case you have purchased something in “bulk” that will last you longer than one month, such as supplies, insurance, rent, or equipment.

For example, when you enter a check in your accounting software, you likely complete a form on your computer screen that looks similar to a check. Behind the scenes, though, your software is debiting the expense account (or category) you use on the check and crediting your checking account. If you use small-business accounting software — like QuickBooks, Xero or FreshBooks — you might not be familiar with journal entries. That’s because most accounting software posts the journal entries for you based on the transactions entered. Now that we know the different types of adjusting entries, let’s check out how they are recorded into the accounting books.

The adjusting entry will debit interest expense and credit interest payable for the amount of interest from December 1 to December 31. Income statement accounts that may need to be adjusted include interest expense, insurance expense, depreciation expense, and revenue. The entries are made in accordance with the matching principle to match expenses to the related revenue in the same accounting period.

If the company would still like to be covered by insurance, it will have to purchase more. Here is the Insurance Expense ledger where transaction above is posted. Here is the Supplies Expense ledger where transaction above is posted. Salaries Expense increases (debit) and Salaries Payable increases (credit) for $12,500 ($2,500 per employee × five employees). The following are the updated ledger balances after posting the adjusting entry.

These are accrued expenses, accrued revenues, deferred expenses, deferred revenues, and depreciation expenses. Because prepayments are considered assets, the initial journal entry of your purchase would debit the asset, and credit the amount paid. Often, prepaid expenses require an adjusting entry at the end of a financial year, and an additional one when the asset’s value has been fully incurred. A company usually has a standard set of potential adjusting entries, for which it should evaluate the need at the end of every accounting period. These entries should be listed in the standard closing checklist. Also, consider constructing a journal entry template for each adjusting entry in the accounting software, so there is no need to reconstruct them every month.

If you create financial statements without taking adjusting entries into consideration, the financial health of your business will be completely distorted. Net income and the owner’s equity will be overstated, while expenses and liabilities understated. At first, you record the cash in December into accounts receivable as profit expected to be received in the future. Then, in February, when the client pays, an adjusting entry needs to be made to record the receivable as cash.

The company may also enter into a lease agreement that requires several months, or years, of rent in advance. Each month that passes, the company needs to record rent used for the month. For example, a company pays $4,500 for an insurance policy covering six months. It is the end of the first month and the company needs to record an adjusting entry to recognize the insurance used during the month. The following entries show the initial payment for the policy and the subsequent adjusting entry for one month of insurance usage.

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