Click on the next link below to understand how an adjusted trial balance is prepared. Uncollected revenue is the revenue that is earned but not collected during the period. Such revenue is recorded by making an adjusting entry at the end of accounting period.

That way you know that most, if not all, of the necessary adjusting entries are reflected when you run monthly financial reports. Let’s pause here for a moment for an explanation of what happened “behind the scenes” when you made your insurance payment on Dec. 17. When you entered the check into your accounting software, you debited Insurance Expense and credited your checking account. However, that debit — or increase to — your Insurance Expense account overstated the actual amount of your insurance premium on an accrual basis by $1,200.

When the exact value of an item cannot be easily identified, accountants must make estimates, which are also considered adjusting journal entries. Taking into account the estimates for non-cash items, a company can better track all of its revenues and expenses, and the financial statements reflect a more accurate financial picture of the company. Adjusting entries, also called adjusting journal entries, are journal entries made at the end of a period to correct accounts before the financial statements are prepared. Adjusting entries are most commonly used in accordance with the matching principle to match revenue and expenses in the period in which they occur.

Example 1 –  Revenue Goes From Accrued Asset to Accrued Revenue

The recording of the payment of employee salaries usually involves a debit to an expense account and a credit to Cash. Unless a company pays salaries on the last day of the accounting period for a pay period ending on that date, it must make an adjusting entry to record any salaries incurred but not yet paid. Deferrals are adjusting entries that update a previous transaction. The first journal entry is a general one; the journal entry that updates an account in this original transaction is an adjusting entry made before preparing financialstatements. 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). The adjusting entry for accrued revenue updates the Accounts Receivable and Fees Earned balances so they are accurate at the end of the month.

Remember, we are making these adjustments for management purposes, not for taxes. At the end of each month, $500 of taxes expense has accumulated/accrued for the month. At the end of January, no property tax will be paid since payment for the entire year is due at the end of the year. Common prepaid expenses include rent and professional service payments made to accountants and attorneys, as well as service contracts. Any time that you perform a service and have not been able to invoice your customer, you will need to record the amount of the revenue earned as accrued revenue. He bills his clients for a month of services at the beginning of the following month.

Why Are Adjusting Journal Entries Important?

Similar to prepaid insurance, rent also requires advanced payment. Usually to rent a space, a company will need to pay rent at the beginning of the month. 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, let’s say a company pays $2,000 for equipment that is supposed to last four years. The company wants to depreciate the asset over those four years equally.

Whereas you’d record a depreciation entry for a tangible asset, amortization is used to stretch the expense of intangible assets over a period of time. This type of entry is more common in small-business accounting than accruals. However, if you make this entry, you need to let your tax preparer know about it so they can include the $1,200 you paid in December on your tax return.

Types of Adjusting Entries

For the company’s December income statement to accurately report the company’s profitability, it must include all of the company’s December expenses—not just the expenses that were paid. Similarly, for the company’s balance sheet on December 31 to be accurate, it must report a liability for the interest owed as of the balance sheet date. An adjusting entry is needed so that December’s interest expense is included on December’s income statement and the interest due as of December 31 is included on the December 31 balance sheet.

Adjusting Journal Entry

If so, this amount will be recorded as revenue in the current period. Let’s say a company pays $8,000 in advance for four months of rent. After the first month, the company records an adjusting entry for the rent used. The following entries show initial payment for four months of rent and the adjusting entry for one month’s usage. Adjusting journal entries are used to reconcile transactions that have not yet closed, but which straddle accounting periods.

Sometimes, your bookkeeper can enter a recurring transaction, and these entries will be posted automatically each month before the close of the period. For tax purposes, your tax preparer might fully expense the purchase of a fixed asset when you purchase it. However, for management purposes, you don’t fully use the asset at the time of purchase. Instead, it is used up over time, and this use is recorded as a depreciation expense.

And through bank account integration, when the client pays their receivables, the software automatically creates the necessary adjusting entry to update previously recorded accounts. Now that we know the different types of adjusting entries, let’s check out how they are recorded into the accounting books. When your business makes an expense that will benefit more than one accounting period, such as paying insurance in advance for the year, this expense is recognized as a prepaid expense. This principle only applies to the accrual basis of accounting, however. If your business uses the cash basis method, there’s no need for adjusting entries. Adjusting entries update previously recorded journal entries, so that revenue and expenses are recognized at the time they occur.

What is an Adjusting Journal Entry?

You simply record the interest payment and avoid the need for an adjusting entry. Similarly, your insurance company might automatically charge your company’s checking account each month for the insurance expense that applies to just four options to finance a real estate investment that one month. Further, the company has a liability or obligation for the unpaid interest up to the end of the accounting period. What the accountant is saying is that an accrual-type adjusting journal entry needs to be recorded.

Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. He is the sole author of all the materials on Customer B comes in and buys a gift card for $100 to give to her mother as a birthday present. At this point you have the cash but have not given any service in return. Press Post and watch your fixed assets automatically depreciate and adjust on their own.

Adjusting entry for accrued expense

Another situation requiring an adjusting journal entry arises when an amount has already been recorded in the company’s accounting records, but the amount is for more than the current accounting period. To illustrate let’s assume that on December 1, 2022 the company paid its insurance agent $2,400 for insurance protection during the period of December 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023. The $2,400 transaction was recorded in the accounting records on December 1, but the amount represents six months of coverage and expense. By December 31, one month of the insurance coverage and cost have been used up or expired. Hence the income statement for December should report just one month of insurance cost of $400 ($2,400 divided by 6 months) in the account Insurance Expense. The balance sheet dated December 31 should report the cost of five months of the insurance coverage that has not yet been used up.

An asset / revenue adjustment may occur when a company performs a service for a customer but has not yet billed the customer. The accountant records this transaction as an asset in the form of a receivable and as revenue because the company has earned a revenue. The preparation of adjusting entries is the fifth step of accounting cycle and starts after the preparation of unadjusted trial balance.

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