If you want to keep your service running, you must fork over part cash come buy goods and services. And also sometimes, you could use credit to make these purchases, causing accrued liabilities.

Accounting lingo favor “accrued liabilities” may sound complicated, yet don’t panic. It’s actually pretty simple. Read on to learn the basics the accrued liabilities to save your little business cash flow on track. 

What room accrued liabilities?

Accrued liabilities, or accrued expenses, take place when friend incur an price that girlfriend haven’t to be billed because that (aka a debt). For example, you obtain a an excellent now and also pay because that it later (e.g., as soon as you obtain an invoice). Back you nothing pay immediately, she obligated to pay the accrued cost in the future. 


Accrued liabilities job-related with expense and liability accounts. A debit increases expense accounts, and a credit transaction decreases price accounts. Oppositely, a credit rises liability accounts, and also a debit decreases liability accounts. 

Remember, accrued liabilities are reversing entries. They room temporary entries offered to change your publications between accounting periods. So, girlfriend make your initial journal entry because that accrued expenses. Then, you upper and lower reversal the initial record with one more entry once you salary the quantity due.

You are watching: The adjusting entry required to record accrued expenses includes:

There room two measures to developing an accrued liabilities newspaper entry…

Step 1: friend incur the expense 

You incur an price at the end of the accounting period. You fan a debt however have no yet to be billed. You must make an accrued legal responsibility entry in her books.

Usually, one accrued cost journal entry is a debit come an expense account. The debit entry boosts your expenses.

You also apply a credit to an Accrued liabilities account. The credit increases your liabilities.

Accrued LiabilityX

What happens when you make these entries? Your expenses increase on the revenue statement. And, her liabilities increase on the balance sheet.

Step 2: You pay the expense

At the start of the next bookkeeping period, you salary the expense. Turning back the original entry in your books.

Debit the Accrued liability account come decrease your liabilities. As soon as you pay a debt, you have actually fewer liabilities.

Credit an legacy account. In this example, credit transaction the Cash account since you paid the cost with cash. A credit decreases the amount of cash girlfriend have.

X/XX/XXXXAccrued LiabilityX

When you turning back the initial entry to display that you paid the expense, you must also remove the from the balance sheet. This decreases your liabilities. And also because you paid it, your revenue statement should display a to decrease in cash. 

If friend don’t change entries after payment expenses, you’ll have actually some worries in her books. Right here are a few things the will most likely happen:

Liabilities will be understated top top the balance sheetExpenses will be understated ~ above the income statementNet revenue will it is in overstated

Bottom line: her financial reports will certainly make that look choose you have more money than you do. Make sure you keep your entries up-to-date every time you salary a liability.

See more: Here'S Why Are Racing Wheels So Expensive, Why Are Sim Racing Wheels So Expensive

Accrued costs vs. Account payable 

You could be thinking that accrued liabilities sound a whole lot like accounts payable. If girlfriend are, she right. Accrued expenses and accounts payable room similar, yet not quite the same.

Both accrued expenses and accounts payable are current liabilities, which method they space short-term debts payment within a year. But, the difference between the 2 revolves around invoicing:

Accrued expenses: expenses incurred but not yet billed (i.e., friend haven’t received an invoice yet). Accounts payable: prices you’ve incurred and also received one invoice for. You fan the caterer money. This likewise includes costs you to buy on credit. 

Need a much better way to document your expenses and also liabilities? Patriot’s accounting software allows you take complete control of your business’s money. Plus, it’s easy-to-use. Start your complimentary trial today! 

This short article has been updated from its original publication day of June 20, 2017.