What Are Accrued Expenses in Accounting?

Accrued expenses are common when running a business. Whether your business operates in the B2B or B2C sector, it will probably face accrued expenses. As you buy products or services that are essential to your business’s operations, these expenses will generally increase. What are accrued expenses in accounting exactly, and how do they differ from other expenses?

Overview of Accrued Expenses

Also known as accrued liabilities, accrued expenses are costs incurred by your business that have been recorded but not satisfied. Not all business-related purchases require upfront payment. If you’re buying a wholesale shipment of products to resell, for instance, the vendor may simply send you an invoice. Vendors often have strong relationships with their clients. As a result, many of them allow their clients to buy products or services on credit. When you make a purchase for your business, an accrued expense is created until you pay for it.

Accrued expenses are considered liabilities because they haven’t been satisfied. Using the same example from above, an accrued expense is created if you buy products from a vendor. You must wait for the vendor to send you an invoice, after which you must pay the total amount denoted on the invoice.

Accrued Expenses vs Accounts Payable: What’s the Difference?

While they are both considered liabilities, accrued expenses and accounts payable aren’t the same. Basically, accounts payable are short-term liabilities that require payment in the near future. Accrued expenses, on the other hand, are usually long-term liabilities that haven’t been recorded. Payment dates can vary, but most accrued expenses are considered long-term liabilities.

Don’t Forget to Record Accrued Expenses

Some business owners neglect to record accrued expenses. They assume that an expense shouldn’t be recorded until it is paid. Of course, this is a bad habit that can adversely affect your business’s financial records. If you don’t record an accrued expense, you won’t be able to fully realize your business’s true liabilities and, therefore, its cash flow.

When your business generates an accrued expense, its liabilities will increase. An accrued expense is a liability, and like all liabilities, you must pay them at a later date. As a result, it’s important to record your business’s accrued expenses. Regardless of its total cost, accrued expenses can affect your business’s cash flow. By recording them, you’ll have a clearer and more accurate representation of your business’s financial health.

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