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Deferred Revenue

Before MicroTrain prepares its financial statements, it
must make an adjusting entry to transfer the amount of the services
performed by the company from a liability account to a revenue
account. Deferred revenue is typically reported as a current liability on a company’s balance sheet, as prepayment terms are typically for 12 months or less. The deferred (unearned) revenue account is a liabilities account (debt). It appears at the end of the fiscal period in the statement of financial position (balance sheet) on the side of the liabilities not in the income statement. This accrual-type adjusting entry was needed so that the December repairs would be reported as 1) part of the expenses on the December income statement, and 2) a liability on the December 31 balance sheet.

On August 31, the company would record revenue of $100 on the income statement. On the balance sheet, cash would be unaffected, and the deferred revenue liability would be reduced by $100. We recorded an increase in revenue and an increase in money owed to us so that our ledgers, thus our trial balance, and therefore our financial statements, will be in compliance with GAAP, which requires accrual basis accounting. Contracts can stipulate different terms, whereby it’s possible that no revenue may be recorded until all of the services or products have been delivered.

The costs of the supplies not yet used are reported in the balance sheet account Supplies and the cost of the supplies used during the accounting period are reported in the income statement account Supplies Expense. Reversing entries will be dated as of the first day of the accounting period immediately following the period of the accrual-type adjusting entries. In other words, for a company with accounting periods which are calendar months, an accrual-type adjusting entry dated December 31 will be reversed on January 2.

Adjusting Entries

And, you will credit your deferred revenue account because the amount of deferred revenue is increasing. Also, when an advance payment is made to cover a certain number of months, as the months go by, a certain amount of deferred revenue is earned. This amount that is earned is what is recorded as the deferred revenue adjusting entry. Note that we are cycling through the second and third steps of the accounting equation again. On the income statement for the year ended December 31, MicroTrain reports one month of insurance expense,  $ 200, as one of the expenses it incurred in generating that year’s revenues. It reports the remaining amount of the prepaid expense,  $ 2,200, as an asset on the balance sheet.

To summarize, deferrals move the recognition of a transaction to a future period, while accruals record future transactions in the current period. The recognition of accrual and deferral accounts are two core concepts in accrual accounting that are both related to timing discrepancies between cash flow basis accounting and accrual accounting. The pattern of recognizing $100 in revenue would repeat each month until the end of 12 months, when total revenue recognized over the period to keep wave is $1,200, retained earnings are $1,200, and cash is $1,200. You would need to post the amount separately because your system will probably not let you post directly to the subsidiary ledger or to the general ledger so that you don’t accidentally get them out of balance with each other. The amount customers pay you in advance for your cleaning subscription is the deferred revenue. As you perform your cleaning services, parts of the deferred revenue become earned revenue.

  • On August 1, the company would record a revenue of $0 on the income statement.
  • This journal entry is to eliminate the liability after the company has fulfilled its obligation.
  • For instance, if you find an error or some other material misstatement, you may use an adjusting entry to correct it.
  • What the accountant is saying is that an accrual-type adjusting journal entry needs to be recorded.

The cash received before the revenue is earned per accrual accounting standards will thus be recorded as deferred revenue. The deferral adjusting entry makes certain that the correct amounts will be reported on a company’s balance sheets and income statements. After posting this journal entry and running your adjusted trial balance, you’ll double-check the ending balance in unearned revenue against your napkin prediction. Also, you’ll make a much nicer “working paper” (which will be filed digitally) for your files explaining the entry and verifying the ending balance in the account. This process is done so that when auditors come in they can duplicate your work without having to pull a spaghetti-stained napkin out of the filing cabinet.

About accountinggate

Unearned revenue is a liability created to record the goods or services owed to customers. When the goods or services are actually delivered at a later time, the revenue is recognized and the liability account can be removed. However, to the company (who receives this payment), the prepayment is treated as a liability known as deferred revenue. Hence, as a liability, the deferred revenue journal entry will be a credit and an adjusting entry will be made later when the paid goods or services have been delivered. The
deferred items we will discuss are unearned revenue and prepaid
expenses. Unearned revenues are money received before work has been
performed and is recorded as a liability.

How Do You Record Deferred Revenue in an Account?

When payment is received in advance for a service or product, the accountant records the amount as a debit entry to the cash and cash equivalent account and as a credit entry to the deferred revenue account. When the service or product is delivered, a debit entry for the amount paid is entered into the deferred revenue account, and a credit revenue is entered to sales revenue. Consider a media company that receives $1,200 in advance payment at the beginning of its fiscal year from a customer for an annual newspaper subscription.

Next month, when the company has performed one month of the bookkeeping service, it can record $500 ($3,000/6) as revenue. If you are having a hard time understanding this topic, I suggest you go over and study the lesson again. Preparing adjusting entries is one of the most challenging (but important) topics for beginners. The company invoices a customer for a research report that requires payment in Month 3, and will be delivered to the customer in Month 4.

Steps for Recording Adjusting Entries

Until the goods or service has been delivered, unearned revenue is recorded under current liabilities, because it is expected to be settled within a year. This can only change if the advance payment made is due to be provided 12 months or more after the payment date. In such a case, the deferred revenue will appear as a long-term liability on the balance sheet. The deferred items we will discuss are unearned revenue and prepaid expenses. Unearned revenues are money received before work has been performed and is recorded as a liability. Prepaid expenses are expenses the company pays for in advance and are assets including things like rent, insurance, supplies, inventory, and other assets.

In addition, on the income statement it will show that it did not earn ANY of the prepaid amount when in fact the company earned $600 of it. Let’s assume that Servco Company receives $4,000 on December 10 for services it will provide at a later date. Prior to issuing its December financial statements, Servco must determine how much of the $4,000 has been earned as of December 31.

Hence, deferred revenue is recorded only when using accrual accounting. Deferred revenue also known as unearned revenue or prepaid revenue is the income that is received for a product or service that has not yet been delivered or rendered. It is referred to as unearned revenue because the company has made revenue from the advance payment received but hasn’t actually earned it yet because the goods or services are yet to be delivered. Due to an advance payment, the seller incurs a liability which is the revenue amount received until the good or service is delivered. Note that we are cycling through the second and
third steps of the accounting equation again.

And it reports accumulated depreciation in the balance sheet as a deduction from the related asset. No, in cash basis accounting revenue is reported only after it has been received. As well, expenses in cash basis accounting are recorded only when they are paid. The reversing entry removes the liability established on December 31 and also puts a credit balance in the Repairs Expense account on January 2.

Monthly, the accountant records a debit entry to the deferred revenue account, and a credit entry to the sales revenue account for $100. By the end of the fiscal year, the entire deferred revenue balance of $1,200 has been gradually booked as revenue on the income statement at the rate of $100 per month. The balance is now $0 in the deferred revenue account until next year’s prepayment is made. Deferred revenue, also known as unearned revenue, refers to advance payments a company receives for products or services that are to be delivered or performed in the future. The company that receives the prepayment records the amount as deferred revenue, a liability, on its balance sheet.

And so, unearned revenue should not be included as income yet; rather, it is recorded as a liability. This liability represents an obligation of the company to render services or deliver goods in the future. It will be recognized as income only when the goods or services have been delivered or rendered. During the month the company may earn some, but not all, of the cash that was prepaid if it performs some of the work for the customer but does not yet complete the job entirely. The company will wait until the end of the month to account for what it has earned. If the company DOES NOT “catch up” and adjust for the amount it earned, it will show on the balance sheet that it has $1,000 of service still due to the customer at the end of the month when it actually has only $400 still owed.

No, accrual accounting records revenue for products or services that have been delivered before payment has been received. In a way, this is the opposite of deferred revenue, which records revenue for services or products yet to be delivered. Accrual accounting records revenue for payments that have not yet been received for products or services already delivered. The method of closing it will be explained in the account closing lesson. Sometimes a bill is processed during the accounting period, but the amount represents the expense for one or more future accounting periods. For example, the bill for the insurance on the company’s vehicles might be $6,000 and covers the six-month period of January 1 through June 30.

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