Adjusting Entries: Does Your Small Business Need Them?


Accrued revenues are services performed in one month but billed in another. You’ll need to make an adjusting entry showing the revenue in the month that the service was completed. If your business typically receives payments from customers in advance, you will have to defer the revenue until it’s earned.

  • As shown in the preceding list, adjusting entries are most commonly of three types.
  • Accrued expenses are expenses that have been incurred but not yet paid or recorded.
  • For example, going back to the example above, say your customer called after getting the bill and asked for a 5% discount.
  • The $100 is deducted from $500 to get a final debit balance of $400.
  • Automatically process and analyze critical information such as sales and payment performance data, customer payment trends, and DSO to better manage risk and develop strategies to improve operational performance.

Adjusting entries are accounting journal entries made at the end of the accounting period after a trial balance has been prepared. After you make a basic accounting adjusting entry in your journals, they’re posted to the general ledger, just like any other accounting entry. If you don’t make adjusting entries, your income and expenses won’t match up correctly. At the end of the accounting period, you may not be reporting expenses that happen in the previous month.

Deferred revenues

At the end of an accounting period, you must make an adjusting entry in your general journal to record depreciation expenses for the period. The IRS has very specific rules regarding the amount of an asset that you can depreciate each year. You don’t have to compute depreciation for your books the same way you compute it fortax purposes, but to make your life simpler, you should. Adjusting entries are made at the end of the accounting period to make your financial statements more accurately reflect your income and expenses, usually — but not always — on an accrual basis. After you prepare your initial trial balance, you can prepare and post your adjusting entries, later running an adjusted trial balance after the journal entries have been posted to your general ledger.

The company’s accountant needs to take care of this adjusting transaction before closing the accounting records for 2018. For instance, you decide to prepay your rent for the year, writing a check for $12,000 to your landlord that covers rent for the entire year.

Adjusting for Accrued Expense Accounts

This is to the Supplies Expense T-account on the debit side . This is posted to the Supplies T-account on the credit side . You will notice there is already a debit balance in this account from the purchase of supplies on January 30. The $100 is deducted from $500 to get a final debit balance of $400. Every adjusting entry will have at least one income statement account and one balance sheet account.

  • This can often be the case for professional firms that work on a retainer, such as a law firm or CPA firm.
  • You make the adjusting entry by debiting accounts receivable and crediting service revenue.
  • Assets depreciate by some amount every month as soon as it is purchased.
  • So, your income and expenses won’t match up, and you won’t be able to accurately track revenue.

By the end of January the company had earned $600 of the advanced payment. This means that the company still has yet to provide $3,400 in services to that customer. Following each day of work, few companies take the trouble to record the equivalent amount of salary or other expense and the related liability. When a pad of paper is consumed within an organization, debiting supplies expense for a dollar or two and crediting supplies for the same amount hardly seems worth the effort. Adjusting entries for depreciation is a little bit different than with other accounts. Not adjusting entries for one month leads to an inaccurate quarterly report.

What Is the Difference Between Cash Accounting and Accrual Accounting?

Remember – when a company pays back a loan, the company must pay the principle PLUS interest. However, it is not depreciated because it does not get used up over time. Therefore, land is often referred to as a non-depreciable asset. Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.


If your business is a corporation, and your corporation has declared a dividend payable to shareholders, the declared dividend needs to be recorded on the books. Assuming the dividend will not be paid until after year-end, an adjusting entry needs to be made in the general journal. If so, do you have any accounts receivable at year-end that you know are uncollectable? If so, the end of the year is a good time to make an adjusting entry in your general journal to write off any worthless accounts. Prepaid InsurancePrepaid Insurance is the unexpired amount of insurance premium paid by the company in an accounting period.

Introduction to Adjusting Entries

For example, a $50,000 truck that is expected to be used by a business for 4 years will have its cost spread over 4 years. To recap – adjusting entries are completed so revenues are recorded in the period in which they are earned and expenses are recorded in the period in which they are incurred, regardless of when payment occurs . In practice, you are more likely to encounter deferrals than accruals in your small business. The most common deferrals are prepaid expenses and unearned revenues. Adjusting entries are journal entries recorded at the end of an accounting period to alter the ending balances in various general ledger accounts. Once you complete your adjusting journal entries, remember to run an adjusted trial balance, which is used to create closing entries. Prepaid expenses also need to be recorded as an adjusting entry.

What are the 4 types of adjusting entries?

Select from the following four types of adjusting entries: deferred expense, deferred revenue, accrued expense, accrued revenue.

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