Accrued Revenue: What It Is and Why It Is Important For Business
Accrued Revenue: What It Is and Why It Is Important For Business

He will record the adjusting entry in his accounting books by debiting the accrued revenue and crediting the revenue account. However, when he receives rent from Taylor, he will credit the accrued revenue and debit the bank/cash account. Robert Trivedi prepares his annual financial statements every year by ending the period on December 31st. Every December 31st, the coffee owner has used the storefront for the whole month but has not paid yet. Therefore, the income statement of Robert records rental income because he has earned the rental but has not received it yet.

The matching principle underscores the need to recognize expenses in the same period as the revenue they aid to generate. This method records income when you receive it and expenses when you pay them. It's an uncomplicated approach, requiring less detailed record-keeping as it tracks only cash inflows and outflows. It is money that has been earned but not yet received in cash or recorded on an invoice.


As a SaaS company, you will likely encounter accrued revenue, especially if you also have a B2B model. The bulk of the work was carried out in February, but the project was wrapped up in March. As per the revenue recognition criteria, you would record the revenue for the accounting period in March. Understanding how accounting methods impact your business's financial health is essential. Two of the most common methods, accrual accounting, and cash accounting, have significant differences in how they record financial transactions. Let's discuss their key distinctions to help you decide which one suits your business best.

  • As you learn more and put your knowledge into practice, everything will become clearer.
  • As a leading pricing implementation platform, Togai understands the significance of accurate revenue recognition for businesses in the SaaS industry.
  • That number is large, but it is relatively low when compared to the total amount of ARs and the prior years.
  • It's an uncomplicated approach, requiring less detailed record-keeping as it tracks only cash inflows and outflows.
  • The debit balance in the accrued billings account appears in the balance sheet, where it is stated as a current asset.

But when it starts to become a bigger and bigger portion of a company’s revenue, there could be issues. Suppose you run a SaaS company and provide one month of service to a client in September. When a company is working on a long-term project, it may be booking revenue according to the percentage of completion method. In this situation, the company is allowed to book revenue based on the costs incurred for the completion of the project. Whereas accrued revenue may demonstrate a capacity to acquire customers, it shows that your collection process is inefficient if it's too high.

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For example, purchasing goods from a supplier is an accrued expense until you pay the invoice. Most of the work took place in February, but you finished the project in March. Based on revenue recognition, you would record the revenue for the accounting period in March since you earned your income upon completion. For example, Company A can lend $100,000 to company B in a one-year loan with a 6% interest rate to be paid at the end of the year together with the full repayment of principal. Every quarter of the year, Company A reports $1,500 in revenue on the income statement and an equal amount as an asset on the balance sheet, although no cash inflow is reported.

As a result, you have to create an accrued revenue journal entry twice throughout the project– one for each milestone. The matching principle asks you to record expenses and the revenue they generate in the same accounting period. Fortunately, such circumstances have been accounted for under the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles(GAAP) as part of accrual accounting.

What is the difference between accrued revenue and accounts receivable?

Here are some examples of accrued revenue to show you how to apply your knowledge in real-life business scenarios. You provide a product or service to a client who needs it in exchange for an agreed-upon price. Accrued revenue may be contrasted with realized or recognized revenue, and compared with accrued expenses. As we delve deeper into the topic of accrued revenue, let's tackle some frequently asked questions to enhance our understanding.

Differences between accrued revenue and cash accounting

While you earn revenue after selling a product or service, payment delays lead to accrued revenues. Accrued revenue is recorded in the financial statements by way of an adjusting journal entry. The accountant debits an asset account for accrued revenue which is reversed with the amount of revenue collected, crediting accrued revenue.

So, it records $5,000 as accrued revenue, an asset, on the balance sheet in December. Once payment is received in January, the accrued revenue entry is reversed, and cash is debited. The concept is more relevant to service industries where the project continues for more than allocative efficiency one accounting period. In such cases, income is recorded when performance obligations set out in the agreement between the parties are completed. As soon as all the obligations are completed, billing is done, and actual trade receivables are booked against accrued revenue.

As companies navigate extended contracts and credit arrangements with their clients, effectively managing the recognition of revenue is important. Your understanding of ‘accrued revenue’ serves as a cornerstone for precise financial reporting and a comprehensive evaluation of how your business is performing. From this accounting principle, we understand that the companies should record their revenues when the services are provided and not when the cash is received. It is also important to use accrued revenues because it is impossible to operate your business on a cash basis in today’s complex business structure. The income statement records accrued revenues as “earned revenue.” This means the revenue has been earned but not yet received.

The contract's duration spans several months, and the client is invoiced at different stages as various milestones are achieved. Even though the full payment isn't received until the project's completion, the company recognizes accrued revenue for the completed work, thus creating a more accurate depiction of the value generated over time. In essence, revenue accrual acknowledges the value generated through transactions. This concept is pivotal for assessing a company's financial performance and delivering insights into its operational effectiveness.

Accrual accounting 101: What accrued revenue is and how to handle it

Consider an equipment rental company that leases heavy machinery to construction firms. Suppose the rental period lasts several months and requires the lessee to make periodic payments. In such a case, the company recognizes accrued revenue for the completed rental period, regardless of whether the full payment is received at the end of the term.

However, accounting for this revenue keeps your business reactive and flexible. Calculating income with expenses in the same period allows you to lay out long-term financial plans. GAAP enforces the matching and revenue recognition principles across industries. As a result, any good accountant can manage accrued revenue since it's always calculated the same way.

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