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Accruals and Prepayments Meaning and Examples

by Delarno
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Accruals and Prepayments

Accruals and prepayments are both accounting concepts used to record expenses and revenues in the appropriate accounting period.

Accruals refer to expenses that have been incurred by a business but have not yet been paid for or recorded in the accounts. For example, if a company receives an invoice for services rendered at the end of the month, but does not pay it until the following month, the expense would be recorded as an accrual in the current month’s accounts.

Prepayments, on the other hand, refer to payments made for expenses that relate to a future accounting period. For example, if a company pays for a three-month insurance policy in advance, the expense would be recorded as a prepayment in the current month’s accounts, and then allocated to the appropriate accounting periods over the next three months.

Accruals and prepayments Example…

One vivid example of accruals and prepayments is related to rent payments. Let’s say a company rents an office space for $12,000 per year, and the payment is due on January 1st of each year. At the end of December, the company has used the office space for the entire month but has not yet paid the rent for the upcoming year.

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In this case, the company would record an accrual of $1,000 ($12,000/12 months) on its balance sheet for the rent expense that it owes for the month of December. This is because the company has used the office space for the entire month of December, but has not yet paid for it.

On the other hand, if the company pays the rent for the upcoming year on December 15th, before the payment is actually due, it would record a prepayment of $12,000 on its balance sheet. This is because the company has paid for the office space for the entire upcoming year in advance, but has not yet used the office space for the months beyond December.

Both accruals and prepayments are important for accurate financial reporting and for matching expenses and revenues to the correct accounting period. They are typically recorded using adjusting entries at the end of an accounting period.

 

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