Accrued Expenses Journal Entry: Debit or Credit?

by Anonymous
(Unknown)

Q: If the amount has been debited into accrued expenses, do we need to credit it after making the payment (so that the balance would be zero in accrued expenses)?


Accrued expenses


A:
Accrued Expenses is a liability account. It is not an expense. Accrued means "is/are owed" or "owing" and "accrued expenses" are a liability (debt) account which means expenses that are owing or payable.

Accrued expenses are similar to
accounts payable but with accrued expenses we're talking more about expenses like interest or salaries , expenses that have been incurred (and are thus owing) at a certain point in time even though we didn't receive an invoice or bill to pay (which we would receive with accounts payable - we'd receive a bill from a creditor).

When you record an accrued expense (or expense owing), you do the following:
Dr Expense
Cr Accrued Expenses (liability account)


When you make the payment you record:
Dr Accrued Expenses
Cr Bank


The entries above are the standard, usual entries for an accrued expense and then paying off the debt.

Apart from when you're making the payment, a
debit to the accrued expense account is highly unusual as it means you owe less . In this case you would need to do a correction.

For example, let's say that at the end of the month you had salaries payable $40,000 and you originally recorded this (incorrect) entry:
Dr Salaries payable (liability) $40,000
Cr Salaries (expense) $40,000


In this situation you would pass a journal entry to correct this, which is the exact opposite of the above:
Dr Salaries (expense) $40,000
Cr Salaries payable (liability) $40,000


That's it! Hope you now understand the journal entries for accrued expenses and when to debit or credit this account!

Best,
Michael Celender
Founder of Accounting Basics for Students


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