Dr. Paolo Selce

Sono un E-Commerce ManagerSocial Media SpecialistMarketplace Specialist

What Are Reversing Entries & Why Are They Required?

reversing entries are optional

While you record reversing entries at the beginning of the month, it is possible to have an accrual that you do not immediately reverse. Make note of this each month until you do reverse the entry, as this can prevent entries mistakenly going unreversed. Having an end-of-month review process can help prevent errors on your ledger. Another example of a reversing entry would be if you accrued a $10,000 expense in February, but the supplier does not send the actual invoice until March. You would do a reversing entry at the beginning of the month in anticipation of the invoice, which will result in a debit to accrued expenses payable and a credit to expense.

Absent a reversing entry, you’d wind up showing a $19,500 expense for the contractor’s work, a mistake that’s sometimes hard to catch. Without a reversing entry, you’d have a $10,000 expense on your books until the bill comes in. You’d then have to do some accounting and arithmetic gymnastics to record the $9,500 invoice accurately. Here’s why you should implement reversing entries in your small business accounting system.

Manual Reversing Entries

Reversal entries will significantly make life of a bookkeeper easier since he won’t have to remember which expenses and revenues were accrued and prepaid. He can record the reversing entries to negate the effect of the adjusting entries that were passed in the preceding year and essentially start anew. For the current period, he would just have to record the expenses and revenue as they come in and not worry about the accrued and prepayments of the last period.

This is an optional step in the accounting cycle and if the bookkeeper wishes can skip it entirely. When an adjusting entry is made for an expense at the end of the accounting period, it is necessary to keep track of this expense so that the transaction will be allocated properly between the two periods. For example, if the utilities for each month are paid at the beginning of the next month, you would have used the utilities as of December 31, but you won’t have to pay for them until the next year. The matching principle states that we should recognize the expenses when they are incurred and match them to the revenues they help generate.

How to Fix an Incorrect Trial Balance

Some examples of reversing entries are salary or wages payable and interest payable. When the temporary accounts are closed at the end of an accounting period, subsequent reversing entries create abnormal balances in the affected expense and revenue accounts. reversing entries are optional For example, if the wages expense account is closed on April 30, a reversing entry on May 1 creates a credit balance in the account. The credit balance is offset by the May 10 debit entry, and the account balance then shows current period expenses.

reversing entries are optional

An accountant in another life, Timothy uses the accrual basis of accounting. If your business used reversing entries, you’d have accurate financial statements and one less pain point with your spouse. Reversing entries negate revenue and expense accruals, making it easy to record transactions without having to look back at what someone else has already recorded. Imagine how easy it would be to forget that you recorded the $10,000 last month.

How to Do a Journal Entry for a Write-off of an Accounts Receivable

The goal of the reversing entry is to ensure that an expense or revenue is recorded in the proper period. If the loan is issued on the sixteenth of month A with interest payable on the fifteenth of the next month (month B), each month should reflect only a portion of the interest expense. To get the expense correct in the general ledger, an adjusting entry is made at the end of the month A for half of the interest expense. This adjusting entry records months A’s portion of the interest expense with a journal entry that debits interest expense and credits interest payable.

  • Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.
  • If you’re using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money.
  • When payday rolls around on Oct. 5, Timothy records a payroll journal entry for the entire amount he owes his employees, which is $2,500 ($250 per workday x 2 employees x 5 working days).
  • Reversing entries are journal entries made at the beginning of each accounting period.
  • If the loan is issued on the sixteenth of month A with interest payable on the fifteenth of the next month (month B), each month should reflect only a portion of the interest expense.
  • A reversal entry would create a negative amount in the respective revenue and expense accounts.
  • The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice.

This is also a good reason to conduct account reconciliations for all balance sheet accounts at regular intervals, which will detect unreversed entries. A reversing entry is a journal entry made in an accounting period, which reverses selected entries made in the immediately preceding period. The reversing entry typically occurs at the beginning of an accounting period. It is commonly used in situations when either revenue or expenses were accrued in the preceding period, and the accountant does not want the accruals to remain in the accounting system for another period. For example, on the first payday following the reversing entry, a “normal” journal entry can be made to record the full amount of salaries paid as expense.


Their use is optional and depends on the accounting practices of the particular firm and the specific responsibilities of the bookkeeping staff. As can be seen in the ledger accounts, the net effect is that a $50 interest expense will be realized in October, and the full $100 of interest will be paid to the holder of the note. If the invoice amount on January 6 had been $18,250 the entire amount would be debited to Temp Service Expense and credited to Accounts Payable. The resulting debit balance of $250 in Temp Service Expense will be reported as a January expense. Since the $250 is insignificant difference from an estimated amount, it is acceptable to report the $250 as a January expense instead of a December expense.

reversing entries are optional

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