Can you explain the concept of accrued revenue?

Accrued revenue refers to income earned but not yet received in cash or recorded. It occurs when services are performed or goods are delivered, leading to revenue recognition even if payment hasn't been received, aligning with the accrual accounting principle.

Accrued revenue refers to revenue that has been earned but not yet received in cash or recorded in the books. It's a type of revenue that a company has provided but has not yet been billed or paid for by the customer.

Here's a breakdown of accrued revenue:

  1. Recognition of Revenue: According to accrual accounting principles, revenue should be recognized when it's earned, regardless of when the cash payment is received. If a company has delivered goods or provided services to a customer but hasn't issued an invoice or received payment by the end of the accounting period, the revenue is still considered earned.

  2. Recording Accrued Revenue: To record accrued revenue, an adjusting entry is made at the end of the accounting period. This entry increases both the revenue account on the income statement and the accounts receivable (or a similar asset account) on the balance sheet.

  3. Example: Let's say a consulting firm completes a project for a client in December but doesn't bill the client until January. According to accrual accounting, the revenue for the project is recognized in December when the work was completed. Therefore, the firm would make an adjusting entry to recognize the accrued revenue for December, increasing both the revenue on the income statement and the accounts receivable on the balance sheet.

  4. Impact on Financial Statements: Accrued revenue increases the reported revenue and assets (such as accounts receivable) on the balance sheet. It ensures that the company's financial statements reflect the revenue it has actually earned during a specific period, even if the cash hasn't been received.

  5. Reconciliation when Cash is Received: When the company eventually receives the cash from the customer, it reverses the accrued revenue entry by debiting the accounts receivable and crediting the revenue account. This adjustment reflects the actual receipt of cash and eliminates the accrued revenue that was previously recorded.

Accrued revenue is an essential concept in accrual accounting as it ensures that revenue is recognized in the period when it's earned, providing a more accurate representation of a company's financial performance even if the cash has not yet been received.

Understanding Accrued Revenue in Accounting.

Understanding Accrued Revenue in Accounting

Accrued revenue is a key concept in accounting that represents revenue earned by a company but not yet received in cash. It's important to understand this concept for accurate financial reporting and analysis.

What is Accrued Revenue?

Accrued revenue arises in several situations:

  • Services rendered but not billed: When a company provides a service to a customer but has not yet issued an invoice, the revenue is considered accrued.
  • Goods shipped but not invoiced: If a company has shipped goods to a customer but has not yet received payment, the revenue is accrued.
  • Subscriptions or memberships: If a company receives payment in advance for services or memberships that will be provided in future periods, the revenue is accrued until it is earned.
  • Interest earned but not received: If a company has earned interest on an investment but has not yet received the cash payment, the interest is accrued.

Recording Accrued Revenue:

Accrued revenue is recorded as an asset on the balance sheet and a credit to revenue on the income statement. This ensures that the revenue is recognized in the period it is earned, regardless of when cash is received.

Adjusting Entries:

At the end of each accounting period, adjusting entries are made to ensure that all accrued revenue is recorded correctly. This involves:

  • Debiting Accounts Receivable: This reflects the receivable owed by the customer for the accrued revenue.
  • Crediting Revenue: This increases the revenue recognized for the period.

Importance of Accrued Revenue:

Accrued revenue is crucial for accurate financial reporting because it:

  • Provides a more accurate picture of a company's financial performance by matching revenues and expenses to the period they are earned or incurred.
  • Helps investors and analysts assess the company's profitability and overall financial health.
  • Enables businesses to make informed decisions about resource allocation, pricing strategies, and future investments.

Examples of Accrued Revenue:

  • A consulting firm completes a project for a client in December but does not send an invoice until January. The consulting firm accrues the revenue in December.
  • An online store ships products to customers in December but does not receive payment until January. The online store accrues the revenue in December.
  • A company receives annual subscription fees from customers in December. The company accrues the revenue for each month of the subscription period.


Understanding accrued revenue is essential for accurate accounting and financial analysis. By recognizing and recording accrued revenue correctly, companies can ensure that their financial statements reflect their true financial performance.