Balance Sheet Savvy

Demystifying Accrued Income: Understanding its Definition and Accounting Treatment

Accrued Income: Understanding Its Definition and Accounting TreatmentWhen it comes to the world of finance and accounting, there are many terms and concepts that may seem complex and overwhelming. One such concept is accrued income.

In this article, we will dive into the definition of accrued income and explore its accounting treatment. We will also provide examples and calculations to help solidify your understanding.

So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and let’s demystify the world of accrued income!

Definition of Accrued Income

Accrued income, also known as accrued revenue or outstanding income, refers to the revenue that a business has earned but has not yet received in cash. In simpler terms, it is income that has been recognized on the books, but the payment for that income has not been received yet.

This commonly occurs when a business provides a service or sells goods on credit, where the customer will pay at a later date. To illustrate, let’s say ABC Consulting provided consulting services to a client in the month of June but did not receive payment until July.

Even though the payment was not received in June, ABC Consulting would still record the income earned in June as accrued income.

Criteria for Accrued Income Accounting Treatment

Now that we understand the definition of accrued income, let’s take a closer look at how it is treated in accounting. There are specific criteria that need to be met for accrued income to be recognized and recorded in the books:


Revenue is earned: Accrued income can only be recognized when the business has performed the service or delivered the goods, and it is certain that the payment will be received in the future. 2.

Collectibility is reasonably assured: The business should have a reasonable expectation that the customer will make the payment when it is due. If there are doubts about collectibility, accrued income should not be recognized until the concerns are resolved.

3. Measurement is possible: The amount of accrued income should be capable of measurement with a reasonable degree of certainty.

This means that the business should be able to estimate the amount of income that will be received. Let’s consider an example to further illustrate these criteria.

Example: Bond Investment

Suppose a business purchases a bond as an investment. The bond pays interest semi-annually, and the company’s accounting period ends on December 31st.

The bond’s interest payment is due on January 15th of the following year. The criteria for recognizing accrued income in this situation would be as follows:


Revenue is earned: The business has invested in the bond, and the interest income is earned over time. 2.

Collectibility is reasonably assured: Assuming the bond issuer is financially stable and has a good track record, the business can reasonably expect to receive the interest payment on the due date. 3.

Measurement is possible: The amount of accrued income can be calculated based on the face value of the bond, the interest rate, and the number of days between the last interest payment and the end of the accounting period. Calculation of Accrual Adjusting Entry for Accrued Income:

To record the accrued income in this example, the business would make an adjusting entry at the end of the accounting period.

This entry would recognize the income earned but not yet received. The calculation would involve the following steps:


Determine the amount of daily interest using the bond’s face value and interest rate. 2.

Calculate the number of days between the last interest payment and the end of the accounting period. 3.

Multiply the daily interest by the number of days to determine the amount of accrued income. 4.

Debit the accrued income account and credit the interest income account to record the transaction. Using these steps, the business can accurately reflect the accrued income in its financial statements.


Accrued income may initially seem like a complex concept, but with a clear understanding of its definition and accounting treatment, it becomes more manageable. By recognizing the revenue earned but not yet received, businesses can accurately present their financial performance.

Whether it’s recognizing consulting services provided or interest income from investments, accrued income plays a crucial role in the world of finance and accounting. With the knowledge gained from this article, you are now equipped to confidently navigate the ins and outs of accrued income.

In conclusion, understanding accrued income is essential for anyone involved in finance and accounting. Accrued income refers to revenue that has been earned but not yet received, and its accounting treatment requires meeting certain criteria.

By recognizing accrued income, businesses can accurately reflect their financial performance. By providing examples and calculations, this article has demystified the concept of accrued income and highlighted its significance.

The key takeaway is that accrued income plays a vital role in the financial world, and it is crucial for businesses to accurately account for it. So, the next time you come across accrued income, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate this aspect of accounting with confidence.

Popular Posts