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A deferral, in accrual accounting , is any account where the asset or liability is not realized until a future date (accounting period), e.g. annuities, charges, taxes, income, etc. The deferred item may be carried, dependent on type of deferral, as either an asset or liability. See also accrual.

Asset economic resource, from which future economic benefits are expected

In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned by the business. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value and that is held by a company to produce positive economic value is an asset. Simply stated, assets represent value of ownership that can be converted into cash. The balance sheet of a firm records the monetary value of the assets owned by that firm. It covers money and other valuables belonging to an individual or to a business.

Accounting period

An accounting period, in bookkeeping, is the period with reference to which accounting books of any entity are prepared.

A fee is the price one pays as remuneration for rights or services. Fees usually allow for overhead, wages, costs, and markup.


Deferrals are the consequence of the revenue recognition principle which dictates that revenues be recognized in the period in which they occur, and the matching principle which dictates expenses to be recognized in the period in which they are incurred. Deferrals are the result of cash flows occurring before they are allowed to be recognized under accrual accounting. As a result, adjusting entries are required to reconcile a flow of cash (or rarely other non-cash items) with events that have not occurred yet as either liabilities or assets. Because of the similarity between deferrals and their corresponding accruals, they are commonly conflated.

Revenue recognition

The revenue recognition principle is a cornerstone of accrual accounting together with the matching principle. They both determine the accounting period in which revenues and expenses are recognized. According to the principle, revenues are recognized when they are realized or realizable, and are earned, no matter when cash is received. In cash accounting – in contrast – revenues are recognized when cash is received no matter when goods or services are sold.

Matching principle

In accrual accounting, the revenue recognition principle states that expenses should be recorded during the period in which they are incurred, regardless of when the transfer of cash occurs. Conversely, cash basis accounting calls for the recognition of an expense when the cash is paid, regardless of when the expense was actually incurred.

Liability (financial accounting) sum of the equity and the liabilities

In financial accounting, a liability is defined as the future sacrifices of economic benefits that the entity is obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions or other past events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.

Deferral (deferred charge)

Deferred charge (or deferral) is cost that is accounted-for in latter accounting period for its anticipated future benefit, or to comply with the requirement of matching costs with revenues. Deferred charges include costs of starting up, obtaining long-term debt, advertising campaigns, etc., and are carried as a non-current asset on the balance sheet pending amortization. Deferred charges often extend over five years or more and occur infrequently unlike prepaid expenses, e.g. insurance, interest, rent. Financial ratios are based on the total assets excluding deferred charges since they have no physical substance (cash realization) and cannot be used in reducing total liabilities. [1]

Cost value of money that has been used up to produce something

In production, research, retail, and accounting, a cost is the value of money that has been used up to produce something or deliver a service, and hence is not available for use anymore. In business, the cost may be one of acquisition, in which case the amount of money expended to acquire it is counted as cost. In this case, money is the input that is gone in order to acquire the thing. This acquisition cost may be the sum of the cost of production as incurred by the original producer, and further costs of transaction as incurred by the acquirer over and above the price paid to the producer. Usually, the price also includes a mark-up for profit over the cost of production.

A startup or start up is a company initiated by individual founders or entrepreneurs to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. More specifically, a startup is a newly emerged business venture that aims to develop a viable business model to meet a marketplace need or problem. Founders design startups to effectively develop and validate a scalable business model. Hence, the concepts of startups and entrepreneurship are similar. However, entrepreneurship refers all new businesses, including self-employment and businesses that never intend to grow big or become registered, while startups refer to new businesses that intend to grow beyond the solo founder, have employees, and intend to grow large. Start ups face high uncertainty and do have high rates of failure, but the minority that go on to be successful companies have the potential to become large and influential. Some startups become unicorns, i.e. privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion.

Debt deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future

Debt is when something, usually money, is owed by one party, the borrower or debtor, to a second party, the lender or creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, that is owed in the future, which is what differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

Deferred expense

A Deferred expense or prepayment, prepaid expense, plural often prepaids, is an asset representing cash paid out to a counterpart for goods or services to be received in a later accounting period. For example, if a service contract is paid quarterly in advance, at the end of the first month of the period two months remain as a deferred expense. In the deferred expense the early payment is accompanied by a related recognized expense in the subsequent accounting period, and the same amount is deducted from the prepayment. [2] The deferred expense shares characteristics with accrued revenue (or accrued assets) with the difference that an asset to be covered later are proceeds from a delivery of goods or services, at which such income item is earned and the related revenue item is recognized, while cash for them is to be received in a later period, when its amount is deducted from accrued revenues.

For example, when the accounting periods are monthly, an 11/12 portion of an annually paid insurance cost is added to prepaid expenses, which are decreased by 1/12 of the cost in each subsequent period when the same fraction is recognized as an expense, rather than all in the month in which such cost is billed. The not-yet-recognized portion of such costs remains as prepayments (assets) to prevent such cost from turning into a fictitious loss in the monthly period it is billed, and into a fictitious profit in any other monthly period.

Insurance equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment

Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.

Expenditure is an outflow of money to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs. For a tenant, rent is an expense. For students or parents, tuition is an expense. Buying food, clothing, furniture or an automobile is often referred to as an expense. An expense is a cost that is "paid" or "remitted", usually in exchange for something of value. Something that seems to cost a great deal is "expensive". Something that seems to cost little is "inexpensive". "Expenses of the table" are expenses of dining, refreshments, a feast, etc.

Similarly, cash paid out for (the cost of) goods and services not received by the end of the accounting period is added to the prepayments to prevent it from turning into a fictitious loss in the period cash was paid out, and into a fictitious profit in the period of their reception. Such cost is not recognized in the income statement (profit and loss or P&L) as the expense incurred in the period of payment, but in the period of their reception when such costs are recognized as expenses in P&L and deducted from prepayments (assets) on balance sheets.

Income statement

An income statement or profit and loss account is one of the financial statements of a company and shows the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period.

Deferred revenue

Deferred revenue (or deferred income ) is a liability, such as cash received from a counterpart for goods or services that are to be delivered in a later accounting period. When such income item is earned, the related revenue item is recognized, and the deferred revenue is reduced. It shares characteristics with accrued expense with the difference that a liability to be covered later is an obligation to pay for goods or services received from a counterpart, while cash for them is to be paid out in a later period when its amount is deducted from accrued expenses.

For example, a company receives an annual software license fee paid out by a customer upfront on the January 1. However, the company's fiscal year ends on May 31. So, the company using accrual accounting adds only five months' worth (5/12) of the fee to its revenues in profit and loss for the fiscal year the fee was received. The rest is added to deferred income (liability) on the balance sheet for that year.

See also

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Balance sheet summary of the financial balances of a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation or other business organization

In financial accounting, a balance sheet or statement of financial position is a summary of the financial balances of an individual or organization, whether it be a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation, private limited company or other organization such as Government or not-for-profit entity. Assets, liabilities and ownership equity are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its financial year. A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition". Of the four basic financial statements, the balance sheet is the only statement which applies to a single point in time of a business' calendar year.

Debits and credits

In double entry bookkeeping, debits and credits are entries made in account ledgers to record changes in value resulting from business transactions. Generally speaking, if cash is spent in a business transaction, the cash account is credited, and conversely, when cash is obtained in a business transaction, it is described as a debit. Debits and Credits can occur in any account. For simplicity it is often best to view Debits as positive numbers and Credits as negative numbers. When all the debits and credits that are transacted in each account are added up the resulting account total could be a net Debit or a net Credit. If the total of the account is in a net Debit position (positive), it is generally classified in the Asset section of the balance sheet, whereas accounts that total to a net Credit (negative) are shown in the liability section of the balance sheet. Accounts that relate to the company's profit are totaled to yield company earnings and are classified in the Equity section of the balance sheet. When recording incoming cash (revenue) a Debit will be made to Cash or equivalent Assets and a Credit will be made on the revenue account in the income statement. If a company has a postitive Net Income, the Retained Earnings will receive a Credit when closing out the Income Statement for the year, while a Net Loss will result in a Debit to the Retained Earnings. A net Credit (negative) balance in Retained Earnings in the Equity Section demonstrates that the company has been profitable over time, whereas a Debit (positive) balance in the Equity section, would demonstrate that the company has been unprofitable. In most companies the following accounts end-up in Credit positions: accounts payable, share capital, loans payable; while Debit accounts typically include Equipment, Inventory, Accounts Receivable. Debits must equal Credits (negatives) in each transaction; individual transactions may require multiple debit and credit entries.

Tax deduction is a reduction of income that is able to be taxed and is commonly a result of expenses, particularly those incurred to produce additional income. Tax deductions are a form of tax incentives, along with exemptions and credits. The difference between deductions, exemptions and credits is that deductions and exemptions both reduce taxable income, while credits reduce tax.

Cash flow statement financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities

In financial accounting, a cash flow statement, also known as statement of cash flows, is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities. Essentially, the cash flow statement is concerned with the flow of cash in and out of the business. The statement captures both the current operating results and the accompanying changes in the balance sheet. As an analytical tool, the statement of cash flows is useful in determining the short-term viability of a company, particularly its ability to pay bills. International Accounting Standard 7, is the International Accounting Standard that deals with cash flow statements.

Accrual (accumulation) of something is, in finance, the adding together of interest or different investments over a period of time. It holds specific meanings in accounting, where it can refer to accounts on a balance sheet that represent liabilities and non-cash-based assets used in accrual-based accounting. These types of accounts include, among others, accounts payable, accounts receivable, goodwill, deferred tax liability and future interest expense.

Deferred income is, in accrual accounting, money received for goods or services which have not yet been delivered. According to the revenue recognition principle, it is recorded as a liability until delivery is made, at which time it is converted into revenue.

Chart of accounts

A chart of accounts (COA) is a created list of the accounts used by an organization to define each class of items for which money or the equivalent is spent or received. It is used to organize the finances of the entity and to segregate expenditures, revenue, assets and liabilities in order to give interested parties a better understanding of the financial health of the entity.

Adjusting entries

In accounting/accountancy, adjusting entries are journal entries usually made at the end of an accounting period to allocate income and expenditure to the period in which they actually occurred. The revenue recognition principle is the basis of making adjusting entries that pertain to unearned and accrued revenues under accrual-basis accounting. They are sometimes called Balance Day adjustments because they are made on balance day.

Accrued liabilities are liabilities that reflect expenses that have not yet been paid or logged under accounts payable during an accounting period; in other words, a company's obligation to pay for goods and services that have been provided for which invoices have not yet been received. Examples would include accrued wages payable, accrued sales tax payable, and accrued rent payable.

Tax deferral refers to instances where a taxpayer can delay paying taxes to some future period. In theory, the net taxes paid should be the same. Taxes can sometimes be deferred indefinitely, or may be taxed at a lower rate in the future, particularly for deferral of income taxes.

Basis of accounting

A basis of accounting is the time various financial transactions are recorded. The cash basis and the accrual basis are the two primary methods of tracking income and expenses in accounting.

<i>Commissioner v. Boylston Market Assn</i>

Commissioner v. Boylston Market Association, 131 F.2d 966 was a taxation case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Deferred Acquisition Costs (DAC) is a term commonly used in the insurance business. It describes the practice of deferring the cost of acquiring a new customer over the duration of the insurance contract. Insurance companies face large upfront costs incurred in issuing new business, such as commissions to sales agents, underwriting, bonus interest and other acquisition expenses.

<i>Grynberg v. Commissioner</i>

Grynberg v. Commissioner, 83 T.C. 255 (1984) was a case in which the United States Tax Court held that one taxpayer's prepaid business expenses were not ordinary and necessary expenses of the years in which they were made, and therefore the prepayments were not tax deductible. Taxpayers in the United States often seek to maximize their income and decrease their tax liability by prepaying deductible expenses and taking a deduction earlier rather than in a later tax year.

International Financial Reporting Standards requirements

This article lists some of the important requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

ACSOI technical term

ACSOI is a non-GAAP accounting metric.


  1. "deferred charge". 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  2. Curtis L. Norton; Michael A. Diamond; Donald P. Pagach (2006). Intermediate accounting: financial reporting and analysis. Cengage Learning. p. 25. ISBN   978-0-618-72185-6 . Retrieved 2 April 2012.