The Accounting Cycle: Reversing Entries Saylor Academy

reversing entries are optional

Reversing entries are usually made to simplify bookkeeping in the new year. For example, if an accrued expense was recorded in the previous year, the bookkeeper or accountant can reverse this entry and account for the expense in the new year when it is paid. The reversing entry erases the prior year’s accrual and the bookkeeper doesn’t have to worry about it. The need to prepare reversing entries for prepaid expenses depend on which method you use in recording prepayments. While you record reversing entries at the beginning of the month, it is possible to have an accrual that you do not immediately reverse.

To illustrate accrued income and how to reverse it, let’s assume that you rent out apartment spaces for $1,000 per month. On December 1, 2022, one of your tenants promises to pay you at the end of February 2023 the equivalent of 3 months worth of rent covering December 2022 to February 2023. For example, if you posted a purchase order with the wrong quantity of products in one period, you could undo that posting with a reversing entry at the beginning of the next period. Lets assume now that the business makes reversing entries at the start of month 2. Suppose, for example, a business pays its employees part way through a month and therefore has to make an adjusting entry at the end of the month for wages earned but not yet paid.

Reversing Accrued Income

This step is optional and is especially useful to companies that use the cash basis method. When the remaining $30,000 insurance expires on June 30, 2024, no adjusting entry is necessary since the amount was already recognized as expense when we recorded we posted the reversing entry on January 1, 2024. This entry still has the same result as in the case where you posted a reversing entry since it still recognizes $2,000 rent income for 2023.

  • The total payroll of $12,000 consists of $5,000 salaries expense recognized on December 31, 2022 and $7,000 on January 15, 2023.
  • Reversing entries are made because previous year accruals and prepayments will be paid off or used during the new year and no longer need to be recorded as liabilities and assets.
  • In each case at the end of month 2, the balance on the wages expense account is 2,500, and the balance on the wages payable liability account is nil.
  • Accounting software automatically numbers all journal entries so that auditors can easily track deletions.
  • 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.
  • As before, in month 2, wages of 4,000, which includes the 1,500 from month 1, are paid, and the following journal is made.

All of the debits and credits accounts are recorded as contra debits and credits with the same amount to “nullifying” the accounting impact. In other words, the accounts with debit nature will be credited by the same amount in the reversing entries. First, you record an adjusting entry at the end of the month for wages owed but not yet paid. You record a reversing entry on the first of the new month, clearing the way for the payroll journal entry on payday. Preparing reversing entries is an optional, intermediate step between recording revenue or expenses and having cash enter or leave your business. Many business owners implement reversing entries to reduce the likelihood of double-counting revenue and expenses.

Definition of Reversing Entries

To illustrate reversing entries, let’s assume that a retailer uses a temporary employment agency service to provide workers from December 15 to December 29. The temp agency will bill the retailer on January 6 and the retailer is required to pay the invoice by January 10. Assuming the retailer’s accounting year ends on December 31, the retailer will make an accrual adjusting entry on December 31 for the estimated amount. If the estimated amount is $18,000 the retailer will debit Temp Service Expense for $18,000 and will credit Accrued Expenses Payable for $18,000. This adjusting entry assures that the retailer’s income statement for the period ended December 31 will report the $18,000 expense and its balance sheet as of December 31 will report the $18,000 liability.

Preparing the reversing entries is the last step in the accounting cycle of the business. The Accounting Cycle refers to the steps that a company takes to prepare its financial statements. Another example of a reversing entry would be if you accrued a $10,000 reversing entries are optional 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.

Examples of Accounting Problems With T-Accounts

Reversing entries, or reversing journal entries, are journal entries made at the beginning of an accounting period to reverse or cancel out adjusting journal entries made at the end of the previous accounting period. 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.


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