Unearned Revenue: What It Is, How It Is Recorded and Reported

is unearned revenue a liability

Our guide to unearned revenue accounting will answer these questions. Deferred revenue is earned when a company collects money for a service it has yet to provide. This usually happens for service companies that wait to perform the job until at least a portion of the job is paid for.

This task requires time and money that the company will invest. And this is a piece of information that must be revealed to complete the picture of the financial condition at the time. Below are some of the highlights from the income statement for Apple Inc. (AAPL) for its fiscal year 2021. Not all companies have to comply with the specific requirements of ASC 606.

What Is Deferred Revenue?

As each month of the annual subscription goes by, the monthly portion of this total can be deducted and recorded as revenue. Unearned income is payment received by a company for products or services that have yet to be delivered. Until the contract is executed, it is reflected as a liability on the company’s balance sheet. This is money paid to a business in advance, before it actually provides goods or services to a client. When the goods or services are provided, an adjusting entry is made. Unearned revenue is helpful to cash flow, according to Accounting Coach.

For example, let’s say that two companies in the same industry might have the same amount of total debt. Accrued expenses are costs of expenses that are recorded in accounting but have yet to be paid. Accrued expenses use the accrual method of accounting, meaning expenses is unearned revenue a liability are recognized when they’re incurred, not when they’re paid. Ideally, suppliers would like shorter terms so that they’re paid sooner rather than later—helping their cash flow. Suppliers will go so far as to offer companies discounts for paying on time or early.

Dividends Payable or Dividends Declared

The term “unearned” means the revenue has been generated but the performance is due from the seller and hasn’t been delivered. Therefore, it cannot be recorded as actual revenue or income for the seller. That’s because there are several accounting principles businesses are obliged to follow when creating their financial statements at the end of the year. Deferred revenue can be set to automatically reverse in basic accounting information systems.

is unearned revenue a liability

Current liabilities are used by analysts, accountants, and investors to gauge how well a company can meet its short-term financial obligations. As soon as the services or products are delivered proportionally, the liability account is reduced with the same amount equal to the number of services or products delivered to the customer. FreshBooks has online accounting software for small businesses that makes it easy to generate balance sheets and view your unearned revenue.

Accrued Expenses

Here are a few quick reasons why unearned income is a liability. Baremetrics is a business metrics tool that provides 26 metrics about https://www.bookstime.com/ your business, such as MRR, ARR, LTV, total customers, and more. Unearned revenue shows up in two places on the balance sheet.

Continuously review and adjust the company’s unearned revenue management practices as needed to reflect changes in the business environment, accounting standards, or company operations. This will help maintain an effective and compliant unearned revenue management process. Current assets are assets of a company with an expected life of one year. The term deferred or delayed revenue is also the same concept as unearned revenue.