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Adjusting Journal Entry Definition: Purpose, Types, and Example

Adjusting Journal Entry Definition: Purpose, Types, and Example File Photo Adjusting Journal Entry Definition: Purpose, Types, and Example File Photo

What Is a Journal Entry for Adjusting?

A general ledger entry known as an “adjusting journal entry” is made after an accounting period to report any unrealized revenue or expenses for the time. An adjusting journal entry is necessary to correctly account for a transaction that began in one accounting period and ended in another.

Adjusting journal entries can also describe financial reporting that fixes an error from a prior accounting period.

Recognizing Changes to Journal Entries

Adjusting entries are used to transform cash transactions into accrual accounting transactions. The revenue recognition principle, which tries to recognize revenue in the period in which it was earned rather than the period in which it is paid, is the foundation of accrual accounting.

Consider a scenario where a construction company starts work in one period but waits to bill the client until the job is finished in six months. To recognize revenue for 1/6 of the total invoiced after six months, the construction company must make an adjusting journal entry at the end of every month.

An income statement account (revenue or expense) and a balance sheet account (asset or debt) are both included in an adjusting journal entry. The accounts for cumulative depreciation, allowance for doubtful accounts, accrued expenses, accrued income, prepaid expenses, deferred revenue, and unearned revenue are frequently included.

Interest expense, insurance expense, depreciation expense, and revenue are a few of the accounts on the income statement that need to be changed. To match expenses to relevant revenue in the same accounting period, entries are made per the matching principle. The general ledger, connected to the financial statements, receives the changes made in journal entries.

Types of Journal Entries for Adjusting
In conclusion, accruals, deferrals, and estimations are the most typical adjusting journal entries.

Revenues and expenses that have not yet been received or paid, respectively, or recognized through a typical accounting transaction are known as accruals. Even though a company is permitted to occupy the premises at the beginning of the month, even though the rent is not yet paid, rent paid at the end of the month may be an example of an accumulated expense.

Deferrals Revenues and expenses that have been received or paid in advance but have not yet been earned or used are referred to as deferrals. For instance, money received for things that haven’t yet been delivered is known as unearned revenue.

Estimates are adjusting entries that list non-cash items like depreciation expense, an allowance for doubtful accounts, or an obsolescence reserve for inventory.

Not every journal entry made after an accounting period is an adjustment entry. For instance, a purchase of equipment recorded as an entry on the final day of an accounting period is not an adjusting entry.
Why Is It Important to Correct Journal Entries?
There are occasions when one accounting period will expire with such a scenario still unresolved. Many businesses operate where real delivery items may be delivered separately from payment (either beforehand in the case of credit or after prepayment). In this situation, the discrepancies in the timing of payments and expenses are reconciled using the adjusting journal entries. There would still be open transactions if no adjusting entries were made to the journal.
An example of a journal entry for adjusting
As an illustration, a business with a fiscal year that ends on December 31 obtains a loan from the bank on December 1. According to the loan’s terms, interest must be paid every three months. In this instance, the company’s first interest payment is due on March 1. The business must still tally interest costs for December, January, and February.

An adjustment entry is required to reflect the accrued interest expense for December because the company plans to publish its year-end financial results in January. The accumulated interest expenditure must be shown on the December income statement, and the liability for the interest payment must be shown on the December balance sheet to reflect the business operations and profitability appropriately. The adjusting entry will credit interest payable and debit interest expense for the amount of interest from December 1 to December 31.

Why Do You Need to Change Journal Entries?
Transactions are not yet closed, but cross-over accounting periods are reconciled using adjusting journal entries. These could be costs or payments if the payment does not occur at the same time as delivery.

What Kinds of Journal Entries Are Used for Adjusting?
Accruals and deferrals are the two main categories. Deferrals are prepayments made when the goods have not yet been delivered, whereas accruals are payments or expenses made on credit that are still outstanding.

What Sets Cash Accounting and Accrual Accounting Apart?
The timing of when expenses and revenues are recorded is the main difference between cash and accrual accounting. Cash accounting only allows this when payment is made for goods or services. Instead, accrual accounting permits a delay between the payment and the product (such as when making purchases on credit).

Who Is Required To Change Journal Entries?
Companies that utilize accrual accounting and are in a situation where one accounting period ends and another begins must check to determine open transactions. If so, journal entries must be changed to reflect this.


  • Transactions that have already happened but haven’t been properly documented by the accrual method of accounting are recorded using adjusting journal entries.
  • After an accounting period, adjusting journal entries are written in a company’s general ledger to comply with the matching and revenue recognition standards.
  • Accruals, deferrals, and estimations are the three most typical adjusting journal entries.
  • When one accounting period ends and another begins, it is used for accrual accounting.
  • A cash accounting company does not require altering journal entries.

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