Revenue: Debit or Credit?

Unearned income is not credited to an income account until it is earned. It is recorded instead by crediting a liability account to acknowledge the fact that the business has an obligation to deliver something in return for the advance. So, if ABC company is preparing its income statement for June and the rent for June is $5,000, ABC would record a $5,000 rent expense. The company makes the same entry regardless of whether the rent was paid in June or May. These expenses are fixed costs, not variable costs, which means you must pay them monthly or quarterly regardless of how many products you produce. Moreover, even if you suspend operations for a month, you must still pay your rent and other lease obligations.

The rent expense will require a debit to the rent expense account and a credit to the cash account. Depending on the contractual agreement between the lessor (building owner or landlord) and the lessee or tenant (the company), rental payments may be made monthly, quarterly or yearly. When the rental payment is made, it is usually recorded as a debit to the rent expense account and a credit to the account from which the payment was made. Generally, however, since most companies use the same building for production and daily business operations, the rent expense for such companies is split into the cost per square foot.

In this case, the company can make the journal entry with the debit of the unearned rent revenue account and the credit of the rent revenue account. In this journal entry, the balance in the unearned rent account is transferred to the rent revenue account in the amount of the rental fee for the period. For instance, if the monthly rent expense of Alphabet is $300,000 and they pay via bank transfer to their landlord; it signifies a reduction in their bank balance (cash) of $300,000. This will be recorded as a debit of $300,000 to the rent expense account in the month for which the rental payment was made and a credit to the cash account. When making journal entries, the double-entry accounting method is the most commonly used. With this method, any debit must be accounted for with equal but opposite credit.

  • If the company earns and receives $300 for providing a service, the company’s assets and owner’s equity will increase.
  • Now, that we have an understanding of what unearned revenue, debit, and credit are in financial reporting, we can now answer the question ‘is unearned revenue debit or credit?
  • This credit entry in Sales Revenues will cause an increase in the owner’s equity.
  • For example, if the competition is fierce, you could offer to pay a full year’s rent in advance to secure a specific property.

Likewise, the rent received in advance is recorded as a liability due to the lessee or tenant has not used the property yet when the company receives the cash for rent. But as stated earlier, the onset of remote work is gradually reducing the amount companies spend as rent expense since a majority of employees and companies are adopting the remote work option. This has led a lot of companies to require smaller office spaces and thus, reducing the amount spent on rent expenses. We shall discuss rent expense as debit or credit after we have understood what rent expense means.

When to Use Debits vs. Credits in Accounting

First, think about the accounting purposes of these entries and how every transaction has to be exchanged for something else that has the exact same value. For example, on December 28, 2020, the company ABC has received the rental fee in advance for the available office space that it has leased out to another company. The amount of the rental fee is $15,000 which is for 3 months of rent starting from January 01, 2021, to March 31, 2021.

  • Because the rent payment will be used up in the current period (the month of June) it is considered to be an expense, and Rent Expense is debited.
  • Xero offers a long list of features including invoicing, expense management, inventory management, and bill payment.
  • Permanent accounts are not closed at the end of the accounting year; their balances are automatically carried forward to the next accounting year.

Now, that we have an understanding of what unearned revenue is and how it is treated in a company’s financial statements, is unearned revenue debit or credit? In order to answer this, let us look at what a debit and credit mean to understand the correct entry for deferred revenue. Hence, unearned revenue is perfect as a current liability on a company’s balance sheet. This can only change if the prepayment made for the goods or services is due to be provided 12 months or more after the payment date. In this case, the unearned revenue will appear as a long-term liability on the balance sheet. Businesses can profit greatly from customers paying in advance to receive their products or services.

Unearned Revenue Account

Again, according to the chart below, when we want to decrease an asset account balance, we use a credit, which is why this transaction shows a credit of $250. Service revenues (and any other revenues) will increase a company’s owner’s equity (or stockholders’ equity). Therefore, to increase the credit balance, the revenues accounts will have to be credited. If this journal entry is not made, the total assets on the balance sheet and total revenue on the income statement will be understated by $5,000 in January 2021.

As such, the rent expense account is credited while the account from where the payment is made is credited. Remember that credits increase equity, liability, or revenue accounts while decreasing expense or asset accounts. Therefore, since revenues cause owner’s equity to increase, it is credited and not debited. The credit balances in the revenue accounts will be closed at the end of the accounting year and transferred to the owner’s capital account, thus increasing the owner’s equity.


Companies then reduce their expenses from this amount to reach their profits. Cash sale is recorded by debiting cash in hand (assets) and crediting revenue (income). As a result, the higher your rent expenses, the lower your operating income. As a result, rent directly impacts the amount of cash in your company’s vault.

When a company leases office space, a retail store, or a factory building, the rent is usually paid in advance for the month or quarter covered by the rent payment. Every month, businesses are expected to have a consistent rent expense documented according to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The main issue with this regulation is that rent payments are not always consistent. Every transaction that occurs in a business can be recorded as a credit in one account and debit in another. Whether a debit reflects an increase or a decrease, and whether a credit reflects a decrease or an increase, depends on the type of account.

What Credit (CR) and Debit (DR) Mean on a Balance Sheet

Due to the large amount that is generally spent on rent expenses, the journal entries for it needs to be correctly done to have a well-recorded financial statement. This is in order pricing strategy to have a correct record of the company’s expenses. Rent expenses generally reduce the company’s equity or assets since the rental payment is deducted from either of the accounts.

Debits and Credits

Conclusively, credits would increase the balance in a revenue account whereas debits decrease the balance. You will first need to record this sale as a debit entry in the cash account and the $700 will need to be entered into the left side of the assets chart. Then, the sales part of your accounting will be listed under Revenue as a credited amount of $700, therefore balancing everything out in your books.

How are accounts affected by debit and credit?

Meanwhile, liabilities, revenue, and equity are decreased with debit and increased with credit. Fortunately, accounting software requires each journal entry to post an equal dollar amount of debits and credits. If the totals don’t balance, you’ll get an error message alerting you to correct the journal entry. Now, you see that the number of debit and credit entries is different.

The journal entry includes the date, accounts, dollar amounts, and the debit and credit entries. You’ll list an explanation below the journal entry so that you can quickly determine the purpose of the entry. For example, when paying rent for your firm’s office each month, you would enter a credit in your liability account.

The cash flow from unearned or deferred revenues can be invested right back into the business by purchasing more inventory or paying off debt. This positive cash flow can keep the operation of the business thriving. However, these businesses must ensure they deliver the products to the customers on time, to keep transactions steady and drive customer retention. This is why it is important to recognize unearned revenue as a liability and not as revenue.

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