Matching Principle

For example, you don’t buy a new lawnmower every time your grass needs cutting. Instead, you buy a lawnmower and use it over and over for several years. Obviously it would be inaccurate to say that it cost you the $400 you paid for your mower to cut your grass once and then only maintenance and fuel to mow your lawn each time after that. If you cut your grass 20 times every year and your lawnmower lasts you 5 years, the mower costs you $4 each time you mow your lawn. Matching principle therefore results in the presentation of a more balanced and consistent view of the financial performance of an organization than would result from the use of cash basis of accounting.

As the assets are used, the related costs would be matched against revenues for that period by making an adjusting entry at the end of that period. If a company fails to make these adjustments at the proper time, the net income and assets of the company could be dramatically overstated. The best matching of revenues and expenses occurs under the accrual basis of accounting. Under the accrual basis, revenue is generally recognized in the period in which the economic event takes place, usually at the point of sale—not when the cash actually changes hands. Revenue recognition occurs at this time because the earnings process is complete and there is evidence supporting the sale price. Not all costs and expenses have a cause and effect relationship with revenues. Hence, the matching principle may require a systematic allocation of a cost to the accounting periods in which the cost is used up.

  • GoCardless is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number , for the provision of payment services.
  • Based on the Matching Principle, the cost of goods sold amount $40,000 have to be recorded in December 2016, same as revenue of $70,000 recognized.
  • Expenditures made in the current period for assets not yet used would be recorded as assets and included in the current period’s balance sheet, not recorded as expenses in the current period.
  • Companies use the matching principle concept to ensure consistency in all their financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Accrued expense allows one to match future costs of products with the proceeds from their sales prior to paying out such costs.
  • In the month of January, Jim’s business had sales of $9,000, which means that Jim owes his salespeople $900 in commissions for January.

This principle helps to ensure that the financial statements are accurate and that they present a true and fair view of the company’s operations. The matching concept and revenue recognition concept affect the various financial statements in different ways. Let’s look at how these two principles affect the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement with a simple exercise. However, the matching principle is a further refinement of the accruals concept. For example, accruals basis of accounting requires the recognition of the estimated tax expense in the current accounting period even though the actual settlement of the provision may occur in the subsequent period. Though matching and accrual-based accounting sound similar, the matching concept is better than the accrual basis.

Under this, a company should report an expense in the income statement in the same period when it earns the revenue. Put it simply; a company must recognize expenses on the financial statements when it produces the revenue as a result of those expenses. So, an expense that does not directly relate to the revenue should come in the income statement in the accounting period in which the company benefits from it. In the cash accounting method, revenues and expenses are recognized when cash is transferred.

I tell my Introductory Hospitality Financial Leadership Workshop participants that the concept behind the matching principle is “the most important concept today.” Why? When it comes to producing financial information, it’s the cornerstone of understanding why we do almost everything the way we do it in the business world. The profit and loss statement cannot exist and be in any way accurate without using the matching principle every step of the way.

Understanding The Matching Principle

Because, under the matching concept, the recognition of revenue triggers the recognition of the related expenses, this can have serious effects on a company’s financial statements. For ensuring consistency in financial statements, businesses follow the matching principle. If you recognize the expenses at the wrong time, you may get the inaccurate financial report of a business. The matching principle helps you to balance the cost over a period once you recognize it at the right time.

Matching Principle

Expenses are recorded on the income statement in the same period that related revenues are earned. To illustrate the Matching Principle, let’s assume that a company’s sales are made entirely through sales representatives who earn a 10% commission. The commissions are paid on the 15th day of the month following the calendar month of the sales. For instance, if the company has $60,000 of sales in December, the company will pay commissions of $6,000 on January 15.


Assume the revenue per cash basis is recognized in January 2017, then the cost of goods sold $40,000 should also recognize in 2017 as well. Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business. A certified public accountant and certified financial manager, Codjia received a Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University, majoring in investment analysis and financial management. It becomes very difficult to track the revenue that comes because of the marketing campaign. So, the marketing expense would appear in the income statement when the ads are shown.

On the other hand, one can easily relate product costs with revenue. Product costs include expenses such as direct material labor and factory overhead.

Matching Principle

On the other hand, if you recognize it too late, this will raise net income. The principle is at the core of the accrual basis of accounting and adjusting entries. The cause and effect relationship is the basis for the If there’s no cause and effect relationship, then the accountant will charge the cost to the expense immediately. If an expense is not directly tied to revenues, the expense should be reported on the income statement in the accounting period in which it expires or is used up. If the future benefit of a cost cannot be determined, it should be charged to expense immediately. The matching principle is part of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that states that expenses and related revenues need to be reported in the same period of time.

An additional similar example related to the Matching Principle is accrual salaries. Let me be more specific so that you can better understand the wages of the salesperson. Your company offers a discount to clients that pay their bill annually instead of monthly. By using the belt in the production process, the belt will be providing monetary benefits to your business.

Business Checking Accounts

Depreciation matches the cost of purchasing fixed assets with revenues generated by them by spreading such costs over their expected useful life span. Accrued expense allows one to match future costs of products with the proceeds from their sales prior to paying out such costs. For example, if the office costs $10 million and is expected to last 10 years, the company would allocate $1 million of straight-line depreciation expense per year for 10 years. The expense will continue regardless of whether revenues are generated or not. The principle works well when it’s easy to connect revenues and expenses via a direct cause and effect relationship. There are times, however, when that connection is much less clear, and estimates must be taken. For example, of the amount spent on machinery, a part is debited to the Profit and Loss Account as depreciation and the balance only shown in the Balance Sheet.

He also knew that annually, in June, he needed to pay the real estate taxes that covered the first half of the year and the next six months. Other items also made the statements wonky, like insurance, utilities, and benefits. What he knew was the statements were bogus because he had a timing problem. Well, the costs and expenses a company reports are not necessarily the ones it wrote checks for during that period. The costs and expenses on the income statement are those it incurred in generating the sales recorded during that time period.

These accounts include sales, sales discounts, cost of goods sold , and selling and administrative expenses. The principle is used as accountants prepare and post journal entries; each entry must include a debit and credit that balances the entry prior to posting in the general ledger. You could look at the matching concept in accounting as a blend of accrual accounting methods and the revenue recognition principle.

Matching Principle

For example, if you’re a roofing contractor and have completed a job for a customer, your business has earned the fees. On the balance sheet at the end of 2018, a bonuses payable balance of $5 million will be credited, and retained earnings will be reduced by the same amount , so the balance sheet will continue to balance.

The income tax charge for the period must include deferred tax adjustment of $4,000 to reduce the tax expense to the amount necessary to bring it in line with the accounting profit. When there is a direct cause and effect relationship present between the revenues and expenses, this principle will be easy to implement. However, there are times when this relationship might not be that straightforward. On the other hand it is also worth to mention that the information may be out dated and the financial statements might not present the fair value of the assets which were acquired quite a long time ago. This principle is based on the assumption that all the assets are recorded in the accounting based on their historical cost. For example, If the fixed assets amount to $50,000 and depreciation for five years as the result of economic use.

Total Sales Vs Total Revenues

This is particularly important when a firm generally operates near a breakeven level. It also results in more consistent reporting of profits across reporting periods, minimizing large fluctuations. This is especially important in relation to charging off the cost of fixed assets through depreciation, rather than charging the entire amount of these assets to expense as soon as they are purchased.

The pay period for hourly employees ends on March 28, but employees continue to earn wages through March 31, which are paid to them on April 4. The employer should record an expense in March for those wages earned from March 29 to March 31.

Examples Of Matching Principle:

However, it sometimes becomes difficult to match all the expenses to the revenue. Therefore, to overcome this, one can segregate expenses into two different categories – period and product costs. In this case, even though you are earning $7500 at the end of each month, you may not be receiving all of it until some days, weeks, or months later—or, unfortunately, sometimes not at all. In this case, you still recognize the revenue of $7500 each month using an accounts receivable journal entry and then later move the revenue to your cash account when you receive the payments. In order to properly use the matching principle for your prepaid expenses, you will record a recurring journal entry in the amount of $1,250 each month for the next 12 months. Another benefit is the ability to recognize and record depreciation expenses over the useful life of an asset in order to avoid recording the expense in a single accounting period. By contrast, if the company used the cash basis of accounting rather than accrual, they would record the revenue in November and the commission in December.

  • The accrual accounting method uses the principle as a self-balancing tool to maintain the accuracy of the general ledger.
  • First, the two transactions occurred over three years in reality, but both are used in the same middle year for the income statement .
  • This concept also makes extensive use of accruals and deferrals to balance general ledger accounts when no information has been posted to the accounts.
  • However, heavy losses of such a nature may be spread over three or four years; the amount not charged to the profit and loss account will be shown in the balance sheet.
  • Full Disclosure Principle.This principle states that accounting records and financial statements must disclose the financial data, which is important for decision makers.
  • A simple example is a store that buys merchandise from a wholesaler and sells it to the public.

Accrual accounting is an accounting method where revenue or expenses are recorded when a transaction occurs versus when payment is received or made. The method follows the matching principle, which says that revenues and expenses should be recognized in the same period. Accrual accounting recognizes costs and expenses when they occur rather than when actual cash is exchanged. The matching principle of accrual accounting requires that companies match expenses with revenue recognition, recording both at the same time.

Looking for training on the income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows? At some point managers need to understand the statements and how you affect the numbers. Learn more about financial ratios and how they help you understand financial statements. The matching principle is not used in cash accounting, wherein revenues and expenses are only recorded when cash changes hands. When expenses are recognized too early or late, it can be difficult to see where they result in revenue. This can potentially distort financial statements and give investors an unclear view of the overall financial position. For example, if you recognize an expense too early it reduces net income.

For example, the entire cost of a television advertisement that is shown during the Olympics will be charged to advertising expense in the year that the ad is shown. Rates paid are partly for the next year also—the part relating to the next year should be shown as an expense only next year and not this year.

Tips To Preparing Income Statements

Therefore, the company will depreciate the cost of the building over its useful life. An accountant will recognize both expenses and revenue and then correlate even though cash flow runs inconsistently.

Accounting Concepts

Here is an example from a client who I recently helped convert from the cash basis to the accrual basis in his four hotels. He was confused because his monthly financial statements didn’t always make sense. We discussed why the statements seemed too good to be true certain months and downright awful in other months. He knew that he paid his people every two weeks, which means that every month you’re only recording two pay periods. It also means that every six months you come across a month with three pay periods (that’s just the way the calendar works).