Accounts receivable is the outstanding cash or invoice that a business has a right to receive the goods or services provided to its client. They usually are the goods or services that are made “on account”, i.e. given on credit by a company or business with the understanding that the payment will be made at a later date which is not more than a year.
In short, accounts receivable can be termed as “money earned but not yet received”. The business has to record accounts receivable as an asset in the balance sheet as the client is obliged to pay later for the service offered. These are recorded under ‘Current Assets’ in the Balance sheet as the client is expected to make the payment within a year.
Therefore, from the above explanation we can summarize that Accounts receivable occurs:
- When a company or business provides services/good on credit to a customer
- No cash is received hence an Accounts receivable account is set up.
- It is an asset as it will be converted into cash when the client pays in future.
- There is a future payment for the service provided now.
The main reason why many finance students need help with Accounts Receivable homework answers is that they are always confused between Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable.
Differences between Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
Accounts receivable are the amounts that a company has the right to receive for the goods sold or services provided. Accounts payable on the other hand refers to the amount a company owes to another because of goods purchased or services received.
- Accounts receivable is recorded on the Assets side of the balance sheet, whereas, Accounts payable is recorded on the Liabilities side of the balance sheet.
- Accounts receivable occurs on selling transactions, while Accounts payable occurs on purchasing transactions.
- Accounts receivable increases a company’s revenue, whereas, Accounts payable decreases a company’s revenue.
Let us take a small illustration. Suppose Company A provides goods worth $1000 on account to Company B by accepting an IOU (finance jargon for I Owe You) that B will pay after 30 days. Company A will receive the money, so it records the transaction under Accounts Receivable and since Company B owes the money, it records under Accounts Payable.
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