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What is Amortization of Prepaid Expenses? DOKKA Glossary

amortization of prepaid expenses

Together, we provide innovative solutions that help F&A teams achieve shorter close cycles and better controls, enabling them to drive better decision-making across the company. A prepaid expense is recorded as a credit and a debit, but it is all based on the accounting period and timing. Hence, this is why a financial automation solution is of such great use because you wouldn’t want to forget about a record related to a prepaid expense because it could Specialized Tax Services STS accounting method: PwC end up messing up your books. Typically an entity will pay its insurance premiums at the beginning of the policy period, recognizing a prepaid asset subsequently amortized over the term of the policy. As the benefits of the prepaid expense are realized, it is recognized on the income statement. With amortization, the amount of a common accrual, such as prepaid rent, is gradually reduced to zero, following what is known as an amortization schedule.

amortization of prepaid expenses

See Vendor Credit Amortization Example and Setting an Amortization Template on a Vendor Credit Line Item. The process for amortizing expenses is similar to, and may be used in conjunction Law Firm Bookkeeping 101 with, deferred revenue recognition methods. For more information, see Using Revenue Recognition and Advanced Revenue Management (Essentials) and (Revenue Allocation).


This process involves dividing the total cost of the prepaid expense by its useful life and then expensing a portion of that cost each accounting period. Then, over time, as the asset provides its value, it gets recorded as an expense (on the income statement) during the same accounting period as when the asset delivers its value. According to the rules of GAAP accounting, companies cannot recognize expenses for services not yet provided. It has to amortize the expenditure over the 12-month period during which Monster Analytics provides the contracted services.

amortization of prepaid expenses

Even though the cost of the asset (expense) has been made already, it isn’t yet an expense in the financial records. They transform into an expense during a later accounting period (when the asset gets used for its value). For certain expenses, this is the case, so there has to be a process related to how to properly record them in the company’s books. Because of the way we do business and how some transactions are conducted, prepaid expenses will always be there. This is done as the prepayment will yield an economic benefit in the future.

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Transform your accounts receivable processes with intelligent AR automation that delivers value across your business. In practice, there are many prepaid items, thus in order to manage those prepayment properly, accountants or bookkeeping staff shall need to maintain a proper prepayment schedule. When they have proper schedule, it will save a lot of time in managing and recording those amortization expenses. The records will reflect that incurred expense for the period, which will reduce the prepaid asset by that amount.

It is also important not to confuse a prepaid expense with an accrued expense. Accrued expenses, such as accrued rent, are the result of receiving a service or goods before payment is made. As a rule of thumb, prepaid expenses have been paid but are yet to be realized whereas accrued expenses are incurred but yet to be paid. The expense would show up on the income statement while the decrease in prepaid rent of $10,000 would reduce the assets on the balance sheet by $10,000. A business may pay for six months or a year of coverage in advance to receive a discount on the premium.

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The term of the policy is only 12 months, therefore we will not recognize any long-term prepaid asset. To recognize the expense of the policy evenly over the policy term, divide the total policy amount of $1,800 by 12 for a monthly insurance premium expense of $150. Note that in this example we established a short-term and long-term prepaid component because the initial payment was for a two-year subscription. The long-term subscription prepaid represents the value of the subscription paid for in advance beyond 12 months and is amortized at the beginning of the subscription term. The short-term subscription prepaid represents the value of the subscription to be used over the immediately following 12 months and is amortized after the long-term portion of the prepaid subscription is reduced to zero. The proceeding amortization schedule illustrates the appropriate amortization of the short-term and long-term portions of the prepaid subscription.

Although being a simple concept, it is important for an organization to correctly account for and recognize prepaid expenses on its balance sheet. Prepaid assets typically fall in the current asset bucket and therefore impact key financial ratios. Additionally, an organization reporting under US GAAP must follow the matching principle by recognizing expenses in the period in which they are incurred. This requires proper calculation and amortization of prepaid expenditures such as insurance, software subscriptions, and leases. At first, the company’s financial statements are unaffected by prepaid expenses.

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A “prepaid asset” is the result of a prepaid expense being recorded on the balance sheet. Prepaid expenses result from one party paying in advance for a service yet to be performed or an asset yet to be delivered. This could lead to inaccurate financial statements and misleading information for investors, creditors, and other stakeholders. helps to ensure that a company’s financial statements are accurate and in compliance with accounting principles and standards, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

  • The period’s cost of the asset (expense) will be reflected on the income statement as that, an expense.
  • It would be entered into the general ledger as a debit of $12,000 to the current asset account and a credit for the same amount to the cash account.
  • Note that this situation is different from a security deposit which is generally refundable.
  • The expense moves to the profit and loss statement during the accounting period when the company uses up the accrual.
  • However, if it is, your company can try to negotiate a discounted rate as it is being paid upfront.
  • In this case, we treat the advance payment as a prepaid expense or specifically as prepaid rent.
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