Bookkeeping

What You Need To Know About Accounts Payable

Conceptual hand writing showing Accounts Payable.

What exactly is accounts payable (AP) and what do the entries entail? Essentially, it represents the obligation of a firm to pay off their debts to the respective creditors and suppliers in a stipulated timeframe. The failure to make these payments can result in your business defaulting. While the balance sheet is filled with lots of information and many sub categories, none of these categories can even be compared to the AP section. Here, you can manage the records of the money which you might owe any party that enables your business to continue operating. As an inexperienced business owner, it can be overwhelming to keep track of your accounts at the start. This is why you should look no further than your local trusted reseller for state-of-the-art accounting solutions.

Why is this Section So Important?

The accounts payable section in the books of your business is so important because it captures the short-term liabilities that you have to deal with. It is usually marked by IOUs from your business to an external entity. However, note that it is only credited when the invoices have been received. When these bills have been paid, then it will be debited. The account can be found under the current liabilities account on your company’s balance sheet. It is useful because it shows you the grand total of money that your business owes to lenders and vendors.

Common Trends

If you see that your accounts payable section seems to be growing larger, instead of shrinking, it means that your company is buying more items on credit. If this is the case, you should relook your business model and pay for things in cash, or reduce your spending to reduce the amount of debt. Conversely, if the opposite were to happen, you might be paying back your debt at an unsustainable rate. As such, having a firm grasp over the spending and returning habits of your company is important when you are optimizing the cash flow of your business.

How Can You Record Accounts Payable?

If you have chosen to use double-entry accounting for your business, you will need to account for an offsetting debit whenever you credit anything into the ledger. Recording your accounts payable is pretty simple. All you need to do is to credit the account every time your business gets a bill or an invoice. Once this is done, add a debit in order to offset the credit to balance your balance sheet. Typically, you will find that the expense account that is linked to the item you purchased on credit will be debited. Note that when you pay the bills, you need to debit it in your accounts payable. Doing so will help to decrease the current liabilities and will make your balance sheet more current. Balancing will require you to lower the cash balance for the same amount of money.

The bottom line is that small and medium-sized businesses owners have a lot on their plate, making accounting a difficult process if they are not experienced enough. Accounts payable is a large section in the balance sheet and knowing exactly how to adjust it will enable your company to reach greater heights.

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About Marjorie Adams

Our head QuickBooks trainer and guru, Marjorie Adams, is Founder and CEO of Fourlane, Inc., an award-winning consulting firm and Intuit’s #1 QuickBooks Reseller Partner. Fourlane’s team of experts offers several QuickBooks oriented services including consulting, training, programming, integration, and more. Over the years, Fourlane has helped over 10,000 customers across many different industries with their QuickBooks accounting software. Marjorie Adams is considered one of the top QuickBooks trainers in the country. She was listed on CPA Practice Advisor’s 40 Under 40 in 2014 & 2015, and has been recognized as Intuitive Accountant’s 2015 QuickBooks Desktop ProAdvisor of the Year. Marjorie sits on Intuit’s VIP Program, is a frequent contributor to Inuit Accountants News Central, and has developed Intuit’s QuickBooks Enterprise Certification training. She has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, BusinessWeek, American Express Open, the Huffington Post, and Inc. Magazine.

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