What Is Unearned Revenue?

does unearned revenue go on the income statement

This journal entry reflects the fact that the business has an influx of cash but that cash has been earned on credit. It is a pre-payment on goods to be delivered or services provided. A client purchases a package of 20 person training https://www.bookstime.com/ sessions for $2000, or $100 per session. The personal trainers enters $2000 as a debit to cash and $2000 as a credit to unearned revenue. At the end of the month, the owner debits unearned revenue $400 and credits revenue $400.

  • This can be anything from a 30-year mortgage on an office building to the bills you need to pay in the next 30 days.
  • Dividends may be paid to the investment account monthly, quarterly, annually, or semi-annually.
  • It’s categorized as a current liability on a business’s balance sheet, a common financial statement in accounting.
  • On a balance sheet, assets must always equal equity plus liabilities.
  • At the end of the second quarter of 2020, Morningstar had $287 million in unearned revenue, up from $250 million from the prior-year end.

As the owner of a small business, it is up to you to determine how best to manage and report unearned revenue within your accounting journals. QuickBooks offers a wide range of financial reporting capabilities, along with expense tracking and invoice features. Small business owners must determine how best to manage unearned revenue and report unearned revenue within their accounting journals. Therefore, the revenue must initially be recognized as a liability. Note that when the delivery of goods or services is complete, the revenue recognized previously as a liability is recorded as revenue (i.e., the unearned revenue is then earned).

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The $200 (1,000 x 20%) would be treated as unearned revenue and hence a liability because it has been received before any services were provided to company A. In simpler words, these are advance payments received in the current period for services or goods to be provided in the future. This is why unearned revenue is recorded as an equal decrease in unearned revenue (a liability account) and increase in revenue (an asset account). Since most prepaid contracts are less than one year long, unearned revenue is generally a current liability.

  • It’s also important to review internal controls on cash receipt management to ensure accurate accounting procedures are followed each time.
  • Generally, unearned revenues are classified as short-term liabilities because the obligation is typically fulfilled within a period of less than a year.
  • At the end of the six months, all unearned revenue has converted into revenue, since all money received accounts for the six mystery boxes that have been paid for.
  • This means that the cash isn’t received in the current period, but it’s expected to be received in later periods as services are provided or products are delivered.
  • The liabilities section of the balance sheet will record the amount of unearned revenue that has been paid upfront by customers but not yet delivered or services provided.

That $1,000 is considered income and goes on the income statement for January. The other $2,000 is still unearned because it is for work you’re going to perform in February and March, so you do not include it in the income statement for January. Tax advisors often recommend diversifying holdings to even out the effect of taxes on unearned income. As noted above, unearned income is any money that is earned passively.

Accounting for Unearned Revenue

Some sources of unearned income are taxed as ordinary income, whereas others enjoy more generous tax rates. It’s also possible with some types of unearned income to defer tax liabilities to a later date. Taxation differs for unearned income and earned income due to qualitative differences. Most unearned income sources are not subject to payroll taxes, and none of it is subject to employment taxes, such as Social Security and Medicare.

But, you can’t always count on your clients to pay you on-time. In fact, according to a study from Freelancer’s Union, 71% of freelancers have trouble getting paid at some point in their careers. The balance sheet, also known as the “Statement of Financial Position,” presents a snapshot of a business’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Their representation in these three forms changes as revenue moves into and out of the company and shifts from deferred to recognized status. It’s the preferred accounting method for many small businesses and solopreneurs.


A business will need to record unearned revenue in its accounting journals and balance sheet when a customer has paid in advance for a good or service, which you have not yet delivered. Once they have been provided to the customer, the recorded unearned revenue must be changed to revenue within your business’s accounting books. It is classified as a current liability, as it is a debt owed to your customer. Once the delivery has been completed, and your business has finally provided the prepaid goods or services, the unearned revenue is converted into revenue on the balance sheet. The contractor enters $200,000 into their accounting software as a debit to cash and a credit to unearned revenue.

  • Before you can record your unearned revenue, you’ll have to know how much unearned income your company has.
  • Earned income, on the other hand, is any compensation you receive for providing a service.
  • The term unearned income refers to any income that is not acquired through work.
  • Unearned revenue is great for a small business’s cash flow as the business now has the cash required to pay for any expenses related to the project in the future, according to Accounting Tools.