Difference Between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expense 

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expense 

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses are two of the most essential accounts that are shown in the financial statements of a company or other commercial enterprise. Both of these accounts are referred to as "Accounts Receivable." Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses are two aspects of a company's accounting that are very important to the overall picture of the company's financial status.

Two of the most important words that are included in an organization's balance sheet are accrued costs and accounts payable. The most important distinction between these two concepts is that an accumulated expenditure is recorded in the company's accounting books for the period in which it was incurred, regardless of whether or not cash is paid for the charge at that time. Accounts payable refers to the process of making payments to creditors who have extended credit to the firm in the form of sales.

Accounts Payable vs Accrued Expense

The primary distinction between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses is that Accounts Payable refers to the sum of money that a person or business is obligated to pay back to its creditors or suppliers, while Accrued Expenses refers to the sum of money that has been incurred but has not yet been paid for.

A ledger account is what people usually mean when they talk about something called an account payable. It is the sum of money that a person, a firm, or both are due to pay back to their many creditors or suppliers. Accounts Payable are a kind of obligatory short-term debt that has to be paid. On the balance sheet of the company, the account payable is classified as a liability and is categorized under the heading of "current liabilities."

Accrued Expense, which is also known as Accrued Liabilities, is a phrase used in accounting that refers to the amount that the firm has already paid before it has been reported in the financial statements of the company. In other words, accrued expenses are also known as accrued liabilities.

Companies have a responsibility to account for any expenditures that have been made in the past since they are charges that will become payable shortly. Accrual accounting is the general accounting word that covers any of these obligations, and there are two techniques that organizations employ to monitor these accumulated expenditures: accrued expenses or accounts payable. Accrual accounting is the general accounting term that covers any of these liabilities.

Both are risks that a company takes on as part of its regular operations, but the two types of liabilities are fundamentally distinct from one another. Accrued costs are debts that have been racked up over time and now need to be paid off. On the other hand, accounts payable are considered current liabilities since they are expected to be paid in the not too distant future.

Difference Between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expense in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Accounts Payable Accrued Expenses
The Receiver of the Payment Any creditor, vendor, supplier, or contractor that lends products or services to the business organisation on credit is eligible to collect the payment that is made by the business organisation.


The payment that is made by the commercial enterprise is given to landlords, workers, and other individuals.
Payment Timeline There are a certain amount of Accounts Payable that are overdue by less than a year. At the conclusion of the company's accounting period, the payment that the company still has to make but has not yet done so is recorded as an accrued expense.
Treatment in the Balance sheet This figure is included in the 'current liabilities section of the company's balance sheet at the appropriate location. This sum is shown in the 'current liabilities section of the company's balance sheet as of the current accounting period.
Examples Credit purchases were made for things like raw materials, stock, furnishings, and equipment. Rent, wages, salary, interest on bank loans, and other similar expenses come to mind.

What is Accounts Payable?

Account payable is a short-term liability that refers to a company's or an individual's obligation to pay off the debt of goods or services that they have purchased on credit from the creditors or suppliers. This debt can be incurred as a result of the company's or individual's use of credit to make purchases. Accounts Payable are not exclusive to commercial businesses; they may also be used by private persons. Accounts Payable is also the name of a department that is responsible for managing invoices or bills for the products and services that have been rendered, as well as keeping a record of any current or recent debts.

The Accounts Payable department's primary duty is to review all of the transactions that take place between the firm and its suppliers and to make certain that all overdue payments are authorized, processed, and paid by the suppliers. Processing an invoice involves recording vital data and putting it down in the financial accounts of the firm or the system of book-keeping. After an invoice has been processed, it is sent through the primary procedures of the business to pay off the company's short-term debt.

The cash-flow statement of the firm will reflect any increases or decreases in the total amount of account payables that have occurred. To improve the company's cash flow condition, management works hard to make this payment as soon to the due date as possible. The department of Accounts Payable plays a significant part in ensuring that the firm continues to have a healthy cash flow condition. The growth in the amount owed to suppliers indicates that the organization has increased the proportion of its purchases that were made using credit rather than cash.

The phrase "accounts payable" (AP) refers to the reoccurring expenditures of a corporation. These are often short-term obligations that have to be repaid within a certain amount of time, typically within a year of the expenditure being spent. As such, they are short-term IOUs that are issued by the parties responsible for billing. Those businesses who are unable to meet these obligations face the danger of entering default, which is the legal term for the inability to repay a loan.

An accounts payable is simply an extension of credit from the supplier to the manufacturer. This credit enables the firm to earn income from the supplies or inventory so that the supplier may be paid for their goods. Because of this, businesses now can make payments to their vendors at a later date. Included in this category are manufacturers that purchase supplies or inventory from various sources. To put it another way, vendors broaden the parameters of the payment terms.

It's possible that the next payment on accounts payable, also known as payables or payables, won't be due for another 30, 60, or 90 days. As a consequence of this, we classify them as current liabilities. When a company makes a purchase of goods or services on credit, it must record that transaction as payable on its balance sheet.

All of the costs that resulted from making credit purchases of products or services from suppliers or vendors are included in the accounts payable. Accounts payable are considered current liabilities since their payments are expected to be made within a year of the transaction date. Included in the categories of nonfinancial costs that appear on balance sheets are salaries, wages, interest, and royalties. These expenses are examples of those that occur quite often.

What is Accrued Expense?

The presence of an accrued expense in a business's books indicates that the firm owes some amount of money, which must be paid at some point in the future. When using an accrual-based method of accounting, it is necessary to make a lot of entries in the journal. It is conceivable that the amount of accrued expense is an estimate; nevertheless, the amount may be adjusted based on the bill or invoice that has been received. In its financial accounts, a corporation will note several different Accrued Expenses.

There are typically two categories of accrued expenses: those that are recurring and regular, and those that are uncommon and not routine. The Accrued Expenses that are recurrent and regular comprise those costs that are incurred daily as part of the normal course of business. Alternatively, non-routine and occasional Accrued Expenses are those that do not take place daily in the course of normal company operations. The opposite of accrued expenses is prepaid expenses, which are sometimes known as up-front expenses.

Accrued costs are payments that a business is expected to pay in the future for goods and services that were previously supplied to the firm. These products and services may or may not have been paid for by the company. To put it another way, when a firm buys a product or pays for a service, it incurs a cost. This expenditure is recorded in the accounts, but the payment for it is not made until a later date.

Because to rise or accumulate is what the word "accrued" implies, the fact that a corporation has outstanding debts that are rising indicates that the organization is accruing expenditures. When using the accrual method of accounting, expenses are recorded at the time they are incurred rather than necessarily when the associated bills are paid.

These expenditures, which are recognized on a company's balance sheet and are often considered current liabilities, are also referred to as accrued liabilities. After each accounting period, adjustments are made to accrued liabilities before they are recorded on the balance sheet. Documenting the delivery of products and services that have not yet been paid for requires making any necessary changes, which are utilized for this purpose.

Accrue is the verb form of the verb "to accumulate." When a corporation has costs that have accrued over time, it indicates that the proportion of unpaid invoices is growing. According to the accrual method of accounting, all cash inflows and outflows should be documented as soon as they take place in the business. It is carried out notwithstanding the absence or presence of genuine monetary compensation.

It refers to the expenditure that has been recorded in the books but has not yet been paid for. An example of an expenditure that has been incurred is the cost of utilities that have been utilized during the whole month but for which the bill is not received until the end of the month. Employees who put in their time throughout the term, but only get money after their employment. There was consumption of both services and commodities, but no invoice was received.

Main Differences Between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expense in Points

  • Accounts Payable are expenditures that are tied to a business company's day-to-day operations, while Accrued Expenses are expenses that are related to recurring costs.
  • Accounts Payable are only generated when a firm purchases any products and services on credit, while Accrued Expense is something that occurs in any kind of organization.
  • The business organizations get the invoices or bills about the Accounts Payable, but the invoices or bills about the Accrued Expenses do not arrive at the business organizations for a short period.
  • When a commercial enterprise makes a credit purchase of products or services, an entry for the Accounts Payable liability is created in the balance sheet of the company. While the entries of Accrued Expenses are recorded in the business's balance sheet at the end of the accounting year of the firm, this does not mean that these expenses have been paid.
  • Accounts payable are mostly tied to third parties such as creditors and suppliers, while accrued expenses are primarily related to third parties such as workers and banks.
  • Costs that have been incurred but not yet paid for are referred to as accrued expenses. Accounts payable, on the other hand, are short-term obligations that will be paid back in the not too distant future.
  • A payable is an obligation that the buyer has to pay the seller, and expenditure is the payment that a person or company makes to another in exchange for goods and services. A payable is an obligation that the buyer has to pay the seller, and expenditure is a payment that a person or company makes.
  • Expenses that have been accrued over time are included in the budget of every firm. Problems with accounts receivable are something you'll have to deal with if you ever purchase anything on credit.


The quantities of accounts payable and accrued expenses are often confused by individuals; nonetheless, there is a significant gap between the two. The cash flow situation of a corporate organization is profoundly impacted by both a rise and a reduction in the total amount of accounts payable and accrued payable. The financial statements of businesses need to have a balanced trial balance and profit and loss accounts.

Accrued expenditures are those expenses that have already been incurred and are payable in the future. Accrual accounting, as previously mentioned, may be used to keep track of these payments. On the other hand, obligations that are due shortly are known as accounts payable. There are two types of payments: those that are still due and those that have already been made.

Credit card and note purchases are instances of payables; examples of costs include payments to suppliers, rent, and utility bills.



Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Accounts Payable and Accrued Expense ." Diffzy.com, 2024. Wed. 22 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-accounts-payable-and-accrued-expense-449>.

Edited by

Share this article