Difference Between Accounts Payable and Unearned Revenue

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 28, 2023


Difference Between Accounts Payable and Unearned Revenue

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Account payable and unearned revenue are the general terms used in accounting and are also based on accrual concepts. The main advantage of accrual accounting is that there is the possibility of recording revenue and expenses earlier. The main purpose of an account outstanding is that it presents the obligation of the company to pay off the short-term debts to their suppliers. Another common operation of"AP" refers to the business department or division that's responsible for making payments owed by the company to suppliers and other creditors. Account payable is an important figure in a company's balance sheet. However, that means the company is buying further goods or services on credit rather than paying cash If AP increases over a previous period. However, it means the company is paying on its previous period debts at a faster rate than it's copping new particulars on credit If a company's AP decreases. Accounts payable operation is critical in managing a business's cash inflow.

A company's total accounts outstanding balance at a specific point in time will appear on its balance distance under the current arrears section. Accounts outstanding are debts that must be paid off within a given period to avoid dereliction. In the commercial position, AP refers to short-term debt payments due to suppliers. The outstanding is a short-term IOU from one business to another business or reality. The other party would record the sale as an increase to its accounts delinquent in the same quantum.

Accounts Payable( AP) are quantities due to merchandisers or suppliers for goods or services entered that haven't yet been paid for.

The sum of all outstanding quantities owed to merchandisers is shown as the account's outstanding balance on the company's balance distance.

The increase or drop in total AP from the previous period appears on the cash inflow statement.

The operation may choose to pay its outstanding bills as close to their due dates as possible to ameliorate cash inflow.

Accounts Payable vs. Unearned Revenue

The main difference between accounts payable and unearned profit is that accounts outstanding are to be paid in cash for a formerly entered service or product. While unearned Revenue is the profit that a company or provider receives before delivering its service or product. A service or product is to be delivered in unearned revenue. Account outstanding is the quantum a business owes to its vendors. There's a system for account outstanding that monitors the inventories and Paysthem. Simply it's analogous to the bills that are paid at the end of the month in a household. Large businesses have robotization results for studies. The supplier providing the service generates an invoice, and the receiver will pay for the service at the end.

Comparatively, if we talk about unearned revenue, it is the income that a business receives before they give service to the supplier. Unearned revenue becomes a liability to the company. For converting the liability into an asset, the services must be delivered properly to the supplier. Most small business organizations use unearned revenue as payment for projects so that they can maintain cash flow in their business.

Difference Between Accounts Payable and Unearned Revenue in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Accounts Payable Unearned Revenue
Definition Unearned revenue is the income a business receives before giving service to the supplier.


Accounts payable are settled in cash.
Settlement Time Generally settled within a month Frequently delivered within a time
Delivery time In unearned revenue, we deliver products or services to the creditors. In unearned revenue, we deliver products or services to the creditors.
Process The supplier has to give the tab, and the AP has to give permission for the quantum upon verification. The service or product has to be delivered within the time limit
Exemplifications Pending checks of accouterments in an enterprise Subscriptions, pre-booked tickets, and reimbursed rent
Nature It's recorded under current means in the balance distance of the establishment. Unearned Profit is a liability for an establishment as it's evidence of unborn work.
Treatment It's recorded in the balance distance, and when work is supplied, it's recorded in the income statement. It's recorded in the balance distance and when work is supplied, it's recorded in the income statement.
Benefits It adds to the liquidity of a firm and increases valuation. Excellent model for activating the cash flow in any organization, which can be used for future projects.

What is Account Payable?

Accounts Payable refers to the accounts on which an establishment is yet to admit payments for which it has supplied goods and services or done the work as was agreed upon by the payer. They're current means for the establishment because the establishment will admit plutocrats for balancing these accounts. The accounts Receivable development rate is an important tool used by enterprises to calculate and present their financial position to shareholders and other interested parties, and it's ascertained by dividing net deals by the average accounts receivables quantum.

Accounts Payable is an important aspect of a performing establishment as not a lot of payments are done incontinently but the establishment can not go to lose important guests who are willing to pay their pretenses latterly. It's legal coercion for guests who have bought or acquired service on credit to pay off their pretenses which until also are recorded in accounts receivable. However, it's transferred to the income statement else; it's transferred to bad debts regarding If the payment is entered on time.

Subscriptions offered, EMI and credit deals made, and means offered on rent are exemplifications of accounts receivables. They're bared at the end of the time, along with the overall fiscal position of an establishment.

The procedure of recording Account Payable  

A proper double-entry secretary requires that there must always be a negativing disbenefit and credit for all entries made into the general tally. To record accounts outstanding, the accountant credits accounts outstanding when the bill or tab is entered. The disbenefit neutralization for this entry generally goes to an expenditure account for the good or service that was bought on credit. The disbenefit could also be to an asset account if the item bought was a capitalizable asset. When the bill is paid, the accountant disbenefits accounts outstanding to drop the liability balance. The negativing credit is made to the cash account, which also decreases the cash balance.

For illustration, imagine a business gets a$ 500 tab for office inventories. When the AP department receives the tab, it records a$ 500 credit in accounts outstanding and a$ 500 disbenefit to office force expenditure. The$ 500 disbenefit to office force expenditure flows through to the income statement at this point, so the company has recorded the purchase sale indeed though cash has not been paid out. This is in line with the addendum account, where charges are honored when incurred rather than when cash changes hands. The company also pays the bill, and the accountant enters a$ 500 credit to the cash account and a disbenefit for $ 500 to accounts outstanding.

A company may have numerous open payments due to merchandisers at any one time. All outstanding payments due to merchandisers are recorded in outstanding accounts. As a result, if anyone looks at the balance in accounts outstanding, they will see the total quantum the business owes all of its merchandisers and short-term lenders. This total quantum appears on the balance distance. For illustration, if the business above also entered a tab for field care services in the quantum of$ 50, the aggregate of both entries in accounts outstanding would equal$ 550 previous to the company paying off those debts.

Unearned Revenue

Unearned revenue is a plutocrat entered by an individual or company for a service or product that has yet to be handed or delivered. It can be allowed as a" repayment" for goods or services that a person or company is anticipated to supply to the purchaser after the date. As a result of this repayment, the dealer has a liability equal to the profit earned until the good or service is delivered. This liability is noted under current arrears, as it's anticipated to be settled within a time.

Unearned profit is also appertained to as remitted profit and advance payments.

Important Highlights about Unearned Revenue

Unearned revenue is a plutocrat entered by an individual or company for a service or product that has yet to be handed or delivered.

It's recorded on a company’s balance distance as a liability because it represents a debt owed to the client.

Once the product or service is delivered, unearned profit becomes profit on the income statement.

Entering finances beforehand is salutary to a company as it increases its cash inflow that can be used for a variety of business functions.

Exemplifications of Unearned Revenue

Unearned revenue is most common among companies dealing with subscription-grounded products or other services that bear overpayments. Classic exemplifications include rent payments made in advance, reimbursed insurance, legal retainers, airline tickets, repayment for review subscriptions, and periodic repayment for the use of the software.

The procedure for Recording Unearned Revenue

Unearned revenue is recorded on a company’s balance distance as a liability. It's treated as a liability because the profit has still not been earned and represents products or services owed to a client. As the repaid service or product is gradationally delivered over time, it's honored as profit on the income statement.

Still, for a one-time subscription, the quantum is recorded as an increase in cash and an increase in unearned profit, If a publishing company accepts$ 1. Both are balance distance accounts, so the sale doesn't incontinently affect the income statement. However, as each journal is delivered, the liability or unearned profit is reduced by$ 100 ($ 1, If it's a yearly publication.

Unearned revenue is generally bared as a current liability on a company’s balance distance. This changes if advance payments are made for services or goods due to be handed 12 months or further after the payment date. In similar cases, the unearned profit will appear as a long-term liability on the balance distance.

Main Differences Between Accounts Payable and Unearned Revenue in Points

  • Accounts payable are to be paid in cash, while unearned revenue is to be handed as a product or a service.
  • Accounts payable are for services or products that have been delivered at one time. But unearned revenue is for services or products yet to be handed.
  • Unearned revenue has a time limit of about one time to deliver the product, while accounts payable are frequently settled within a month.
  • Still, unearned revenue is returned in cash, If the client cancels the product or if the company is unfit to deliver. But if a business is unfit to pay the accounts payable, it results in dereliction.
  • Unearned revenue is generally present in subscription-grounded services or products. At the same time, outstanding accounts are substantially seen with businesses that use goods and services to produce new products.
  • Unearned revenue represents damage in advance, but it's still a liability for an establishment as now it has a legal obligation to carry out the duty it promised. Accounts Payables can appertain to the quantum that's substantially outstanding to the creditors in exchange for goods and services that have been employed or consumed by the company.


Although both accounts payable and unearned revenue are treated as current arrears, they're salutary for cash inflow. Using the repaid profit, a company can go their future charges for furnishing their products or services. With accounts outstanding, the business enterprise can stay till the due date and use the cash for salutary conditioning.

These two arrears can be seen under the current arrears section of the balance distance. It has to be settled within the given period to avoid impacts. The process of settling is different in both cases. In unearned profit, the customer is given the service or product formerly after the payment is made. In contrast, accounts outstanding are delivered following the submission of the tab and its verification.


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"Difference Between Accounts Payable and Unearned Revenue." Diffzy.com, 2023. Tue. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-accounts-payable-and-unearned-revenue-1219>.

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