What Is the Matching Principle and Why Is It Important?

The following is an example of a commission payment entry; this will make you understand it better. The idea works well when it’s simple to connect revenues and expenses via a direct cause-and-effect relationship. program evaluation However, there are situations when that link is less evident, and estimates must be made. It reduces the danger of misreporting whether a company made a profit or a loss during any given reporting period.

You have probably heard that “It takes money to make money.” A business person contributes financial resources and hopefully uses them effectively to generate even more value. The matching principle looks at a window of time in terms of how much income came in and how much it cost to generate that income. It compares how much came in in sales in a month vs. how much was spent. Any revenue or expenses before that month or after that month are not considered.

In order to properly account for these wages in the correct month (April), you will need to accrue payroll expenses in the amount of $4,150. Suppose a software company named Radius Cloud sells a license for $5,000 that costs $1,000 to develop. The cost of goods sold is $1,000, which should be recognized in the same period as the revenue is recognized, aligning with the matching principle.

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  1. As you can see, only half of the expenses from Jobs 1 and 3 was incurred in June.
  2. If you’re using the accrual method of accounting, you need to be using the matching principle as well.
  3. It shows the working of the principle with the accrual basis of accounting.
  4. Thank you for reading this guide to understanding the accounting concept of the matching principle.
  5. Because the payroll costs led directly to the revenue generated by selling the teacups, Sippin Pretty should expense the payroll costs in the current period.

This is because the accrual basis of accounting and correcting entries is linked to the principle. If the Capex was expensed as incurred, the abrupt $100 million expense would distort the income statement in the current period — in addition to upcoming periods showing less Capex spending. However, the matching principle matches expenses with the revenue they helped generate, as opposed to being recorded in the period the actual cash outflow was incurred. The matching principle, a fundamental rule in the accrual-based accounting system, requires expenses to be recognized in the same period as the applicable revenue. Imagine that a company pays its employees an annual bonus for their work during the fiscal year. The policy is to pay 5% of revenues generated over the year, which is paid out in February of the following year.

The matching principle requires expenses to be recognized in the period in which the related revenues are earned. Accrued expenses are recognized when incurred, regardless of payment timing. This ensures expenses are matched with revenues generated, providing accurate financial reporting.

Everything to Run Your Business

Ideally, they both fall within the same period of time for the clearest tracking. This principle recognizes that businesses must incur expenses to earn revenues. You must use adjusting entries at the end of an accounting period to ensure your business’s revenues and expenses are accounted for correctly. The matching principle states that you must report an expense on your income statement in the period the related revenues were generated. It helps you compare how much you made in sales with how much you spent to make those sales during an accounting period.

How does the concept relate to only business transactions?

Another example of the matching principle is how to properly record employee bonuses, a type of expense indirectly tied to revenue. The first question you should ask when using the matching principle is whether or not your expenses are directly or indirectly related to generating revenue. Matching lets you book expenses that directly connect to revenue and that indirectly affect revenue. For instance, the matching principle works equally well when booking employee wages as it does with equipment depreciation. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.

Steps to Prepare a Journal Entry

The income statement displays the product costs that account managers match to the revenue and current period costs. The matching principle in accounting is used to ensure that expenses are matched to revenues recognized during an accounting period. Suppose a business produces a faulty batch of 500 units of a product which sells for 6.00 a unit and costs 2.00 a unit. If the units were not faulty the costs would be matched against sales of the product as part of the cost of goods sold (as described above). However, in this instance the units are faulty and will not be sold and therefore the business cannot expect a future benefit from the costs incurred. The matching principle requires that the costs are treated immediately as an expense in the current accounting period.

Consequently, the first step must be to determine the revenues earned during a particular accounting period and then to identify the expenses incurred, thereby determining the revenues earned during that accounting period. Most businesses record their revenues and expenses on an annual basis, which happens regardless of the time of receipts of payments. It does matter what type of accounting method you employ when using the matching principle. Only the accrual accounting method is able to use the matching principle, since cash accounting does not use the revenue recognition principle that accrual accounting uses.

Hence, if a company purchases an elaborate office system for $252,000 that will be useful for 84 months, the company should report $3,000 of depreciation expense on each of its monthly income statements. The image below summarizes how the matching principle is part of the accrual basis of accounting. A business selects a time period for its accounting (year, quarter, month etc) and uses the revenue recognition principle to determine the revenue for that period. Based on this time period and revenue recognized the matching principle is used to determine the expenses to be included. These businesses report commission expenses on the December income statement. In this case, they report the commission in January because it is the payment month.

Despite having stated the limitations of the matching principle, we must say that such instances are rare. The essential purpose of the matching principle is to balance out the two sides- expenses and revenue, and depict a precise picture of the financial health of the company. For example, the entire cost of a television advertisement that is shown during the Olympics will be charged to advertising expense in the year that the ad is shown. A retailer’s or a manufacturer’s cost of goods sold is another example of an expense that is matched with sales through a cause and effect relationship. The cash balance declines as a result of paying the commission, which also eliminates the liability. A marketing team crafts messages to entice potential customers to visit a business website.

There are many drawbacks to the matching notion, one of which is that estimation cannot be used. However, the principal’s benefits exceed these drawbacks, which https://simple-accounting.org/ may be overcome with a little bit of common sense. Consider a corporation that decides to establish a new office headquarters to increase worker productivity.

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