Understanding Matching Principle in Accounting With Example

matching principle

Although the market value of the land has increased, IU would continue to account for the building at its historical cost of $40,000,000 on its financials. The following list includes accounts whose balances may need to be brought up to date in the 10 adjusting entry transactions we will cover. Expense 4 began in May and was incurred partially in May and partially in June.

  • The following example represents the matching principle for the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).
  • For instance, if a company makes a sale in December but receives payment in January of the following year, the sale’s revenue is recognized in December by applying the matching concept in accounting.
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  • 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.
  • However, rather than the entire Capex amount being expensed at once, the $10 million depreciation expense appears on the income statement across the useful life assumption of 10 years.

Using the matching principle, costs are also properly accounted for, resulting in more accurate financial statements. For example, when managing revenue, matching principle usage ensures that any expense incurred in the production of that revenue is properly accounted for in the month that the revenue is generated. Obviously, the general manager’s salary and those of other administrative staff cannot be related to a specific product.

2.1 Adjusting Entries

For example, a company may decide to construct a new office building to increase employee productivity. There is no direct way to attribute these https://www.bookstime.com/ costs to increased profits by increasing employee productivity. As a result, the company amortizes the cost of the building over its useful life.

While matching primary accounting accurately portrays the organization’s finances, it frequently overlooks the consequences of inflation. This principle is used commonly throughout IU’s financials, for example, IU’s Bloomington campus purchased a new residence hall (this excludes land) in 2015 for $40,000,000. Today, in 2020, the fair market value (how much the residence hall would cost if purchased today) is worth $80,000,000.

Matching Principle for Employee Bonuses

Accordingly, they are charged as expenses in the income statement of the accounting period in which the salaries are paid. The matching principle, then, requires that expenses should be matched to the revenues of the appropriate accounting period and not the other way around. Sometimes, expenditures are incurred either in advance or subsequent to the accounting period even though they relate to expenses for goods or services sold during the current accounting period. The realization and accrual concepts are essentially derived from the need to match expenses with revenues earned during an accounting period.

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  • Companies cannot generate sales or revenue without incurring raw material costs, labor costs, marketing costs, selling, administrative, and other miscellaneous costs, so they display only income for a specific period.
  • Another example would be if a company were to spend $1 million on online marketing (Google AdWords).
  • If there is no cause-and-effect relationship leading to future related revenue, then the expenses can be recorded immediately without adjusting entries.
  • The amount reported should include all costs necessary to acquire the asset and prepare it for use including delivery and handling costs, site preparation fees, and installation costs.
  • The accrual method of accounting requires you to record income whenever a transaction occurs (with or without money changing hands) and record expenses as soon as you receive a bill.
  • The historical cost principle is used primarily for consistency and reliability among financial statements.

When using the matching principle for warranty claims, companies can use historical data to estimate the percentage of warranty claims that could be expected in a time period. The matching principle is a fundamental concept in financial reporting that allows accountants to match a company’s expenses with its corresponding revenues in the same accounting period. This ensures that financial statements are prepared by following the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and accurately reflect a company’s financial performance.

How does the matching principle apply to depreciation?

The former focuses on timing, while the latter links expenses to revenues. The matching principle is a crucial concept in accounting which states that the revenues and any related expenses are realized and recognized in the same accounting period. In other words, if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between revenue and expenses, they should be recorded at the same time.

How does matching principle apply to depreciation?

According to the matching principle, the purchase price of a fixed asset is not related to the accounting period because the benefit derived from its use will be spread over a number of years. Therefore, only depreciation related to the accounting period is considered for determination of profit.

This allows organizations to identify errors, mistakes and pitfalls which can be remedied quickly and prevent larger issues in the future. The following example represents the matching principle for the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Someone on our team will connect you with a financial professional in our network holding the correct designation and expertise. Ask a question about your financial situation providing as much detail as possible. Our team of reviewers are established professionals with decades of experience in areas of personal finance and hold many advanced degrees and certifications. At Finance Strategists, we partner with financial experts to ensure the accuracy of our financial content.


Therefore, as per the matching principle, the rational and systematic approach would be to depreciate the machinery over its useful life. The cost of the tractor is charged to depreciation expense at $10,000 per year for ten years. Both adjusted entries and the matching principle help organize information already in your books.

There are many frameworks of accounting principles used for various types of business entities around the world. Indiana University must follow guidelines from two separate governing organizations – US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Because Indiana University receives funding from the local, state and federal level, IU follows both US GAAP and the generally accepted accounting principles issued by GASB. 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.

Read on to understand the significance of the matching concept in accounting, the steps involved, the common challenges in the process, and some tips to improve the process. Similarly, if a fee is earned for providing a service, the first test is to ensure that the service in question has been duly provided. For instance, a company decides to build a new office building that will improve the productivity of its employees. There is no direct way of attributing this cost to the increased revenues resulting from the increased productivity of the employees.

  • To ensure this, financials should be supported with strong, unbiased evidence and research.
  • The expense will continue regardless of whether revenues are generated or not.
  • This matches costs to sales and therefore gives a more accurate representation of the business, but results in a temporary discrepancy between profit/loss and the cash position of the business.
  • The matching principle is an accounting principle that governs how revenues and expenses are recorded.

The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters. However, you don’t want to expense the entire amount in the month of January, since it will overstate expenses in January, while understating them for the subsequent months. By using the belt in the production process, the belt will be providing monetary benefits to your business. A financial professional will offer guidance based on the information provided and offer a no-obligation call to better understand your situation. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others.

Challenges with the Matching Principle

However, the commissions are not due to be paid until May, so you will need to accrue the $4,050 for the month of April since the expense is clearly tied to the sales revenue that was earned in April. Your current pay period ends on April 24, but your next pay date is May 1. The amount of wages your employees earn between April 24 and May 1 amount to $4,150. 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.

matching principle

The matching principle is an accounting concept that dictates that companies report expenses at the same time as the revenues they are related to. Revenues and expenses are matched on the income statement for a period of time (e.g., a year, quarter, or month). The matching principle is used in financial accounting to ensure that revenues and expenses are correctly matched in the period they occur. This helps to provide an accurate view of the company’s financial position and performance. The matching principle helps to normalize and smooth out the income statement.

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