Matching Principle

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  • Over the course of its useful life, an annual depreciation expense of $500,000 will be recorded even when the firm makes revenue or not from the new factory.
  • They are categorized as current assets on the balance sheet as the payments expected within a year.
  • A law firm pays a Rs. 4,000/month fixed-wage to six of its consultants because this expense is related to revenues achieved in the first quarter.
  • Accrued expense allows one to match future costs of products with the proceeds from their sales prior to paying out such costs.
  • For this reason, investors pay close attention to the company’s cash balance and the timing of its cash flows.
  • If there is no cause-and-effect relationship, then charge the cost to expense at once.

The matching principle can be used by accountants to ensure their books are balancing. The matching principle is an accounting concept that matches revenues with the expenses that were incurred in order to generate those revenues in the first place. It is a sort of “check” for accountants to be sure that the books they are balancing or the accounts they are managing are accurate. Most of the time this principle is applied to specific accounting periods, particularly quarters or years.

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The principle also can apply to a project or long-term initiative — say, the construction of a highway. This concept also makes extensive use of accruals and deferrals to balance general ledger accounts when no information has been posted to the accounts. Companies may experience a lag in posting certain expense items to their general ledger, such as utilities expenses, freight expenses, or payroll expenses. To correct a lag situation, accountants often post accrued expense amounts that represent the normal monthly expense amount. These accruals maintain the standards of the matching principle since all revenues will be matched with the expenses incurred to generate those revenues in the same period. Accrual accounting is based on the matching principle, which defines how and when businesses adjust the balance sheet.

  • The materiality conceptThis idea is the principle in financial reporting that companies disregard matters are and disclose all essential data.
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  • If the expense indirectly relates to generating revenue, account for the expense whenever the expense takes place.
  • In this case, the online marketing spend will be treated as an expense on the income statement for the period the ads are shown, instead of when the resulting revenues are received.
  • Employee bonuses depend on the performance of a company for a given period.
  • This takes place every year as the tractor’s value changes each year.

When there is a direct cause and effect relationship present between the revenues and expenses, this principle will be easy to implement. However, there are times when this relationship might not Matching Principle be that straightforward. Marquis Codjia is a New York-based freelance writer, investor and banker. He has authored articles since 2000, covering topics such as politics, technology and business.

Matching Principle of Accounting Video

Product costs can be directly attributable to the goods or services delivered by the company and therefore will be recognized when a sale is recorded. Administrative expenses, for instance, do not have a corresponding revenue stream and therefore are recorded in the current period. 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. In most places, financial transactions including both revenues and expenses must be recorded in the general ledger according to standard accounting guidelines.

Matching Principle

One of the benefits of using the matching principle is financial statement consistency. If revenues and expenses are not recorded properly, both your balance sheet and your income statement will be inaccurate.

Matching Principle in Accrual Accounting

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.

Matching Principle

Financial statements help keep track of your business’s financial activity, so you can see exactly how you’re doing. Download our FREE whitepaper, Use Financial Statements to Assess the Health of Your Business, to learn more. Another example would be when a firm decides to expand operations and purchase a new factory with an expected useful life of 10 years for $5,000,000.


In this case, the online marketing spend will be treated as an expense on the income statement for the period the ads are shown, instead of when the resulting revenues are received. When a business delivers a product or a service to a customer, accountants say it has made a sale. Never mind if the customer hasn’t paid for the product or service yet—the business may count the amount of the sale on the top line of its income statement for the period in question. Accrual basis of accounting records revenues and expenses even when cash is not yet received or paid. Per the matching principle, expenses are recognized once the income resulting from the expenses is recognized and “earned” under accrual accounting standards. If an expense is not directly tied to revenues, the expense should be reported on the income statement in the accounting period in which it expires or is used up. If the future benefit of a cost cannot be determined, it should be charged to expense immediately.

Matching Principle

The aim may be, for instance, to improve sales revenues, market share, employee productivity, product quality, or customer satisfaction, for example. The problem for the analyst, however, is that firms typically approach such objectives through multiple actions. In all four cases, the comparison—the resulting financial measures—has meaning only when the outflows bring the inflows under analysis.