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Matching Principle Definition and Examples

matching principle example

Therefore, according to the matching principle, it is wise and systematic to depreciate over the machine’s useful life. Employee Bonuses are based on an employee’s performance during the financial year and are paid the following year. If you’re ready to automate your accounting system, or are in the market for an upgrade to your current accounting software, be sure to check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews.

matching principle example

The matching principle helps businesses avoid misstating profits for a period. Revenue recognition covers the tools, procedures and guidelines a business follows to record income data.

Benefits of the Matching Principle

Jim currently employs two sales people, who receive a 10% commission on sales each month. In the month of January, Jim’s business had sales of $9,000, which means that Jim owes his salespeople $900 in commissions for January. In such cases, the careful determination of such expenses has to be made and appropriate adjustments will be required in order to determine the proper profits for the current accounting period. Applying the matching principle is made easy when the revenues and expenses to be recorded are clear and easy to recognize. A company may pay its tax bill once a quarter—but every month the income statement includes a figure reflecting the taxes owed on that month’s profits.

What are the types of revenue recognition?

  • Sales-basis method. Under the sales-basis method, you can recognize revenue at the moment the sale is made.
  • Completed-Contract method.
  • Installment method.
  • Cost-recoverability method.
  • Percentage of completion method.

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. By contrast, if the company used the cash basis of accounting rather than accrual, they would record the revenue in November and the commission matching principle example in December. When expenses are recognized too early or late, it can be difficult to see where they result in revenue. This can potentially distort financial statements and give investors an unclear view of the overall financial position. For example, if you recognize an expense too early it reduces net income. On the other hand, if you recognize it too late, this will raise net income.

Accurate reporting

The matching principle allows for consistency in financial reporting, working off the premise that business expenses are required in order to generate revenue. This concept applies to all kinds of business transactions involving assets, liabilities and equity, revenue and expense recognition. Otherwise, the title should have been passed onto the https://online-accounting.net/ buyer so as to create a legal obligation for the buyer to pay for them. The second aspect is that the full cost of those items must be included in that particular period’s income statement. The problem with this is that when revenues come in through the ads, it will be difficult to match the expenses to when the revenue is earned from the ads.

  • For this reason, investors pay close attention to the company’s cash balance and the timing of its cash flows.
  • Under this, a company should report an expense in the income statement in the same period when it earns the revenue.
  • He received a contract for window washing on Dec 22nd to be performed on Dec 23rd, for which the client paid him $500 on Dec 22nd and would pay him the remaining $2,000 on Dec 27th after the end of festivities.
  • In most places, financial transactions including both revenues and expenses must be recorded in the general ledger according to standard accounting guidelines.
  • These guidelines can vary from place to place, but almost every jurisdiction enforces certain uniform rules that apply to all businesses and financial actors in the market.

In some cases, it will be necessary to conduct a systematic allocation of a cost across multiple reporting periods, such as when the purchase cost of a fixed asset is depreciated over several years. If there is no cause-and-effect relationship, then charge the cost to expense at once. Matching principle is especially important in the concept of accrual accounting. Matching principle states that business should match related revenues and expenses in the same period. They do this in order to link the costs of an asset or revenue to its benefits.


On a larger scale, you may consider purchasing a new building for your business. There’s no way to tell if a larger space or better location improves revenue. There is no direct relationship between these factors and a new building.

matching principle example

According to the matching principle, both the commission fees and cosmetic sales must be recorded in the same accounting period. This means that both should be recorded in the November income statement. Accrual accounting is based on the matching principle, which defines how and when businesses adjust the balance sheet. If there is no cause-and-effect relationship leading to future related revenue, then the expenses can be recorded immediately without adjusting entries. Another example would be if a company were to spend $1 million on online marketing . It may not be able to track the timing of the revenue that comes in, as customers may take months or years to make a purchase. In such a case, the marketing expense would appear on the income statement during the time period the ads are shown, instead of when revenues are received.

Importance of Matching Concept

It requires reporting revenue and recording it during realization and earning. In other words, businesses don’t have to wait to receive cash from customers to record the revenue from sales. In the accounting community, the expressions ‘matching principle’ and ‘accruals basis of accounting’ are often used interchangeably.

  • 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.
  • A major development from the application of matching principle is the use of depreciation in the accounting for non-current assets.
  • The same Law Firm earned revenues of $230,000 and $180,000 in June and July respectively.
  • Per the matching principle, expenses are recognized once the income resulting from the expenses is recognized and “earned” under accrual accounting standards.
  • A matching concept will require the company to spread the cost of the item over five years to match the revenue it generates.
  • However, the matching principle is a further refinement of the accruals concept.

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