Difference Between Accruals and Deferrals (With Table)

Businesses frequently utilize accrual and deferral accounting to adjust their accounting records to reflect the true image of the organization. On the one hand, one can record costs and revenue prior to accrual settlement. Deferrals, on the other hand, are made after payments have been made. As a result, know when to record for payouts and abilities on one’s financial account to accurately portray the company’s current financial situation.

Accounting professionals are in charge of financial data since it is their responsibility to establish a realistic financial overview for a firm and report their results to management. As a result, the professionals could effectively plan the organization’s future actions. When making essential modifications to activity within a certain accounting period, strategies such as accrual and deferral accounting are crucial.

Accruals vs Deferrals

The main difference between accruals and deferrals is that the financial transactions which are put forward or postponed with such recognition to the current or later period respectively. Accruals allows to earn income and add the financial statements, but no proof of payment is provided within the accounting period. A payment paid in one accounting period but not recorded when the next accounting period is referred to as deferrals.

Accruals vs Deferrals

An accrual helps a company to keep track of the costs for which it anticipates to spend or receive money in the future. Accrual of revenue, on the other hand, refers to the recording of that receipt and the accompanying receivable during the time in which income is accumulated. That time frame begins before the revenue is received in cash.

When a corporation pays out cash which should be recorded as an expense in a future accounting period, it is called a deferral. Its purpose is to accept funds that will be recognized as revenue in a subsequent accounting period. That is the delay in recognizing an accounting transaction is referred to as a deferral. This is a wonderful technique for a company to demonstrate that they only have a limited number of current liabilities to pay to clients or consumers. As a result, showcasing a company’s financial position to stakeholders and perhaps attracting new investors is critical.

Comparison Table Between Accruals and Deferrals

Parameters of comparisonAccrualsDeferrals
Conceptual differenceIt generally occurs before any transactions or receipts are madeIt generally occurs after any transactions or receipts are made
On the basis of expensesIn accruals expense have already been incurred, but they have not yet been reimbursedIn deferrals expense have already been paid, but they have not yet been incurred
Accounting RevenueAccrual refers to the planning of a cost or revenue that results in a monetary receipt or expense.Deferrals refer to deferring a cost or revenue results in the amount being placed in a liability or asset account.
Expense recognitionThe accrual system generates more income while lowering costs.In deferrals system, the approach of postponement results in a drop in income and an increase in expense.
End ObjectiveThe accrual system’s ultimate goal is to recognise revenue in the comprehensive income prior to receiving funds.The ultimate goal is to credit the income account while decreasing the debit account.

What are Accruals?

Accruals are used to modify a company’s income and costs when no cash is transferred. It is significant because they allow a firm to more properly and methodically track its financial status. Revenues that are recorded before the firm receives cash are referred to as accrued revenues. Accrued expenditures are those that are recognized before the firm distributes cash.

The words accumulated revenues and accrued costs are sometimes abbreviated as accruals. In applied economics and accounting, however, the two phrases have separate meanings – Accrual of Expenses and Revenue. The reporting of an expenditure and the accompanying liability in an accounting time prior to the period in which the cash to be be paid  is referred to as the accrual of an expense . The accrual of revenues, also known as a revenue accrual, refers to the reporting of revenue and related assets in the period in which they are received, before filing a sales invoice or receiving payment.

What are Deferrals?

The term “deferral” relates to the payment of a cost in one period but the accounting of that expense in another. It happens when the exchange of money occurs before the delivery of the product.

However, in practical economics and accounting, the terms Deferral of Expenses and Revenue have distinct implications. A payment done in advance of the accountancy period in which it would become an expense is referred to as an expense deferral. A revenue deferral, is the money that is received before it is earned.

Main Differences Between Accruals and Deferrals

  1. The firm passes an accrual of revenue entry to record all of the revenue at once. The dispersion of revenue across time is referred to as deferral of income. The same is true when it comes to spending.
  2. When a company makes an adjusted accrual entry, it results in cash receipts and outlays. Receipts and payments are recognized after a monetary transaction has happened, which is known as deferral.
  3. Revenue deferral creates a liability since it is viewed as unearned revenue in most circumstances. Accrual of revenue, on the other hand, results in the formation of assets, mostly in the form of accounts receivables.
  4. Customers generally pay the money up front in the insurance sector, which is an example of delayed income. At the same time, in the service business, accumulated income is commonplace.
  5. Accrual accounting refers to a business expenditure that has already occurred but has not yet been recognized. A deferral, on the other hand, emphasizes the need of demonstrating that you can pay for the item in the same accounting period.


As a result, accrual and deferral accounting adjustments have a temporal lag between reporting and realization of revenue and expenditure. Before payment or reception, accrual happens, and after payment or receipt, deferral occurs. These are mostly concerned with revenue and spending.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-6622.1996.tb00103.x
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/NTJ41791911
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