Why are Revenues Credited?

Why are Revenues Credited

Share This...

Why are Revenues Credited

In accounting, the double-entry system is used to ensure that the accounting equation stays balanced, that is, assets = liabilities + equity. Under this system, each transaction affects at least two accounts. For every debit entry, there is an equal and opposite credit entry.

In the context of revenues, credits are used to reflect an increase in equity resulting from business operations. Essentially, when a business earns revenue, its assets (usually cash or accounts receivable) increase, and so does its equity. Equity increases are recorded as credits according to the rules of double-entry accounting.

Here’s a simplified explanation of why revenues are credited:

Accounting Equation:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Effect of Revenue on the Equation:

When a company earns revenue, it often increases assets (like cash or accounts receivable). This increase needs to be matched on the other side of the equation, generally by an increase in equity.

Increase in Assets = Increase in Equity

Double-Entry Accounting:

To balance the books, the increase in assets is debited, and the corresponding increase in equity (revenue, in this case) is credited.

Journal Entry for Revenue Earned:

Suppose a company earns $5,000 in revenue for providing consulting services. The journal entry would look like this:

  • Debit Accounts Receivable $5,000 (increase in assets)
  • Credit Service Revenue $5,000 (increase in equity)

By crediting the revenue account, the company acknowledges the increase in equity, keeping the accounting equation in balance.

Why This Matters:

  • Accurate Financial Statements: Crediting revenue ensures that the income statement and balance sheet correctly reflect the company’s financial position and performance.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Following the double-entry system, and crediting revenue accordingly, helps companies comply with accounting standards such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
  • Internal Decision-Making: Accurate tracking of revenue helps in internal decision-making processes like budget allocation, performance evaluations, and future planning.

Understanding why revenues are credited is foundational to grasping the logic behind the double-entry accounting system, and it is critical for accurate and effective financial reporting.

Example of Why are Revenues Credited

Let’s consider a straightforward example to illustrate why revenues are credited in accounting. We’ll use a fictional company, “LawnCare Inc.”, that provides lawn maintenance services.


LawnCare Inc. provides lawn services to a customer and sends an invoice for $500. The customer agrees to pay the invoice in two weeks.

Journal Entry:

To record this transaction using double-entry accounting, LawnCare Inc. would make the following journal entry:

  • Debit Accounts Receivable $500 (to record an increase in assets)
  • Credit Service Revenue $500 (to record an increase in equity, or specifically, revenue)

The entry can be thought of in terms of the accounting equation:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

  • Assets Increase: By invoicing the customer, LawnCare Inc. has increased its “Accounts Receivable,” an asset account, by $500. Assets increase on the debit side, so we debit Accounts Receivable.
  • Equity Increase: At the same time, LawnCare Inc. has earned $500 in revenue, which increases its equity. In the double-entry system, an increase in equity is recorded as a credit. Hence, we credit Service Revenue by $500.

Why This Matters:

  • Balance Sheet: After this transaction, the balance sheet will show an increase in “Accounts Receivable” (an asset) by $500 and an increase in “Equity” under “Service Revenue” by $500. The accounting equation remains balanced.
  • Income Statement: The income statement will show $500 under the revenue section, indicating the earnings generated during the period.
  • Financial Analysis: By correctly crediting the revenue, the company provides accurate information for internal analysis and external parties like investors, analysts, and regulators.
  • Cash Flow Forecasting: Although cash has not yet been received, recognizing the revenue enables the company to make accurate forecasts about future cash flows, helping in business planning and decision-making.

In summary, by crediting the Service Revenue account, LawnCare Inc. keeps its accounting equation balanced and its financial statements accurate, fulfilling the requirements of the double-entry accounting system.

Other Posts You'll Like...

Want to Pass as Fast as Possible?

(and avoid failing sections?)

Watch one of our free "Study Hacks" trainings for a free walkthrough of the SuperfastCPA study methods that have helped so many candidates pass their sections faster and avoid failing scores...