notes in accounting

If the preceding example had a maturity date at other than the December 31 year-end, the $1,000 of total interest expense would need to be recorded partially in one period and partially in another. Discount amortization transfers the discount to interest expense over the life of the loan. This means that the $1,000 discount should be recorded as interest expense by debiting Interest Expense and crediting Discount on Note Payable.

Is a note an asset?

For accounting purposes, a payee records a note receivable as an asset on its balance sheet and the related interest income on its income statement. The portion of the note receivable due to be repaid within one year is classified as a current asset and the balance as a long-term asset.

They help the users of the financial statements to understand the basis and rationale behind the reported figures, and to compare them with other businesses and periods. They also help the users to assess the performance, financial position, cash flows, and risks of the business, and to make informed decisions and judgments based on the financial statements. Accounting policies and notes also help the business to comply with the accounting standards and regulations, and to avoid errors, misstatements, and disputes. Remember from earlier in the chapter, a note (also called a promissory note) is an unconditional written promise by a borrower to pay a definite sum of money to the lender (payee) on demand or on a specific date. A customer may give a note to a business for an amount due on an account receivable or for the sale of a large item such as a refrigerator. Also, a business may give a note to a supplier in exchange for merchandise to sell or to a bank or an individual for a loan.

Terms Similar to Notes Receivable

Instead, its meant to serve as a supplemental reference for understanding basic to advanced accounting concepts in easy to learn format. The preceding illustration should not be used as a model for constructing a legal document; it is merely an abbreviated form to focus on the accounting issues. In the preceding note, Oliva has agreed to pay to BancZone $10,000 plus interest of $400 on June 30, 20X8. The interest represents 8% of $10,000 for half of a year (January 1 through June 30).

At any moment, executives or team members may own public or private stock in any of the third party companies we mention. A lot of founders spend time trying to decide if they should use a SAFE or a convertible note for their seed or pre-seed round. The preceding discussion about unique interest calculations sheds light on the mechanics that lenders can use to tilt the benefit of a lending agreement to their advantage. As a result, statutes have increasingly required fuller disclosure (“truth in lending”) and, in some cases, outright limits on certain practices. Dummies has always stood for taking on complex concepts and making them easy to understand. Dummies helps everyone be more knowledgeable and confident in applying what they know.

Financial Statement Notes

Tim’s Roofing Co. wants to purchase a crane, but doesn’t have enough cash. Tim borrows the money from Contractor Bill’s Financing Services and creates a 90-day note payable in 90-days or on demand of payee. Tim borrowed the funds and must pay it back to Bill in either 90 days or when ever Bill demands payment. Another use of an accounting note can be in an accounting system used by a large company where many different people have access to records and need to be able to communicate information. Notes can be used to track interaction with specific customers or companies and to provide background information that may be useful for people in other departments.

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Consolidation refers to the aggregation of financial statements of a group company as a consolidated whole. In this section of the footnotes, the company confirms that the consolidated financial statements contain the financial information for all its subsidiaries. Any deviations, including deviations from all subsidiaries, also must be explained. Below are some examples of financial statement footnotes pulled from General Electric Company’s financial statements (fiscal year ended December 31, 2020). Specific line items that require more explanation will almost always come with a related footnote to help clarify any missing information.


When a customer does not pay an account receivable that is due, the company may insist that the customer  gives a note in place of the account receivable. This action allows the customer more time to pay the balance due, and the company earns interest on the balance until paid. Also, the company may be able to sell the note to a bank or other financial institution. Some footnotes will be filled with accounting jargon, which may make the information conveyed difficult for the reader to understand. It could be to hide something from the public, and investors should be wary of any financial statements like them. Financial statement footnotes are used as additional information by individuals reading financial statements.

Any reduction of risk makes a note or bond instrument more appealing to potential lenders. For example, some loans (often dealing with the purchase of real estate) are mortgage agreements that provide the creditor with an interest in identified property. The recent downturn in the housing market has seen many debtor defaults that have led to bank foreclosures on homes across the country. Accounting policies and notes are important because they enhance the quality, transparency, and usefulness of the financial statements.


Such debts are often referred to as “callable.” This feature is popular because it permits refinancing if interest rates fall. A new loan is obtained at a cheap interest rate with the money used to pay off old notes or bonds that charge high interest rates. Sometimes a penalty payment is required if a debt is paid prematurely. Depreciation is spreading the cost of a long-term asset over its useful life (which may be years after the purchase). A business values its ending inventory using inventory valuation methods. Writing effective notes to the final accounts requires planning, organization, and communication skills.

  • Notes provide an explanation for how the numbers in the financial statement, or report, are calculated.
  • We don’t think accounting considerations should drive this decision – the primary reason for using a SAFE is the lower legal costs and reduced paperwork complexity.
  • In addition to writing, she is the co-owner of a small dog bakery in rural Ohio.
  • A $1,000 bond, for example, has a face value of $1,000—that amount is to be paid on a designated maturity date.
  • Additionally, SAFE notes do not require the same level of paperwork and legal costs as convertible notes.

The interest payments and the recording process will continue in this same way until all five years have passed and the face value is paid. For example, the maker owes $200,000 to the payee at a 10% interest rate, and pays no interest during the first year. A contingent liability exists when an existing circumstance may cause a loss in the future, depending on other events that have cash flow statement template not yet happened and, indeed, may never happen. For example, some car dealers are willing to sell automobiles with no down payment if they are carrying too much inventory. Equipment manufacturers will also do the same thing to promote sales of their product. You are looking for ways to finance your company’s growth without putting any more of your personal money into the company.

Are Simple Agreements for Future Equity accounted for the same as SAFEs?

For example, the financial statement footnotes will look different for a company that follows IFRS standards compared to US GAAP. Publicly held companies will require even more extensive financial statements and footnotes mandated by authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. Auditors will also use the financial statements and their footnotes to help understand the company’s financial position. Their findings within the audit will be based almost as heavily on the footnotes as the other core areas of the financial statements. These provide additional information pertaining to a company’s operations and financial position and are considered to be an integral part of the financial statements. Yes, Simple Agreements for Future Equity are SAFEs – the same instrument, just not abbreviated.

notes in accounting

In the preceding entries, notice that interest for three months was accrued at December 31, representing accumulated interest that must be paid at maturity on March 31, 20X9. The cash payment included $400 for interest, half relating to the amount previously accrued in 20X8 and half relating to 20X9. After one more month passes, Brisbane makes the first interest payment of $12,000. However, interest expense of only $2,000 is actually recognized in the entry below.

Are notes assets or liabilities?

While Notes Payable is a liability, Notes Receivable is an asset. Notes Receivable record the value of promissory notes that a business owns, and for that reason, they are recorded as an asset. NP is a liability which records the value of promissory notes that a business will have to pay.

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