What is The Matching Principle and Why Is It Important?

matching principle definition

The revenue recognition principle states that the businesses recognize and record revenue when it is earned irrespective of when they receive the payment. Consequently, the company does not have to wait for the payment from the clients to record and recognize the revenue. With businesses across the globe relying on this concept, they must also figure out a way to report and record it. In other words, they need to apply the matching principle of accounting, which says that to generate revenue, businesses have to incur expenses. Certain business financial elements benefit from the use of the matching principle.

If the Capex was expensed as incurred, the abrupt $100 million expense would distort the income statement in the current period — in addition to upcoming periods showing less Capex spending. A company acquires production equipment for $100,000 that has a projected useful life of 10 years. It should charge the cost of the equipment to depreciation expense at the rate of $10,000 per year for ten years, so that the expense is recognized over the entirety of its useful life. Several examples of the matching principle are noted below, for commissions, depreciation, bonus payments, wages, and the cost of goods sold. A marketing team crafts messages to entice potential customers to visit a business website. The customer may not make a purchase until weeks, months, or years later.

Matching Principle of Accounting FAQs

In general, the Matching principle helps both accountants recognize the accounting transactions in some uncertain situation and users of financial transactions for using the entity’s financial information. For example, the cost of rendering service amount to $60,000 that occurred in February should be recorded as the expenses in February. Assume we have sold the goods to our customers amount $70,000 for the month of December 2016.

This principle recognizes that businesses must incur expenses to earn revenues. The company prepares the financial statements on an accrual basis, then revenue and expenses are recognized consistently the same as cash. The expenses correlated with revenues should be recognized in the same period in the financial statements. This concept tries to ensure that there are no over or under revenue or expenses records in the financial statements. If the revenue or expenses are recorded inconsistently, then there will be over or under income or expenses.

Sample Chart of Accounts

When a company acquires property, plant & equipment (PP&E), the purchase — i.e. capital expenditures (Capex) — is considered to be a long-term investment. We’ll now move to a modeling exercise, which you can access by filling out the form below. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university matching principle definition accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. If a job is not assigned to anybody, we simply assign it to the applicant and return true. If a job is assigned to somebody else say x, then we recursively check whether x can be assigned some other job.

matching principle definition

Assets (specifically long-term assets) experience depreciation and the use of the matching principle ensures that matching is spread out appropriately to balance out the incoming cash flow. The matching principle is an accounting principle which states that expenses should be recognised in the same reporting period as the related revenues. A deferred expense (prepaid expense or prepayment) is an asset used to costs paid out and not recognized as expenses according to the matching principle. The purpose of the matching principle is to maintain consistency in the core financial statements — in particular, the income statement and balance sheet. The matching principle, a fundamental rule in the accrual-based accounting system, requires expenses to be recognized in the same period as the applicable revenue. The company should recognize the entire $2,000 cost as expense in the same reporting period as the sale, since the recognition of revenue and the cost of goods sold are tightly linked.

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