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What is the difference between accounts payable and accrued expenses payable?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable is a liability account in which suppliers’ or vendors’ approved invoices are recorded. As a result, the balance in Accounts Payable should be a precise amount.

Definition of Accrued Expenses Payable

Accrued Expenses Payable is a liability account that records amounts that are owed, but the vendors’ invoices have not yet been received and/or have not yet been recorded in Accounts Payable as of the end of the accounting period. The amounts in this account are usually recorded with accrual adjusting entries made at the end of the accounting period.

Examples of Accrued Expenses Payable

In addition to the amounts associated with vendors’ invoices, accrued expenses may also include wages, interest, utilities, and other expenses that were incurred and owed, but not yet recorded in the general ledger accounts. Some of the amounts recorded in Accrued Expenses Payable may be estimated amounts that should supported by reasonable and documented calculations.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

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