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What does overstated mean?

When an accountant states that a reported amount is overstated, it means two things:

  1. The reported amount is incorrect, and
  2. The reported amount is more than the true or correct amount.

For example, a company reports that its prepaid insurance is $8,000. However, the true or correct amount of prepaid insurance is only $7,000. The accountant will say that the reported amount for prepaid insurance is overstated by $1,000.

Because of double-entry accounting or bookkeeping, another general ledger account will also have a reporting error. In our example, if Prepaid Insurance is overstated (too much being reported) it is likely that Insurance Expense will be understated (too little is being reported).