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On a balance sheet, an expense or asset that is recognized before it is paid. Accruals are recorded as liabilities or assets (depending on the type) and are recognized because of the extremely high likelihood of payment. Accruals are generally periodic payments; examples include salaries and accounts receivable from well-known customers. They are recorded as "accrued" on a balance sheet on the date the payment begins to be expected; they remain in this section of the balance sheet until they are actually paid.
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An expense incurred but not yet paid. A firm incurs certain expenses such as wages, interest, and taxes that are paid only periodically. From the time expenses are incurred until the date they are paid, expenses accrue in a firm's balance sheet.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.