Matching Principle Understanding How Matching Principle Works

what is matching principle

All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Understand what the matching principle is, identify the benefits and challenges of the matching principle, and see examples. If you recognise an expense later than is appropriate, this results in a higher net income. Looking at the cash flow, investors will be able to see whether there is enough cash to cover the company’s payables. GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices.

What is accrual principle?

The accrual principle is an accounting concept that requires transactions to be recorded in the time period in which they occur, regardless of when the actual cash flows for the transaction are received.

For example, rent for the office, officer salaries, and other administrative expenses. Product costs include expenses such as direct material labor and factory overhead. The matching principle, also called the “revenue recognition principle,” ensures that expenses are recorded in the correct period by relating them to the revenues earned in the same period. The Matching Principle is an important accounting concept which states that revenues and expenses are recorded in the Income Statement on the same accounting period in which they occurred. You could look at the matching concept in accounting as a blend of accrual accounting methods and the revenue recognition principle. The matching principle is part of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles , based on the cause-and-effect relationship between spending and earning.

What is the Matching Principle of Accounting?

When finance people talk about debiting cash — an asset account — they mean increasing money in company coffers. As an entrepreneur, heeding revenue recognition in corporate processes help personnel produce a set of accurate financial statements at the end of each quarter and fiscal year. Revenue is integral to a statement of profit and loss, also referred to as a statement of income or report on income.

Accordingly, they are charged as expenses in the income statement of the accounting period in which the salaries are paid. The matching principle, then, requires that expenses should be matched to the revenues of the appropriate accounting period and not the other way around.


Certain business financial elements benefit from the use of the matching principle. 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. A salesperson makes a 5% commission on every sale they make in the month of January, but their commission isn’t paid until February. This means that if they sell $100 worth of products in January, the company will pay them $5 in February. Despite this, the amount of commissions they earned—in this case $5—is required to be reported on the January statement with the January product sales of $100. Imagine, for example, that a company decides to build a new office headquarters that it believes will improve worker productivity. Since there’s no way to directly measure the timing and impact of the new office on revenues, the company will take the useful life of the new office space and depreciate the total cost over that lifetime.

Secondly, this relationship can change over time due to development in the efficiency of expenses to advance revenues, which may diminish REC (Basu et al., 2016). Thirdly, REC only takes account of total expense although there are obvious differences in matching accuracy between different expense categories. This characteristic can lead to hidden mismatching bias when the mismatched items from different expense categories partly cancel each other. Although this study has provided novel findings and implications for matching accuracy research, it is also exposed to several limitations that can be relaxed in further studies. The matching function was in this study specified to follow the CD-type multiplicative form with three expense categories as the arguments. In further studies, different types of functions and different expense categories (such as R&D expenses) should be applied to compare the results. Furthermore, the parameters of the matching model were in this study solved using GRG.

What Is the Difference Between Single Entity & a Multi Entity Financial Report?

Earnings are regarded as the most important output of the accounting system (Graham et al., 2005). This makes also matching very important, as the accuracy of matching plays a key role in assessing earnings. Therefore, an inquiry into matching can potentially provide valuable insights into the properties of accounting earnings . Consequently, it is of importance to investigate and improve the methods to assess the quality of matching. The systematic differences between CODL and SREC were further assessed by a logistic regression model applied to explain the conditional probability of these differences. Table VII presents the binary logistic regression results for the conditional probability of whether SREC exceeds CODL or not . This table shows that there are at least four important systematic factors, which increase the conditional probability leading SREC to overestimate CODL.

Originally, there were 14,296 firms fulfilling the above three criteria set for the sample firms. However, 5,416 firms had missing values in financial data and were excluded from the sample. Moreover, 654 firms were excluded from the sample as outliers due to extreme values obtained in estimating the matching function model. Almost all firms have financial statements until 2014 or 2015 covering a period characterized by the 2008 financial crisis that produced a significant economic shock to the global economy. This crisis first touched the US financial sector in 2007, but the effects spread to several national economies, resulting in what has often been called the Great Recession. Therefore, the economic development in Finnish firms was quite negative reflected by low profitability, productivity and growth. In previous studies, also different versions of the linear revenue-expense relationship are used.

The matching principle

If, in the example above, the company reported an even bigger accounts payable obligation in February, there might not be enough cash on hand to make the payment. For this reason, investors pay close attention to the company’s cash balance and the timing of its cash flows. The principle is at the core of the accrual basis of accounting and adjusting entries. If there’s no cause and effect relationship, then the accountant will charge the cost to the expense immediately. It is a basic accounting principle which states, the recognition and recording of revenue should be in the same period it’s earning. The purpose of the matching principle is to maintain consistency across a business’s income statements and balance sheets. Where sales, expenses and TEP may change over time t but the expense elasticities of sales revenue are constant.

Under a bonus plan, an employee earns a $50,000 bonus based on measurable aspects of her performance within a year. You should record the bonus expense within the year when the employee earned it. Therefore, the sign of the effect of noise r on the volatility of earnings depends on this situation on the noise term r, steady growth rate g and average earnings S̄−Ē. The use of such a principle helps a company present an accurate picture of its operations. Since this principle matches the expense to revenue, it helps in building investors’ trust that the numbers are unreal. Gives a very clear picture of mainly the company’s current assets and current liabilities, which helps investors and other financial analysts understand the worth of the company and how well it is being operated. With the help of quite some ratios, the company’s performance is determined, which helps investors decide on investments.

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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. In December 2016, the what is matching principle salesman could earn 2,000$, but the commission payment will be payable in January of the following year. He paid salaries to the two helpers of $8,000 on Jan 2nd, as the company pays its workers after the end of the month.

What is threshold in audit?

The materiality threshold in audits refers to the benchmark used to obtain reasonable assurance that an audit does not detect any material misstatement that can significantly impact the usability of financial statements.

An example is an obligation to pay for goods or services received from a counterpart, while cash for them is to be paid out in a later accounting period when its amount is deducted from accrued expenses. The revenue recognition principle is another accounting principle related to the matching principle.

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