Notes Payable Definition + Journal Entry Examples

If you’re looking for accounting software that can help you better track your business expenses and better track notes payable, be sure to check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews. There is always interest on notes payable, which needs to be recorded separately. In this example, there is a 6% interest rate, which is paid quarterly to the bank. There are other instances when notes payable or a promissory note can be issued, depending on the type of business you have. The company should also disclose pertinent information for the amounts owed on the notes.

  • Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts.
  • If the item is purchased outright for cash, its price would have been $15,000.
  • Also, the settlement of liabilities may result in the transfer or use of assets, or the provision of services or goods (as in the case of unearned revenue).

Promissory notes are a written promise to pay cash to another party on or before a specified future date. Notes payable is not an asset but a liability account on the balance sheet that reflects an amount that is owed under the terms of an issued promissory note. The notes payable that are due within the next 12 months are current (short-term) liabilities while the notes payable that are due after one year are non-current (long-term) liabilities. It is a liability account on the maker’s balance sheet that reflects the amount owed under the terms of the promissory note that was issued. Hence, notes payable is an account reported under the liabilities section of the balance sheet.

What is a discount on a note payable?

In the case of notes payable, the settlement is usually done with cash (which is an asset). Current assets are recorded on the balance sheet, and they appear under the assets section. This blog post is all about notes payable, current assets, and why aren’t notes payable a current asset. No, notes payable is not a current asset, it’s a liability of the company. Some notes are used for investment purposes, such as a mortgage-backed note, which is an asset-backed security. For example, mortgage loans can be bundled into a fund and sold as an investment—called a mortgage-backed security.

  • Note Payable is debited because it is no longer valid and its balance must be set back to zero.
  • Treasury notes are popular investments for their fixed income but are also viewed as safe-haven investments in times of economic and financial difficulties.
  • Therefore, it is evident that notes payable is not an asset, but a liability.
  • In this example, there is a 6% interest rate, which is paid quarterly to the bank.
  • They are normally repaid within a month, as opposed to promissory notes, which may have periods of several years.

Typical examples of assets in business would include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, and prepaid expenses such as prepaid rent. They also include merchandise inventory, marketable securities, PPE (Property, Plant, and Equipment), equipment, vehicles, furniture, patents, etc. These assets can be grouped based on liquidity, physicality, and operational activities. A note is a debt security obligating repayment of a loan, at a predetermined interest rate, within a defined time frame.

#1. Are notes payable a current asset?

No, notes payables are not on the income statement, they are recorded on the balance sheet. However, the interest paid on notes is recorded as an expense on the income statement. Not recording notes payable properly can affect the accuracy of your financial statements, which is why it’s important to understand this concept. Notes payable is a written promissory note that promises to pay a specified amount of money by a certain date. A promissory note can be issued by the business receiving the loan or by a financial institution such as a bank. There are some significant differences between these two liability accounts, even though both accounts payable and notes payable are liabilities.

The principal is just the total payment less the amount allocated to interest. An example is a case whereby a wine supplier sells a case of wine to a bar and does not demand payment on delivery. The wine supplier, rather, invoices the bar for the purchase to streamline the drop-off and make paying easier for the bar. Hence, making the transactions between the two businesses more efficient. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.

The interest rate, face value, maturity, and other terms vary from one unsecured note to another. For example, let’s say Company A plans to buy Company B for a $20 million price tag. Let’s further assume that Company A already has $2 million in cash; therefore, it issues the $18 million balance in unsecured notes to bond investors.

Notes payable is an account on the balance sheet that reflects the money that is owed by a note maker under the terms of an issued promissory note. The note maker is the party that issues the promissory note and as such is obligated to pay the amount recorded in the notes payable account to another party. The party, on the other hand, that receives the promissory note is the payee and as such receives payment from the maker under the terms of the promissory note. As mentioned, notes payables are written agreements in which used when borrowing money. Instead, they are classified as current liabilities on the balance sheet.

The discount simply represents the total potential interest expense to be incurred if the note remains’ unpaid for the full 120 days. The $200 difference is debited to the account Discount on Notes Payable. This is a contra-liability account and discounted payback period is offset against the Notes Payable account on the balance sheet. Accounts payable, notes payable and loans payable are the most common type of liabilities. Now, that we have an understanding of notes payable, is it an asset or liability?


One problem with issuing notes payable is that it gives the company more debt than they can handle, and this typically leads to bankruptcy. Issuing too many notes payable will also harm the organization’s credit rating. Another problem with issuing a note payable is it increases the organization’s fixed expenses, and this leads to increased difficulty of planning for future expenditures. If a company borrows money from its bank, the bank will require the company’s officers to sign a formal loan agreement before the bank provides the money.

#2. Are notes payable on the income statement?

In contrast, accounts payable (A/P) do not have any accompanying interest, nor is there typically a strict date by which payment must be made. F. Giant must pay the entire principal and, in the first case, the accrued interest. In both cases, the final month’s interest expense, $50, is recognized. Interest expense is not debited because interest is a function of time.

Note Payable is debited because it is no longer valid and its balance must be set back to zero. Investors who hold notes payable as securities can benefit from generally higher interest rates and lower risk compared to other assets. Like with bonds, notes can provide a stream of reliable fixed income from interest payments. There are a variety of types of notes payable, which vary by amounts, interest rates and other conditions, and payback periods. Finally, at the end of the 3 month term the notes payable have to be paid together with the accrued interest, and the following journal completes the transaction. The adjusting journal entry in Case 1 is similar to the entries to accrue interest.

What distinguishes a note payable from other liabilities is that it is issued as a promissory note. Often, a business will allow customers to convert their overdue accounts (the business’ accounts receivable) into notes receivable. By doing so, the debtor typically benefits by having more time to pay.

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