Adjusting Journal Entry

Photo of author
Written By

The latest in personal finance to help you make smarter money choices. 

An Adjusting Journal Entry is a record made in the accounting system to amend account balances. ).

Adjusting Journal Entry Explained

An Adjusting Journal Entry is a record made in the accounting system to amend account balances.

These entries are made at the end of an accounting period to reflect a transaction that has not yet been recorded or to correct an amount previously recorded. The purpose?

To ensure that financial statements are accurate and comply with the accrual basis of accounting.

Adjusting journal entries is key to the financial reporting process. They help align a company’s accounting records with actual economic events.

If you’re involved in any form of business accounting or are an aspiring accountant, understanding adjusting journal entries is not just useful—it’s essential.

These entries offer a real-time snapshot of a company’s financial position, serving as a foundation for various financial statements.

Key Insights

  • Adjusting journal entries are critical for ensuring that financial statements are accurate and in compliance with accounting standards.
  • They enable real-time adjustments to the accounting system, aligning it closely with actual financial events.
  • Common adjustments include accruals, deferrals, and estimates.

Ignoring adjusting journal entries is akin to driving a car with a misaligned steering wheel—you may be able to move, but you won’t get far without issues. These entries allow for the fine-tuning of accounting records, making them indispensable for accurate financial reporting.

Example Of Adjusting Journal Entry

Imagine your company pays $12,000 in advance for a 12-month office lease.

At the end of the first month, an adjusting journal entry would be made to recognize the expense for one month.

Account NameDebit ($)Credit ($)
Rent Expense1,000
Prepaid Rent1,000

This journal entry serves two functions:

  1. It debits the Rent Expense account by $1,000, recognizing the cost of the rent for one month.
  2. It credits the Prepaid Rent account by $1,000, reducing the prepayment asset by the amount that has now been used up.

The journal entry essentially moves $1,000 from the Prepaid Rent account (an asset account) to the Rent Expense account (an expense account), reflecting the cost incurred for one month of the office lease.


Why are adjusting journal entries necessary?

They ensure that financial statements reflect the true financial condition of a business.

When are adjusting journal entries made?

Typically, they are made at the end of an accounting period.

Are adjusting journal entries a one-time event?

No, they are a regular part of the accounting cycle and are made as needed to align records with financial reality.