Why Are Financial Statements Adjusted

Financial statements are adjusted to ensure accuracy and completeness, providing a true and fair view of a company’s financial position. During the accounting period, transactions are recorded as they occur, but some adjustments are necessary at the end to account for events that have transpired but have not yet been recorded. These adjustments include recognizing accruals (expenses or revenues that have been incurred but not yet paid or received) and deferrals (prepaid expenses or unearned revenues). By making these adjustments, financial statements provide users with a more accurate representation of the company’s financial health at a specific point in time.

Financial Reporting Standards

Financial reporting requires adherence to established standards that ensure accuracy, consistency, and transparency of financial information presented by companies and organizations. These financial reporting standards are set by regulatory bodies such as the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and they serve to:

  • Define the format and content of financial statements
  • Establish rules for the recording, measurement, and reporting of financial transactions
  • Ensure comparability and uniformity across different companies

Internal Control Considerations

Before any adjustments are made to financial statements, it is imperative to assess the adequacy of internal controls within the organization. This involves evaluating the procedures, policies, and systems in place to safeguard the accuracy and reliability of financial information. The purpose is to ensure that the financial records are:

  • Correct
  • Complete
  • Reliable

Types of Adjusting Journal Entries

Adjusting journal entries are used to correct and update the balances of specific accounts in the financial statements at the end of an accounting period. These adjustments are necessary to reflect events and transactions that have occurred but have not yet been recorded in the accounting system. The three main types of adjusting journal entries are:

  • Accruals: Transactions that have occurred but have not been recorded (e.g., unpaid expenses, earned revenue)
  • Deferrals: Transactions that have been recorded but have not yet occurred (e.g., prepaid expenses, unearned revenue)
  • Adjustments: Corrections made to previously recorded transactions (e.g., depreciation, bad debts)

Impact on Financial Statements

Adjusting journal entries have a significant impact on the financial statements:

Financial StatementEffect
Income StatementAdjusts the reported revenues and expenses for the period
Balance SheetUpdates the balances of assets, liabilities, and equity accounts
Statement of Cash FlowsMay affect the classification of cash flows

Importance of Adjusting Journal Entries

Adjusting journal entries play a vital role in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of financial statements. They enable companies to:

  • Match revenues to the periods in which they are earned
  • Match expenses to the periods in which they are incurred
  • Provide a true and fair view of the company’s financial position


Financial reporting standards provide the framework for accurate and consistent financial reporting. Adjusting journal entries are an essential part of this process, ensuring that the financial statements reflect the true financial position and performance of a company at a given point in time.

Income Recognition and Expenses Accrual

Financial statements undergo adjustment to rectify inaccuracies, amend oversights, and accurately reflect the firm’s financial performance.

  • Revenue Recognition: Revenue is recorded when it is earned, regardless of when cash is received. For instance, if a firm provides services in June but receives payment in July, the revenue is recognized in June.
  • Expense Accrual: Expenses are recognized when incurred, even if cash is paid later. For example, if a firm uses supplies in May but pays for them in June, the expense is recognized in May.

These adjustments allow financial statements to present the financial position and results of operations more accurately. By recognizing revenue when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred, the financial statements provide a more accurate picture of the firm’s financial performance.

Examples of Income Recognition and Expense Accrual
Provides services in June; receives payment in JulyRevenue: June
Uses supplies in May; pays for them in JuneExpense: May
Pays rent in advanceExpense: Over multiple months
Receives cash in advance for servicesRevenue: Over multiple months

Asset and Liability Valuations

Adjusting financial statements involves correcting and updating information to ensure they accurately reflect a company’s financial position and performance. One of the key aspects of this process is adjusting asset and liability valuations.

Assets and liabilities are recorded at their historical cost when they are acquired or incurred. However, over time, the value of these assets and liabilities can change due to factors such as depreciation, market fluctuations, and changes in estimates.

Adjusting asset and liability valuations ensures that financial statements are up-to-date and reflect the current fair value of these items. This is essential for providing accurate information to investors, creditors, and other stakeholders.

Here are some examples of asset and liability valuations that may be adjusted:

  • Depreciation of fixed assets
  • Amortization of intangible assets
  • Fair value adjustments of investments
  • Provisions for doubtful accounts
  • Deferred revenue recognition

The following table provides a summary of the types of adjustments that may be made to asset and liability valuations:

Adjustment TypeDescription
DepreciationReduces the value of fixed assets over their useful life.
AmortizationReduces the value of intangible assets over their useful life.
Fair value adjustmentsUpdates the value of investments to reflect their current market value.
Provisions for doubtful accountsEstimates the amount of uncollectible accounts receivable.
Deferred revenue recognitionRecognizes revenue over the period in which it is earned, rather than when cash is received.

Contingencies and Commitments

Contingencies and commitments are potential future events that could have a material impact on a company’s financial statements. Contingencies are uncertain events that may or may not occur, while commitments are obligations that the company has already incurred.

Common types of contingencies include:

  • Litigation
  • Environmental liabilities
  • Product warranties

Common types of commitments include:

  • Debt agreements
  • Leases
  • Supplier contracts

Financial statements are adjusted to reflect the potential impact of contingencies and commitments. This is done through a process called accrual accounting, which involves recognizing revenues and expenses when they are earned or incurred, regardless of when cash is received or paid.

Adjusting financial statements for contingencies and commitments is important because it provides a more accurate picture of the company’s financial position and performance. This information is used by investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about the company.