What is a Suspense Account? F&A Glossary

suspense accounting

After an entry in the suspense account is clarified, it will be assigned permanently to the proper account. For example, an entry for a payment will be cleared from the suspense account and entered into the accounts receivable once the corresponding invoice has been identified and the details about the transaction are known. Having an outstanding balance in a suspense account does not generally reflect well on a business’s financial statements. A suspense account is considered temporary, and all transactions should eventually be journaled into a different account. You don’t want to avoid recording a transaction altogether just because you’re not sure of the correct account to post it to. In that case, you would be unable to balance the accounting books during a reporting period.

  • Suspense accounts may also be implemented in brokerage firms when the client is making a decision about an investment and with mortgage lenders when a partial payment is received.
  • This might happen where a purchase invoice is accidentally entered as if it were a credit note received from a supplier.
  • Suspense accounts are used for assets or liabilities that require further clarification before they can be assigned a permanent place in the ledger.
  • When customer withdrawal is completed, the money moves from the suspense account to the account of the agent who facilitated the cash withdrawal.
  • Errors are rectified by debiting the correct account and crediting the Suspense account.

The term “suspense account” can have several different meanings, depending on the context. In the business world generally, a suspense account is a section of a company’s financial books where it can record ambiguous entries that need further analysis to determine their proper classification. In any case, every effort should be made to eliminate all unidentified transactions held in the suspense account by the end of the fiscal year, otherwise the annual financial statements will be inaccurate. Therefore, it is vital to have a process in place to clear out the suspense account on regular basis so that all of the suspense account entries are moved into their designated accounts to zero out the suspense balance. A customer paid an outstanding $1,000 invoice in two partial payments of $500.

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Despite considerable efforts, if the reason(s) causing these questionable amounts are not found, the difference in the trial balance is temporarily transferred to a suspense account till it is properly analyzed and classified. Suspense accounts are commonly used when there is no paper trail for the transaction or the nature of it hasn’t been informed yet. Nevertheless, the size of these accounts should be fairly small since most transactions are easily categorized in a regular business operation. DOD concurred with three of GAO’s recommendations, partially concurred with four recommendations, and did not concur with one recommendation. Businesses also use a suspense account to record transactions when there are delays between the receipt of money and the proper assignment in the ledger.

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There are a lot of reasons why a payment might need to be temporarily recorded in a suspense account. It might be because the account number is missing, for instance, or written down incorrectly. Below, we discuss suspense accounts in depth, why they’re necessary, what types of businesses use them, and examples of why funds are temporarily routed to the suspense account in the first place. The suspense account is classified as a current asset, since it is most commonly used to store payments related to accounts receivable.

When to use suspense accounts

There are several errors that may be revealed by the trial balance which involve the suspense account. At times, all the required details for a particular transaction are not available but it still needs to be recorded in order to keep the accounting books updated. The suspense account will be written off from the books of account after all of the errors have been detected and corrected. If there is credit balance in suspense a/c, it is shown on asset side of balance sheet.

When you make a monthly mortgage payment, a portion of that money goes to the principal and some to interest. In addition, some of those funds are usually allocated to an escrow account which disburses funds to pay for property taxes and homeowners insurance. Similarly, a business could get an invoice in the mail that doesn’t note the product or service it’s meant to pay for. Until that’s cleared up, a bookkeeper might set that money aside in a suspense account so the cash is available as soon as they uncover the reason for the invoice. This can make it difficult to match up with the invoice, particularly if the customer has multiple outstanding invoices.

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It is useful to have a suspense account, rather than not recording transactions at all until there is sufficient information available to create an entry to the correct account(s). Otherwise, larger unreported transactions may not be recorded by the end of a reporting period, resulting in inaccurate financial results. A suspense account is a general ledger account in which amounts are temporarily recorded. The suspense account is used because the appropriate general ledger account could not be determined at the time that the transaction was recorded. You might receive a partial payment from a customer and be unsure about which invoice they’re paying. Hold the partial payment in a suspense account until you contact the customer.

Errors are rectified by debiting the correct account and crediting the Suspense account. Similarly, when a correct account is credited, the Suspense account is debited. When all the rectified entries are recorded into a suspense account, it should not be left with any balance. If the suspense account is showing a balance, it means that some errors still exist.

What type of account is a suspense account?

Remember to consider issues like an inaccurate recording of funds (for example, money going into the cash account and not the sales account) and unrecorded expenses, which can be traced back to their invoices. A suspense account will be managed by the finance team and serve as a catch-all for unknown amounts. The purpose of a suspense account is to hold amounts that cannot be categorised, so it would not be possible for each department to have a suspense account.

Each week he purchases some of the materials needed to manufacture the bakery’s products and he pays for them with the company’s debit card. Last week he purchased a new refrigerator for $300 but due to his busy schedule he failed to send the receipt of the transaction to his accountant. The bookkeeper is unsure whether to debit the office machines account or the electronic appliances account.

On investigation, she discovered that it was a direct debit for a subscription to an IT support service. The payment relates to IT support services which Michelle will make use of from 1 September 20X8 to 31 August 20X9. Suspense accounts and error correction are popular topics for examiners because they test candidates’ understanding of bookkeeping principles so well. A suspense account is a temporary holding account for a bookkeeping entry that will end up somewhere else once the final and correct account is determined. All suspense account items should be eliminated by the end of the fiscal year.

suspense accounting

When you find out the invoice, close the suspense account and move the amount to the correct account. When you open an accounting suspense account, the transaction is considered in suspense. This keeps uncategorized transactions separate from categorized transactions. Investing and brokerage suspense accounts temporarily hold investors’ funds until the money is allocated towards the purchase of new investments. A suspense account is an account temporarily used in general ledger to carry doubtful amounts which can either be a payment or a receipt.

Otherwise, a company is issuing financial statements that contain unidentified transactions, and which are therefore incorrect. Regularly review the items in a suspense account, with the objective of shifting transactions into their appropriate accounts as soon as possible. Otherwise, the amounts in the account can grow to quite substantial proportions, and be very difficult to deal with months later, especially if there is minimal documentation of why transactions were initially placed in the account.

To respond and lead amid supply chain challenges demands on accounting teams in manufacturing companies are higher than ever. Guide your business with agility by standardizing processes, automating routine work, and increasing visibility. To mitigate financial statement risk and increase operational effectiveness, consumer goods organizations are turning to modern accounting and leading best practices. Simply sticking with ‘the way it’s always been done’ is a thing of the past. Make the most of your team’s time by automating accounts receivables tasks and using data to drive priority, action, and results. On the other hand, if the borrower has overpaid, the loan servicer may not know where the extra money should go, so they need clarification from the borrower.

suspense accounting

BlackLine’s glossary provides descriptions for industry words and phrases, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources. F&A leadership can have a significant impact by creating sustainable, scalable processes that can support the business before, during, and long after the IPO. This company-wide effort crosses multiple functional areas and is reinforced by critical project management and a strong technology infrastructure. Adapt forrester total economic impact study and innovate with a hyperconnected Accounting function and give everyone the insights and freedom to thrive by connecting your data, processes, and teams with intelligent automation solutions for accounting needs. Retailers are recalibrating their strategies and investing in innovative business models to drive transformation quickly, profitably, and at scale. Save time, reduce risk, and create capacity to support your organization’s strategic objectives.

Drive accuracy in the financial close by providing a streamlined method to substantiate your balance sheet. Required

Explain how each of the above errors and omissions has impacted the accounts, prepare any journal entries necessary to correct them and illustrate the impact of these corrections on the suspense account where applicable. An accountant was instructed to record a significant number of journal entries written by the controller of a large company. Unfortunately, there was one amount that did not have an account designated. In order to complete the assignment by the deadline, the accountant recorded the “mystery” amount in the general ledger Suspense account.