Types of Liabilities in Accounting Accounts Payable & More


Short-term liabilities are the debts or obligations due within the current period, which is usually one year. This means the bills and other debts owed must be paid within this period. This includes any obligations owed to other businesses, lenders, or customers.


But did you know that there were different types of liabilities? We explain current and long-term liabilities and how each type impacts your business. A chart of accounts is a list of account names used to label transactions and keep tabs on a company’s finances. Think of it as the filing cabinet for your small business’s accounting system. It organizes transactions into groups, which helps track money coming in and out of the company.

What Are Liabilities? Definition and Examples

Your utility bill would be considered a short-term liability. It categorizes transactions into primary accounts like assets, liabilities, equity, expenses and revenue. Sub-accounts can be used to categorize transactions further. A simple way to understand business liabilities is to look at how you pay for anything for your business. You either pay with cash from a checking account or borrow money. All borrowing creates a liability, including using a credit card.

How Do Liabilities Relate to Assets and Equity?

The accounting equation states that—assets = liabilities + equity. As a result, we can re-arrange the formula to read liabilities = assets – equity. Thus, the value of a firm’s total liabilities will equal the difference between the values of total assets and shareholders’ equity. If a firm takes on more liabilities without accumulating additional assets, it must result in a reduction in the value of the firm’s equity position.

Small businesses might record hundreds or thousands of transactions each year. These main accounts help organize transactions into coherent groups that you can use to analyze your business’s financial position. In fact, some of the most important financial reports — the balance sheet and income statement — are generated based on data from the chart of accounts’ main accounts.

Accounting reporting of liabilities

Using Apple’s https://quick-bookkeeping.net/ sheet from 2022, we can see how companies detail current and non-current liabilities in financial statements. The current liability deferred revenues reports the amount of money a company received from a customer for future services or future shipments of goods. Until the company delivers the services or goods, the company has an obligation to deliver them or to refund the customer’s money.

Long-term liabilities are vital for determining your business’s long-term solvency, or ability to meet long-term financial obligations. Your organization would fall into a solvency crisis if you are unable to pay the long-term liabilities when they are due. Suppose you have taken a loan of $10,000 that needs to be paid off in ten years. In that case, the loan amount is considered a long-term liability, while the next 12 month’s worth of interest and principal payments are considered short-term liabilities. There are two main types of liabilities, which include short-term liabilities and long-term liabilities.

The difference between an expense and a liability

Referring again to the AT&T example, there are more items than your garden variety company that may list one or two items. Long-term debt, also known as bonds payable, is usually the largest liability and at the top of the list. In general, a liability is an obligation between one party and another not yet completed or paid for. Current liabilities are usually considered short-term and non-current liabilities are long-term .


The wages he owes these employees count as a liability. Interest accrued on debt that has not yet been invoiced by the lender. Compensation earned but not yet paid to employees as of the balance sheet date.

When they are delivered, the company will reduce this liability and increase its revenues. Other accrued expenses and liabilities is a current liability that reports the amounts that a company has incurred other than the amounts already recorded in Accounts Payable. Generally, liability refers to the state of being responsible for something, and this term can refer to any money or service owed to another party. Tax liability, for example, can refer to the property taxes that a homeowner owes to the municipal government or the income tax he owes to the federal government. When a retailer collects sales tax from a customer, they have a sales tax liability on their books until they remit those funds to the county/city/state.