Bookkeeping

What Does it Mean to Be “Paid in Arrears?”

bill in arrears

Each catch-up payment you send after the period it is due is a payment in arrears. When vendors agree to be paid in arrears, it becomes easier to create and stick to a budget, since you know in advance what amount is due and when. Noting that a certain bill is due on the first day of each month allows you to control your cash flow and make sure that you have the funds needed for payment. Different circumstances call for different types of payments, including paying in arrears. The majority of companies choose this option when setting up their accounting systems since it allows for more control over the final numbers.

Before issuing paychecks, accounting departments are able to factor in employee circumstances such as paid and unpaid time off, tips, commissions and overtime. Having the correct numbers to work with ends up saving businesses both time and money in the long run, since errors are less likely to occur. In the financial industry, “in arrears” means that a payment is behind. Some of the most common types of payments to be in arrears include payroll, mortgage, rent, car payment, child support, credit card, and taxes. When payrolls are in arrears, the previous week’s (or some other period’s) payments are processed and paid out to employees as opposed to wages earned during the current period. Current pay would instead occur as payroll and processed each period as it ends.

“Arrears” in the context of overdue payments

The two most popular types of billing processes conducted by small businesses are billing in advance and billing in arrears. Simply put, billing in advance is collecting payments before delivering a product or service. As a small business owner, paying for goods and services from your suppliers in arrears can help to ensure sufficient cash flow and offers a greater level of flexibility.

Moving onto the next example, we see that arrears is not solely used to describe payroll. Arrears refers to a debt or payment that is still outstanding after the payment due date has passed. Tim McMahon began publishing the “Moore Inflation Predictor” and “Financial Trend Forecaster” newsletter in 1995 and has published it every month since.

What does it mean to bill in arrears?

There are a variety of reasons you or others may make late payments in arrears. Perhaps you fail to record the invoice correctly or lack the funds to pay. When you receive a bill and don’t send the payment by the due date, your payment is in arrears. For example, let’s say you have recurring payments to your landlord for rent, and $3,000 is taken out monthly for your commercial property space.

In this situation, the custodial parent used public assistance because they didn’t receive the child support they need to care for their child. You also have a lot of expenses when you are a small business owner, like rent, supplies, and payroll. Vendors might send you invoices instead of requiring immediate payment. From time to time, you might be billed in arrears or make a payment in arrears. Employees generally understand that in order to receive their agreed-upon salary, there will be a lapse between the work being done and actually getting paid for it. In the majority of instances, being paid in arrears allows an employer anywhere from two weeks to 30 days to complete employee payout.

Tips for paying in arrears

Accounts can also be in arrears for things like car payments, utilities, and child support—any time you have a payment due that you miss. The best way to keep cash flow running smoothly, is to have a good handle on the bookkeeping process, whichever bill in arrears type of billing you choose for your business. Invoices must go out to customers in a timely manner and you need to know which invoices are unpaid and in arrears. Arrears payroll payments give you time to accurately record employees’ hours.

  • The largest benefit businesses reap from paying in arrears is maintaining accurate payroll and bookkeeping numbers.
  • The paid dividends will be recorded as a short-term liability in the balance sheet.
  • From time to time, you might be billed in arrears or make a payment in arrears.
  • Billing in arrears means you charge customers after you’ve provided a service or good.
  • His age alone should give pause, and there may be a recipe for internal combustibility if the Bills take a step back next year.
  • One benefit of paying in current is that it is likely to increase employees’ understanding of and satisfaction with your organization’s payroll system.

It’s a strange-to-pronounce and possibly unfamiliar term, but being paid in arrears is a common practice that you have likely experienced at some point. Simply put, it means to pay for goods or services after the terms have been met or the due date has passed. It’s not unusual to see paid in arrears pop up in small business accounting or payroll, and there are several other instances where you may find yourself interacting with this term. It’s also important to comply with local, state, and federal labor laws when processing payroll. This also allows this accumulating cash to earn interest for the company before it is paid out. There are also instances where bills or liabilities come due after the service has been provided such as utility bills, property taxes, and employee salaries.

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