Interest Expense

What is Interest Expense?

Interest expense represents an amount of interest payable on any borrowings which includes loans, bonds or other lines of credit and its associated costs are shown on the income statement. These expenses highlight interest accrued during the period and not the interest amount paid over the time period.


Interest expense is usually calculated as the interest rate times the outstanding debt balance.

Interest Expense = Average Balance of Debt Obligation x Interest Rate.
Interest Expense 1

How is Interest Expense Recorded in the Income Statement?

It is reported after the Operating income vs. EBIT, as shown in the income statement below.

Interest Expense Income Statement

source: Apple SEC filings


Let us look at the below instance for a clear understanding of such an expense under the accrual method:

Assume a company borrows $125,000 on January 15 and agrees to pay interest amount on the 15th of every month from February 20. The loan indicates interest is 2% per month on the loan balance. The interest expense for month of January shall be [125,000 * 2%* 0.5 month] = $1,250.

Interest for month of February = $125,000 *2% * 1 = $2,500

  • It should be noted that interest on the debt is not paid on a daily basis, and a firm must record an adjusting entry to accrue this expense and to report interest payable.
  • Extending the above example, the loan was commenced from January 15, so for that month, only interest for remaining days (0.5 months) would be considered.

Interest Expense Journal Entries

Let us look at the below examples of journal entries of interest expense:

Monthly Journal Entry –

Example 1.1

(This signifies cash amount paid out against interest recording)

Postpaid Journal Entry –

Example 1.2

(Interest payment is recorded as a liability and amount is to be paid)

Prepaid Journal Entry –

Example 1.3

(Cash paid in advance for interest payable in the future)

How to record in the Balance Sheet?

Where to record in Cash Flow Statements?

  • As the net profit or loss reported by the firm’s cash flow statement includes these expenses the business has paid during a given time period, the amount paid appears as a separate line item on the company’s cash flow statement, and the appropriate expense will appear under the income statement.
  • The interest amount paid on loans (short term and long term debt) is recorded under Operating activities in the cash flow. However, the principal amounts borrowed and that repaid are separately included under financing activities. Since loan amounts are borrowed money and not an income from the sale of goods or services, they are a part of the cash flow statement but not the income statement.

Interest and Tax Shield

The interest reduces the overall taxes in the income statement and thus can be used as a way to reduce tax liabilities (also called a tax shield).

For example, a firm with no Debt and EBT [Earnings Before Tax] of $2 million (tax rate @30%), the tax payable will be $600,000.

If the same firm assumes a debt and has an interest of say $500,000, the new Earnings before Profit would be $1.5 million [$2million – $500,000]. This will make their taxes payable $500,000 [$1.5mm*30%].

Thus, there is a tax shield of $600,000 – $500,000 = $100,000.

Net Interest Expense


source: Colgate SEC filings

Net interest expense is the Total Interest net of any interest income that a company receives on Investments.  On a financial statement, the income can be listed separately from expenses or provide a net interest number, which is either positive or negative.

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This has been a guide to what is Interest Expense in the Income Statement and its meaning. Here we discuss how to record interest expense in income statement & balance sheet along with its journal entries. You may learn more about accounting from the following articles –

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