Temporary Account

What is a Temporary Account?

Temporary accounts are nominal accounts that start with zero balance at the beginning of all the financial year, at the end of the year balance of the same are visible in the income statement and then the balance will be transferred to the permanent account in the form of reserves and surplus. Thus, accounts that are part of the Income statement are temporary accounts and are periodically closed.

Types of Temporary Account

Following are its types –

#1 – Revenues and Gains

Revenue and gains earned by the entity need to be closed at the end of every year. Thus, account like Sales account, Service Revenue account, Interest Income account, dividend income account, Profit on sale of an asset accountAn Asset AccountAsset Accounts are one of the categories in the General Ledger Accounts holding all the credit & debit details of a Company’s assets. The examples include Short-Term Investments, Prepaid Expenses, Supplies, Land, equipment, furniture & fixtures etc. read more, discount income account, etc. are the type of temporary accounts getting covered under Revenue and Gains

#2 – Losses and Expenses

Expenses are at the core of all businesses. Hence, as discussed in revenue, expenses also need to be clear at the end of the year to verify the net outflow of the cash for the given period. Thus, accounts like Cost of sales accountCost Of Sales AccountThe costs directly attributable to the production of the goods that are sold in the firm or organization are referred to as the cost of sales.read more, Salaries expense account, interest expense account, Delivery expense account, Purchase account, etc. are the type of temporary accounts getting covered under Losses and Gains

#3 – Drawing Account or Income Summary Account

At the end of the year, the summary of the Income statement is transferred to the capital accountThe Capital AccountThe capital account refers to the general ledger that records the transactions related to owners funds, i.e. their contributions earnings earned by the business till date after reduction of any distributions such as dividends. It is reported in the balance sheet under the equity side as “shareholders’ equity.”read more in sole proprietorship and in partnership. While in corporate, the income statement summary is getting credited to Reserves and Surplus in the form of a corporate dividendDividendDividends refer to the portion of business earnings paid to the shareholders as gratitude for investing in the company’s equity.read more. Without these entries, books cannot be closed. Hence, entries with the nature of such adjustments are considered as closing entries, and they are passed in the temporary accounts.

Temporary Account Examples

Example #1

Example #2

Difference Between Temporary Account and Permanent Account

PointsTemporary AccountPermanent Account
Closure of accountIt is getting closed at the end of every year.These accounts are never getting closed.
Income statement Vs. Balance sheetAll the income statement accounts are temporary accounts.All the balance sheetThe Balance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company.read more accounts are Permanent accounts.
Carry forward of balancesThe balances of these accounts are not carried forward.Balances of Permanent accounts are carried forward to next year.
Brought forward of balancesNo carried forward of balances. Therefore, no brought forward of balances.The permanent account may or may not have brought forward balances.
Also known asThey are also known Nominal accountsNominal AccountsNominal Accounts are the general ledger accounts which are closed by the end of an accounting period. Their balance at the end of period comes to zero so they don't appear in the balance sheet.read more.They are also known as Permanent Account.
Post-closing  trial balance existenceAfter the preparation of the trial balance, the balance of all such accounts will be zero.Post-closing trial balancePost-closing Trial BalancePost Closing Trial Balance is the list of the all the balance sheet items along with their balances excluding the zero balance accounts and is used for the purpose of verification that temporary accounts are properly closed and the total of balances of all the debit accounts and all the credit accounts are equal.read more, there will be only a permanent account as it will have balances to be carried forward.
ExampleSales Account, Purchase Account, expense account, income account, etc.;Asset account, liability accountLiability AccountLiability is a financial obligation as a result of any past event which is a legal binding. Settling of a liability requires an outflow of an economic resource mostly money, and these are shown in the balance of the company.read more, capital account, etc.;

How to Close the Temporary Account?

It is always mandatory to close all temporary accounts and record the net change to the Owner’s capital account. This can be achieved by passing the journal entries and posting the same to respective ledgers, balancing the same, and then passing closing entries for all temporary accounts. An Income Summary account prepared to show the summary of revenue and expense accounts and discloses the profits and losses of the entity for the given period.

Below are the steps to be followed to close these accounts


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For eg:
Source: Temporary Account (wallstreetmojo.com)


These are prepared to avoid a mix-up of the balances between two or more accounting periodsAccounting PeriodsAccounting Period refers to the period in which all financial transactions are recorded and financial statements are prepared. This might be quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the period for which you want to create the financial statements to be presented to investors so that they can track and compare the company's overall performance.read more. The main objective here is to see the profits or gains, as well as the accounting activity of individual periods. It is very much important to classify any account under a temporary account diligently because if any asset account is wrongly considered then, it will erode the asset base of the entity.

This article has been a guide to What is a Temporary Account and it’s Definition. Here we discuss temporary account examples along with types and how these accounts can be closed. You can learn more about accounting from the following articles –

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