Liabilities Meaning, List Top 3 Types of Liabilities in Accounting


Keeping track of liabilities is required to ensure you have sufficient funds to pay them off on time. A larger company likely incurs a wider variety of debts while a smaller business has fewer liabilities. If you have more debts, you’ll have higher liabilities. Paying off your debts helps lower your business’s liabilities. Another example of a contingent liability is a warranty.

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.

Even if it’s just the electric bill and rent for your office, they still need to be tracked and recorded. In the interest of not messing up your books, it’s best to wait until the end of the year to delete old accounts. Merging or renaming accounts can create headaches come tax season. A chart of accounts is the filing cabinet you’ll find at the heart of your accounting system. Christine Aebischer is an assistant assigning editor on the small-business team at NerdWallet who has covered business and personal finance for nearly a decade.

What is a Liability?

It is recorded on the liabilities side of the company’s balance sheet as the non-current liability. As long as you haven’t made any mistakes in your bookkeeping, your liabilities should all be waiting for you on your balance sheet. If you’re doing it manually, you’ll just add up every liability in your general ledger and total it on your balance sheet. While both reflect money owed to an outside source, current liabilities represent money owed that is due within the next 12 months.

accounting software

It compares your total liabilities to your total assets to tell you how leveraged—or, how burdened by debt—your business is. That’s why accounts payable is considered a current liability, while your mortgage would be considered a long-term liability. Notes payable is similar to accounts payable; the difference is the presence of a written promise to pay. A formal loan agreement that has payment terms that extend beyond a year are considered notes payable.

Examples of liabilities

You’ll need to make extra money to pay off this long-term debt. But sometimes assets and liabilities aren’t that easy to identify. We’ll break them down into long-term and short-term liabilities.


For example, in most cases, if a wine supplier sells a case of wine to a restaurant, it does not demand payment when it delivers the goods. Rather, it invoices the restaurant for the purchase to streamline the drop-off and make paying easier for the restaurant. A note payable is a long-term contract to borrow money from a creditor. The most common notes payable are mortgages and personal notes.

Non-Current Liabilities

He is the sole author of all the materials on Assets — The resources with economic value that can be sold for money upon liquidation and/or are anticipated to bring positive monetary benefits in the future. Contingent liabilities are a special category of liabilities. They are possible liabilities that may or may not arise, depending on the outcome of an uncertain future event.


For accounting purposes, a contingent liability is only recorded if a liability is probable and if the amount can be reasonably estimated. As a business owner, it’s likely that you already have some liabilities related to your company. A liability is anything that results in debt or is a potential risk, and it is used in key ratios to determine your organization’s financial health. Track your debts on the right-hand side of your balance sheet. List short-term liabilities first on your balance sheet. Record noncurrent or long-term liabilities after your short-term liabilities.

The of a business must be recorded and accounted for to keep track of all costs. In order for the business to keep track of what is owed to others, they should be recorded within the business’s accounts and financial statements. The balance sheet, for example, consists of both the liabilities of a company, as well as its assets.

  • Charts of accounts should be organized with simplicity in mind.
  • Compensation may impact the order of which offers appear on page, but our editorial opinions and ratings are not influenced by compensation.
  • These accounts for an individual are referred to as the Assets.
  • Your organization would fall into a solvency crisis if you are unable to pay the long-term liabilities when they are due.
  • List your long-term liabilities separately on your balance sheet.
  • A larger company likely incurs a wider variety of debts while a smaller business has fewer liabilities.

INVESTMENT BANKING RESOURCESLearn the foundation of Investment banking, financial modeling, valuations and more. Bank Account overdrafts – These are the facilities given normally by a bank to their customers to use the excess credit when they don’t have sufficient funds. Accounts payable –are payables to suppliers concerning the invoices raised when the company utilizes goods or services. Some of the examples of Liabilities are Accounts payable, Expenses payable, Salaries Payable, Interest payable. Although average debt ratios vary widely by industry, if you have a debt ratio of 40% or lower, you’re probably in the clear. If you have a debt ratio of 60% or higher, investors and lenders might see that as a sign that your business has too much debt.

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