Deferred revenue is a type of liability that a subscription-based business records on its balance sheet when it receives payment for goods or services that have not been delivered. In other words, it represents an amount of money that a company has received from a customer but has not yet been earned. This concept is especially important in subscription and billing management.
In a subscription and billing business, deferred revenue represents the amount of revenue that a company has received for a subscription service that has not yet been earned. For example, if a company receives a payment for a one-year subscription in advance, the entire amount would be recorded as deferred revenue until the company provides the customer with the service over the course of the year.
Each time the company provides the service, it earns a portion of the deferred revenue, which is then recognized as revenue on the income statement. This process of recognizing revenue over time is known as revenue recognition, and it is an important part of accounting for a subscription and billing business.
Deferred revenue helps to ensure that the company’s financial statements accurately reflect the timing of its revenue recognition and provide a more complete picture of the company’s financial performance. Additionally, tracking deferred revenue can provide valuable insights into the company’s future revenue streams and help with forecasting and budgeting. This information can help the company make informed decisions about its operations, such as investments in new products or services, hiring decisions, and expansion plans.