Accruals and Deferrals

The University of San Francisco operates largely on a “cash basis” throughout much of the fiscal year recognizing revenue and expense as cash changes hands. At year end, financial statements are compiled using the “accrual basis” of accounting. The accrual basis of accounting recognizes revenues and expenses when the goods and services are delivered regardless of the timing for the exchange of cash. The year end closing process is used to convert the books from a cash to accrual basis. This results in recognition of accrued expenses, accounts receivables, deferred revenue, and prepaid assets. Accruals occur when the exchange of cash follows the delivery of goods or services (accrued expense & accounts receivable). Deferrals occur when the exchange of cash precedes the delivery of goods and services (prepaid expense & deferred revenue). Journal entries are booked to properly recognize revenue and expense in the correct fiscal year.


Expenses are recognized throughout the year as the payment is made to the vendor. At the end of the fiscal year, many vendor invoices are received in early June for goods and services that were delivered on or before May 31st. In order to properly expense them in the correct fiscal year, an accrual must be booked by a journal entry. Invoices that require an accrual are identified by Disbursement Services when the invoices are processed for payment. A copy of the invoice is forwarded to the Accounting Department to create the journal entry to recognize the expense and the liability (accrued expense). Business Managers should review their preliminary monthly close report to ensure that all expenses for have been properly recognized in the current fiscal year. Business Managers must notify the Accounting Department of any money owed to the University for services that were rendered prior to the end of the year. The Accounting Department will also book a receivable and recognize revenue for cash receipts that follow the delivery of goods/services and exchange of cash as explained above. A common example of accounts receivable are Contribution Receivables for pledges made by donors.


Deferrals occur when the exchange of cash precedes the delivery of goods and services. When the University is the provider of the service, we recognize a liability entitled Deferred Revenue. Then, in the subsequent fiscal year, we relieve the liability and recognize the revenue as the services are provided. A common example of this is Summer Housing deposits and Summer Camp registration fees. These fees are collected in the Spring (prior to May 31st) while the service (the camp or event) does not occur until sometime in the new fiscal year. These fees should be deposited directly into a Deferred Revenue account. Please contact the Accounting Department for the correct Banner FOAP number for deferred revenue items.

Thresholds for Recognition

Accrued Expenses and Accounts Receivable will be recorded for all goods and services over $1000.

Prepaid Expenses will be recognized for all expenses over $1000.

Deferred revenue will be recognized for all revenues over $1000 in aggregate (i.e.: by total revenue for the program not individual payments)