Notes Payable vs. Accounts Payable (With FAQs)

Notes payable are written contracts that typically serve the purpose of paying debts through credit companies and financial institutions, whereas accounts payable involves the suppliers of goods and services.

Notes Payable (Definition) | Difference Between Note Payable & Account Payable

What is accounts payable?

Another account that frequently appears on a company’s general ledger is accounts payable. When a business uses credit to buy goods or services, this type of account is used to record those transactions. Accounts Payable is regarded as a liability account with a typically positive balance, just like Notes Payable. The cash account is credited and the accounts payable account is debited when a business settles a credit with a lender or creditor.

The majority of businesses settle their accounts payable within a year so that they can list them as a current liability on their balance sheet. It is crucial to keep an accurate accounts payable account because it can have a big impact on a company’s credit score, reputation, and dependability in the eyes of creditors and vendors.

What is notes payable?

When a company enters into a promissory note agreement, the company borrowing the funds and issuing the note unconditionally promises to pay the vendor or financial institution back for the debt or asset acquired. A predetermined amount of principal and any applicable interest will also be included in the note by the borrower up until the payment is made. Typically, the promissory note will outline the precise maturity date, interest rate, and any restrictions imposed by the creditor or lender.

All promissory notes issued by a company to lenders or vendors are recorded in notes payable. The business credits the notes payable account while debiting cash or another asset from this account because it serves as a liability account.

A company can see a representation of the full amount still owing on promissory notes it has issued by looking at the notes payable account. The majority of promissory notes have a one-year payment schedule. This means that on the company’s balance sheet, the business will show the full balance of the notes payable account as an existing liability.

Notes payable vs. accounts payable: what’s the difference?

Following are six key distinctions between accounts payable and notes payable:


In addition to other financial terms, the following are some frequently asked questions about the distinctions between notes payable and accounts payable:

What are examples of accounts payable and notes payable?

Accounts payable utilizes assets that are regarded as liabilities by the company, such as:

Meanwhile, notes payable details loans to the company. This is represented by cash accounts, notes payable accounts, interest expense accounts, and interest payable accounts on a company’s balance sheet.

What is interest payable?

When a business borrows money from a lender, it accrues interest payable, also known as accrued interest. You can determine the amount of interest owed by multiplying your outstanding notes by the periodic interest rate. Keeping track of interest payable, a liability, enables a business to make timely debt payments.

How do I record notes payable?

Make sure to record all relevant details along with the total amount owed when creating a note in the notes payable section of your general ledger, such as:

Can an accounts payable entry be converted to a notes payable entry?

A company’s lenders or creditors may request a promissory note for the unpaid balance if they anticipate that it will soon run out of money and be unable to pay its accounts payable. This enables the business to make the owed payment later than originally planned.

Accounts payable will be debited while notes payable is credited as a result of the transfer of the promissory note that represents that account to the notes payable account. It is advantageous for both parties when an accounts payable account is changed into a notes payable account because the business has more time to pay back the debt and the lender is compensated with interest.


Which comes first notes payable or accounts payable?

Long-term liabilities known as notes payable represent the sums that a business owes its financiers, including banks and other financial institutions as well as other sources of funding like friends and family. They are long-term because they must be paid back after a year, though typically within five.

What is the difference between accounts receivable and notes payable?

Always considered short-term liabilities that must be paid off within a year are accounts payable. Accounts payable can be converted into notes payable with the consent and understanding of all parties involved, even though notes payable are typically not converted into accounts payable.

Which type of account are accounts payable and notes payable both examples of?

Notes payable are the sums that a business owes to another company, typically a supplier or vendor, as opposed to notes receivable, which are the sums that customers owe a business.

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