Accounts Receivable

The term accounts receivable is not a budgetary term but rather an accounting term. It is an amount that is owed by one entity to another, usually by indicated by issuing an invoice  due to be paid within a certain period of time. These are legally enforceable claims for payment for services rendered or material provided, but for which  payment has not been made. This is a term used by the Government Accountability Office in its operations and appears in its Glossary of Terms, but is not defined in budget-related statute.

GAO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (September 2005)

Account Receivable

Amounts due from others for goods furnished and services rendered. Such amounts include reimbursements earned and refunds receivable. This is a proprietary (or financial) accounting and not a budget term. Accounts receivable do not constitute budget authority against which an agency may incur an obligation. For federal proprietary accounting, accounts receivable are assets that arise from specifically identifiable, legally enforceable claims to cash or other assets through an entity’s established assessment processes or when goods or services are provided. (See also Accounts PayableProprietary Accountingapp. III.)

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Accounts Payable


Accrual Accounting