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Notes payable are written promissory notes. Borrowers gain a specific amount of money from a lender and promise to pay it back with interest over a set period. The interest rate can be fixed over the life of a note or vary in conjunction with the interest rate charged by a lender to its best customers (the prime rate). In contrast, for accounts payable, there is no promissory note or interest rate to be paid. However, a penalty may be assessed if a payment is made after the due date. 

Some examples of notes payable are credit card payments or loans from banks. Notes payable is usually on balance sheets as a short-term liability if it is due within the next 12 months. If it is due later, it is considered a long-term liability. Short-term notes payable are current liabilities and can heavily impact the liquidity of a business. On the other hand, long-term notes are similar to bonds payable since their principal amount is due on maturity. Still, the interest is usually paid during the life of the note. 

To create an enforceable promissory note, it should include the following components: the loan amount, repayment dates, interest rate, default terms, names of the lender and borrower, mailing address where each payment is mailed, and a section where the borrower prints, signs, and dates the promissory note. Notes payable generally tackles notes payable. Some instances of this include the purchase of equipment or funding the development of a new product line. Accurately recording notes payable is crucial since it can affect the accuracy of your financial statements. You should be able to view business expenses and understand why certain payments are made. 

What are Notes Payable? 

Notes payable is a promissory note promising to pay a certain amount of money by a specific date. Businesses receiving the loan can issue them, or financial institutions like banks can give them. Both parties generally sign promissory notes. Promissory notes may be distributed in the following instances: when you purchase materials in bulk from suppliers or manufacturers, buy a manufacturing plant, building, or equipment for your business, or receive a significant loan from a bank or financial institution. Any time promissory notes are issued, your business bookkeeper or accountant should classify them as notes payable. Notes payable are written promises to repay loans and clarify the exact terms of the agreement. Some clauses include the amount that needs to be repaid, the due date for each payment, the interest rate included, and the amount of interest that should be repaid.

What are the examples of Notes Payable? 

Suppose Tina borrows $5,000 from Keisha to secure a down payment for her new restaurant’s mortgage. She signs the note as the maker and vows to make payments to Keisha every month in $500 installments and $50 for interest until she pays off the note. Based on this information, she should have several things listed on her balance sheet. The loan amount of $5,000 will be noted as a debit to notes payable and as a credit to the cash account. Then, the interest amount ($50) will be recorded as a debit to interest payable and a credit to the cash account. Accounts payable are always under current liabilities on balance sheets, along with other short-term liabilities like credit card payments. But, notes payable is either in the current liabilities or long-term liabilities section, depending on whether the balance is due within one year.

What are the Components of Notes Payable? 

Notes payables are liabilities and represent the amount businesses owe to a third party. The main characteristic that differentiates a note payable from other liabilities is that it is issued as a promissory note. For promissory notes, the business that supplied the note (issuer) promises to pay an amount of money (principal and interest) to a third party (payee) at a given time or on demand.

The components of notes payable includes:

  • Payee
  • Interest Rate
  • Maturation Date
  • Payer
  • Sum to be Paid
  • Signature and Date
  • The sum to be paid: The balance on notes payable represents the sum that must be paid. Since issuers are required to pay interest, the issuing company will have interest expenses.
  • The interest rate on loans: Businesses must always acknowledge the interest percentage on loans. That amount is documented in the interest expense account as a debit entry.
  • The maturation date: The maturation date is when the note is payable. If you cannot meet the requirements of your loan by this point, you can talk to your lender about an extension.
  • The note’s creator’s name (payer): Each party has to list their name on promissory notes. The note creator must place their name on the letter to ensure that the information listed is accurate and that the agreement is in effect.
  • The payee’s name: The payee is the person or entity for whom the note is payable. It is the person who gets paid and is addressed in any documentation.
  • The signature and date of the person who issued the note: The signature and date are crucial for any written agreements between two parties. The note issuer must place their signature and the date on the form to confirm the terms of the agreement listed on the promissory note.

1. The sum to be paid 

The sum to be paid is what someone owes when they borrow money. This can be the case for an individual or a business. It is crucial to be aware of this amount and follow through on paying it off. Promissory notes are binding contracts with terms you must obey. If you fail to meet the terms, you can face the consequences and affect your finances.

2. The interest rate on the loan 

The interest rate on a loan is the fee charged for using the money. It is usually shown as a percentage of the principal. Interest rates fluctuate for each loan depending on who issued it and what you are gaining from the loan. These rates can affect how long it takes to tackle payments and whether you can incur more debt. Always aim to take out loans with the lowest interest rate possible.

3. The maturation date 

The maturation date is the due date on which the note is payable. Basically, it is a deadline for settling a financial agreement. One party owes another party a certain amount of money by the maturation date. People usually pay off the sum in installments rather than one lump sum by this date. However, there are some exceptions, and the concept of a maturity date applies to various financial sectors.

4. The note’s creator’s name (payer) 

The payer is an individual or company that owes another party a sum of money. They have agreed to the terms of a financial contract to pay it off by a certain date. Their name should be correctly stated on all records to ensure accuracy and avoid confusion moving forward. The payer is liable for all payments and must follow all of the terms to be able to borrow another loan in the future and not incur more debt.

5. The payee’s name 

The payee is the person or business receiving a payable note. It is key to have the payee’s name and other information correct on documents. You will need to identify who the money is going to and clarify how much they need to receive. The first step is to list the payee’s name free of errors. 

6. The signature and date of the person who issued the note. 

The person who issued the note should include a date and signature. Since notes payable are promissory notes, these two things make it official. Promissory notes are written agreements toward financial obligations between two parties. The issuer should include a signature and date on the record to avoid confusion, discrepancies, and fraud.

When should Notes Payable be paid? 

Notes payable can be short-term or long-term. Records usually specify the principal amount, due date, and interest in notes payable accounts. Short-term notes are due within 12 months, while long-term ones are due after a year. Short-term notes are listed under current liabilities on balance sheets. In contrast, long-term notes are categorized as long-term liabilities on balance sheets. An important thing to note, the current portion of long-term notes payable is classified as a current liability.

How to Calculate Notes Payable? 

A note payable only considers the principal of a loan and does not include any interest. The note payable is an amount showing your company owes credit. As you pay off the principal, you will reduce your notes payable over time. It is filed under current liabilities if you pay it off in less than a year. But if it takes longer than a year, it is a long-term liability. 

Step 1. 

Find the amortization table for the note payable. Every time you take out a loan, your bank should give you an amortization table. It will show the total principal paid off up to each payment. 

Step 2.

Locate the current payment on your amortization table. For instance, if you made 13 payments, go to the 13th row. Pick out the principal paid from that row. In this example, assume your principal paid is $20,000.

Step 3.

Subtract the principal paid from the original amount borrowed. Suppose you borrowed $200,000. So, $200,000 minus $20,000 equals $180,000 notes payable you have remaining.

If you do not have an amortization table, your bill for the note payable may have the total principal paid. If this is not the case, each bill should break down the payment between principal and interest. You will only need to add up the total principal paid from these bills.

Where are Notes Payable recorded on the balance sheet? 

Notes payable are recorded on balance sheets based on specific criteria. This criterion includes the amount due within one year of the balance sheet date will be a current liability. And, the amount not due within one year will be a noncurrent or long-term liability. Notes payable is recorded under the current or long-term liabilities section depending on the type. Companies should disclose relevant information for amounts owed on notes. Interest rates, maturity dates, collateral pledges, and limitations imposed by creditors are all critical information. 

To correctly record notes payable, look over your balance sheet and examine which section applies to what you need to document. You need the following accounts to record items: cash, interest expense, interest payable, and notes payable. For instance, if your company borrows money under a note payable, debit your cash account for the amount of cash received and credit your notes payable account for the liability. When you repay the loan, you will debit your notes payable account and credit your cash account.

Is Notes Payable a Long-Term Liability? 

Notes payable is not a long-term liability. It is a promissory note or formal agreement between two parties. This agreement can occur between your business and a bank, financial institution, or another lender. However, notes payables are classified as either short-term or long-term liabilities depending on the repayment terms listed in the promissory note. When a note’s maturity is more than one year in the future, it is deemed a long-term liability. In essence, all notes payables are not considered long-term liabilities.

Is Notes Payable a Debt? 

Notes payable is evidence of debt. Businesses report them as either a current or long-term liability on balance sheets. Also, it offers capital to businesses. But, similar to other debts and obligations, the liability detracts from a business’s total equity. The liabilities section on balance sheets breaks down a company’s debts. Therefore, it is crucial that the notes payable is as accurate as possible and lists all applicable terms. That will ensure that correct information is available under certain sections of balance sheets. Companies must know if there are any outstanding balances, what has been paid off, and the upcoming payments over the next 12 months.

What is the Difference Between Accounts Payable and Notes Payable? 

Accounts and notes payable are liability accounts representing the amount due and payable to a vendor or financial institution. However, they have several differences. Accounts payable records liabilities in the form of purchases on credit from business suppliers, while notes payable is an account that highlights the specifics of a borrowed account in note form. Notes payable generally has a written promise to repay what was borrowed (with interest) by a set date. But accounts payable does not have that. The main difference between these two is the inclusion or lack of a written promise. Additionally, notes payable involves four different accounts when repaying a loan (cash, notes payable, interest expense, and interest payable). Accounts payable refers to individual items considered liabilities to a business.