Accounts Payable and Notes Payable
An accounts payable is a liability that is short term, usually between two weeks and one month, while notes payable is a liability that has a longer term, the shortest of which is six months.
Accounts payable is based on good faith and requires no written agreement other than a sales invoice while notes payable requires a written contract which must be signed by the debtor and which states the terms of the account.
Accounts payable is not charged with interest or other fees while notes payable have a specific interest rate and service charges. Notes payable are usually offered by banks and other financial institutions while accounts payable are offered by suppliers of goods and services.
Difference between Accounts Payable and Notes Payable
|Definition||Accounts Payable is the obligation that a business owes to its creditors for buying goods and services.||Note payable is a written promissory note under which a borrower obtains a specific amount of money from a lender and promises to pay it back with interest over a predetermined time period.|
|Mode of agreement||Accounts Payable is an informal and verbal agreement.||Notes Payable is a formal and written agreement.|
|Origin||It originates from the purchase of tradable items or inventories.||It originates from the purchase of tradable items or inventories and it may also evolve in case of the purchase of long-lived assets or borrowing or to satisfy the existing obligation.|
|Terms||There are no specific terms such as maturity period, or interest rate included with accounts payable.||There are specific terms such as maturity period, and interest rate included with notes payable.|
|Interest||There is no interest associated with the accounts payable.||Interest is explicitly or implicitly involved with notes payable.|
|Time||It is a short-term liability.||It may be short-term or long-term liability.|
|Risk of customer||It is created in the case of low-risk customers.||It is created in case of high-risk customers.|
|Possibility||Accounts payable can be converted into notes payable.||Notes payable can be never converted into accounts payable.|
Accounts Payable and Notes Payable are both forms of liabilities on a company’s balance sheet, representing amounts that the company owes to others. However, they differ in terms of their nature, usage, and some key characteristics:
- Accounts Payable (AP): Accounts payable are short-term liabilities that arise from everyday operational activities, such as purchasing goods and services on credit. These are typically informal agreements, often in the form of invoices from suppliers or vendors. They are considered current liabilities because they are expected to be paid off within a year.
- Notes Payable (NP): Notes payable, on the other hand, are formal written agreements or promissory notes issued by a company to a creditor, usually for a specific amount of money. These agreements often have specific terms and interest rates, and they can be short-term or long-term liabilities, depending on the maturity date of the note.
- Accounts Payable (AP): AP is typically documented through invoices or bills from suppliers. These are usually less formal and don’t involve the creation of a promissory note.
- Notes Payable (NP): NP involves the creation of a formal written contract or promissory note, specifying the terms of the loan, including the principal amount, interest rate, maturity date, and repayment schedule.
- Accounts Payable (AP): AP generally does not involve interest charges. Suppliers may offer credit terms with early payment discounts, but there is no formal interest associated with AP.
- Notes Payable (NP): NP often includes interest charges. When a company borrows money through a promissory note, they typically agree to pay interest on the principal amount until the note matures.
- Accounts Payable (AP): AP represents short-term obligations related to routine business operations, such as purchasing inventory, office supplies, or services on credit.
- Notes Payable (NP): NP is typically used for more significant financing needs, such as funding capital investments, expanding operations, or addressing long-term financial requirements.
- Accounts Payable (AP): AP is usually reported under current liabilities on the balance sheet since it’s expected to be settled within a year.
- Notes Payable (NP): NP may be reported under current liabilities if it has a short-term maturity, or it can be classified as long-term debt if the maturity extends beyond a year.
In summary, Accounts Payable represents short-term obligations arising from everyday business transactions and is usually informal. Notes Payable, on the other hand, is a formal written agreement, often involving interest charges, and can be used for both short-term and long-term financing needs.