CURRENT LIABILITIES: Definition, Examples & Calculation

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Calculating how much money your firm owes in debts and other financial obligations is a good approach to assess its short-term financial situation. To do so, you must have a complete understanding of your current liabilities list. This will allow you to determine whether your organization has the financial resources to meet your numerous obligations. We’ll define current liabilities examples, give instances, and explain how they’re used and documented in this post.

What Are Current Liabilities?

Current liabilities (CL) are short-term debts that a corporation must repay within a year. An operating cycle might sometimes last more than a year. A current liability will be payable within the operational cycle’s term in certain cases. The balance sheet shows your company’s current liabilities.

CL can be in a variety of ways, but the most common method is to liquidate current assets such as cash or receivables. Another option to settle present liabilities is to replace them with other liabilities. Understanding your company’s existing assets and liabilities, as well as their relationship, is critical to establishing its financial status. This is because comparing the numbers for both will tell you if your company has the financial resources to pay its debts for the year or operating cycle in question.


Current liabilities are usually settled with current assets, which are assets that are consumed within a year. Cash and accounts receivables, or money owing by consumers for sales, are examples of current assets. The current assets to CL ratio is a crucial factor in determining a company’s capacity to pay its debts on time.

Accounts payable comprises unpaid supplier invoices and is often one of the largest current liability accounts on a company’s financial statements. Companies aim to time their payment dates such that their receivables are before their payables to suppliers are due.

How Do Current Liabilities Work?

On the right side of a balance sheet, across from the assets, are current liabilities. In most circumstances, you’ll get a list of several categories of CL along with the amount owed for each one. Following that, you’ll see a total sum that includes all CL.

A company’s obligation to pay existing creditors is unavoidable. It must accomplish so by balancing liabilities and current assets. The difference represents the operating capital of the company. 

You may get a sense of a company’s financial health by comparing CL against current assets. If the company’s assets are insufficient to satisfy short-term liabilities, it may face financial difficulties before the end of the year.

On the other hand, it’s ideal if the company’s assets are sufficient to meet its present liabilities, with some leftover. In that case, it will be well to weather any unforeseen changes in the coming year.

Examples of Current Liabilities

A balance sheet will detail all of a company’s short-term liabilities. They can be classified into a variety of groups, which may alter over time.

#1. Accounts Payable

Accounts payable is the inverse of accounts receivable, which is money due to a business. What the corporation owes to others is accounts payable. When a corporation receives a product or service before paying for it, this grows.

Accounts payable, or “A/P,” are frequently among a company’s highest current obligations. Businesses are always placing orders for new products or making payments to vendors for services or goods.

#2. Accrued Payroll

This line item on the balance sheet represents money owed to employees that have not yet been paid by the company, such as:

  • Salaries
  • Wages
  • Bonuses
  • Compensation in other forms

#3. Short-Term and Current Long-Term Debt

“Notes payable” is a term to describe these CLs. They are the most essential components in the balance sheet’s CL area. The payments on a company’s loans that are due in the next 12 months are usually payable.

If, on the other hand, the total value of cash, short-term investments, and accounts receivable exceeds the whole value of notes payable, it may be cause for concern.

Unless the organization is in the business of turning inventory into cash quickly, this could be a symptom of financial fragility.

#4. Other Current Liabilities list

Various other current liabilities will be depending on the company list. They may be together under the heading “other current liabilities” in some circumstances.

You might also want to look at the entries for:

  • Dividends payable: The amount of money that the board of directors has approved for future distribution to shareholders.
  • Interest payable: The amount of money that must be paid to lenders as interest.
  • Income taxes: Money that will have to be paid to the government.

#5. Consumer Deposits

If you’re looking at a bank’s balance sheet, make sure to check the consumer deposits section. If it isn’t with them, it will most likely be under “other current liabilities.”

The amount that clients have put in a bank is consumer deposits. This money is more of a liability than an asset. This is because all of the account holders may conceivably withdraw all of their funds at the same time. The bank does not own its money.

Examples of Current Liabilities

Depending on the company, CL can take a variety of forms. Here is some current liabilities examples list that your business may face:

#1. Accounts Payable

Accounts payable refers to money owing to a business for goods or services it has already received. More so, accounts payable is the most prevalent sort of current obligation by businesses because they require supplies and products on a regular basis.

#2. Accrued Expenses

Accrued expenses are funds that have accumulated over time but have not yet been repaid. These expenses are considered a current liability because they will be paid back within the year.

#3. Notes Payable or Bank Loans

The amount of money a firm owes in loans within a year is its CL. To stay in good financial standing, businesses should have a cash balance that is greater than their notes payable.

#4. Income Taxes Payable

Income tax is the amount of money you owe the government but have yet to pay. Your income taxes are a current liability because they will be within a year.

#5. Wages

Wages are the wages that you earn as an employee but have yet to be paid. Also, wages are a current or short-term burden because your employer will pay you within the year.

How Companies Use Current Liabilities

Current liabilities are to assess your business’s ability to repay short-term debts and other obligations examples are listed below. Your company is to be in good short-term financial health if it has more current assets than CL. When it comes to current obligations, there are three ratios to bear in mind. They are as follows:

#1. Current Ratio

The current ratio is by dividing current assets by CL. More so, various analysts and creditors will be able to assess how well your organization is doing financially and how balanced your balance sheet is by using the current ratio.

#2. Quick Ratio

The quick ratio is calculated by dividing current assets minus inventory by current liabilities. The fast ratio examines if your company can meet its short-term financial obligations with short-term assets. Quick assets are current assets that can be changed into cash rapidly. They’re also a company with highly liquid assets. The fast ratio and the current ratio both assist in determining whether or not your firm will be able to repay its financial loans or commitments, as well as providing insight into how to manage your CL.

#3. Cash Ratio

The cash ratio is calculated by dividing cash and cash equivalents by CL. This ratio assesses your company’s ability to repay short-term debt using cash or cash equivalents alone. The cash asset ratio is another name for it.

You can use these ratios to see if your organization has the financial resources to pay off any outstanding loans or obligations.

How to Record Current Liabilities Examples

You’ll need to precisely account for and document all of your present liabilities in order to understand your company’s financial situation. When tracking your company’s existing liabilities, follow these steps:

#1. Determine the Type of Transaction

You’ll need to precisely account for and document all of your present liabilities in order to understand your company’s financial situation. When tracking your company’s existing liabilities, follow these steps:

#2. Make Sure You’re Tracking Current Liabilities and Not Long-Term Liabilities

On your company’s balance sheet, both current and long-term liabilities will be, so make sure you put them in the right section. Others will be able to access the right information on your company’s balance sheet more effectively as a result of this. Current liabilities are debts or financial obligations that are due to be within a year. Because the hotel stay will be the following month, the $5,000 would be a current liability in the scenario above.

#3. Disclose Current Liabilities

After you’ve figured out all of your company’s current liabilities, put them on the balance sheet. Your current liabilities will be with accounts payable and notes due at the top of the list because they are the most prevalent types of CL.

#4. Calculate Total Current Liabilities

After you’ve listed all of your current liabilities examples, add them all together to get your total current liabilities. Let’s imagine your hotel owes $10,000 in notes payable, $150,000 in accounts payable, and $5,000 in unpaid revenue from the above-mentioned hotel reservations. To calculate your total current liabilities on the list, add these figures together. Your hotel’s total CL would be $165,000 in this situation. If you want a total liability, add the long-term liabilities to this number and record it as total liabilities on your balance sheet.


What are current liabilities called?

Debts or obligations that must be paid within a year are referred to as current liabilities, sometimes known as short-term liabilities.

What does Net current liabilities mean?

The difference between the current assets of the business and the current assumed liabilities of the business computed in line with GAAP and consistently applied by the company in the financial statements is referred to as the net current liabilities list.

Why are current liabilities important?

Knowing your existing liabilities is essential for budgeting and calculating critical financial ratios.

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