True up accounting

The term true up means reconciling or matching two and more two accounts’ balances.

What Does The Term ‘True Up’ Mean In Accounting?

Accounting has unfold a lot with time, and it has become a lot more than debit, credit, journal, ledger, and financial reporting.

When we elaborate the reason of accounting for any business forum, the significance is put on ‘True representation of the financial position of an entity and real image of the profitability.’

Every step the accounting professionals go through in the preparation of financial statements and day-to-day accounting is directed toward that even bigger target. We had heard of the term truing up the financial history or record.

It is a term that accountants often say, but a layman or an accounting student is mostly unfamiliar with this particular term. The literal meaning of the term true-up is ‘to reconcile or match the balance of two or more things.’ The accounting angle of the term is more or less the exact same.

What is true up?

The literal meaning of the term ‘true up’ mentions to make level, balance, or to align something.

But if we learn the term true up for the accounting procedures, it has almost the same literal meaning. The term true up means matching or reconciling two or more than two accounts’ balances.

Further breaking down of the definition says that the reconciliation or matching is done by making several adjustments in bank accounts.

Therefore the entries made in the books of accounts, for this reason, are called adjustment entries or true up journal entries.

The adjustments are generally made after the end of a financial period once the accounts have been shut down. The main difference between actual and estimated amounts is adjusted by employing the procedure of truing up your financial data.

Why Is True up Necessary? Matching Principle and Accrual Basis

There are two systems of accounting. One is cash-based accounting while the other one is accrual-based accounting.

If we look in detail, cash-based accounting treats the expenses and revenues based on when the cash is paid or received.

On the other hand, the accrual basis accounting system works on specific accounting principles. The accrual system’s main or basic concept is that expenses and revenues related to a particular financial period should be kept in the same period, irrespective of payments formed and cash received.

The accrual system is primarily based on the matching principle of accounting. The matching principle says that revenues and expenses for a certain period should match.

In other words, expenses related to certain revenues should be recorded in the same period when revenue was given.

As an example, we can consider the salaries of the employees. Let’s suppose employees are given salary on an accrual basis, which means that January’s salary will be given in February.

In this case, if the salaries are given to the employees in January are charged as an expense of January and not of December, it will overstate the profit for the month of December. As a result, the objective of true profitability will be violated.

Therefore, the truing up of financial statements, data or figures is critical to the objectives and requirements of fair financial reporting.

Is True up Another Name for Adjustment Journal Entries?

In the main official language of accounting, you would rarely end up finding a clause of IFRS or IAS having the term ‘true-up.’ Another confusion I often faced was if the term true-up synonymous to what we usually call adjustment entries.

Adjustment entries are formed for the true representation of financial statements. The adjustment entries encompass correction of any error transaction, inappropriate recording of a transaction, the difference in estimates and actual values, accruals, and deferrals.

The principle behind adjusting entries is also the matching principle to make sure that all revenues or expenses of a specific financial year are being recorded properly.

The reason of truing up is also compliance with the matching principle, and accountants often use this lingo slang for the exact same concept of adjustments.

The only difference between the two is that the term truing up is mostly used when Budget variances are considered. Moreover, adjustment entries are more focused when correction of errors is considered.

While, in most cases both terms are interchangeably used and the entries made for adjustments of balances can be called Adjustment Journal Entries or True-Up Journal Entries.

When Does An Entity Need True Up Of Financial Records?

We have understood that accounting records and the truing up of accounting records are almost the same concepts. But, the real question is when an entity needs to true up its financial records?

The general answer to this particular question is that truing up or adjustments are necessary at the closing of every financial period.

But to give a better general idea of which scenarios require adjustment and truing up, we have listed the events when a need to true up financial records arises.

Budgeting Variances

The operational budget of the entities is all about the appraisals of the recurring expenses. These budgets are often made for one financial year, a quarter, and even one month.

According to the International Financial Reporting Standards, an entity can calculate or provide the expected expenses or revenues.

After the closing of a financial period the comparison of actual expenses and revenues is made with the calculations. The budget variances are either quite favorable or unfavorable.

However, the true-up entries’ main purpose is to adjust the balance to match the actual or real value. Expenses and revenues are adjusted for the budget differences to their respective credit or debit accounts.

Errors and Omissions

Errors and omissions are a huge reality of not just the corporate world but daily life. In the sorting, recording, analyzing, posting balances, and making financial statements, there is a high chances of errors and omissions.

As a result, frustrating unequal trial balances and misappropriation of profit and balance sheet are awaiting.

As the audit proceeds the errors and omissions are identified, which needs to be adjusted for a perfect financial position representation.

The journal entries are made to record the omitted entries or several aspects of a transaction. The errors of balance, overstating, incorrect value, or understating are also adjusted accordingly by the mean of true-up entries.

Timing Difference

Timing difference is also more relatable to budgeting but it is not the budgeting variance. The best example of the timing difference can be given as an electricity bill is received once the electricity has been used.

Now, when shutting financial statements, the bill has not yet been charged, but according to past consumption patterns, the entity can estimate.

Usually, the companies post these proportions to the related expense account. Now when the bill was received, it was either more than the estimate or less than the estimate.

This difference has to be adjusted for a true representation of financial position and profitability. Therefore, the true-up entry will be posted for adjustment.


According to the International Financial Reporting Standards, some expenses cannot be find out with complete accuracy due to unexpected events.

In that case the company will have to make adjustments for the actual values once the financial period has been ended. The best example of this is the insurance of the employees in an organization.

It cannot be calculated with assurity that how many new employees will be hired and how many of them will evacuate. Therefore, once the year is completed actual figures can be calculated by the facts and figures. The entities will pass the true-up journal entries in this case as well.

Example I – True-up Entry – Timing Difference

Unreal Corp. Pvt. Ltd. received their electricity bill for Q1’2017 in Q2’2017. The accountants pre-booked accrual for 10,000 as an anticipated expense in Q1’2017 however in Q2’2017 when the actual bill was received it was for 13,000 so a true-up entry was booked to lift the expenses by 2000.

Journal entry in Q1’2017 as per accrual of electricity expense to the amount of 10,000.

As per the accrual-based accounting concept, it is required to expect and record all expenses even if the actual payment is not done in the same accounting period.

Journal entry in Q2 when the actual bill was received for 13,000 (bill for Q1)

True up payment:

True Up Payment means a total cash payment equal to the difference between the Cash Payment and the Preliminary Payment, which is paid (i) by the Company to the Participant if the Cash Payment is higher than the Preliminary Payment and (ii) by the Participant to the Company if the Preliminary Payment is higher than the Cash Payment.

What does it mean to true-up to my actual final bill?

If you choose to make arrangements to true-up your expected final bill with the actual final bill, Simple Bills will determine the following:

  • If the estimated bill is lesser than the actual bill, Simple Bills will make arrangements for you to pay more to cover the actual or real utility costs.
  • If the estimated bill is higher than the actual bill, simple Bills will gather your current address and issue a refund check to you directly.

What is a True-Up Bill?

A true-up bill is a yearly billing statement that you will get from your utility provider, such as PG&E. Although you will get a monthly statement from PG&E, there will be an end-of-year statement that is called as a True-up bill. Your monthly statements will outline the total energy generation and energy consumption of the household. It will also specify how much energy got from the energy grid and the credits any over-production via your panels awarded your account. The monthly bill will also charge the household for any carrier fees and gas fees that must be paid each month.

The True-Up statement will be alike, but a bit more in-detail. The True-Up will have a final, concrete calculation that outlines each month’s whole solar production, and how much of that energy was used by the household, and how much was fed back into the grid. Moreover, the amount of electricity that was purchased from the utility will also be stated, each month – and what the yearly total cost of purchased electricity was. Also, any yearly utility fees and other essential fees will be charged out for the yearly billing cycle.

Making Sense of Your Annual PG&E Bill after Going Solar i.e. True-Up Breakdown

Going solar fundamentally changes a homeowner’s relationship with PG&E or local utility generators. When a homeowner goes solar, PG&E await electricity costs to go down so much that they will only bill once every year for electricity. The annual bill, known as a True-Up Statement is the net electricity usage for the year and summarizes electricity charges and credits for each month into the yearly bill.

It is much easier to explain True-Up Statements while reviewing an actual True-Up Statement.

On your True-Up Statement, PG&E states:

  • The electricity produced by your system.
  • How much electricity you used for the year.
  • When electricity was used and credited.
  • The retail electricity rate used to value the kWh credit accrued.
  • The amount owed based on Net Usage or kWh used.

Since the yearly True-Up Statement marks the end of the electricity billing cycle, electricity charges and credits reset to zero for the next upcoming billing cycle. It is essential to remember that, unlike old Cingular wireless minutes, electricity credits does not carry over into next year. Due to this, solar PV systems are actually sized to offset 100% or less of usage to make sure homeowners get retail values for electricity generated. A solar system that is quite big for a home will increase total usage and trigger Net Surplus Compensation.

Why Do I have a True-Up Balance Due?

Balance can occur for certain reasons, many of which can be ignored or at least budgeted for.

First, there are yearly costs connected with being associated to the energy grid. These costs and associated fees are not bypassable and will be a price that appears on a True-Up bill.

Second, the residential solar installation was not made to offset the homeowner’s energy usage 100%. There are certain reasons for this. One is that a rooftop might not be perfect for solar panel installation. Steep inclines, vents, chimneys, and skylights are a few of the problems solar designers installers and designers find. If there are obstacles on the roof panels cannot be installed easily. Or, panels are placed in places that have now efficiency rates, meaning they are not working at capacity. Another reason is deceitful salespeople who will undersell a system to knock down the sticker price of the system to appeal in timid buyers. The problem with that is buyers will think they have a full system when in reality the system is only made to offset a tiny percentage of total energy use, which could result in a very high True-Up bill.

Third, some consumers either consciously, or unconsciously, increase their electricity usage once they go towards solar. As systems are made off a baseline energy unit, assuming it was built to offset usage by 100%, a rise in electricity usage could result in a True-Up bill. The rise in electricity consumption could be caused by additional family members moving in or keeping the home at a colder temperature while turning on the A.C.

Finally, if a homeowner has a system made without a nice baseline energy usage, there is a chance that the system will not be made to offset the actual energy usage of a home. Having a solid 1 year of energy usage will give your solar installation forum enough information to truly design a system that answers to a home’s energy usage. Less than 12 months leaves the homeowner open to risking a large True-Up bill due to non accuracy in system design.

What Can I Do to Reduce My True-Up?

First, to reduce your True-Up bill make sure your system was built to offset your whole energy usage in the home. Second, be more thoughtful of how energy is being used. If the system was built to generate a specific amount of electricity usage, ensure you are not using more energy than the system was designed to generate.

To dodge the risk of a large True-Up waiting until you have enough energy baseline data will also let your solar installation company to form and install a system that give back your energy consumption.

At the point of sale if you think your energy usage will rise, ask your solar installation company to lightly oversize your system. This oversizing will arise the cost of your solar system, but it will also form a buffer between your solar installation and increased energy consumption.

What is a tax true-up?

A true-up is when Marlin accomodate the estimated taxes paid by the lesse to the real tax bill by the tax jurisdiction. If the lessee overpaid the taxes, they will receive a credit through check. If the lesse is underpaid, Marlin will invoice this difference.

True Up Companies Salaries

Job Title Salary
General Laborer salaries - 1 salaries reported $17/hr
Non Inventory Specialist/Forklift Driver salaries - 1 salaries reported $16/hr
SKILL LABOR salaries - 1 salaries reported $16/hr

Are You Losing Thousands In Employer 401k Matching?

Certain 401k participants are missing out on employer 401k matching contributions without even discovering it. This happens when the employer does not have a True Up feature in their 401k plan and the employee:

  • Does not maximize the employer match each pay period, or
  • Maximizes their full-year allowable deferral before the completion of the year

The True Up feature considers the past full year of income, deferrals, and matching formula to look if the employee is owed an additional employer contribution after the end of the year. Most employers make a matching contribution based on a percentage of the employee deferral and their gross wages. The big question is:

Is the match calculated on a pay-period basis or on an annual basis?

If the plan estimates matching contributions on a pay-period basis, the employer is not required to True Up after the end of the year; but they are required to True Up if the employer matching is less recurrent than per pay period. The True Up feature looks over all income and all employee deferrals made during the year, not just per pay period. If a plan does not have this particular feature, employees may miss out on hundreds or thousands of dollars in matching contributions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1- What is a true up process?

A true-up occurs when a company compares the number of actual software license users to the good faith estimate of the initial contract. Then, the company pays the difference in the licensing fees.

2- What is a true up cost?

The annual bill, known as a True-Up Statement, is the net electricity usage for the year and summarizes electricity charges and credits for each month into the annual bill. The retail electricity rate used to value the kWh credit accrued. The amount owed based on Net Usage or kWh used.

3- What does tax true up mean?

January 09, 2019. A true-up is when Marlin reconciles the estimated taxes paid by the lessee to the actual tax billed by the tax jurisdiction. If the lessee overpaid the taxes, they will receive a credit, via check or credit to rental due.

4- What is a true up journal entry?

The term true up refers to reconciling or matching two and more than two accounts’ balances. Therefore the entries formed in books of accounts for this purpose are called adjustment entries or true up journal entries. The adjustments are generally made after the end of a financial period once the accounts have been shut down.

5- What is a year-end true up?

With a true-up provision at the end of the year, the employer makes better on the full promise of the employer’s match regardless of when employees reached the annual contribution full limit.

6- What is a true up in 401k?

The True Up feature considers the previous full year of deferrals, income, and matching formula to control if the employee is owed an additional employer contribution after the end of the year. Most employers make a matching contribution based on a proportion of the employee deferral and their gross wages.

7- What is a bonus true up?

Federal wage-hour law may aquire employers with such a bonus program to deliberate retroactively employees’ overtime rate and then pay a “true-up” amount for any overtime the employees worked during the previous year. Failing to make such bonus true-up payments may take to complex litigation.

8- How do you calculate true-up tax?

To calculate tax gross-up, follow these four steps:

  • Add up all federal, state, and local tax rates.
  • Subtract the total tax rates from the number 1. 1 – Tax = net percent.
  • Divide the net payment by the net percent. Net payment / net percent = gross payment.
  • Check your answer by calculating gross payment to net payment.

9- What is true down?

Typically a “True Down” will happen at the negotiation & renewal period (~3 years) when you have true representation of what you are using. It is not normal (in my experience) to reduce your license pool from the pre-designated amount during the agreement period.

10- What is a true up payroll?

True-up is when the employer reports the actual payroll for the policy year. If there’s a difference in the employer’s actual payroll and what was used to calculate their estimated annual premium or EAP. If the employer was overcharged, they will receive a refund.


The term true up means reconciling or matching two and more than two accounts’ balances. Accounting has evolved a lot over time, and it has become a lot more than credit, debit, journal, ledger, and financial reporting.

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