what is the income summary account

Closing entries prepare a company for the next accounting period by clearing any outstanding balances in certain accounts that should not transfer over to the next period. Closing, or clearing the balances, means returning the account to a zero balance. Having a zero balance in these accounts is important so a company can compare performance across periods, particularly with income.

Ideally, QuickBooks Online automatically adds the net income from the previous fiscal year to your Balance Sheet as Retained Earnings. However, know that you can’t just select Retained Earnings from your Balance Sheet to view the details. The income summary account Retained Earnings account is a rollover of all previous fiscal years’ net profit (or loss). QBO also automatically and electronically swaps funds from your net income or loss into the account and doesn’t record any visible transactions of it.


Companies prepare an income summary and an income statement at the end of an accounting period. If you are using accounting software, the transfer of account balances to the income summary account is handled automatically whenever you elect to close the accounting period. It is entirely possible that there will not even be a visible income summary account in the computer records. It is also possible that no income summary account will appear in the chart of accounts. Creditors may find income statements of limited use, as they are more concerned about a company’s future cash flows than its past profitability.

I’m chiming in to share some details about amounts posted in the incorrect account in QuickBooks Online (QBO). Please let know if you have follow-up questions about closing books or anything else by leaving a comment below. As mentioned by my colleague above, QBO won’t automatically close the account unless you set up the closing date in the Account and Settings. Allow me to jump in and share information about closing your books in QuickBooks Online (QBO).

How do you record income summary account?

The company can make the income summary journal entry by debiting the income summary account and crediting the retained earnings if the company makes a net income. You need to use closing entries to reduce the value of your temporary accounts to zero. That way, your next accounting period does not have a balance in your revenue or expense account from the previous period.

All expense and revenue
accounts now show a zero balance, and the income summary has a credit balance
of $44,000. In
addition, the income summary closing entry tells us the company’s profit for
the year. The account for expenses would always have debit balances at the closing of the accounting period. The account for the expenses would be closed by making the debit towards the income summary, and there would be a credit to the account for expenses. Once all the entries are passed, all the values in the expenses account would amount to zero. Temporary (nominal) accounts are accounts that are closed at the end of each accounting period, and include income statement, dividends, and income summary accounts.

Income Summary Advantages

Once you’re seeing the net income assigned to the Owners Equity account before the fiscal year-end date or on the last day, then that should be correct. Microsoft had a lower cost for generating equivalent revenue, higher net income from continuing operations, and higher net income applicable to common shares compared with Walmart. Earnings per share are computed by dividing the net income figure by the number of weighted average shares outstanding.

However, it can provide a useful audit trail, showing how these aggregate amounts were passed through to retained earnings. If dividends were not declared, closing entries would cease at this point. If dividends are declared, to get a zero balance in the Dividends account, the entry will show a credit to Dividends and a debit to Retained Earnings. As you will learn in Corporation Accounting, there are three components to the declaration and payment of dividends. The first part is the date of declaration, which creates the obligation or liability to pay the dividend. The second part is the date of record that determines who receives the dividends, and the third part is the date of payment, which is the date that payments are made.

Income Statement Structure

This transfers the income or loss from an income statement account to a balance sheet account. The income summary account is prepared by debiting revenue accounts and crediting expense accounts. The balances of the transferred amounts should match with the net income or loss for the year. The income summary account balance is then transferred to retained earnings or the capital account in the case of a sole proprietorship. The income summary account is recorded by debiting revenue accounts and crediting expense accounts. The closing process is when entries are made to reduce all temporary accounts to a zero balance at the end of each accounting period.

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