Accounts Payable - AP

Definition of 'Accounts Payable - AP'


An accounting entry that represents an entity's obligation to pay off a short-term debt to its creditors. The accounts payable entry is found on a balance sheet under the heading current liabilities.

Accounts payable are often referred to as "payables".

Another common usage of AP refers to a business department or division that is responsible for making payments owed by the company to suppliers and other creditors.

Investopedia explains 'Accounts Payable - AP'


Accounts payable are debts that must be paid off within a given period of time in order to avoid default. For example, at the corporate level, AP refers to short-term debt payments to suppliers and banks.

Payables are not limited to corporations. At the household level, people are also subject to bill payment for goods or services provided to them by creditors. For example, the phone company, the gas company and the cable company are types of creditors. Each one of these creditors provide a service first and then bills the customer after the fact. The payable is essentially a short-term IOU from a customer to the creditor.

Each demands payment for goods or services rendered and must be paid accordingly. If people or companies don't pay their bills, they are considered to be in default.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will be executed at a specified price (or better) after a given stop price has been reached. Once the stop price is reached, the stop-limit order becomes a limit order to buy (or sell) at the limit price or better.
  2. Pareto Principle

    A principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.
  3. Pareto Principle

    A principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, that specifies an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. The principle states that, for many phenomena, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Put another way, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.
  4. Budget Deficit

    A status of financial health in which expenditures exceed revenue. The term "budget deficit" is most commonly used to refer to government spending rather than business or individual spending. When referring to accrued federal government deficits, the term "national debt” is used.
  5. Floating Exchange Rate

    A country's exchange rate regime where its currency is set by the foreign-exchange market through supply and demand for that particular currency relative to other currencies. Thus, floating exchange rates change freely and are determined by trading in the forex market.
  6. Underwriting

    1. The process by which investment bankers raise investment capital from investors on behalf of corporations and governments that are issuing securities (both equity and debt). 2. The process of issuing insurance policies.
Trading Center