Interest Expense: Formula & How to Calculate The Motley Fool

How to calculate interest expense

When you borrow, you’re essentially using someone else’s funds, and interest is the cost you pay for doing it. The amount of interest expense has a direct bearing on profitability, especially for companies with a huge debt load. Heavily indebted companies may have a hard time serving their debt loads during economic downturns. At such times, investors and analysts pay particularly close attention to solvency ratios such as debt to equity and interest coverage. The amount of interest expense for companies that have debt depends on the broad level of interest rates in the economy. Interest expense will be on the higher side during periods of rampant inflation since most companies will have incurred debt that carries a higher interest rate.

In closing, the completed interest expense schedule from our modeling exercise illustrates the reduction in annual interest expense by $20 million year-over-year (YoY) from 2022 to 2023, respectively. The mandatory repayment reduces the ending debt balance, resulting in an ending balance of $19.6 million at the end of 2022. Therefore, the principal amortization is calculated by multiplying the $20 million debt balance by 2%, which is $400k each year. The interest expense line item appears in the non-operating section of the income statement, because it is a non-core component of a company’s business model. In the end, journal entries will total $150 worth of interest expense and interest payable.


If interest expense is the cost of borrowing money, interest income is the interest percentage you would receive if your business is the party lending the cash. Now, the accountant of this company issues financial statements each fiscal quarter and wants to calculate the interest rate for the last three months. In closing, our exploration equipped us with a holistic understanding of financial intricacies. Embracing accurate interest calculations and leveraging advanced tools fortifies businesses, ensuring compliance, strategic growth, and stability.

  1. As your operations expand, the software should seamlessly scale to handle increased data volume and complexity.
  2. An advertising agency signs a $6,000, 3-month note payable (a type of loan) with an annual rate of 10% on October 1st.
  3. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more.
  4. Interest expense is a fundamental financial metric that reflects the cost of borrowing.
  5. Interest expenses are debits because in double-entry bookkeeping debits increase expenses.
  6. A secure platform instills confidence in the accuracy and confidentiality of your financial information.

Customize fields, reports, and workflows to match the intricacies of your financial processes, ensuring a personalized and precise approach. Incorrectly reported interest expenses can lead to compliance and legal risks. Regulatory bodies and tax authorities rely on accurate financial reporting. In the context of interest expense, accrued interest is crucial because it represents the interest that has been incurred but not yet paid.

Importance of accuracy when calculating interest expense

For more precise calculations over different time frames, the comprehensive formula with the time component is employed. Understanding and applying this formula is fundamental for businesses to gauge the cost of borrowing and make informed financial decisions. For example, if a company has a total of $100 million in debt at a fixed interest rate of 8%, the annual interest expense is calculated by multiplying the average debt principal by the interest rate. And since usually we don’t pay for interest expenses right away, the other account part of the journal entry is interest payable, which is a liability account representing the debt. Short-term debts are paid within 6 months to a year and include lines of credit, installment loans, or invoice financing. For these types of debts, the interest rate is usually fixed at an average of 8-13%.

How to calculate interest expense

An advertising agency signs a $6,000, 3-month note payable (a type of loan) with an annual rate of 10% on October 1st. Next, to make a journal entry means to debit one account and credit another. Before diving into some business examples on how to make journal entries for interest expenses, let’s first go over some accounting basics you’ll need to know. Interest coverage ratio is calculated by  dividing (earnings before interest and taxes) by (total outstanding interest expenses). The interest coverage ratio measures the ability of a business to pay back its interest expense. It’s important to calculate this rate before taking out a loan of any sort to make sure the business can afford to repay its debt.

Journal Entries for Interest Expense

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. That’s why most businesses choose to manage their expenses with cloud accounting software like Deskera. Now, since the business works under the accrual basis of accounting, the interest expense will be recorded at the end of the month, for the next 3 months. Long-term debts, on the other hand, such as loans for mortgage or promissory notes, are paid off for periods longer than a year. Any time you borrow money, whether from an individual, another business, or a bank, you’ll have to repay it with interest. The interest part of your debt is recognized as an interest expense in your business’ income statement.

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In simpler terms, compound interest is like interest building on top of interest, creating a snowball effect that can lead to a higher overall cost of borrowing over the long term. Explore the nuances of interest expense rates and why a universal rate doesn’t exist. Discover the optimal frequency for recalculating interest expense to stay on top of your financial management game. The $19.6 million ending balance becomes the beginning balance for 2023, which is again reduced by the $400k in principal repayment. Our simplified model assumes the mandatory repayment of the original principal is 2.0% per year.

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With Deskera’s Buy dashboard, you can make orders and send payments within seconds,  and easily organize and review bills and invoices on the go. Now, when you pay your interest, the interest expense account doesn’t change. This is helpful to business owners as it provides a clear overview of your cash flow, and that’s what potential investors will want to see, too. This means that at the end of the fiscal year the company has to pay $250 to cover their interest expense.

Interest expense is determined by a company’s average debt balance, i.e. the beginning and ending debt carrying amounts. Interest is found in the income statement, but can also be calculated using a debt schedule. The schedule outlines all the major pieces of debt a company has on its balance sheet, and the balances on each period opening (as shown above). This balance is multiplied by the debt’s interest rate to find the expense. However, another transaction that generates interest expense is the use of capital leases.

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