Your accounts payable balance also directly impacts your cash flow statement along with your working capital. Notes payable usually represent a mix of short-term liabilities, similar to those booked under accounts payable, and longer-term obligations. However, companies and lenders are free to agree to a longer maturity period. AP automation software helps growing organizations get a handle on an often messy and stressful accounts payable process. Manually inputting data from each invoice leaves a lot of room for error, some that can be caught and corrected, and some that are far more difficult to go back and fix. Automation software eliminates the need for manually inputting invoices during the P2P process, increases data transparency, makes auditing easier, and even adds a layer of fraud protection.

By properly managing these financial liabilities,  businesses can better optimize their cash flows , maintain strong relationships with clients and reduce the risk of financial distress. A small manufacturing company needs additional funds to expand its operations. It approaches a bank and takes out a $50,000 loan, agreeing to repay it with interest over three years.

  1. Two of the most common liability accounts are accounts payable and notes payable, and while these have a lot in common, they’re actually used for two different purposes.
  2. When dealing with notes payable, managing due dates, interest payments, and principal repayments carefully is crucial to maintain a solid financial position and uphold the company’s reputation with lenders.
  3. In addition to delaying invoice receipt, this increases the likelihood of losing an invoice or processing a duplicate.
  4. The interest rates for notes payable tend to be higher than those for other long-term debts.
  5. If repayment can occur over a period longer than one year, the note is designated as a long-term liability.
  6. Early on, the account payable team may also be responsible for managing accounts receivable, which manages the income that a company generates from the sales of goods and services.

This structure means that you’ll only pay the interest fees on a monthly basis. At the end of the life of the note, you’ll pay the entire principal amount back in a lump sum payment. After payments have been made, it’s essential to keep track of them meticulously. Maintaining proper documentation allows for easy reference if any disputes arise or if there is a need for future audits.

However, if you do fail to meet these debt requirements, vendors could refuse to continue doing business with you, jeopardizing critical aspects of your business. Notes payable can represent either short-term or long-term liabilities, depending on the payment stipulations in the signed promissory note. If the note specifies to pay the debt within a year, it would be considered a short-term liability. If repayment can occur over a period longer than one year, the note is designated as a long-term liability. Notes payable are often used to purchase things like commercial buildings, industrial equipment, company cars or trucks, or other significant procurements that require a loan. Notes payable on the other hand is crucial to business health as well, but for slightly different reasons.

What Is Accounts Receivable (AR)?

They may require regular installments over a specified period or even a lump sum payment at maturity. The specific terms will be outlined in the promissory note signed by both parties. Notes payable is a formal agreement, or promissory note, between your business and a bank, financial institution, or other lender.

Accounts payable can directly affect a company’s short-term liquidity since they need to be settled soon. In contrast, notes payable represent long-term debt obligations and may not impact immediate cash flow as significantly. One key difference between accounts payable and notes payable lies in their nature. While accounts payable generally have shorter payment terms (usually within days), notes payable often involve longer-term repayment plans with specific interest rates attached.


As revenues grow, so will the need for additional resources to pay suppliers and creditors in an accurate and timely manner. At some point, an organization will require the structure of an accounts payable department. Paying back these loans to banks or other financial institutions also helps build good credit, and notes payable overall allow businesses more time and room for strategic future planning. As explained earlier, notes payable involve the payment of money owed to a financial institution or other creditors. They involve the payment of principal and interest and are generally longer-term payment commitments (greater than one year).

Like accounts payable, the current notes payable balance can be found on your company balance sheet. Notes Payable, on the other hand, represents a written promise by a company to pay a specific sum of money at a specified future date or upon the demand of the holder who received the note. It is typically used as a liability account to record a debt payback and is issued to banks, credit companies, and other lender.

How to Use and Track Notes Payable

An amortized notes payable agreement is most often used for home, property, or building loans. These promissory notes will stipulate monthly payments that are the same amount month-over-month, with a portion of each payment going toward the principal balance and the interest owed. The longer you pay back the loan, the more of each monthly payment will go toward the principal amount instead of interest.

Processing Payments

Loan calculators available online via the Internet work to give the amount of each payment and the total amount of interest paid over the term of a loan. These require users to share information like the loan amount, interest rate, and payment schedule. Notes payable usually include the borrowed amount, interest rate, schedule for payment, and signatures of the borrower and lender. Although the gravity of business expenditures might not be fully realized until you’re actually up and running, businesses at every stage spend money on a daily basis. Rent, payroll, new machinery, office equipment, and raw materials are just a few different expenses that companies incur regularly. To effectively manage your accounts payable, you need to have a stable performance as well as a high level of efficiency in operation.

Accounts Payable Vs Notes Payable: 7 Differences you should know

Understanding the difference in payment timelines is crucial for businesses as it impacts their working capital management. By accurately tracking when payments are due for both accounts payable and notes payable, companies can ensure they have sufficient funds available at the right times while avoiding any late fees or penalties. This gives businesses some flexibility in managing their cash flow while still honoring their financial obligations. However, it’s important to negotiate favorable payment terms with vendors to avoid any unnecessary strain on working capital. Implementing automation in both accounts payable and notes payable processes can significantly improve efficiency and accuracy while reducing administrative burden. When it comes to managing accounts payable and notes payable, automation can be a game-changer.

Accounts payable is a liability account recorded on a company’s general ledger that tracks its obligations to pay off a short-term debt to its suppliers and lenders. Invoice processing can be among the most costly and challenging business processes to manage, especially when it involves large volumes of paper invoices. For an accounts payable staff overwhelmed with the volume of paper, it can take many days to approve an invoice for payment. As noted earlier, when comparing accounts payable vs. notes payable, the complexity of tasks is a major difference.

By understanding the similarities and differences between accounts payable vs. notes payable, you can unlock debt financing in a safe, well-managed way. By contrast, accounts payable is a company’s accumulated owed payments notes payable vs accounts payable to suppliers/vendors for products or services already received (i.e. an invoice was processed). These examples show the practical application of accounts payable and notes payable in everyday business scenarios.

To efficiently process payments, you need to have a streamlined system in place. First, you’ll want to verify that all invoices are accurate and match the agreed-upon terms. This includes checking for any discrepancies or errors that may require further investigation.

Excessive long-term debt can also inhibit company growth since the increased debt makes it more difficult to obtain additional loans or make additional outside investments. This long-term obligation can result in a highly leveraged company that may run into cash flow problems. For example, in May, you take out a loan for $20,000 from a local bank to help fund your business. The above entry ensures that the travel expense is posted in June, when it occurred, not in the month that the invoice was paid. Helping organizations spend smarter and more efficiently by automating purchasing and invoice processing.