creditor definition and meaning

Creditors, which can be any individual or company, are often thought of as banks. Some of these rules change under bankruptcy laws, but the basics are still in tact. If a company declares bankruptcy and is forced to sell its assets creditors are first in line for payments. The lenders are allowed to recoup funds equal to their outstanding debts—not including any interest. If there is any money left over at the end of the liquidation, investors will also be paid.

Note that every business entity can be both debtor and creditor at the same time. For example, a company may borrow funds to expand its operations (i.e., be a debtor) while it may also sell its goods to the customers on credit (i.e., be a creditor). When it comes to accounting, creditors and debtors are two important concepts that you need to understand.

Assuming that the business is buying its raw material from a supplier on a regular basis, and then adding some value to them and manufacturing a finished product for the market. Example – Unreal corp. purchased 1000 kg of cotton for 100/kg from vendor X. The total invoice amount of 100,000 was journal entries examples not received immediately by X. If you’re unlikely to recover an old debt, it becomes ‘bad debt’ which may need to be written off. A business might have a very healthy looking income, but there can be problems making financial decisions based on that income if it’s not actually collected.

Definition of Creditor

A creditor is recorded in the balance sheet of the business under the heading current liabilities, that means they are payable within a year. On the other hand, a debt collector is typically hired by creditors when accounts become past due and payments are not made as agreed upon. Another debtor/creditor relationship that is widely understood is that made when buying a home. As the homeowner with a mortgage, you are a debtor, while the creditor is the bank who holds your mortgage. Basically, if a person or entity has loaned money to another person or entity, then they are a creditor. Credit cards may be the most ubiquitous example of credit today, allowing consumers to purchase just about anything on credit.

  • An invoice which has not been paid will increase accounts payable as a debit.
  • On the other hand, liabilities are the amounts that a business entity has to pay.
  • Other creditors include the company’s employees (who are owed wages and bonuses), governments (who are owed taxes), and customers (who made deposits or other prepayments).
  • Likewise, getting this money into the business will help you pay your own creditors within their payment terms.

Thirdly, priority creditors have special rights in bankruptcy cases that allow them to receive payment before other unsecured creditors. Individuals often rely on credit scores to obtain loans and extensions of credit. After a borrower has met the creditors requirements, it can be issued a number of different kinds of loans including short-term debt like accounts payables or long-term debt like notes payable.

My Accounting Course  is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. Creditors are not the only ones who need to manage risk and debt. Bankers, investors, and regulators all play a role in managing risk and debt.

If a supplier sold merchandise to a company on credit, the supplier is a creditor. Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Double Entry Bookkeeping. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

What’s the Difference Between a Debtor and a Creditor?

Likewise, getting this money into the business will help you pay your own creditors within their payment terms. Our frequently asked accounting and bookkeeping questions blog series is part of our business guides and video resources. They’re available to anyone who needs a bit of help getting to grips with accounting terms and practices, as well as providing more information about online accountancy services. In this article we’re talking about debtors and creditors, what these terms mean, and why they might appear in your bookkeeping. A company must carefully manage its debtors and creditors to monitor the lag between incoming and outgoing payments. The practice ensures that a company receives payments from its debtors and sends payments to its creditors on time.

What is a creditor?

Creditors – In day-to-day business, a person or a legal body to whom money is owed is known as a creditor. For a business, the amount to be paid may arise due to repayment of a loan, goods purchased on credit, etc. A creditor or lender is a party (e.g., person, organization, company, or government) that has a claim on the services of a second party. The first party is called the creditor, which is the lender of property, service, or money.

Priority of creditors

A clear understanding of proper creditor accounting techniques is essential for any business that wants to control its finances. Business owners should always consult a qualified professional when dealing with issues related to creditors and accounting. Borrowers need to maintain good relationships with their creditors by making timely payments and communicating any issues that may arise. Failure to do so can damage one’s credit score, financial standing, and potential legal action taken by the creditor. Creditors can include friends or family that you borrow money from and have to pay back. Unsecured creditors are those that lend money without any collateral.

Some creditors, such as banks and other lenders, have lent money to the company and will require the company to sign a written promissory note for the amount owed. When a promissory note is required, the company borrowing the money will record and report the amount owed as Notes Payable. If you’re approved, the creditor pays the seller of the home and reduces the loan balance based on the loan’s interest rate, repayment term and other loan terms. You’ll then make payments based on the agreement until you pay the loan in full, refinance the debt or sell the home. Other terms for this role include borrower, debt holder, lessee, mortgagor and customer.

Original Creditor vs. Debt Collector

For example, short-term debtors are debtors whose outstanding debt is due within one year. The amounts from short-term debtors are recorded as short-term receivables under the company’s current assets. Conversely, long-term debtors owe amounts that are due longer than one year. The amounts are recorded as long-term receivables under the company’s long-term assets. Accounting for creditor accounts involves keeping track of when payments are due and ensuring that funds are available to pay these debts when they come due.


If the debt is backed by collateral, such as mortgages and car loans backed by houses and cars, the creditor can attempt to repossess the collateral. In other cases, the creditor may take the debtor to court in an attempt to have the debtor’s wages garnished or to secure another type of repayment order. The FDCPA is a consumer protection law, designed to protect debtors. This act outlines when bill collectors can call debtors, where they can call them, and how often they can call them. It also emphasizes elements related to the debtor’s privacy and other rights. However, this law only pertains to third-party debt collection agencies, such as companies trying to collect debts on behalf of other companies or individuals.

In traditional double-entry accounting, debit, or DR, is entered on the left. A debit reflects money coming into a business’s account, which is why it is a positive. The Experian Smart Money™ Debit Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), pursuant to a license from Mastercard International. If you’re planning to borrow money, it’s important to build and maintain a good credit score and also monitor your credit regularly to maximize your chances of getting approved for affordable financing. For example, consider Sally, looking to take out a mortgage to buy a home. These are economic resources that are owned by the business and can be measured in monetary terms.

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