How do you account for dividends declared but not paid?

The Board of Directors of a company is responsible for declaring the cash dividend. With the help of cash dividends, the companies can work on returning the capital to the shareholders. The cash dividend is responsible for impacting the equity account and cash.

Once the dividend is paid, there is no need to maintain a separate sheet. Nonetheless, after the dividend declaration and before making the actual payment, the company needs to keep a record of liability to determine the dividends to be paid to the shareholders.

Where are the dividends available in a financial statement?

The company is responsible for declaring the dividends and paying the corporation. The information about dividends is usually given on the cash flow statement or the shareholder equity statement. They are ubiquitous and may not be retained in the expenses section since they are not hailed to be expenses.

How do you account for dividends declared but not paid?

What is the accrued dividend?

The accrued dividend refers to a balance sheet liability. In the statement, the common stock of dividends will be maintained. This is a record in which dividends are declared but not paid yet. These are often hailed as the current liability within the company.

It contains details regarding the declaration date that will stay the same until the dividend payment is made. It is highly crucial to understand how to use it. Many companies often use the terms “dividends payable” and “accrued dividends” interchangeably. The latter stands for the cumulative preferred stock of the holders.

How to account for dividends declared but not paid?

The company is responsible for declaring a dividend as an accrued dividend. The dividend will be credited, and certain earnings will be retained by this time. This will, however, make up for the intended dividend payment. However, there are no hard and fast rules regarding the time frame for the accrued dividend to be edited.

Most companies prefer filing the accrued dividend within the payment date. However, some companies may take a few weeks before filing it. Once the company declares the dividend, it will become a record-date shareholder property. It will be hailed as different from the stock. As a result, the shareholders will turn into creditors because of the separation. This will only be possible when the dividend payment is made. Furthermore, if there is any corporate action or merger, a similar situation will occur.

The Board of Directors is responsible for announcing the declaration date. The accrued dividend holders also need to keep a check with the payment date, dividend amount, etc.

How to calculate accrued dividends?

The company is usually responsible for providing information regarding the accrued dividend of the company. However, the primary factor for calculating the accrued dividend is to know about the outstanding number of shares for the company. Furthermore, the dividend amount of a particular share also needs to be calculated.

These are basic yet crucial details. The information is usually available on the investor page. If it is a publicly-traded company, the concerned people can get the information. Furthermore, some websites provide information regarding stock quotes. To understand how much the company's accrued dividend is, you must multiply the number of shares with the outstanding dividend per share.

Are there any special considerations for such stocks?

The accrued dividend usually comes with common stock. These are, however, not listed as any separate item in the sheet. The liabilities are to be recorded. The Walt Disney Company brought in one of the most outstanding examples of special considerations with the dividend stocks.

The amount of the dividend stocks need to be paid in the future. It will determine the equity of the shareholder. Many companies treat the accrued dividends as preferred stocks. These may or may not be found in the financial statement notes.

What are the different methods of calculating the dividends in the company?

When it comes to calculating or accounting for the dividends, the three most important procedures followed are as given below:

  • Direct Method: The Direct Method is responsible for calculating the overall amount on the dividend declaration. The amount will be transferred from the equity section to the liability one. However, businesses must get in touch with an accountant who will help them determine the cash flow for the dividend payment.
  • Retained earnings: This is one of the most commonly used methods while accounting for dividends. With this method, the companies can work on retaining their earnings. Moreover, there will be no need to pay out the money. As a result, the process will not involve any tax implications.
  • Retained net income: The retained net income will depend on the number of dividends. Although it is reliable, it may not be as effective as the retained earnings method. The balance sheet will show complete information about the net income retained after subtracting dividends. Thus, you can check how much dividends you spend and how much will stay back with the company.

Each of these methods has its pros and cons. Therefore, when calculating the dividend, you must make an informed decision regarding it. Many companies prefer switching to the direct method, considering it the easiest one. However, in many cases, if you opt for retained net income and earnings, you may not be able to get accurate results.

Benefits of accounting for dividends

Accounting for dividends can prove to be beneficial in the long run. It will help you keep an accurate record of all the details. Furthermore, the companies can track their expenses easily. Accounting for the shareholders’ dividends will help them understand whether the company is financially in profit or loss. One of the main reasons companies consider accounting for dividends is to reduce any doubt. There will be no cash being paid out. Therefore, there will be no need to account for the company's accrued dividend.


Accounting for dividends can be a difficult task. Nonetheless, it can play an essential role in receiving real benefits. Rather than doing it all by yourself, you should consider hiring professionals to do all the accounting.

  • Book a free consultation

    Share your details in the form below and one of our friendly experts will be in your touch to give you a free consultation

    * Indicates a required field

Get in Touch

Get the best advice on tax savings, accounting services, payroll, self assessment, VAT and more, whether you want to call us directly, request a call back or chat online with our experts, rest assured that we will always give you the best advice.If you have any questions, or would like to speak to us in person, please do get in touch. We're here to help.

Head Office:

dns accountants
DNS House, 382 Kenton Road,
Harrow, Middlesex, HA3 8DP

Contact Number:

03300 886 686

Award winning experts
trusted by many

We're proud of our clients and their success. Find out more about them and
the help and support we provide.