What Are Billings in Excess of Costs? Mean, Tip & 5 Facts

A company’s ability to effectively manage its costs is the primary key to being profitable. Whether it’s maintaining operational efficiency, increasing sales, or managing capital investment, being able to accurately calculate a company’s billings in excess of costs will help you to achieve these goals.

What Are Billings in Excess of Costs?

As discussed earlier, billings in excess of expenses occur when customers are invoiced in advance before the income has been collected. Note that billings in excess of expenses only evaluates whether companies have billed their consumers, not whether they have been paid.


Since the revenue is not yet earned, it will be recognized as a liability in the entity’s books. As the project progresses, the income will be deemed earned. The liability will gradually reduce until it reaches zero upon completion of the project, when the whole amount may be recognized as revenue.

By charging in advance, the extra cash obtained from clients may be utilized to cover the expenses incurred to fulfill projects for these customers. These expenses include labor and material expenditures, among others.

Utilizing billings in excess of costs enables firms to regulate their spending, since they will tend to spend up to the amount received. It will also aid in reducing the expenses of the employment, as they will not be need to take out loans that incur additional loan rates.

Businesses will need to estimate the remaining expenditures as precisely as possible in order to determine how much more they should charge. Generally, if the project is well-managed, there will be no residual cost to be invoiced after it has been finished. Businesses will retain the whole of invoiced income.

There may be instances in which the client is either underbilled or overbilled as a result of incorrect cost estimate. In order to avoid such occurrences, organizations should monitor the job’s development thoroughly.

It is also usual for firms to have many active projects. They should be careful not to utilize the funds acquired from one client to support another work.

If this occurs, it may create the impression that a task has not been invoiced. If a work is underbilled, it may be difficult for firms to recoup the money paid for the service. If it is overcharged, it will reflect poorly on the companies and may lead to dissatisfied consumers.

What Causes Billings in Excess of Costs

Simply put, when billings exceed expenses on a balance sheet, it indicates that the firm has invoiced clients for work that has not yet been done. This should result in a positive net cash flow, where the company’s working capital exceeds its costs.

The converse scenario is known as expenses exceeding billings. This indicates that work has been finished but has not yet been invoiced. This may have a detrimental impact on cash flow, leaving the company unable to pay its suppliers, subcontractors, or staff.

Some sectors employ billings in excess of expenses on purpose to increase cash flow and decrease dependency on external finance. Before contractors may charge in this manner, they must get customers to sign a work contract for the agreed-upon price.

What Billings in Excess of Costs Include

Numerous construction businesses invoice consumers for the whole cost of a job in advance. This covers supplies, labor, permits, and other expenditures.

It also includes project income, or the company’s revenues from the project. Upon completion of a project, there should be no more fees to charge clients if the work was performed correctly.

Why Contractors Should Be Careful With Billings in Excess of Costs

Using billings in excess of expenses might offer adequate financing for a project, but it can also result in a significant decline in cash flow after the project is over. All money has been invoiced and collected, thus unless another project is obtained, there are no more funds to pay personnel.


This method of front-loading revenue also requires contractors to have a clear understanding of the amount of capital necessary to finish the project. Otherwise, they can run out of money for subcontractors and construction supplies towards the project’s conclusion.

Using the billings in excess of expenses technique of accounting correctly demands taking the time to estimate project requirements with precision. Mistakes may be very detrimental to a company’s financial health, particularly if labor contracts provide little flexibility for adjusting to changes in materials pricing.

Dangers of Overbilling & Underbilling

Overbilling and underbilling might endanger the financial viability of a business if they are not monitored.

Large underbillings, may indicate sluggish billing processes, unapproved modification orders in the original contract, or erroneous cost projections for completing the project. Large underbillings might result in financial sponsors (banks, investors, etc.) withdrawing their support for a project or business.

Large overbillings, which occur when a task is extensively invoiced in its early phases or when advanced payments are received, can result in situations where the expected amount of cash required to finish the project exceeds the amount that can still be billed prior to completion. The extra amount is known as “Job Borrow,” and it results in negative cash flow for the duration of the project. Large overbilling amounts must be offset by cash and receivables on the asset side of the balance sheet.

Understanding Contractor Financials

Billings in excess of expenses is a frequent billing practice in industries such as construction. Customers will be billed in advance, prior to the completion of the job. This notion may be encountered by accountants, financial analysts, and commercial bankers in the course of their work.

When billings exceed expenses, contractors must closely monitor project status and finances to avoid under- and overbilling. Included in this is the maintenance of accurate balance sheets and income statements.


Tips for Keeping Your Financials in Order

Maintaining financial management is facilitated by well-organized reports and timetables, which therefore increases profit margins.

Maintain Accurate Balance Sheets

At a certain moment in time, a balance sheet details a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It is simply a snapshot of a company’s assets and liabilities. Balance sheets are used in conjunction with income statements.

A profit and loss statement is a breakdown of revenues, costs, and expenditures over a fiscal quarter or year. It indicates if your business is running in accordance with your strategy. Not only will your income statement be erroneous if your balance sheet is inaccurate, but so will the rest of your financial statements.

Better Estimate Project Costs

Cost estimates cannot be generalized since no two projects are identical. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use prior work and task completion durations into your projections.

To produce more precise estimates, identify the job-specific elements that impact productivity (weather, site access, worker experience levels) and strive to remove or lessen their effects as you construct the estimate.

Add each necessary activity to the work breakdown structure to prevent overlooking building process phases. And ensure everyone is on the same page about planning and specifications. Taking the time necessary to create an accurate estimate can help minimize unanticipated expenses that might result in overbilling.

Get Change Orders in Writing

Change orders are prevalent in construction contracts, especially for subcontractors, who often shoulder the majority of project expenditures. Always have extra labor and remuneration for that job documented and authorized in writing.

Although a verbal agreement to modifications on a project may seem appropriate, you cannot protect your company’s financial security without anything in paper.

Send Preliminary Notices for Payments

Late payments have a detrimental effect on cash flow. Sending a preliminary notice or NTO (Notice to Owner) informs customers that, in the case of nonpayment, you retain the right to file a mechanic’s lien.

This will move your payment to the top of the stack for the customer, general contractor, or any business withholding funds from you.


Keep Detailed Records

The precise documents, numbers, and figures on your invoices might aid in accelerating the payment application procedure. Incorrect invoices will merely delay payment, so decreasing your cash flow.

If an item is completely absent, illegible, or erroneous, it offers clients and consumers the ability to withdraw payment. By maintaining accurate records and invoices, you may reduce the likelihood that your cash flow will dry up.

Control Your Expenses

By accurately bidding on projects, reducing overtime hours, preventing project overstaffing, and paying just for hours done, you may effectively manage your company expenditures and cash flow.

Time and money may be saved by eliminating wasteful and incorrect processes, such as paper time cards and excessive overtime. The approach is to simplify manual or error-prone procedures using technology.

From time monitoring, such as ExakTime’s Web Based Employee Time Clock Software, to bidding and HR software, technology will help you automate slower-moving operations and become more aware of your real expenditures, enabling you to “trim the fat” when required.

The solutions provided by ExakTime are cognizant of the financial obstacles associated with owning and maintaining a construction firm. Our web-based time tracking and scheduling solutions enable you to collect correct clock-in and clock-out times for employees, allowing you to control labor expenditures in real time.

Power reporting capabilities that enable the creation of over 40 powerful, customisable reports enable you to make intelligent business choices on the go. Contact our experts to learn how optimizing your payroll operations may assist with project management and cash flow.

Solutions that Save you Money

Want to learn more about how Time Tracking software may assist with expenditure management? Read “A GPS Time Clock App Saves You More Time and Money”.


In financial accounting, “billings in excess of expenses” refers to instances in which the amount billed to the client exceeds the revenues that have been received. On the accounting books, these revenues are recorded as liabilities until they are earned.

This form of overbilling typically occurs in businesses, such as construction, where it is standard to bill for services in advance.

Cash flow is vital to the success of a construction company. It is impossible to execute tasks without obtaining resources and paying for labor. Contractors utilize surplus billings to control expenses and limit their dependency on credit to cover up-front charges.

To minimize underbilling and overbilling, contractors must check their financials, including each balance sheet, income statement, expected expenses, and expenditures incurred.


What Causes Billings in Excess of Costs. In simple terms, having billings in excess of costs on a balance sheet simply means that the company has billed customers for work that hasn’t been completed yet. This should produce a net positive in cash flow, where the company has more working capital on hand than expenses.
Billings in excess must be monitored, otherwise overbilling and underbilling could pose dangers to a company’s financial stability. Large underbillings can point to slow billing practices, unapproved change orders in the original contract and inaccurate estimates about the costs needed to complete a project.
The current asset, “Costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings on uncompleted contracts,” represents revenues recognized in excess of amounts billed to the customer, which are usually billed during normal billing processes following achievement of contractual requirements.
Billings in Excess of Costs/Unearned Revenue are the billings to date which have not yet been recognized as contract revenue. These billings may or may not be allowed based on the terms of the contract
5/5 - (1 vote)
Pat Moriarty
Follow me

Leave a Comment