Overview of Debt Investments
From an accounting perspective, a bond as a debt investment itself is an asset that returns cash in the form of interest payments, which triggers the recognition of interest revenue. Typically, bond interest payments (usually annual or semiannual) belong to the bondholder of record on the stipulated payment date. Bond purchase dates do not always coincide with the stipulated bond interest payment dates. This disconnection between the interest payment dates and the purchase date of the bond investment can be resolved.
When a new investor purchases a bond instrument, the investor must pay for the bond instrument and pay for any accrued interest on the bond as of the purchase date. This accrued interest amount is returned to the investor upon receipt of the cash interest payment on the date of the face of the bonds.
Bonds Held to Maturity (HTM)
A held-to-maturity (HTM) security is typically a bond or note, as these instruments may have features that may make them less liquid than others or for other reasons and are intended to be held to defined maturity dates. Purchases of bond investments that are held to maturity are recognized with a simple journal entry. The specific investment account title can vary from one organization to another, but in all cases it should be clear that the investment is a bond or other long-term investment.
For example, a 10-year, 10% interest rate, $100,000 long-term bond at par, which means face value of the bond, is purchased on January 1, 2018. Also, the bond pays interest annually on December 31. For accounting purposes in this example, the bond interest is accrued semiannually. A purchase journal entry would be made.
Purchase of Bonds Journal Entry
|1/1/2018||Investment in Bonds||$100,000|
June 30 Interest Revenue Journal Entry
Note that the principal of $100,000 multiplied by the annual interest rate of 10% times 6/12 months , as only half the year has passed, equals the $5,000 accrual amount. It is also possible to use days to accrue interest. Depending on the bond specifications, a denominator of 360 or 365 may be used if accruing interest daily.
At the end of the year, additional interest revenue would need to be accrued, but there is also the need to recognize receipt of a cash interest payment on December 31. Although these entries could be simplified into a single compound entry or broken out, the accounting result is the same using one or two entries.
Year-End Interest Receivable Journal Entry
Note that the principal of $100,000 multiplied by the annual interest rate of 10% times 6/12 months equals the $5,000 accrual amount for the second half of the year. The receivable balance is now $10,000, which equals the annual amount of interest on the principal.
The year-end cash revenue receipt entry shows the conversion of the interest receivable into cash upon the company's receipt of the stipulated amount of the bond interest payment. This process of accrual, followed by year-end payment and collection, would continue throughout the time period in which the investor company holds the bond. If the bond is held to maturity, there would be the same set of entries for each of the 10 years the bond is held.
Year-End Cash Revenue Accrual Journal Entry
Cash Principal Return Journal Entry
|Investment in Bonds||$100,000|
Bonds Sold Prior to Maturity
Bonds may be sold prior to maturity, at dates that do not coincide with interest payment dates stipulated on the bond instrument. In that case, the accounting principle that governs the approach is that interest belongs to the investor of record. So, until the date of sale, the owner of the bond accrues and recognizes interest revenue and should be compensated for such accrued interest.
To illustrate this situation, a 10-year, 10% interest rate, $100,000 long-term bond at par was purchased on January 1, 2018. The bond pays interest annually on December 31. If this bond is sold on March 31, 2018, it is sold prior to the maturity date. Consider what the bond might be worth on March 31, 2018: It has a face value of $100,000 and has accrued 3 months of interest, which has not been paid to the owner (January 1, 2018–March 31, 2018). This interest has an apparent value of , or $2,500. So, it makes sense that the owner would receive $102,500 for the bond if it is sold on March 31, as the interest earned to date is included in the selling price. An entry would be made for that.
Cash Principal Return and Accrued Interest Journal Entry
|Investment in Bonds||$100,000|
Bonds Sold at a Discount
A discount bond's price is lower than the bond's original price when issued. For example, Corporation B issues a $10,000 bond offering that is comprised of bonds paying 10% interest, which is paid out twice per year. The bonds pay 5% interest for each semi-annual payment on January 1 and July 1 each year. However, just before the bonds are offered on the market, the current market rate for interest increases to 11%. Thus, the bond’s interest rate has fallen below the current market rate.
When Corporation B's bonds begin to sell, investors purchase the bonds, but they are not willing to pay the full original price because the interest rate of the bonds is lower than the interest rate of other bonds in the market. Consequently, Corporation B issues its bonds at 96.5, which means the investors pay only $965 per bond, instead of $1,000 per bond, for a total purchase amount of $9,650. The total discount on the entire Corporation B bond issue is $350. Therefore, the discount bond's price is discounted because it is lower than the bond's original issuance price.