Partnership Formation Accounting

Partnership Accounting

As a business grows it may be necessary to involve additional people either to obtain access to more capital or to provide expertise. One way of introducing additional people is to form a partnership. A partnership is formed when two or more persons carry on a business for profit as co-owners.

Characteristics of a Partnership

There are numerous types of partnership, but generally, in the absence of a partnership agreement, a partnership has the following characteristics.

  • The partnership is a separate legal and accounting entity.
  • Each partner has unlimited liability.
  • The acts of one partner binds the others.
  • Each partner has a claim on the assets or the partnership.
  • The partnership dissolves (but the business does not end) when a partner leaves or joins.
  • Each partner has an equal share in the net income or loss or the partnership.
  • The amount of capital contributed does not effect the share of net income each partner is entitled to.

The Partnership Agreement

A partnership agreement is usually drawn up between the partners to set out how the partnership will operate, this will include accounting matters such:

  • The capital contributions of each partner.
  • Ratio for sharing the net income or loss.
  • Rate of interest to be received on capital and paid on drawings.
  • Salaries to be paid to each partner.
  • Provisions for the withdrawal and additions of assets.


Partnership Formation Accounting

When a partnership is formed each partner introduces capital. The capital introduction might be in cash form or non cash form such as equipment, machinery, buildings, or accounts receivable. If the capital is introduced in non cash form, it is always brought into the partnership at fair value.

Suppose for example, a partnership is formed between two people, partner A and partner B, typical partnership bookkeeping entries would be as follows:

Introduction of Cash into a Partnership

Partner A invests 10,000 by way of cash. The following double entry bookkeeping journal would be posted:

Partnership Formation Accounting – Cash Introduced
Account Debit Credit
Cash 10,000
Capital – Partner A 10,000
Total 10,000 10,000

Introduction of a Long Term (Fixed) Assets into a Partnership

Partner B introduces a piece of machinery whose fair value is 20,000 (non-cash assets are always accounted for at fair market value when introduced to the partnership). The following double entry bookkeeping journal would be posted:

Partnership Formation Accounting – Long Term Asset Introduced
Account Debit Credit
Long term assets – machinery 20,000
Capital – Partner B 20,000
Total 20,000 20,000

Introduction of Accounts Receivable into a Partnership

Partner A also introduces accounts receivable of 12,000, of which the partnership expects to be able to collect 10,000. In this case the gross value of the accounts receivable needs to be recorded (to reflect the total amount receivable from the customers), and the reduction to fair value is accounted for by changing the value on the allowance for doubtful debts account.

The bookkeeping entries of the partnership are as follows:

Partnership Formation Accounting – Accounts Receivable
Account Debit Credit
Accounts receivable 12,000
Allowance for doubtful debts 2,000
Capital – Partner A 10,000
Total 12,000 12,000

At the end of these partnership formation accounting entries, the balance sheet of the of the partnership would be as follows:

Partnership Formation Accounting – Balance Sheet
Fixed assets – machinery 20,000
Accounts receivable 12,000
Allowance for doubtful debts -2,000
Cash 10,000
Net Assets 40,000
Capital – Partner A 20,000
Capital – Partner B 20,000
Total Capital 40,000

In this partnership formation, the capital injected by each partner is 20,000 giving a ratio of 1:1 for capital introduced.

Further examples can be seen in our post of partnership journal entries.

Last modified January 13th, 2020 by Michael Brown

About the Author

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.

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