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Appropriation Account


In finance, an Appropriation Account refers to a summary or report of a company’s profits and loss allocations. It often details how net income has been divided among dividends, retained earnings, and other sectors. Essentially, it shows how the organization’s profits have been ‘appropriated’ or distributed.


The phonetics for “Appropriation Account” is: /əˌprəʊpriˈeɪʃn əˈkaʊnt/

Key Takeaways

<ol><li>The Appropriation Account is a governmental accounting tool primarily used to manage public funds and to ensure they’re allocated correctly as per the budgetary requirements. It controls the expenditure of the public coffers to prevent overspending.</li><li>The statement provides a detailed overview of budgeted vs. actual expenditure in a certain fiscal year. This comparison sheds light on the efficient utilization of public resources and uncovers any financial discrepancies.</li><li>An Appropriation Account plays a significant role in ensuring transparency and accountability of the government towards its citizens. It allows the public, as well as governing committees to track how public monies are spent. </li></ol>


The concept of an Appropriation Account is important in business and finance because it refers to a specific fiscal account that is reserved for funds allocated for a particular purpose, as designated by a business, government, or other entity. Through this account, financial managers can effectively control and monitor expenditure, ensuring resources are being used as intended. It enhances the financial planning, regulatory compliance, and transparency of an organization. Also, this account shows how the net profits of a company are distributed, which is significant for stakeholders’ awareness. Therefore, the Appropriation Account is a vital tool in proficient financial management and accountability.


The purpose of an appropriation account is to present a detailed record of a company’s financial performance over an accounting period, typically a fiscal year, highlighting how net profits were distributed. In effect, it helps in exercising financial discipline within an organization by showcasing where earnings are allocated. This includes portions set aside for various expenses, retained earnings, dividends for shareholders, and reserves. This transparency and orderly distribution of revenue assist organizations in enacting effective financial controls and maintain solvency.In addition, appropriation accounts serve a broader purpose in government accounting. Governed by legislation, these accounts provide records of how public funds are spent by different departments and entities within the government. This assists in aligning expenditures with approved budgets to prevent overspending, thereby ensuring fiscal responsibility. In this case, appropriation accounts are essential in providing accountability and maintaining trust between the government and taxpayers, helping to show that public funds are being used ethically and responsibly.


An appropriation account refers to a business/finance term that indicates the portion of the profit that a company decides to retain for various strategic purposes like reinvesting in the business, paying off debt, or saving for future uncertainties. Here are three real-world examples:1. Google’s Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.: Alphabet Inc. uses its profit appropriation in the form of reinvesting into innovative business models, research and development, and acquisitions. For instance, it has acquired various companies like YouTube, Android, and DeepMind to expand its business.2. British Petroleum (BP): BP may use appropriation account to set funds aside for potential disaster recovery costs, environmental protection initiatives and, legal liabilities. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this became especially prudent as the company had to deal with several billion dollars of cleanup and legal fines.3. Berkshire Hathaway: This company, led by Warren Buffet, is known for its profit appropriation strategies. Rather than paying dividends to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway often reinvests profits back into the company to pursue new growth opportunities, acquisitions, and further enhancing current operations. A significant part of the company’s successful growth strategy has been due to this reinvesting practice.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Appropriation Account?

An Appropriation Account is a term used in accounting that refers to a company’s profit which is set aside or “appropriated” to fulfil specific business purposes. These could range from dividend distributions, debt servicing, capital expenditure, or reserves.

In which financial statement can I find Appropriation Account?

The Appropriation Account typically appears in the company’s profit and loss reserve statement which is a part of the shareholders’ equity in the balance sheet.

Why are profits appropriated?

Profits are appropriated to ensure that the company can meet business-related obligations such as the payment of dividends, reinvestment in business, debt repayment, or to be saved for future use.

How is an Appropriation Account recorded?

It’s recorded by debiting the profit and loss account and crediting the appropriation account.

What is the role of an Appropriation Account in a business?

An Appropriation Account helps in determining policies related to the company’s profit distribution. It is necessary for maintaining a financial balance within the organization over the long term, and to keep enough reserves for future growth.

Are retained earnings and the appropriation account the same thing?

No, they are not the same. Retained earnings are the amount of net income left over for the business after paying out dividends to its shareholders. An appropriation account, however, is a record of how the company plans to use its retained earnings.

How frequently is an Appropriation Account updated?

An Appropriation Account is updated at the end of each accounting period, often annually, but it could also be quarterly or half-yearly, based on the company’s practices.

Is it compulsory for a company to have an Appropriation Account?

While it’s not legally compulsory, having an Appropriation Account is considered good financial practice as it shows transparency in the allocation of profits and helps in gaining investors’ and shareholders’ trust.

Related Finance Terms

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