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Difference Between Debtor And Creditor

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Debtor and Creditor are common terms when it comes to bookkeeping. Although these two terms might seem straightforward, it's important to make clear the difference between the two and how both need to be accounted for in your financial records.

Simply put, a debtor is a person or a legal body (such as a company, organization, or government) who owes money to another party. For a business, the amount to be provided is usually a result of a loan provided, goods sold on credit, etc.

On the other hand, a person or a legal body to whom money is owed is known as a creditor. The amount to be paid may arise due to repayment of a loan, goods purchased on credit, etc.

Let’s go deeper into the difference between debtor and creditor.

What is a creditor?

Businesses are likely to deal with two different types of creditors: loans and trade creditors. In a business scenario, the most common loans come from a bank or financial institution that has lent money to a business, whereas trade creditors are essentially suppliers that haven't yet been paid for the goods or services they supplied.

Trade creditors are also known as accounts payable. These are suppliers or service providers awaiting payment. Prioritizing these payments correctly can keep supply chains smooth and prevent operational hiccups.

As a construction firm, it’s very crucial to keep track of your creditors for several reasons. Firstly, it’s essential to know how much your business owes, and when payments are due to be made. By managing effectively your creditors, you will be sure that your business will have enough money in the bank to cover payments when they are due.

What is a debtor?

Conversely, a creditor is any party to which your business owes money. This could be a financial institution that's extended a loan, or a supplier awaiting payment for goods or services delivered, also known as trade creditors or accounts payable. Strategic creditor management is crucial for maintaining good relationships and creditworthiness:

Trade debtors are customers that owe money to your business, These are suppliers or service providers awaiting payment. Prioritizing these payments correctly can keep supply chains smooth and prevent operational hiccups. For example, when you sell goods or deliver services to a client and may not make payment immediately, the amount the customer owes becomes part of your trade debtors. These trade debtors are also known as accounts receivable.

Accrual Accounting System

This method offers a more accurate reflection of your financial status by matching revenue with expenses in the period they occur. Businesses need to employ this system for clarity in their financial landscape, enabling better decision-making.

Financial Statement Accuracy

Ensure your financial statements are meticulous. They should be a true mirror of your business's financial activities, giving you the confidence to make informed decisions.

Timely Financial Reporting

Financial statements should be as prompt as they are precise. Strive for a financial closing process that delivers within weeks, not months, post-period end. This punctuality can be the difference between capitalizing on opportunities and missing the boat.


When you're busy growing your business, it can be easy to neglect to manage your debtors, but good debtor management is crucial to ensure your business has enough working capital to reinvest and grow. You should have proper processes in place that will result in faster payments. fewer bad debts, and healthier cash flow.

Irvine Bookkeeping—Your Partner in Financial Clarity

Distinguishing between debtors and creditors goes beyond basic bookkeeping—it's about crafting a robust foundation for business growth. With Irvine Bookkeeping's commitment to financial statement accuracy, utilization of the accrual accounting system, and dedication to timely financial reporting, we are your partners in navigating the financial intricacies of today's market.


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Diệu Lê Thị
Diệu Lê Thị
17 nov 2021


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