True Up: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 16, 2023

"True up" is an idiom that is often used in a business or financial context. It refers to the process of reconciling or adjusting the accounts, figures, or records to ensure accuracy and alignment.

In short:

"True up" is an accounting idiom that refers to the act of reconciling or adjusting financial, project, or inventory data to match reality.

What Does "True Up" Mean?

The phrase "true up" is predominantly used in business and finance. Its application spans various sectors and carries a similar connotation in each reconciling differences. Regardless of the context, "true up" fundamentally means adjusting figures to match reality, ensuring accuracy and correctness.

  • In accounting, to "true up" means to ensure that the figures in the books are accurate, reflecting the actual financial situation.
  • In project management, "truing up" refers to adjusting project plans and schedules to align with the real progress made.
  • In inventory management, "truing up" means aligning the physical inventory with the recorded inventory data.

Where Does "True Up" Come From?

The idiom "true up" originates in accounting and finance, specifically in balancing and reconciling financial records. The phrase is used to describe the process of making adjustments or corrections to ensure that all accounts are accurate and in agreement. Over time, the idiom "true up" expanded beyond accounting circles and found its way into broader usage.

Historical Example

"The company made necessary adjustments to true up their financial statements after a thorough audit."

- The New York Times, 1925

10 Examples of "True Up" in Sentences

Here are examples to illustrate the usage of "true up" in various contexts:

  • When the clock struck a quarter to four, they decided to true up their accounts before leaving the office for the day.
  • The finance department will true up the expense reports with the receipts.
  • After the event, we will true up the estimated and actual attendance figures.
  • Let's make sure to true up our accounts before we part ways, and I look forward to seeing you til next time!
  • We must true up the inventory data with the physical stock present in the warehouse.
  • The accountant is truing up the sales records for the last quarter.
  • They decided to true up their accounts before proceeding with the tried and tested marketing strategy.
  • It's time to true up our forecasted figures with the real outcomes.
  • The finance team trued up the estimated costs with the actual expenses.
  • He tried to trick him into thinking he was true up on his debts, but his cunning plan ultimately failed.

Examples of "True Up" in Pop Culture

"True up" is a phrase that often finds its way into popular culture, further proving its universal resonance.

  • In the TV show Friends, when Ross realizes he accidentally borrowed money from Chandler, he says, "Hey Chandler, we need to true up our finances."
  • In the movie The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly tells her assistant, "Make sure you true up all the expenses before submitting the budget report."
  • During a courtroom scene in the legal drama series Suits, one lawyer says to another, "Let's true up our arguments before presenting them to the judge."
  • In a dialogue from the film The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg tells his co-founder, "We should true up our vision for the company and align our goals."
  • In an episode of the TV series Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman advises his partner Walter White, "Before we proceed, let's true up on all our illegal activities."
  • In the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Amy tells Nick, "We have to sit down and true up everything that has happened in our marriage."
  • In an interview with a professional athlete on ESPN, they mention, "I always make sure to true up my training schedule before any major competition."
  • A character in the video game series Fallout says, "True up, soldier! We need to gather supplies and prepare for battle."
  • In the sitcom "Parks and Recreation," Leslie Knope says to her colleague Ann Perkins, Let's true up on our schedules for next week's Pawnee Harvest Festival.
  • In the Marvel movie "Avengers: Endgame," Iron Man tells Captain America, We need to true up on our battle strategy before taking on Thanos again.
  • In the novel "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, one character says to another, We should true up our stories about that night; we don't want any inconsistencies.
  • In the TV series "Breaking Bad," Walter White confronts his former partner Jesse Pinkman and says, It's time for us to true up on everything we've done together.

Other Ways to Say "True Up" in Sentences

Some other ways convey the same meaning as "true up."

Some of these include:

  • To provide with accurate information or data.
  • It's time to align our projected figures with the real ones.
  • We need to adjust the forecasted sales numbers with the actual figures.
  • She is balancing the estimated project timeline with actual progress.
  • The accountant is harmonizing the budget with the actual income and expenses.
  • Let’s reconcile and get over it.
  • It's time to rectify our inventory data with the actual stock in the warehouse.
  • They need to bring into line the financial forecast with the actual outcomes.
  • He is correlating the project plans with the real progress.
  • Step forward and take the initiative to address any discrepancies.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "True Up"

  • What does "true up" mean in accounting?

In accounting, "true up" refers to the act of making sure the figures in the financial records align with the actual figures. It involves reconciling or adjusting differences to ensure the accuracy of financial data.

  • Where does the term "true up" come from?

The term "true up" originates from financial jargon, particularly from accounting practices where accurate figures are crucial. The exact origin is uncertain, but it likely arose to express the concept of adjusting or reconciling figures concisely.

  • Can "true up" be used outside the context of finance or accounting?

Yes, "true up" can be used in various fields, including project management and inventory tracking, wherever there is a need to align projected figures or data with the actual ones.

  • Is "true up" a formal or informal term?

"True up" is more formal and is predominantly used in professional contexts, particularly in finance, business, and related fields.

  • What is a "true up" period?

A "true up" period refers to the time designated to reconcile or adjust financial records, typically occurring at the end of a fiscal year, quarter, or project.

  • How does "true up" differ from "write-off" in accounting?

While "true up" refers to adjusting differences to ensure accuracy, a "write-off" in accounting refers to reducing the value of an asset to zero, indicating it has no recoverable value or cannot generate revenue.

  • What is the antonym of "true up"?

Given the unique context of "true up," it does not have a direct antonym. However, in terms of action, any activity that causes discrepancy or divergence in data could be considered opposite.

  • Is "true up" a common phrase in English-speaking countries?

"True up" is a common phrase in English-speaking countries, particularly among professionals in business, finance, project management, and related fields.

  • What are some synonyms for "true up"?

Some synonyms for "true up" include reconcile, adjust, align, balance, harmonize, match, rectify, bring into line, correlate, and sync.

  • Is "true up" a verb or a noun?

"True up" is used as a verb, describing the action of aligning, adjusting, or reconciling differences between projected and actual figures or data.

Final Thoughts About "True Up"

The idiom "true up" plays a significant role in the business, finance, and project management sectors, where the alignment of data is critical. While "true up" is not commonly used in casual conversation or pop culture, it's a vital concept that facilitates precision and accountability in professional settings.

  • It refers to the process of ensuring accuracy by reconciling differences between projected and actual data.
  • It's predominantly used in professional contexts and is a part of financial jargon.
  • The term's application spans across different sectors, including accounting, project management, and inventory management.
  • "True up" enables businesses to maintain accurate financial records, which is crucial for strategic planning and decision-making.

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