Bad Debt Expense Journal Entry and Example

Under the direct write-off method, the company records the journal entry for bad debt expense by debiting bad debt expense and crediting accounts receivable. For the income statement, using the allowance method helps the company to have better matching of the period which the revenue earns and the period which bad debt expense incurs. Hence, making journal entry of bad debt expense this way conforms with the matching principle of accounting. Bad debt expense is the loss that incurs from the uncollectible accounts where the customers did not pay the amount owed.

It refers to the requirement of developing expectations for the loss to be incurred in the future. GAAP and IFRS 9 require companies to shift on the expected loss model from incurred loss model. The entry has reinstated the customer balance, and now we need to record the cash receipt. It’s important to note that we have assumed the opening allowance for the bad debt as zero in the above entry. Let’s assume that a corporation begins operations on November 1 in an industry where it is common to give credit terms of net 30 days. In this industry approximately 0.3% of credit sales will not be collected.

Accounts Receivable and Bad Debts Expense Outline

However, GAAP and IFRS have issued certain guidance to estimate an amount based on the expected performance of the portfolio, probability, and other expected conditions. As mentioned earlier in our article, the amount of receivables that is uncollectible is usually estimated. This is because it is hard, almost impossible, to estimate a specific value of bad debt expense.

  • In this industry approximately 0.3% of credit sales will not be collected.
  • Each write-off should be approved in writing by authorized management personnel.
  • It then makes a journal entry to record the non-creditworthy customers by debiting bad debt expense and crediting the allowance account.
  • On March 31, 2017, Corporate Finance Institute reported net credit sales of $1,000,000.

Because customers do not always keep their promises to pay, companies must provide for these uncollectible accounts in their records. The direct write-off method recognizes bad accounts as an expense at the point when judged to be uncollectible and is the required method for federal income tax purposes. The allowance method provides in advance for uncollectible premium vs discount bonds accounts think of as setting aside money in a reserve account. The allowance method represents the accrual basis of accounting and is the accepted method to record uncollectible accounts for financial accounting purposes. Another way sellers apply the allowance method of recording bad debts expense is by using the percentage of credit sales approach.

What is the allowance method?

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. The net impact of these two entries is receipt of the cash and elimination of the debtor’s balance in the books; the treatment is the same as a normal cash receipt.

The accounts receivable method for the allowance calculation is more sophisticated and uses the aging report to assess the amount for the allowance. For instance, the company may have a policy to (Based on past trends) provide 30% on balance overdue from days and 50% on balance due 90 plus days. The expected amount will likely be determined by aging the accounts receivable. Notice how we do not use bad debts expense in a write-off under the allowance method. The exact amount of the bad debt expense is known under the direct write-off method, since a specific invoice is being written off, while only an estimate is being charged off under the allowance method.

The Coca-Cola Company (KO), like other U.S. publicly-held companies, files its financial statements in an annual filing called a Form 10-K with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Let’s try and make accounts receivable more relevant or understandable using an actual company. When we decide a customer will not pay the amount owed, we use the Allowance for Doubtful accounts to offset this loss instead of Bad Debt Expense. Bad debt expense recognition is delayed under the direct write-off method, while the recognition is immediate under the allowance method. This results in higher initial profits under the direct write-off method. In order to use the allowance method, it is first necessary to estimate the allowance needed using a suitable method.

Sometimes people encounter hardships and are unable to meet their payment obligations, in which case they default. Therefore, there is no guaranteed way to find a specific value of bad debt expense, which is why we estimate it within reasonable parameters. The direct write-off method is used only when we decide a customer will not pay.

Percentage of Credit Sales Method

If only one or the other were credited, the Accounts Receivable control account balance would not agree with the total of the balances in the accounts receivable subsidiary ledger. Without crediting the Accounts Receivable control account, the allowance account lets the company show that some of its accounts receivable are probably uncollectible. The allowance method works by using the allowance for doubtful accounts account to estimate the amount of receivables that are going to be uncollected in the future.

Percentage of Receivables Method

Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

Under the direct write-off method, bad debt expense serves as a direct loss from uncollectibles, which ultimately goes against revenues, lowering your net income. For example, in one accounting period, a company can experience large increases in their receivables account. Then, in the next accounting period, a lot of their customers could default on their payments (not pay them), thus making the company experience a decline in its net income.

The percentage of receivables method estimates the allowance for doubtful accounts using a percentage of the accounts receivable at the end of the accounting period. Based on this calculation the allowance method estimates that, of the credit sales of 65,000, an amount of 1,625 will become uncollectible at some point in the future. Using the allowance method, complying with the matching principle, the amount is recorded in the current accounting period with the following percentage of credit sales method journal.

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The financial statements are viewed by investors and potential investors, and they need to be reliable and must possess integrity. The seller’s accounting records now show that the account receivable was paid, making it more likely that the seller might do future business with this customer. It’s based on an idea to estimate the loss amount on the balanced portfolio in the future depending on certain circumstances. So, the approach has changed from incurred loss to an expected loss model.

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