What is a contra asset account?

contra asset account definition

By combining the balances in these two accounts, one can determine the net amount of receivables that the reporting entity expects to receive. The size of the reserve also reveals the amount of bad debt that the company expects to experience from the current set of receivables. To illustrate, let’s use the contra asset account Allowance for Doubtful Accounts. Since it is a contra asset account, this allowance account must have a credit balance (which is contrary to the debit balances found in asset accounts). The Allowance for Doubtful Accounts is directly related to the asset account entitled Accounts Receivable.

  • Last, for contra revenue accounts there are sales discounts, sales allowances, or sales returns.
  • Contra asset accounts help companies record any reductions to their non-current and current assets.
  • By recording reductions in a separate account, companies can get better insights into their actual accounts.
  • Contra asset accounts also help companies keep their general ledgers organized.
  • Both the asset and the corresponding contra asset accounts must be stated clearly in the balance sheet.

There are four key types of contra accounts—contra asset, contra liability, contra equity, and contra revenue. Contra assets decrease the balance of a fixed or capital asset, carrying a credit balance. Contra liabilities reduce liability accounts and carry Webinar: Nonprofit Month-End Closing Accounting Procedures a debit balance. Contra equity accounts carry a debit balance and reduce equity accounts. Contra revenue accounts reduce revenue accounts and have a debit balance. A contra account offsets the balance in another, related account with which it is paired.

How to Use Contra Asset Accounts

The accounting entries for allowance for receivables are as follows. If you keep a lot of inventory in stock, chances are that some of the inventory will become obsolete. This frequently happens to manufacturing companies that sell products with an expiration date since any inventory remaining in stock past the expiration date quickly becomes obsolete. This improvement in the accounting details and transparency is good for any business in multiple ways. These accounts might also appear on the balance sheets of the company. ADAs are used to create allowances for clients that bought the company’s goods or services but somehow failed to pay the owed amount.

A company, ABC Co., purchased a depreciable asset worth $100,000. The company expects the asset to have a useful life of 10 years. After each accounting period, the company records a depreciation expense of the https://www.wave-accounting.net/differences-between-for-profit-nonprofit/ asset. Therefore, these companies must maintain an obsolete inventory reserve account to net off any unusable stock from the account. This requirement also comes from the accounting standard for inventories.

Contra Asset Account

Hence, the book value of the liability will be the credit balance of the liability account minus the debit balance of its contra liability counterpart. In the books, the account of the asset would have a debit value of $100,000, and the contra asset account would have a credit value of $30,000. If the asset account had a credit balance or the https://turbo-tax.org/law-firms-and-client-trust-accounts/ contra asset account had a debit balance, this would indicate an error in the journal entries. Note that in accounting, the term “book value” is also used interchangeably with net value. In bookkeeping, a contra asset account is an asset account in which the natural balance of the account will either be a zero or a credit (negative) balance.

contra asset account definition

Unlike the three previously mentioned contra accounts, contra revenue accounts are not listed in the balance sheet but are written near the top of the income statement. Contra revenue accounts typically offset revenue accounts in a firm’s income statement. Most accountants choose to record the depreciation over the useful life of an item in the accumulated depreciation contra asset account, which is a credit account. The balance sheet would show the piece of equipment at its historical cost, then subtract the accumulated depreciation to reflect the accurate value of the asset. Last, for contra revenue accounts there are sales discounts, sales allowances, or sales returns. These contra revenue accounts tend to have a debit balance and are used to calculate net sales.

The Contra Revenue Account

However, a contra-asset account usually has a credit or nil balance. This account offsets the balance in the respective asset account that they pair with on the balance sheet. This account serves two purposes — tracking total depreciation expenses while providing you with the accurate book value of the asset being depreciated. In accounting lingo, a dual entry account system includes the concept of a contra entry. It’s an entry that’s the offset or reverse of an entry that’s on the other side of the account.

  • The percentage of sales method assumes that the company cannot collect payment for a fixed percentage of goods or services that it has sold.
  • Contra liability accounts are special accounts in the liabilities section of the balance sheet.
  • As mentioned, contra asset accounts are usually listed below their matching asset accounts, and the net values of those assets are written next to the contra accounts.
  • The accumulated depreciation account is perhaps the most common contra asset account used by business owners.

If accounts receivable is $40,000 and allowance for doubtful accounts is $4,000, the net book value reported on the balance sheet will be $36,000. Accumulated depreciation is the most prevalent type of contra-asset account. It represents all the depreciation related to an asset or the company’s overall assets. Usually, companies add to the accumulated depreciation account after every accounting period. Every contra asset account on a company’s accounting records will also have a pairing account. For example, accumulated depreciation will go along with related assets.

Is Treasury Stock a Contra Account?

The allowance for these doubtful accounts can ultimately result in the total number of receivables. The $10,000 of depreciation will reduce the book value of the car. This means it received $4,500 in cash but needs to pay $5,000 back to the bondholders. Contra Accounts serve as a reduction to the balance of their corresponding accounts to find their net values.

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