Course Outline
Join PRO

What is the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

The Allowance for Doubtful Accounts is a balance sheet contra asset account that reduces the reported amount of accounts receivable. The use of this allowance account will result in a more realistic picture of the amount of the accounts receivable that will be turning to cash, since some customers may not pay the full amount owed to the company.

The credit balance in the allowance account is an estimate amount in an adjusting entry that debits the income statement account Bad Debts Expense and credits Allowance for Doubtful Accounts. While the allowance account is recommended for the company’s financial statements, it is not acceptable for income tax purposes.

Example of the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Let’s assume that a company has a debit balance in Accounts Receivable of $120,500 as a result of having sold goods on credit. Through the use of the aging method, the company sees that $18,000 of the receivables are 100 days past due. Upon further checking, the company believes that $10,000 of these receivables will never be collected. Thus, the account Allowance for Doubtful Account must have a credit balance of $10,000. If the present balance is $0, the journal entry will be a debit of $10,000 to Bad Debts Expense and a credit of $10,000 to Allowance for Doubtful Accounts.

The balance sheet will now report Accounts Receivable of $120,500 less the Allowance for Doubtful Accounts of $10,000, for a net amount of $110,500. The income statement for the accounting period will report Bad Debts Expense of $10,000.

Aging of Accounts Receivable Form and Template

Balance Sheet: Retail/Wholesale – Corporation

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews

Features

PRO

PRO Plus

Features
Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Explanations
Quizzes
Q&A
Word Scrambles
Crosswords
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Flashcards
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of
Achievement

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus