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What should be the entry when goods are purchased at a discount?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Goods Purchased at a Discount

There are two common types of discounts for companies buying goods to resell:

Examples of Entries for Goods Purchased at a Discount

Trade discount. Some suppliers have catalogs with prices before any discounts. Let’s assume that the supplier gives companies that purchase a high volume of goods a trade discount of 30%. A small volume buyer receives only a 10% discount. If a high volume company purchases $40,000 of goods, its cost will be $28,000 ($40,000 X 70%). To comply with the cost principle the company will debit Purchases (or Inventory) for $28,000 and will credit Accounts Payable for $28,000.

Early payment discount. Some suppliers offer discounts of 1% or 2% from the sales invoice amount, if the invoice is paid in 10 days instead of the usual 30 days. For instance, let’s assume that a company purchases goods and the supplier’s sales invoice is $28,000 with terms of 1/10, net 30. This means that the company can deduct $280 (1% of $28,000) if it pays the invoice within 10 days. Otherwise, the company must pay $28,000 within 30 days. The early payment discount is also referred to as a purchase discount or cash discount.

If the company pays the supplier’s invoice within 10 days, there are two ways to record the early payment discount of $280:

  • Gross method. At the time goods are received: debit of $28,000 to Purchases, credit of $28,000 to Accounts Payable. At the payment date within 10 days: debit of $28,000 to Accounts Payable, credit of $27,720 to Cash, credit of $280 to Purchases Discounts (a contra account to Purchases)
  • Net method. (This method is used less often and only if the company has the resources to always pay within the discount period.) At the time the goods are received: debit of $27,720 to Purchases, credit of $27,720 to Accounts Payable. At the payment date within 10 days: debit $27,720 to Accounts Payable, credit $27,720 to Cash. [If the company fails to pay the invoice within the discount period, the payment will be a debit of $27,720 to Accounts Payable, a debit of $280 to Purchase Discounts, a credit to Cash for $28,000. Purchase Discounts Lost is an income statement account.]
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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.

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