Types Of Contra Accounts

contra expense account

Free Financial Modeling Guide A Complete Guide to Financial Modeling This resource is designed to be the best free guide to financial modeling! Can be represented better and as per accounting guidelines. Provides accurate financial information for the company. Sales Allowance/Rebate – If the company sells the goods and has some minor defects, then it sells such goods with some rebate/ allowance. Is debited when a company buys back its shares from the open market. Discount On Bonds PayableDiscount on bonds payable is the markdown value of a bond’s coupon rate or selling price compared to its market interest rate or fair value. Such bonds trade at a lower price than their face value.

To illustrate, assume that a company makes sales on account to one hundred different customers late in Year One for $1,000 each. The earning process is substantially complete at the time of sale and the amount of cash to be received can be reasonably estimated. According to the revenue realization principle found within accrual accounting, the company should immediately recognize the $100,000 revenue generated by these transactions.

This response is dangerously wrong and I implore all readers to ignore it. You should never pick and choose which accounting principles to follow and which, based on your opinion, shouldn’t be followed. All the disclosure in the world can’t change the mis-application of an accounting principle.

After a bank reconciliation statement is completed, a firm may have to make an entry in its accounting records for A. Liability accounts record debts or future obligations a business https://www.bookstime.com/ or entity owes to others. When one institution borrows from another for a period of time, the ledger of the borrowing institution categorises the argument under liability accounts.


A contra account is an account with a balance opposite the normal accounts in its category. Contra accounts are usually linked to specific accounts on thebalance sheetand are reported as subtractions from these accounts. In other words, contra accounts are used to reduce normal accounts on the balance sheet.

contra expense account

The balance of the contra account will offset its parent account while still preserving the value of the transactions recognized in the relating account. Another type of contra account is known as “contra revenue,” which is used to adjust gross revenue to calculate net revenue, i.e. the “final” revenue figure listed on the income statement. A contra account is an entry on the general ledger with a balance contrary to the normal balance for that categorization (i.e. asset, liability, or equity). Accumulated Depreciation contra account contains the cumulative sum total of all the depreciation expenses that have been charged against those fixed assets over time. A major example of a contra account is the accumulated depreciation. Again, accumulated depreciation reduced fixed and capital asset balances.

Apple breaks out its amount of property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) and then lists its accumulated deprecation that reduces the PP&E figure. Estimated expense from making credit sales to customers who will never pay; because of the matching principle, recorded in the same period as the sales revenue. Some companies include both accounts on the balance contra expense account sheet to explain the origin of the reported balance. Others show only the single net figure with additional information provided in the notes to the financial statements. By establishing two T-accounts, a company such as Dell can manage a total of $4.843 billion in accounts receivables while setting up a separate allowance balance of $112 million.

Allowances for bad debts under receivables accounts and bad debt accounts are contra accounts to a revenue account. Accumulated depreciation is a contra asset account used to record the amount of depreciation to date on a fixed asset. Examples of fixed assets include buildings, machinery, office equipment, furniture, vehicles, etc.

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Sales on account are often risky for businesses because customers are unsecured creditors. The business could suffer through a bad debt expense when a customer fails to pay the full price. In order the record credit sales percentage, the amount must be estimable and probable.

A contra account is used to offset the debit of a regular asset account. Contra accounts will be linked to the main debit account and shown together on a balance sheet. For example, a business ledger might show a $10 sale of a product, but the product was returned under warranty protection because of a failed feature. The warranty return would be listed on the contra account. When a contra asset account is first recorded in a journal entry, the offset is to an expense. For example, an increase in the form of a credit to allowance for doubtful accounts is also recorded as a debit to increase bad debt expense. Allowance for doubtful accounts is netted from the accounts receivable balance.

Further Examples

This is a common practice, and the discount may differ from one company to the next depending on the terms and conditions. This account decreases the value of a hard asset. This account is not classified as an asset since it does not represent a long-term value. It is not classified as a liability since it does not constitute a future obligation. It is a general ledger account to have its balance be the opposite of the original balance for that account.

A contra revenue account carries a debit balance and reduces the total amount of a company’s revenue. The amount of gross revenue minus the amount recorded in the contra revenue accounts equal a company’s net revenue. A transaction is made under the sales return account when a customer returns a product to the company for a refund. Sales allowance represents discounts given to customers to entice them to keep products instead of returning them, such as with slightly defective items. The sales discount account represents the discount amount a company gives to customers as an incentive to purchase its products or services. There are four key types of contra accounts—contra asset, contra liability, contra equity, and contra revenue.

This type of account could be called the allowance for doubtful accounts or bad debt reserve. The balance in the allowance for doubtful accounts represents the dollar amount of the current accounts receivable balance that is expected to be uncollectible. The amount is reported on the balance sheet in the asset section immediately below accounts receivable. The net of these two figures is typically reported on a third line. A contra revenue account is an account with debit balance.

Maintenance Of Historical Cost

Usually, Liability accounts, Revenue accounts, Equity Accounts, Contra-Expense & Contra-Asset accounts tend to have the credit balance. Outstanding SharesOutstanding shares are the stocks available with the company’s shareholders at a given point of time after excluding the shares that the entity had repurchased. It is shown as a part of the owner’s equity in the liability side of the company’s balance sheet. The discount offered on the liability created when a company borrows a specific amount of money and repays it early. Discount on notes payable reduces the total amount of the note to reflect the discount offered by the lender. These accounts can be listed based on the respective asset, liability, or equity account to reduce their original balance. Sales discounts – Normal discounts given to the customers are recorded separately because of special circumstances.

  • Bills payable is an agreement written on behalf of the seller stating that a company will make payment on a future date.
  • Nominal accounts are revenue, expenses, gains, and losses.
  • An expense of $7,000 (7 percent of $100,000) is anticipated because only $93,000 in cash is expected from these receivables rather than the full $100,000.
  • Sales Returns-Sales returns is a Contra Ac of the sales account.

The revenue contra accounts Sales Returns, Discounts and Allowances are subtracted from the main Sales Revenue account to present the net balance on a company’s income statement. Contra accounts are used to reduce the value of the original account directly to keep financial accounting records clean. Assume that a company uses a contra expense account to record the amounts that employees paid toward the company’s health insurance costs.

The Profit and Loss Statement is an expansion of the Retained Earnings Account. It breaks-out all the Income and expense accounts that were summarized in Retained Earnings.


Note that accountants use contra accounts rather than reduce the value of the original account directly to keep financial accounting records clean. Expense accounts and the contra expense accounts with which they are paired are typically combined in the income statement in a single line item, so that readers are not aware that a contra account even exists. The specific identity and the actual amount of these bad accounts will probably not be known for several months. No physical evidence exists at the time of sale to indicate which will become worthless .

contra expense account

It involves accounting methods and practices determined at the corporate level. Debit BalanceIn a General Ledger, when the total credit entries are less than the total number of debit entries, it refers to a debit balance. A debit balance is a net amount often calculated as debit minus credit in the General Ledger after recording every transaction. Sales Allowances-Sales allowances are also a part of the sales account. Sales allowance reduces the selling price when a customer agrees to accept a defective unit instead of returning it to the seller.

The contra equity account reduces the total amount of shareholders’ equity. Suppose a company has recorded $100,000 in accounts receivable (A/R) and $10,000 in the allowance for doubtful accounts (i.e. 10% of A/R is estimated as uncollectible). The net amount – i.e. the difference between the account balance post-adjustment of the contra account balance – represents the book value shown on the balance sheet. Whenever a balance sheet is to be produced, these two accounts are netted to arrive at net realizable value, the figure to be reported for this asset.

  • Paid for by the customer, recorded, and earned in one period.
  • Although you may be familiar with the normal balance requirements of each classification, a contra account will have the opposite requirement.
  • Examples of deferred unearned revenue include prepaid subscriptions, rent, insurance or professional service fees.
  • Another example of a contra asset account is the accumulated depreciation account which reduces the reporting value of capital assets.
  • The people you mention have made it their life’s work, and most of us are novices.
  • It could be growing with bad accounts, and cash flow will be affected.

The most common contra revenue accounts are for sales allowances, discounts, and returns. Market development funds provided to solution provider partners are one example of contra revenue for vendors. The two common contra liability accounts, discount on bonds payable and discount on notes payable, carry normal debit balances. The discount on bonds payable represents the difference between the amount of cash a company receives when issuing a bond and the value of the bond at maturity. Discount on bonds payable reduces the value of a bond.

In simple terms, when one side of the account of an item partially or completely offsets the other side of the same account, it is said to be a contra account. The sales allowance shows the discounts given to customers when returning the product. This is done to entice customers to keep products instead of returning them. For example, items with slight faults being sold with a discount. A company creates allowances for doubtful accounts to record the portion of accounts receivable which it believes it will no longer be able to collect. The amount in allowance for doubtful accounts is deducted from the accounts receivable account of a company.

Overview Of Contra Account

Treasury stock shows the amount spent by a business for repurchasing a company’s shares from investors. The company may take buyback decisions if it thinks the stock is undervalued in the open market or it decides to pay dividends to shareholders. Sometimes a shareholder’s equity account may show negative balance.

This account decreases the value of the liability. Contra Liability a/c is not used as frequently as contra asset accounts.

Medicare taxes are levied in an equal amount on both employers and employees D. Once an employee’s year-to-date wages reach a certain amount prescribed by law, social security tax is no longer withheld. The term single-step income statement is sometimes used to describe a classified income statement. If a business is to earn a net income, the gross profit on sales must be greater than operating expenses. Salaries of office employees would be grouped with the selling expenses in the Operating Expenses section of the income statement D. A check issued for $1,980 to pay a vendor on account was recorded in the firm’s records as $1,890; the canceled check was properly listed on the bank statement at $1,980.

How To Record A Contra Account

But I do believe attention to detail is important, and I know that other people will judge you based on your grammar and spelling, particularly when they are germane to the argument you’re making. You can rationalize it all sorts of ways, and you’ve certainly tried, but simply listing a few accounting principles you heard about in Accounting 101 doesn’t justify ignoring others. EITF’s are contained within the GAAP hierarchy as level 3 authoritative guidance and can only be nullified or modified by guidance issued at level 1 or level 2.

Post By Diego Juez (2.354 Posts)

Desarrollador de .Net durante los ultimos 10 años. He trabajado en empresas consultoras, empresas de seguridad, empresas de desarrollo y fabricas. Actualmente trabajo como Business Analyst en Bridgestone Hispania


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