How do I set up a contra account or control the natural balance of a GL account in Quickbooks Online?

debit balance

Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. Despite being classified as a liability, it functions more like an asset because benefits are provided to the company. While technically classified as an asset, it functions closer to a liability as it reduces the value of the asset it is paired with.

How Are Accumulated Depreciation and Depreciation Expense … – Investopedia

How Are Accumulated Depreciation and Depreciation Expense ….

Posted: Sat, 09 Apr 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Emilie is a Certified Accountant and Banker with Master’s in Business and 15 years of experience in finance and accounting from corporates, financial services firms – and fast growing start-ups. When the two balances are offset against each other they show the net balance of both accounts. Bad debt expense is an expense that a business incurs once the repayment of credit previously extended to a customer is estimated to be uncollectible. Contra accounts provide more detail to accounting figures and improve transparency in financial reporting. A contra account is an account used in a general ledger to reduce the value of a related account. Sales returns – items that have been returned by a customer.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

In other words, a discount on bond payable means that the bond was sold for less than the amount the issuer will have to pay back in the future. Double Entry Bookkeeping is here to provide you with free online information to help you learn and understand bookkeeping and introductory accounting. Net receivables are the money owed to a company by its customers minus the money owed that will likely never be paid, often expressed as a percentage. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

The contra account offsets the parent account to reveal the remaining net amount of non-current assets. The two methods used in estimating bad debt expense are 1) Percentage of sales and 2) Percentage of receivables. A contra account is a general ledger account with a balance that is opposite of the normal balance for that account classification. The use of a contra account allows a company to report the original amount and also report a reduction so that the net amount will also be reported.

Trial Balance

Discount on notes payable and discount on bonds are examples of contra liability accounts. If there’s an increase to allowance for uncollectible accounts, you record the same amount in the bad debt expense of your income statement. Similarly, accumulated depreciation accounts reduce the value of the fixed assets you report on your financial statements.


These three types of contra accounts are used to reduce liabilities, equity, and revenue which all have natural credit balances. Therefore, for these three, the debit balance actually represents a negative amount. Last, for contra revenue accounts there are sales discounts, sales allowances, or sales returns.

Contra Account Definition in Accounting

That is because some of the present value of an annuity table are issued at a discount, so this reduces the balance of their bonds payable. The sales discounts contra revenue account records the discounts given to customers on sales made to them, normally a cash or settlement discount. The account is normally a debit balance and in use is offset against the revenue account which is normally a credit balance. Consequently the net balance of the two accounts shows the net value of the sales after discounts. By reporting contra asset accounts on the balance sheet, users of financial statements can learn more about the assets of a company.

  • Its value indicates how much of an asset’s worth has been utilized.
  • This is typically two to five years, and is generally done using the straight-line amortization method.
  • You can estimate the total to record in the allowance for doubtful accounts based on uncollectible revenue totals from the previous year or you can conservatively estimate the amount.
  • The key example of a contra equity account is Treasury stock, which represents the amount paid to buyback stock.

In the above method, we debit the contra revenue account in the trading account, but generally, the company uses the first method of accounting for contra revenue. This type of reporting allows anyone analyzing the balance sheet to understand much more about the company and its assets than if they were to simply look at the net value of the depreciated asset. By reflecting both accounts on the balance sheet, analysts can understand both the original price and the total decrease in value of a certain asset over time. A contra asset is a negative account used in double-entry accounting to reduce the balance of a paired asset account in the general ledger.

Financial Statements

After the goes live, the capitalized software development costs are amortized over the estimated useful life of the software. This is typically two to five years, and is generally done using the straight-line amortization method. For internally developed software, projects proceed in three general stages, and those stages determine whether costs are capitalized or expensed. Is a contractual agreement between an employer and its employees in which the employer provides benefits to employees after they retire.

Some of the most common contra assets include accumulated depreciation, allowance for doubtful accounts, and reserve for obsolete inventory. The allowance for doubtful accounts – often called a “bad debt reserve” – would be considered a contra asset since it causes the accounts receivable (A/R) balance to decline. For example, accumulated depreciation is a contra asset that reduces the value of a company’s fixed assets, resulting in net assets. In double entry bookkeeping terms, a contra expense account refers to an account which is offset against an expense account. Accountants use contra accounts rather than reduce the value of the original account directly to keep financial accounting records clean. If a contra account is not used, it can be difficult to determine historical costs, which can make tax preparation more difficult and time-consuming.


The net amount is often referred to as the carrying amount or perhaps the net realizable amount. 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. The difference between an asset’s account balance and the contra account balance is known as the book value.

Journal Entry for Discount on Bonds Payable

It also shows the carrying amount of $19,000, which you report to your firm’s balance sheet. An example of a contra liability account would be bonds. A company might issue bonds as a way to borrow money. The company would then have a contra liability account for the bonds.

Contains either an allowance for returned goods, or the actual amount of revenue deduction attributable to returned goods. Is debited when a company buys back its shares from the open market. Suppose a clothing business has sold $50,000 of inventory on credit. It estimates that 2% of all receivables will not be collected. The $10,000 of depreciation will reduce the book value of the car.

  • QuickBooks Online has different interphase and features compared to QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Adidas must pay $206,948 at maturity and no interest payments.
  • Sometimes people encounter hardships and are unable to meet their payment obligations, in which case they default.
  • A delivery van is purchased by a business to use in delivering product and picking up materials.
  • Can include a plan administrator who receives payments from the employer, invests them in pension assets, and makes benefit payments to pension recipients.
  • This would give a more accurate picture of the company’s assets.

Contra expense accounts have a natural credit balance, as opposed to the natural debit balance of a typical expense account. Therefore, a contra expense account that contains a debit balance must have a negative ending balance. A contra expense is an account in the general ledger that is paired with and offsets a specific expense account. The account is typically used when a company initially pays for an expense item, and is then reimbursed by a third party for some or all of this initial outlay.

That loss of value is called Depreciation. Each year of an asset’s life, another year of Depreciation Expense is recorded. The offset to the Depreciation Expense account is Accumulated Depreciation. Bad debt expense is something that must be recorded and accounted for every time a company prepares its financial statements.

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Lyft Announces Q4’22 and Fiscal 2022 Results.

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When a company decides to leave it out, they overstate their assets and they could even overstate their net income. A contra asset account is an asset account in which the natural balance of the account will either be a zero or a credit balance. The account offsets the balance in the respective asset account that it is paired with on the balance sheet.

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