Contra accounts appear in the financial statements directly below their paired accounts. Sometimes the balances in the two accounts are merged for presentation purposes, so that only a net amount is presented. If the related account is an asset account, then a contra asset account is used to offset it with a credit balance. If the related account is a liability account, then a contra liability account is used to offset it with a debit balance. Thus, the natural balance of a contra account is always the opposite of the account with which it is paired.
This can help anyone viewing the financial information to find the historical cost of the asset. The accumulated depreciation amount shows how much depreciation expense has been charged against an asset. Accumulated depreciation decreases the value of an asset, bringing it more in line with its market value. The contra asset account Accumulated Depreciation is deducted from the related Capital Assets to present the net balance on the parent account in a company’s balance sheet. If you offer credit terms to your customers, you probably know that not all of them will pay. Creating this contra asset account builds in a safeguard against overstating your accounts receivable balance.
Similarly, accrued liabilities reduce the total amount of current liabilities. In the realm of accounting, various techniques are used to ensure financial statements provide an accurate and comprehensive view of a company’s financial health. One such method is the use of contra accounts, a type of account that directly correlates and offsets a related account.
- An equity Contra account reduces the total number of outstanding shares listed on a company’s balance sheet.
- For example, an asset was purchased by a company for $100,000 – that is, the historical cost of the asset was $100,000 – and its contra asset counterpart has a balance of $30,000.
- The discount on bonds payable amount shows the difference between the amount of cash received when issuing a bond and the value of the bond at maturity.
- In other words, accumulated depreciation will be $10,000 each year until the car depreciates to $0 twenty years later.
- 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.
The net amount is often referred to as the carrying amount or perhaps the net realizable amount. 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. When accounting for assets, the difference between the asset’s account balance and the contra account balance is referred to as the book value. There are two major methods of determining what should be booked into a contra account.
Expense Contra Account
Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool’s premium services. The money left over after a company supports operations can be a snapshot of its financial health. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.
Free Debits and Credits Cheat Sheet
Most accounts receivable would just be the time between purchase and credit card settlement. Those who are struggling with recording what is lifo method definition and example may benefit from utilizing some of the best accounting software currently available. The upright 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. You might have seen in the balance sheet; all the accounts are shown at the net value after all the adjustments. Let’s say, the value of machinery is shown after reducing the depreciation from it.
Bills payable or notes payable is a liability that is created when a company borrows any specific amount of money. If the company repays the loan early, the lender may provide a discount. This discount is subtracted from the total amount borrowed to better reflect the discount given by the lender. The percentage of sales method assumes that a fixed percentage of goods or services sold by a company cannot be received. A contra account is used to show the opposite effect or reduction of a related account. 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.
The balance sheet shows the amount in the asset section underneath the accounts receivable. The net value of both these figures is usually reported on a third line. Contra accounts are shown in the financial statements below the paired accounts, although sometimes the balances of the two accounts are merged to a net amount for presentation purposes.
Recording Contra Accounts
The contra asset account of your equipment account is the accumulated depreciation of equipment. When the balance in the accumulated depreciation is $10,000 and your equipment account has a debit balance of $50,000, then the book value of your equipment is $40,000. For liability and revenue accounts, credit transactions will increase and debit transactions will decrease the account balances.
This means that accounts receivables have a debit balance of $10,000, and the firm credits revenue for $10,000. A customer returned $100 worth of items, claiming them to be defective. Contra liabilities are common in companies that sell bonds to raise capital. To drum up interest in the bond, the company will sell it at a discount. For example, a bond with a principal amount of $1,000 may be sold for only $950. The bond is listed on the balance sheet at the full amount of $1,000, but the cash received is just $950, so a contra liability for the discount is listed to make the entry balance.
A debit will be made to the bad debt expense for $4,000 to balance the journal entry. Although the accounts receivable is not due in September, the company still has to report credit losses of $4,000 as bad debts expense in its income statement for the month. 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. Sales returns, sales allowance and sale discounts are different examples of contra revenue accounts. Contra accounts such as these have a debit balance and are deducted from the total amount of a company’s revenue.
Accumulated depreciation is the total of all depreciation that has been charged to existing fixed assets such as equipment and buildings. There can be hidden value in stocks that have a lot of fully depreciated buildings. Companies like to depreciate assets as quickly as possible to get the tax savings, so the balance sheet may not state the true value of fixed assets. The balance in the allowance for doubtful accounts is used to find out the dollar value of the current accounts receivable balance that is deemed uncollectible.
Usually, the asset account is listed first, and its contra asset counterpart is listed underneath, with the asset’s net value or book value. Note that in accounting, the term “book value” is also used interchangeably with net value. Therefore, the book value of an asset in the books is equal to its historical cost (the debit balance of the asset) minus the related amount of contra asset in the balance sheet (the credit balance of the contra asset). Contra accounts are used to reduce the value of the original account directly to keep financial accounting records clean.
The concepts of debits and credits in accounting dictate how transactions are recorded. For instance, to increase asset and expense accounts, we simply record a debit and to decrease those accounts, we can record a credit. Each account in a general ledger will be designated debit or credit accounts depending on whether they’re categorized as assets, liabilities, revenues or expenses. You’ll continue to use the contra asset account until the equipment has been completely depreciated, retired, or sold. For example, an asset was purchased by a company for $100,000 – that is, the historical cost of the asset was $100,000 – and its contra asset counterpart has a balance of $30,000.