What Is A Contra Account?

a contra asset account has what type of balance

The accumulated depreciation account plays a vital role in representing the accurate value of an asset in the financial statements. Contra accounts are used to reduce the original account directly, keeping financial accounting records clean. The difference between an asset’s balance and the contra account asset balance is the book value. Key examples of contra asset accounts include allowance for doubtful accounts and accumulated depreciation. Allowance for doubtful accounts reduce accounts receivable, while accumulated deprecation is used to reduce the value of a fixed asset. A contra asset account is a type of asset account where the account balance may either be a negative or zero balance.

  • Accumulated depreciation accounts accumulate the depreciation expense charged on the asset.
  • Bad debts mean those amounts that a business does not recover from the accounts receivables–the business debit bad debts to the income statement.
  • In order to balance the journal entry, a debit will be made to the bad debt expense for $4,000.
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  • A contra account is a negative account that is netted from the balance of another account on the balance sheet.
  • There are many situations where one account is used to offset another account.

Treasury Stock AccountTreasury Stock is a stock repurchased by the issuance Company from its current shareholders that remains non-retired. Moreover, it is not considered while calculating the Company’s Earnings Per Share or dividends. So, an organization looking for a robust accounting process must move to this type of reporting for better understanding. Provision for a discount from creditors and discount on bills receivable are other examples which are widely used. For example, a company has provided services to its customer for $10,000 with a sales discount of 2%. Despite being classified as a liability, it functions more like an asset because benefits are provided to the company.

Why Do Banks Write Off Bad Debt?

Fixed assets are often listed on the balance sheet as property, plant and equipment. The accumulated depreciation account appears on the balance sheet as a credit and is a reduction from the total amount listed for fixed assets. Some companies choose not to include accumulated depreciation on the balance sheet and simply list the net amount of property, plant and equipment.

a contra asset account has what type of balance

Contra revenue reduced gross revenue, resulting in net revenue. The following are several key reasons why it can be important to include contra asset accounts on a balance sheet. This amount is typically a contra asset account has what type of balance paired with the company’s current assets on the balance sheet. One of the basic and most important differences between both is the natural balance of asset account and revenue account.

What Are Contra Accounts In Accounting?

No accumulated depreciation will be shown on the balance sheet. A machine purchased for $15,000 will show up on the balance sheet as Property, Plant and Equipment for $15,000. Over the years the machine decreases in value by the amount of depreciation expense. In the second year, the machine will show up on the balance sheet as $14,000.

a contra asset account has what type of balance

Another example of a contra asset account is the accumulated depreciation account which reduces the reporting value of capital assets. Allowance for obsolete inventory or obsolete https://accounting-services.net/ inventory reserve are also examples of contra asset accounts. Sales returns is a contra revenue account as the figure is a negative amount net against total sales revenue.

When Would You Use A Contra Revenue Account?

A revenues account with a debit balance instead of the usual credit balance. Examples include sales returns, sales allowances, and sales discounts. Contra assets are accounts in the general ledger—where you enter your transactions—that carry a balance used to offset the account with which it is paired. Instead of debiting the asset account directly, the contra asset account balance will be credited separately.

The only real reason you would want to have asset accounts with a credit balance is if they were intentionally set up as a contra asset account. Before you issue a balance sheet, fix any errors and reclassified any asset accounts with a credit balance as a liability. In accounting, assets are things of value that your business owns.

How Contra Asset Accounts Work

Contra asset accounts are a type of contra account that net off against asset accounts. These include accumulated depreciation, accumulated amortization, allowance for receivables, obsolete inventory, and discount on notes receivables.

a contra asset account has what type of balance

An organization would rather record $100,000 as an asset and would amortize $10,000 depreciation each year for the next 10 years. This results in compliance with the accrual concept while reflecting on an accurate accounts receivable balance.

Allowance for doubtful accounts offsets a company’s accounts receivable account. Accumulated depreciation offsets a company’s real property assets, such as buildings, equipment and machinery. Accumulated deprecation represents the cumulative amount of depreciation expense charged against an asset. Contra asset accounts include allowance for doubtful accounts and accumulated depreciation. Contra asset accounts are recorded with a credit balance that decreases the balance of an asset. Another contra asset listed on the balance sheet is accumulated depreciation. This reduces the amount of the carrying value of a company’s fixed asset to account for the wear and tear over the asset’s useful life.

Why Is Depreciation Estimated?

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

If your factory equipment represents a $1.7 million asset but it’s depreciated by $700,000, you’d record the depreciation in a contra asset account. Comparing the two gives you the book value of $1 million on the equipment. Here’s a short list of some example contra asset accounts and their corresponding asset accounts. Contra LiabilityA contra liability is a liability account that carries a debit balance as opposed to a credit balance.

If we just show $60,000 as an asset in the third year, it will be challenging to understand whether $60,000 is all new purchases or the remaining value of an asset. This account helps all the stakeholders in understanding the financial numbers accurately.

In the balance sheet, the accounts receivable would be reflected after adjusting this allowance account. If it is the first year of operation, there is no outstanding balance in the allowance account. 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. The reserve for obsolete inventory is management’s guesstimate of how much of the inventory is spoiled or otherwise unusable. If your expenses occur faster than agreed upon prepayments, you could end up with a situation where a prepaid expense account could start carrying a credit balance. This could happen if, for example, you’re having worker’s comp insurance premiums go up after you’ve already made payment due to a workplace accident. This account serves two purposes — tracking total depreciation expenses while providing you with the accurate book value of the asset being depreciated.

What Is Contra Asset And Contra Liabilities?

The popularity of contra liability accounts is lower than that of contra asset accounts. If a company issues bonds, contra liability accounts are likely to be used. The contra revenue accounts commonly used in small-business accounting include sales returns, sales allowance and sale discounts. 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.

However, they will still appear on the notes to the financial statements with necessary disclosures. A contra asset account is an account that opposes the balances of other asset accounts. As mentioned, a company will usually have debit balances in its asset accounts. However, the details for contra accounts usually exist on the notes to the financial statements.

Contra asset accounts are used to reduce the debit balance of its corresponding asset account in order to calculate a net value for each asset. ZipBooks gives you the option to create a contra asset account automatically for any new or existing asset account that you mark as depreciable. Inventory obsolescence is an expense account, while the allowance for obsolete inventory is a contra asset account, which aims to reduce the inventory valuation on your balance sheet. The accumulated depreciation account is perhaps the most common contra asset account used by business owners. Contra Asset AccountA contra asset account is an asset account with a credit balance related to one of the assets with a debit balance. When we add the balances of these two assets, we will get the net book value or carrying value of the assets having a debit balance. For both contra asset accounts, the entry is a debit to an expense and the credit is to the contra asset account.

In this case, you will debit your asset by $8,00,000 and you will reduce the balance of the asset account by $8,000. Hence in this case depreciation account is reducing the balance of the asset account.


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. These accounts can be listed based on the respective asset, liability, or equity account to reduce their original balance. Therefore, these companies must maintain an obsolete inventory reserve account to net off any unusable stock from the account. This requirement also comes from the accounting standard for inventories.

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