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Contra Account Definition, Example

By December 2, 2021December 3rd, 2021No Comments

contra asset examples

Therefore, an account number beginning with 1, for instance, must be an asset account. The same list of accounts remains in view throughout the firm’s entire accounting cycle.

contra asset examples

An adjunct account is an account in financial reporting that increases the book value of a liability account. Learn accounting fundamentals and how to read financial statements with CFI’s free online accounting classes. Accumulated depreciation is the total amount of depreciation expense allocated to a specific asset since the asset was put into use. Firms that sell to other businesses recognize repeat customers as accounts. The seller may designate one of its own sales staff as dedicated Account Manager for that customer. Account managers of this kind are responsible for account planning and building a continuing relationship with the customer.

The purchase of a capital asset such as a building or equipment is not an expense. Some examples of asset accounts include Cash, Accounts Receivable, Inventory, Prepaid Expenses, Investments, Buildings, Equipment, Vehicles, Goodwill, and many more. Two asset accounts, Allowance for Doubtful Accounts and Accumulated Depreciation, are known as contra asset accounts since these accounts are expected to have credit balances. A key example of contra liabilities include discount on notes or bonds payable. This type of contra asset accounts is used for recording the depreciation within the timeframe of a fixed asset.

Why Are Contra Asset Accounts Important For Business?

Liability accounts record debts or future obligations a business 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.

  • This is done either to increase the value of the existing shares or to prevent various shareholders from controlling the company.
  • The rest is a hodge-podge of asset sales and accounting tools …
  • A practitioner with appropriate training and certification is an accountant.
  • For example, sales returns and allowance and sales discounts are contra revenues with respect to sales, as the balance of each contra is the opposite of sales .

A classified balance sheet is merely one that has been arranged so … Contra asset accounts are reported with the related account on the same financial statement. Another question that we get is what is the relationship between a contra asset balance and the book value. Investopedia notes that the difference between the asset’s contra account balance and its account balance is called the book value. Some accountants will keep a reference handy to know if the debit increases or the credit increases an account. The normal balance of a contra account, and the debit or credit, will be the opposite of the entry and normal balance in the parent account. If a listed company purchases its own shares from the open market, it will have to debit the treasury stock account in order to record the transaction.

What Are The Types Of Contra Asset Accounts?

There are two major methods of determining what should be booked into a contra account. Now let’s focus our attention on the two most common contra assets – accumulated depreciation and allowance for doubtful accounts. In this method, bad debt expense is estimated for the period and is recorded as an expense while the allowance account is credited. The allowance is always shown as a reduction from gross receivables contra asset examples used to calculate net receivables. In accounting, a contra accountant is a ledger account that takes two different methods of taking the same inventory and saves the difference between these two methods. The process of using debits and credits creates a ledger format that resembles the letter “T”. The term “T-account” is accounting jargon for a “ledger account” and is often used when discussing bookkeeping.

  • The use of contra accounts ensures the accuracy of financial accounting records, as the value of the original accounts is not directly reduced.
  • Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments.
  • Contra liability accounts such as discount on bonds payable and discount on notes payable usually carry debit balances.
  • The allowance method of accounting allows a company to estimate what amount is reasonable to book into the contra account.
  • To determine whether to debit or credit a specific account, we use either the accounting equation approach , or the classical approach .
  • Debit accumulated depreciation -equipment for $16,875 and credit depreciation expense for $16,875.

The sale to the Johnson family will create a bad debt expense estimate of 10% of the amount receivable. In accounting, a contra account is where the adjustments and transactions with contrasting effects on the parent account are recorded.

How To Record A Contra Account

Found inside – Page 125Both of these accounts are linked to the inventory account, with purchase returns and allowances acting as a contra account to purchases. As a part of the inventory reconciliation process at the end of the accounting period, … Hopefully, you have a pretty clear idea of contra asset meaning—no need to ask to define contra asset accounts anymore. Including contra asset accounts on your balance sheets can be hugely beneficial for your business. The company’s contra asset account will record unusable or obsolete assets. Assets can become obsolete or unusable for a variety of reasons, such as getting sold or retired because of wear or inefficiency.

Due From Account Definition – Investopedia

Due From Account Definition.

Posted: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:39:15 GMT [source]

In bookkeeping, asset accounts report the value of your company’s cash, equipment, raw materials and other assets. These accounts keep track of factors that reduce the worth of your assets.


The relationship between seller and customer then differs from the customer-seller relationship involved in a one-time purchase transaction. “Long-term liabilities” typically include obligations to lending firms and bondholders. Short-term liabilities, on the other hand, represent near-term debts incurred in operating the business. The complete list of active accounts resides in the firm’s Chart of Accounts.

What is customer Contra?

If you have a customer who is also a supplier, you may want to offset the outstanding customer and supplier invoices. This is known as making a contra entry. … This means when you record the invoices as being paid, it doesn’t affect your current bank account balance.

Examples of fixed assets include buildings, machinery, office equipment, furniture, vehicles, etc. The accumulated depreciation account appears on the balance sheet and reduces the gross amount of fixed assets.

Academic Research On Contra Accounts

Liabilities, conversely, would include items that are obligations of the company (i.e. loans, accounts payable, mortgages, debts). Accumulated depletion is similar to accumulated depreciation but takes into account the total amount depleted from natural resources. Purchases of oil and gas wells, timber, and fossil and mineral deposits are recorded on a company’s balance sheet as natural resources. These are physically extracted and only replaced by a natural process. Accumulated depletion accounts for the reduction of value in a natural resource. For example, as a company extracts oil from an oil well over a period of time, the value of the oil well declines. The amount of the decline is recorded in the accumulated depletion account.

They have this name because they work to adjust the book value, or carrying book value for assets or liabilities, as the examples below show. Ot all accounts work additively with each other on the primary financial accounting reports. Sometimes one account works to offset the impact of another account of the same type. The so-called contra account work against other accounts in this way.

Rather, there are separate accounts for Purchases, Purchase Discounts, Purchase Returns and Allowances and Freight In. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. The totals show the net effect on the accounting equation and the double-entry principle, where the transactions are balanced. Each transaction that takes place within the business will consist of at least one debit to a specific account and at least one credit to another specific account.

Therefore, contra accounts are the reverse accounts that decrease a specific account’s balance. For example, if an account has a debit balance, a contra account will have a credit balance. Thus, netting off both will result in the final amount for the account.

contra asset examples

The Operating Revenue section uses sales less its contra accounts to calculate net sales. Treasury stock and drawing accounts are examples of contra equity accounts. Contra accounts may have a zero balance in some cases, though the actual instances of this may be rare. The allowance for doubtful accounts, for example, is zero if the company collects all of its open customer receivables or the allowance amounts were written off as a bad debt expense. Accumulated depreciation contra accounts have a balance so long as the company owns the related asset. When a company sells the asset — usually a long-term asset such as a building or vehicle — the closing entry removes the related accumulated depreciation in the contra asset account. Therefore, these accounts will have no balance to net against an asset account or report through disclosures.

Accumulated depreciation is a contra-asset account which is subtracted from asset accounts. Companies that hold inventories for a long time may face accumulating obsolete inventory. Therefore, these companies must maintain an obsolete inventory reserve account to net off any unusable stock from the account.

However, they will still appear on the notes to the financial statements with necessary disclosures. 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. Include buildings, machinery, office equipment, furniture, vehicles, etc. Contra asset and contra liability accounts are also called valuation allowance accounts.

Other examples of contra accounts deal with variables where the exact value is unknown. Sales discounts often depend on how fast your customers pay their bills. You can estimate based on experience, but you won’t know for sure until they actually pay.

However, accounting standards refer to them as contra accounts. The most common contra account is the accumulated depreciation account, which offsets the fixed asset account. Taken together, the asset account and contra asset account reveal the net amount of fixed assets still remaining. A contra asset account is not classified as an asset, since it does not represent long-term value, nor is it classified as a liability, since it does not represent a future obligation. Every contra asset account on a company’s accounting records will have a pairing account as well. For example, accumulated depreciation will go along with related assets.

Contra Liability Account – A contra liability account is a liability that carries a debit balance and decreases other liabilities on the balance sheet. Balance Sheet AccountsA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders’ equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner’s capital equals the total assets of the company. 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. The contra liability account is less common than the contra asset account. An example of a contra liability account is the bond discount account, which offsets the bond payable account.

Author: Maggie Kate Fitzgerald