The Direct Write Off Method: Pros & Cons

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Hovak prepares a schedule of its December 31, 2017, The Direct Write Off Method Of Accounting For Uncollectible Accounts receivable by age. On the basis of past experience, it estimates the percent of receivables in each age category that will become uncollectible. The allowance method of accounting for bad debts involves estimating uncollectible accounts at the end of each period.

  • The direct write-off method is used only when we decide a customer will not pay.
  • This estimate can be based on historical experience, industry statistics, or other relevant factors.
  • This also means that the balance sheet will be reporting a lower, more realistic amount of its accounts receivable sooner.
  • GAAPGAAP are standardized guidelines for accounting and financial reporting.
  • A factor is a finance company or a bank that buys receivables from businesses for a fee and then collects the payments directly from the customers.

In these cases, the direct write-off method can be simpler and less time-consuming than the allowance method. However, for most companies, the benefits of the allowance method make it the preferred method of accounting for bad debts. As you can see, the direct write-off method involves a direct write-off of the uncollectible amount from the accounts receivable and a corresponding credit to the allowance for bad debts account. This reduces the accounts receivable and recognizes the expected loss from the uncollectible amount.

Direct Write-Off vs. Allowance Method

Bad debt expense is an unfortunate cost of doing business with customers on credit, as there is always a default risk inherent to extending credit. It cannot collect $45,000 of its accounts receivable from its customer Leer Company. Bad Debts Expense is reported under “Selling expenses” in the income statement. Short-term receivables are reported in the current asset section of the balance sheet below short-term investments. Notes receivable give the holder a stronger legal claim to assets than accounts receivable.

  • The direct write-off method recognizes bad accounts as an expense at the point when judged to be uncollectible and is the required method for federal income tax purposes.
  • This journal entry takes into account a debit balance of $2000 and adds the prior period’s balance to the estimated balance of $4608 in the current period, providing for a bad debt of $6608 ($4608+2000).
  • The major disadvantage of the Direct Write-off method is the possibility of expense manipulation because companies record expenses and revenue in different periods.
  • The second entry records the payment in full with Cash increasing and Accounts Receivable decreasing for the amount received of $5000.
  • This is computed by dividing the receivables turnover ratio into 365 days.

On December 31, ABC Inc. recorded a credit of $500 to Accounts Receivable and a debit of $500 to Bad Debt Expenses. In January 2020, the company issued an invoice to one of its customers, David Smith, for $500. The customer failed to pay the invoice by the due date, and the company tried several times to collect the debt but was unsuccessful. For accountants, the direct write-off method is an important part of their day-to-day work. They have to keep an eye on the balances of the accounts receivable and figure out which debts are unlikely to be paid back. But, the write off method allows revenue to be expensed whenever a business decides an invoice won’t be paid.


Allowing to pay within a reasonable time of purchasing a product or service makes the purchasing process smoother and increases total sales. When a customer refuses to pay, a business may sell the account to a collections agency or stop attempting to collect on the debt entirely. Either way, the business suffers a loss on the sale and has to account for it. Under the direct write-off method, accounting for the write-off and subsequent collection of specific accounts receivable requires three journal entries. This amount is accumulated in a provision, which is then used to reduce specific receivable accounts when necessary.



Posted: Wed, 15 Mar 2023 21:03:13 GMT [source]

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