Note that the contra liability account has a positive balance (a debit balance), and the liability account normally has a credit balance. 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. Some of the most common contra assets include accumulated depreciation, allowance for doubtful accounts, and reserve for obsolete inventory. Contra asset accounts also provide a clear picture of the companies’ accumulation of assets.
The accumulated depreciation account has a credit balance and is used to reduce the carrying value of the equipment. The balance sheet would report equipment at its historical cost and then subtract the accumulated depreciation. Contra liability, equity, and revenue accounts have natural debit balances. These three types of contra accounts are used to reduce liabilities, equity, and revenue which all have natural credit balances.
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The size of the reserve also reveals the amount of bad debt that the company expects to experience from the current set of receivables. Overall, contra accounts are offsetting balances that are the opposite of specific accounts. There are several examples of contra accounts, including accumulated depreciation, accumulated depletion, accumulated amortization, allowance for receivables, etc. These are all examples of contra asset accounts, which are the prevalent type of contra accounts. This depreciation is saved in a contra asset account called accumulated depreciation.
- Contra asset accounts also provide a clear picture of the companies’ accumulation of assets.
- Contra accounts act like regular accounts on the balance sheet but have a unique purpose.
- Contra asset accounts are, as the name implies, accounts that are contrary to popular belief.
- Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.
- Whenever the balance of an account needs to be reduced in a company’s ledger, it is not always applicable to credit the account if it is an asset or debit the account if it is a liability.
- When you receive your credit card statement use the Bank Reconciliation feature to mark the items that have cleared and record any interest, finance charges or fees charged to your account.
By reporting contra asset accounts on the balance sheet, users of financial statements can learn more about the assets of a company. Contra asset accounts allow users to see how much of an asset was written off, its remaining useful life, and the value of the asset. Obsolete inventory or obsolete inventory reserves is another popular type of contra asset accounts. This type of accounts involves the products or goods of a company that is now unusable or obsolete. They are also helpful for keeping the books balanced and creating a clear trail of financial breadcrumbs for historical review and reporting.
contra account definition
The above accounts are the standard items that a company’s financial statements will include. However, there are other items as well that may not show in those financial statements. The contra equity account treasury stock is reported right on the balance sheet. Home Depot has repurchased more than $72 billion of stock to date, with around $7 billion coming during this accounting period.
Contra liability accounts are not as popular as contra asset accounts. The amount in the accumulated depreciation account is deducted from the assets of a company, such as buildings, vehicles and equipment. 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. Contra accounts are a significant part of a company’s financial statements.
A final word about contra asset accounts
Since we are discussing doubtful accounts, the offset will be against accounts receivables. An example would be a contra liability account which would be debited to offset a regular liability account. Contra revenue account, which is used to record the net amounts and usually has a debit balance, as opposed to the revenue account that records the gross amounts. Accumulated depreciation is a contra asset account used to record the amount of depreciation to date on a fixed asset. 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.
It breaks-out all the Income and expense accounts that were summarized in Retained Earnings. The Profit and Loss report is important in that it shows the detail of sales, cost of sales, expenses and ultimately the profit of the company. An allowance for doubtful accounts is considered a “contra asset,” because it reduces the amount of an asset, in this case the accounts receivable. The allowance, sometimes called a bad debt reserve, represents management’s estimate of the amount of accounts receivable that will not be paid by customers. The contra asset account, accumulated depreciation, is always a credit balance.
Home Depot reports net receivables and net property and equipment, implying that both are reduced by contra assets. We’ll need to dig into the footnotes to find out what the contra accounts are. 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. 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.
For most companies, the contra asset accounts will also include several types. Before understanding contra asset accounts, it is crucial to learn what contra accounts are. A second example of a contra asset account is Accumulated Depreciation. Whereas assets normally have positive debit balances, contra assets, though still reported along with other assets, have an opposite type of natural balance.