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What Are Bad Debt Expenses: Importance and how to estimate it?

by Uneeb Khan
Bad Debt Expenses

Bad Debt Cost: The Ideal Definition

When a receivable cannot be collected because the customer is unable to pay a credit owing to bankruptcy or any other financial troubles, an expense for bad debt is noted. On their balance sheet, companies that lend money to consumers list bad debts as a provision for insolvent accounts. This is also known as an allowance for credit loss.

Why does a need for bad debt expenses arise?

In essence, the concept of bad debt charge, like any accounting principle, enables businesses to efficiently and truthfully disclose their financial status. Most businesses may eventually encounter a customer who is unable to pay, at which point a bad debt expense must be recorded. A significant portion of these expenses can change how potential clients and investors evaluate a company’s overall success.

Bad debts must be accurately and immediately recorded, as was already stated. They also help businesses discover customers who have missed payments in order to prevent such issues in the future.

Take a look at this short guide also: QuickBooks Tool hub

What is the meaning of the Allowance Method?

The allowance technique is setting money away for future bad debts that are anticipated to occur. The reserve is determined using a proportion of the revenue earned during the reporting period, and it may be modified to account for the risk associated with certain clients. The reader of those financials will be able to better understand the true profitability of sales because the bad debt charges are then compared to the sales for the same time period through this allowance.

Here are some of the best techniques if you would like to convert your data, just read QuickBooks Data Conversion services guide.

Techniques for accurately estimating bad debt

Approach 1:

percentage of the entire amount of receivables. Determining bad debts as a percentage of the balance in accounts receivable is one way businesses can estimate the quantity of bad debts using this method of allowance. The allowance for bad debts accounts should be adjusted to reflect the balance of credit of $5,000 (5 percent of the $100,000) if a company has $100k in accounts receivable at the end of the accounting period and the company’s records show that on average 5 percent of the total accounts receivable are deemed uncollectible.

If the balance assigned to the account for the allowance for bad debts at the conclusion of the previous accounting period matched the actual write-offs during the just-concluded accounting period An unpaid sum will be added to the account. The account will be able to handle an outstanding balance if the write-offs are lower than expected. However, if write-offs are greater than expected, the account will be credited with the difference. After the adjustment entry has been made, if the account for bad debts still has a balance of $200, an adjustment entry for $5,200 is required to give the account a $5,200 account amount.

If a credit balance of $300 rather than a debit balance of $200 was applied to an allowance for accounts with bad debts, an adjusting entry of $4,700 will be needed to provide the account an account equilibrium of $5,700.

Approach 2:

the process of ageing The likelihood that a debt will be paid off decreases with the amount of time an account balance is past due. As a result, many companies keep an accounts receivable ageing plan that classifies each client’s credit purchases based on how long they have been past due. The estimated amount of bad debt is calculated by multiplying the balance for each category by the projected percentage of unavailability for collection in that particular group. The following accounts receivable ageing schedule divides credit purchases into five categories based on their age.

The estimated bad debts in this case total at least $5,000. This adjustment entry will include a debit of $4,600 to the expense for bad debts and an allowance of $4,600 to account for bad debts if the account already has a cash balance above $400.

Approach 3:

percentage of purchases made with a credit card. Some businesses measure bad debts as a proportion of sales. If a business may record $5000 in credit sales during an accounting period, but studies indicate that at least 1% of those sales will be difficult to collect, At the end of each accounting cycle, an adjustment entry will credit allowances for debts up to $5,000 and debit the bad debts charge of $5,000.

Companies that use the percentage of sales to credit approach don’t take account balances in the account for bad debts into consideration when making their adjusting entries; instead, they just use the total credit sales as their basis. The percentage rate used to calculate bad debts is modified in the event that the predictions do not match the real bad debts in light of the foreseeable future.


The best course of action is to list your bad debts each time you record the financial accounts for your business. Without it, you can overestimate the company’s assets and net profits.

Businesses can identify the clients that default on payments more frequently than other clients by recognizing and assessing the cost of bad debt. Credit-worthy consumers can be identified using this information, and they can then be rewarded with a variety of discounts.

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