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What is the formula for calculating the ending balance for allowance for bad debt?

The allowance for bad debt reserve is a contra-asset that is recorded in the asset section of the balance sheet. The company must roll forward the reserve each year to make sure the reserve is adequate. To increase the reserve, the company would record additional bad debt expense. When the company writes-off a receivable, it decreases the allowance reserve.

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  • What is the journal entry to write-off a receivable?

    Assuming the allowance method is being used, you would have an allowance for doubtful account reserve already established. To write-off the receivable, you would debit allowance for doubtful accounts and then credit accounts receivable. The visual below also includes the journal entry necessary to record bad debt expense and establish the allowance for doubtful accounts reserve (aka bad debt reserve or uncollectible AR reserve).

  • What are the methods used to estimated bad debt under the allowance method?

    The allowance method is the option that is allowed under U.S. GAAP. U.S GAAP leaves it up to the company to determine how they want to implement the allowance method. There are three common options include the percentage-of-sales method, the percentage-of-AR method, and the aging of AR method:

  • What is the journal entry to record bad debt expense?

    Under the allowance method, the company would establish an allowance for doubtful account reserve, which is a contra-asset. When the company believes there is a risk that they won’t collect $100 from a customer who is going through bankruptcy, then they would debit bad debt expense and credit allowance for doubtful accounts. When the company determines there is no chance the receivable will be collected, it is actually written off. To write-off a receivable, the company would debit allowance for doubtful accounts and credit accounts receivable.