The discount on bonds payable amount shows the difference between the amount of cash received when issuing a bond and the value of the bond at maturity. The allowance method of accounting enables a company to determine the amount reasonable to be recorded in the contra account. When recording assets, the difference between the asset’s account balance and the contra account balance is the book value of the asset.
Contra accounts are more commonly paired with asset accounts, such as accounts receivable or inventory, to reduce the carrying values of those assets. A liability that is recorded as a debit balance is used to decrease the balance of a liability. Contra Liability a/c is not used as frequently as contra asset accounts. It is not classified as a liability since it does not represent a future obligation. Including contra accounts on a balance sheet is important as it allows for a more transparent view of a company’s financial position.
Understanding Contra Liability Accounts
Examples of revenue contra accounts are Sales Discounts, Returns and Allowances. Contra liability accounts such as discount on bonds payable and discount on notes payable usually carry debit balances. This depreciation is saved in a contra asset account called accumulated depreciation. 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. Purchase Discounts, Returns and Allowances are contra expense accounts with a credit balance that reduce the normal debit balance of the main Purchase Expense account in order to present the net value of purchase expenses in a company’s income statement. A contra liability is a general ledger account with a debit balance that reduces the normal credit balance of a standard liability account to present the net value on a balance sheet. Examples of contra liabilities are Discounts on Bonds and Notes Payable and Short-Term Portion of Long-Term Debt. Contra Liability Account – A contra liability account is a liability that carries a debit balance and decreases other liabilities on the balance sheet.
A company might decide to purchase its stock when the board of directors feel the stock is undervalued or when it wishes to pay its shareholders dividends. The amount on the equity contra account is deducted from the value of the total number of outstanding shares listed on a company’s balance sheet. Contra account is important as it not only allows a company to report the original amount of a transaction but also report any reductions that may have happened so that the net amount will also be reported. They are useful in preserving the historical value in the main account while presenting a write-down or decrease in a separate contra account that nets to the current book value.
What Is a Contra Account?
Accumulated depreciation decreases the value of an asset, bringing it more in line with its market value. When the amount recorded in the contra revenue accounts is subtracted from the amount of gross revenue, it equals the net revenue of a company. In case a customer returns a product, the company will record the financial activity under the sales return account. The use of contra accounts ensures the accuracy of financial accounting records, as the value of the original accounts is not directly reduced. In the event that a contra account is not utilized, it can become increasingly troublesome to determine historical costs, which makes tax preparation time-consuming and difficult. The balance in the allowance for doubtful accounts is used to find out the dollar value of the current accounts receivable balance that is deemed uncollectible.
The OID is calculated as the difference between the redemption price and the discounted issuance price. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.
Why should one include contra accounts on a balance sheet?
The credit balance in the liability account Bonds Payable minus the debit balances in the contra-liability accounts Discount on Bonds Payable and Bond Issue Costs results in the carrying value or book value of the bonds. The credit balance in Notes Payable minus the debit balances in Discount on Notes Payable is the carrying value or book value of the notes payable. The difference between the gross balance of a main account and its contra accounts reported as the net balance in a company’s financial statements is also referred to as a book value, current value, carrying value, or net realizable value. Sales returns, sales allowance and sale discounts are different examples of contra revenue accounts. Contra accounts such as these have a debit balance and are deducted from the total amount of a company’s revenue.
Examples of equity contra accounts are Owner Draws and Repurchased Treasury Stock Shares. Discount on Bonds Payable is a contra liability account with a debit balance that reduces the normal credit balance of its parent Bonds Payable liability account in order to present the net value of payables on a company’s balance sheet. Discount on Notes Receivable is a contra asset account with a credit balance that reduces the normal debit balance of its parent Notes Receivable asset account in order to present the net value of receivables on a company’s balance sheet. Allowance for Doubtful Accounts, also known as a Provision for Bad Debts, is a contra asset account with a credit balance that reduces the normal debit balance of the Accounts Receivable asset account in order to present the net value of receivables on a company’s balance sheet. Contra revenue is a general ledger account with a debit balance that reduces the normal credit balance of a standard revenue account to present the net value of sales generated by a business on its income statement.
- Put simply, contra accounts are used to reduce the normal accounts on the balance sheet.
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- Contra liability accounts such as discount on bonds payable and discount on notes payable usually carry debit balances.
- Sales returns, sales allowance and sale discounts are different examples of contra revenue accounts.
- Since a debit balance in a liability account is contrary to the normal credit balance, the account is referred to as a contra-liability account.
A copy of Carbon Collective’s current written disclosure statement discussing Carbon Collective’s business operations, services, and fees is available at the SEC’s investment adviser public information website – or our legal documents here. When a company gives a discount to customers in an effort to convince them to buy its goods or services, it is recorded in the discount on sales account. A contra account is a general ledger account with a balance that is the opposite of another, related account that it is paired with. The B/S impact is where the contra liability comes into play, i.e. the historical value of the debt is not impacted by the OID. In spite of its name, contra liabilities function more similarly to assets. Emilie is a Certified Accountant and Banker with Master’s in Business and 15 years of experience in finance and accounting from corporates, financial services firms – and fast growing start-ups.
How Are Contra Accounts Reported in Financial Statements?
Bills payable or notes payable is a liability that is created when a company borrows any specific amount of money. If the company repays the loan early, the lender may provide a discount. This discount is subtracted from the total amount borrowed to better reflect the discount given by the lender. A company creates allowances for doubtful accounts to record the portion of accounts receivable which it believes it will no longer be able to collect. The amount in allowance for doubtful accounts is deducted from the accounts receivable account of a company. A contra account is also known as a valuation allowance, because it adjusts the carrying value of the account with which it is paired.
Or, if the contra liability account balance is immaterial, the accounting staff could elect not to keep a balance in the account at all. When the amount is material, the line item is typically presented separately on the balance sheet, below the liability account with which it is paired. The debit balances in the above accounts are amortized or allocated to an expense, such as Interest Expense over the life of the bonds or notes payable. 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.
Contra Liability Account
When the original dollar amount is kept in the original account and a separate account is used for recording the deduction, the resulting financial information becomes more transparent and helpful for stakeholders. For example, a building is acquired for $20,000, that $20,000 is recorded on the general ledger while the depreciation of the building is recorded separately. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers.
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My Accounting Course is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. In other words, contra revenue is a deduction from gross revenue, which results in net revenue. The sales allowance shows the discounts given to customers when returning the product. This is done to entice customers to keep products instead of returning them.
Charlene Rhinehart is a CPA , CFE, chair of an Illinois CPA Society committee, and has a degree in accounting and finance from DePaul University. Examples of deferred unearned revenue include prepaid subscriptions, rent, insurance or professional service fees. We strive to empower readers with the most factual and reliable climate finance information possible to help them make informed decisions. Our goal is to deliver the most understandable and comprehensive explanations of climate and finance topics. Carbon Collective is the first online investment advisor 100% focused on solving climate change. We believe that sustainable investing is not just an important climate solution, but a smart way to invest.