What Is Contra Account In Accounting

contra expense account

With contra equity accounts, you reduce the number of outstanding shares you list on your company’s balance sheet. Treasury stock and owner’s drawing account are examples of contra equity accounts. The contra expense account reason you show a contra asset on a balance sheet is so you can see the overall net balance of a particular asset and to give investors a more accurate look into your company’s financial activity.

Accountable expense accounts are subject to a variety of Internal Revenue Service regulations. Spending from the account must be documentable, typically by means of receipts. Any money entrusted to the employee from the account that is not spent for business purposes and accounted for must be returned to the employer. This blog is created to help people without an accounting background easily understand accounting concepts at no cost. Our goal has always been to make accounting information available for free to everybody on the planet 24/7. We also hope to increase the awareness of accounting and provide quality resources for those considering a career in accounting. We are also providing some articles and tips about investments, home loans, car loans, credit cards, debit cards and etc in this website.

Similarly, the company may choose to combine the amounts in both its contra and fixed asset accounts if the contra asset account has a relatively low balance. You may use accounting software packages, such as QuickBooks Online to set up contra accounts. Simply hit Control + N under the Chart of Accounts or Edit, then click New .

There are two major methods of determining what should be booked into a contra account. The allowance method of accounting allows a company to estimate what amount is reasonable to book into the contra account.


If a contra account is not used, it can be difficult to determine historical costs, which can make tax preparation more difficult and time-consuming. By keeping the original dollar amount intact in the original account and reducing the figure in a separate account, the financial information is more transparent for financial reporting purposes. For example, if a piece of heavy machinery is purchased for normal balance $10,000, that $10,000 figure is maintained on the general ledger even as the asset’s depreciation is recorded separately. A second example of a contra asset account is Accumulated Depreciation. In this article, you will learn what a contra asset account is, the types of contra asset accounts a business may have as well as an example of how common types of contra asset account balances are calculated.

contra expense account

A normal asset has a debit balance, while a contra asset sits against this to show the net balance of both assets on your financial statement. In some sense, you can consider a contra asset as a negative asset. A contra asset shows a zero or negative balance on your company’s balance sheet. This type of listing offsets the balance in the asset account associated with the contra asset, thereby reducing an asset’s overall value. Dividends are money paid to shareholders of a company for their investment.

Definition Of A Contra Account:

When a contra entry is made, the affect is transferred from one account to another.But no result is created in the business. For example when cash is deposited to bank, It is just moving of fund from cash account to bank account. Hence in the balance sheet, amount is floated from one item to another on the same side.

You need to record the expenses as a COGs account, otherwise you would still be misleading your financial readers and skewing the measurements. However, taxes and fees would be correct if they are based on revenues. An allowance for doubtful accounts is a contra-asset account that reduces the total receivables reported to reflect only the amounts expected to be paid. A contra account is used in a general ledger to reduce the value of a related account when the two are netted together. A contra account’s natural balance is the opposite of the associated account.

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. In the financial statements the purchases account would be offset against the contra expense accounts to show the net purchases.

contra expense account

Balance sheet readers cannot only see the actual cost of the item; they can also see how much of the asset was written off as well as estimate the remaining useful life and value of the asset. The allowance for doubtful accounts is a contra-asset account that is associated with accounts receivable and serves to reflect the true value of accounts receivable. The amount represents the value of accounts receivable that a company does not expect https://accounting-services.net/ to receive payment for. At the end of the year, expense accounts need to be closed, or zeroed out. Expense accounts need to be closed because they are temporary, meaning that they pertain only to a given accounting period and won’t carry over into the next one. When expense accounts are closed, they close to another temporary account, known as Income Summary. So, the expense accounts must be credited, and the Income Summary will be debited.

What Is Contra Revenue?

For example, there need to be separate accounts to hold the actual cost of property, plant and equipment and related accumulated depreciation. If we record depreciation related adjustments in the cost accounts we will lose key information about the original cost of the assets and accumulated depreciation. To avoid this loss of important data, we record actual cost and depreciation in separate ledger accounts. By reporting contra accounts on the balance sheet, users can learn even more information about the company than if the equipment was just reported at its net amount.

The net loss or gain in this account transfers to Retained Earnings, which is a permanent account. A contra expense account is a general ledger expense account that is expected to have a credit balance instead of the usual debit balance. In other words, the account’s credit balance is contrary to the usual debit balance for an expense account.

  • For each expense account, transfer its credit amount from the journal entry to its account in the ledger so that the account returns to a zero balance.
  • If contra assets appear in the credit column, record contra liabilities on side.
  • Be sure to enter the contra account on the opposite column of the account they’re offsetting.
  • For example, when a line item on your balance sheet presents the balance of accounts receivable, report the value of allowance of uncollectible accounts below the accounts receivable line.

Contra Equity Account – A contra equity account has a debit balance and decreases a standard equity account. Treasure stock is a good example as it carries a debit balance and decreases the overall stockholders’ equity. Contra Liability Account – A contra liability account is a liability that carries a debit balance and decreases other liabilities on the balance sheet. A contra account is an account with a balance opposite the normal accounts in its category. Contra accounts are usually linked to specific accounts on thebalance sheetand are reported as subtractions from these accounts. In other words, contra accounts are used to reduce normal accounts on the balance sheet. Under today’s tax laws of the United States, expense accounts are treated as either „accountable” or „unaccountable”.

Although the car is normally an asset because you can sell it for parts or use it for your business, when the car depreciates to a zero or negative balance, it is a contra asset on your balance sheet. Are you looking for a way to account for accumulated depreciation, returned merchandise, or damaged inventory? You can use contra accounts to record the goods your customers return, inventory that gets damaged, and equipment depreciation. 1 – You can have a contra asset account, contra liability account or a contra equity account. Contra accounts allow us to report the true value of a organization’s assets. The balance of the contra account will equalizer its parent account while still stabilizing the value of the transactions identified in the relating account.

As you know, from studying the basics of debit and credit, balance sheet accounts have a healthy balance. Equity that is recorded as a debit balance is used to decrease the balance of a standard equity account. It is a reduction from equity because it represents the amount paid by a corporation to contra expense account buy back its stock. The contra equity account reduces the total number of outstanding shares. The treasury stock account is debited when a company buys back its shares from the open market. If the company policy is to mark-up expenses , then that is revenue and I would agree with one exception.

A Guide To Finance & Accounting For Small Business Owners

Trade accounts receivable refer to an amount that a company bills to its clients when delivering goods or services. These billings may usually be documented on invoices, which are then summarized in an aging report for all the business’s accounts receivable. If your company has minimal contra revenue activity, it is acceptable to record these transactions within the revenue account. A doubtful debts contra account allows for future write-offs of accounts receivable. Although you have not officially written off these debts yet, you show them to be a negative balance because you don’t believe the customer will pay you.

contra expense account

The company should maintain a separate accounting of contra revenue for a better presentation of financial statements and can estimate the quality of the product. The company should use the first method of accounting of contra revenue so that financial statements can be representing better and as per accounting guidelines. A company might use a combination of different types of asset accounts, and the following six types of contra asset accounts can be used in conjunction with these fixed and current asset accounts. In a sales returns and allowances contra revenue account, you offset the balance in the sales revenue account.

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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. Accumulated depreciation is the total amount of depreciation expense allocated to a specific asset since the asset was put into use. It is a contra-asset account – a negative asset account that offsets the balance in the asset account it is normally associated with. Contra accounts are accounts that are related, yet separate from its particular account. A online bookkeeping will behave in the opposite way a normal expense account will; instead of debiting to increase, a contra account must credit to increase. Instead of crediting to decrease, it will be credited to increase.

Contra accounts allow you to show the amounts that offset a paired related account. As a small business owner, understanding how to set up contra accounts enables you to prepare and maintain accurate financial records. If Adnan & Co sells Rs.500,000 of merchandise on credit, the accounting normal balance entry is a debit toAccounts Receivablefor Rs.500,000 and a credit toSalesfor Rs.500,000. In an accounting system, ledger accounts are designed to contain similar classes of transactions. But for presentation purposes it is sometimes necessary to show net balance of two accounts.

When the contra account reads $500 and the normal credit balance is $100,000, then your net sales are $99,500. This indicates that out of $100,000 sales, your customers return goods valued at $500.

It allows to see the unique historical value of the assets along with the associated accumulated depreciation. It facilitates easy retrieval of the original amount and the actual decrease, which helps in understanding the net balance. It allows a business to present the net value based on the reduction made on the original amount. A reduction from gross revenue, which results in net revenue, is the contra revenue account. These transactions are reported in one or more contra revenue accounts, which usually have a debit balance and reduces the total amount of the company’s net revenue. An asset that is recorded as a credit balance is used to decrease the balance of an asset. This account is not classified as an asset since it does not represent a long term value.