Contra Account: Definition, Examples & Accounting Journal Entries

Contra inventory account

Equity in a business is different from owners’ equity as reported in a company’s financial statements. Owners’ equity for accounting and financial reporting purposes is equal to the book value of total assets less total liabilities and does not deal with any current fair market values.

  • A business entity authorized by a state government to exist and function subject to the laws of the state.
  • In a job order cost system, the costs of indirect materials put into production are actually accounted for as manufacturing overhead costs and included in WIP through overhead applications based on a predetermined overhead rate.
  • New inventory purchases are recorded in the “purchases” account, and at year end an inventory count is taken to determine the ending inventory balance and the cost of goods sold.
  • By recording reductions in a separate account, companies can get better insights into their actual accounts.
  • When combined, the AR account and the allowance for doubtful accounts contra assets offer a projection of how much net cash is expected to be received from outstanding accounts.
  • Administration and Sales Department Costs should also be transferred to COGS .
  • Contra accounts can get buried in the footnotes of financial statements, but they could be a key piece of your investigation into a growth stock’s prospects.

A company’s transactions are originally recorded through journal entries and then posted to the specific accounts affected. For example, a transaction affecting a company’s cash will be recorded and then posted to the cash account to reflect the increase or decrease in cash and update its running balance. All of a company’s accounts taken as a whole constitute a file referred to as the company’s general ledger.

Days sales in accounts receivable

For her businesses, Nora is responsible for finances, marketing, operations, and fundraising. Along with The Balance, her writing has appeared in Thrillist, Insidehook and Vinepair. However, if you sell items that quickly become obsolete, such as consumable products with an expiration date or electronics that become quickly outdated, using the allowance for obsolete inventory is a must. Free Cash Flow The money left over after a company supports operations can be a snapshot of its financial health. Beginner’s Guide to Financial Statements When researching companies, the financial statement is a great place to start. Home Depot also devotes footnote 4 to its share repurchase program and reports that the company is authorized by its board to repurchase $20 billion in shares. Contra accounts provide more detail to accounting figures and improve transparency in financial reporting.

(This calculation is complicated if preferred stock has been issued in addition to common stock.) Sometimes a company’s book value per share is assumed to reflect the value of a share of stock in the event of a company’s liquidation. That is true if the assets could be sold in liquidation at a price equal to their book value. The current fair market value of a share of stock is usually much higher than the stock’s book value per share. In accrual-basis accounting, recording the allowance for doubtful accounts at the same time as the sale improves the accuracy of financial reports. The projected bad debt expense is properly matched against the related sale, thereby providing a more accurate view of revenue and expenses for a specific period of time.

Straight-line rate of depreciation

A balance sheet classification of assets sometimes referred to as „operating assets“ or „capital assets.“ Long-term assets include any assets which provide future benefits extending beyond the next year of a company’s operations. Property, plant and equipment, intangible assets and natural resources are assets that usually fit in this section of a company’s balance sheet. Any asset that is not a long-term asset is referred to as a „current asset.“ The price an asset would bring if it were sold in an arm’s-length transaction. Given this definition, the current fair market value of most company assets cannot be established with any assurance.

What is contra entry example?

Contra entry is a transaction which involves both cash and bank. Both debit aspect and credit aspect of a transaction get reflected in the cash book. For example: Cash received from debtors and deposited into bank.

The price an asset would bring upon sale cannot be determined unless it is actually offered for sale and then sold. Asset appraisals may may be made, but they are at best a subjective guess of an asset’s fair market value. Based on a desire for objective information, GAAP requires that most assets be reported at their historical cost or the price paid upon asset acquisition rather than some current estimated or appraised fair market value. Historical costs can be objectively determined but they lack the relevance that current value information could provide to investors and creditors. This conflict in objectivity and relevance is one of the most significant challenges facing the accounting profession today as it seeks to provide information that is both useful and verifiable. Expenditures may be made in the purchase of other assets and are referred to as „capitalized expenditures.“ Expenditures made to pay costs of operating a business in the current period are accounted for as expenses of the period. Any expenditure made in payment of previously recorded obligations reduces a company’s liabilities.


Debt financing refers to the borrowing of assets and equity financing comes from owners’ capital contributions and retained earnings. A company’s balance sheet reports its total assets and the amount of those assets financed through debt and equity (owners’ equity). The amount resulting from a company’s total net sales revenues less total variable costs, regardless of whether they are product or period costs. Contra inventory account This amount represents the amount of a company’s profits before any fixed costs and is said to „contribute“ to the coverage of fixed costs. A company’s contribution margin less total fixed costs reflects a company’s net income. Contribution margin is a term that is often used in the context of CVP analysis. A nominal account appearing as a reduction of gross sales revenues in a company’s income statement.

  • The oldest and largest stock exchange in the U.S., located on Wall Street in New York City.
  • Similarly, it allows companies to retrieve original account balances without complicated calculations.
  • The purpose of a contra asset account is to offset the asset account and show a reserved amount that reduces the balance of the corresponding asset account.
  • Trade accounts receivable refer to an amount that a company bills to its clients when delivering goods or services.
  • Contra asset accounts include allowance for doubtful accounts and accumulated depreciation.
  • The buyer takes responsibility for the collection of the accounts receivable.

In addition, this accounting process prevents the large swings in operating results when uncollectible accounts are written off directly as bad debt expenses. In essence, contra asset accounts have a negative balance while other asset accounts have a positive balance. Both of these accounts offset each other to represent a net balance on a company’s balance sheet. For most companies, the contra asset accounts will also include several types.

Prepaid expense

Treasury stock is a contra equity account that is entered as a negative value on the balance sheet of public companies. It shows the amount of funds used to repurchase previous issuances of stock, reducing the total number of shares outstanding.

This method accumulates all product costs for a process or factory over a period of time and then divides that total by the number of units produced during that period to determine the cost per unit of production. Costs incurred to significantly extend the useful life or enhance the productivity of an asset, usually property, plant and equipment. The difference between the standard or budgeted fixed overhead and the Fixed manufacturing overhead costs that were included in the company’s total application of overhead to Work in Process during the period.

Ledger Account:

The auditors want to ensure that reserves are adequate, while the controller is more inclined to keep reserves low in order to increase the reported profit level. A contra entry is recorded when the debit and credit affect the same parent account and resulting in a net zero effect to the account. The most prominent of these include allowing companies to present a more accurate picture of their assets. After each accounting period, the company records a depreciation expense of the asset.

Contra inventory account

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