What is Contra Account? Definition + Journal Entry Examples

what is a contra asset account

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what is a contra asset account

A contra account is where we record events that are contrary to a general ledger parent account, also called a relating account. The balance of the contra account will offset its parent account while still preserving the value of the transactions recognized in the relating account. Both the asset and the corresponding CA accounts must be stated clearly in the balance sheet.

What Cash Receipts Are Not Revenue?

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  • This account serves two purposes — tracking total depreciation expenses while providing you with the accurate book value of the asset being depreciated.
  • This type of reporting allows anyone analyzing the balance sheet to understand much more about the company and its assets than if they were to simply look at the net value of the depreciated asset.
  • This would let users of the financial statements calculate the book value of the liability.
  • It is paired with the trade accounts receivable account, and contains a reserve for receivables that are unlikely to be paid by customers.
  • One such method is the use of contra accounts, a type of account that directly correlates and offsets a related account.

The sale to the Johnson family will create a bad debt expense estimate of 10% of the amount receivable. At the end of year 20, the car and the accumulated depreciation accounts will be written off from the balance sheet, as the car will be a fully depreciated asset. In the books, the account of the asset would have a debit value of $100,000, and the CA account would have a credit value of $30,000.

What are the Five Types of Contra Accounts?

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. The first time a contra asset account is recorded in a journal entry, it is to be deducted from the expense. For example, when the credit amount in allowance for doubtful accounts increases, it is also recorded in the bad debt expense as a debit increase.

Contra revenue accounts reduce revenue accounts and have a debit balance. Contra asset accounts include allowance for doubtful accounts and accumulated depreciation. Contra asset accounts are recorded with a credit balance that decreases the balance of an asset.

Overview of contra accounts

Whereas assets normally have positive debit balances, contra assets, though still reported along with other assets, have an opposite type of natural balance. Accountants use contra accounts rather than reduce the value of the original account directly to keep financial accounting records clean. 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.

  • The allowance for doubtful accounts appears on the balance sheet and reduces the amount of receivables.
  • This type is paired with the asset account, which allows a business to record the original price or value of the asset at time of purchase.
  • If you’re using accounting software, you’ll be able to create contra accounts when setting up your chart of accounts.
  • That is done by crediting accounts receivable by $100 and debiting the contra revenue account sales returns and allowances for $100.
  • Normal accounts on the general ledger will usually have a debit balance, while contra accounts are typically either zero or hold a negative credit balance.

More specifically, record the contra asset as a credit that is supposed to balance out a correlating plant asset. The situations that contra asset accounts appear are the ones dealing with Depreciation, which will be explored below. Most accountants choose to record the depreciation over the useful life of an item in the accumulated depreciation contra asset account, which is a credit account.

A contra account is used to record adjustments and transactions that have an opposing impact to report the true value of a firm’s financial statements. Contra accounts are commonly found on general ledgers where all of a business’s accounts and transactions are organized on a master list. The contra account is used to report the correct assets while preserving the transactions and balance of the relating account.

Examples of contra assets include Accumulated Depreciation and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts. Unlike an asset which has a normal debit balance, a contra asset has a normal credit balance because it works opposite of the main account. A contra asset account is an account that is paired with and offsets the balance of a related asset account.