Accounts preparation is tricky, to vày it successfully we have sầu to lớn understvà what we’re doing, as well as why.quý khách đã xem: Irrecoverable debts là gì

In this article we’re going to focus in-depth on irrecoverable and doubtful debts.

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What are irrecoverable debts?

Amounts owed lớn a business that it believes will never be paid.

If a business makes sales on a credit basis then it sells goods or services lớn customers, agreeing that payment will be delayed for a period of time, usually 30 days. The timing difference between the sale và payment therefore creates the possibility of debts not being settled. This can be for a number of reasons such as a dispute, a contract falling through or the customer’s business going into lớn receivership.

Regardless of the reason, once the supplier knows or feels that a debt will not be paid then it is considered irrecoverable & needs khổng lồ be accounted for as such.

Why is it important khổng lồ trương mục for them?

They increase an the-grand-manhatchảy.comanisation’s expenses & reduce the value of its trade receivables.

If the invoice for a credit sale is unpaid then it doesn’t alter the fact that the sale took place and consequently the value of the invoice will be included in the balance of the Receivables trương mục.

Once we know it is irrecoverable, the receivables balance will need to be reduced because the expected funds will not be received. If left unadjusted the current assets on the Statement of financial position (SoFP) will be overstated. The sales figure on the Statement of profit or loss (SoPL) is not adjusted as the sale was generated, however, its value will be offset by the Irrecoverable Debts account which is an expense.

What is the difference between an irrecoverable debt & the allowance for doubtful debts?

When we know for certain that a debt will not be paid then it is written off as irrecoverable. It is prudent lớn bởi that as soon as we are informed that a customer has gone into liquidation or after we have sầu chased a customer through credit control processes to lớn the point that we give sầu up và accept the loss.

However, at year kết thúc it is also prudent to lớn acknowledge that some of the debts making up the balance of the Receivables tài khoản will not be settled và whilst we are unaware of which ones they will be, we should make contingency arrangements for that event.

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What is the difference between a specific and general allowance?

The general allowance is the main contingency that is usually based on an estimate of what percentage of the receivables balance will become irrecoverable. A specific allowance is made against particular invoices or the balance of individual customers’ accounts which we are concerned may become irrecoverable but are not totally certain yet.

In what order are adjustments made at year-end?

If there are any irrecoverable debts then these must be written off first và then the receivables tài khoản re-balanced. Next any specific doubtful debt allowances should be totalled & a calculation undertaken to find the value of the remaining debtors. This figure is then used to lớn calculate the general allowance.

How are the adjustments reflected in the accounts và on the financial statements?

As irrecoverable debts are written off completely, they reduce the receivables account balance. However, because allowances for doubtful debts are just a contingency, they are not posted khổng lồ the receivables tài khoản, but are netted off against it on the SoFP. và the adjustment is shown on the SoPL.

Worked example:

At the end of GM Manufacturing’s first year it had receivables of £15,567. This included an invoice for £125 for a customer that had just gone out of business. It also included invoices for £120 & £180 which were five sầu months old and looking unlikely lớn be settled. It was decided that a general allowance of 1% of receivables would be prudent.

Prepare journal entries khổng lồ write off the irrecoverable debt & create the allowance for doubtful debts to be used in the financial statements. Show your workings & round your answers to lớn the nearest whole £.

Step 1 – Irrecoverable debt:


Step 2 – Specific allowance:

£120 + £180 = £300

Step 3 – Calculate the remaining balance of receivables:

Receivables balance less specific allowance

£15,442 – £300 = £15,142

Step 4 – General allowance:

£15,142 ÷ 100 x 1 = £151.42

Step 5 – Combine the specific & general allowance inlớn a single journal:


What bởi we do when a business is a going concern?

Once a business is through its first year of trading it is likely to lớn have sầu a balance on the Allowance for Doubtful Debts account each year. This then needs adjusting either up or down depending on the current year’s credit control.

Worked example:

At the kết thúc of GM Manufacturing’s second year it had receivables of £25,954 và the balance on the Allowance for Doubtful Debts was £451. An invoice for £1,200 needed lớn be written off as irrecoverable & a general allowance of 3% of receivables was agreed.*

Calculate the balance on the Allowance for Doubtful Debts trương mục, prepared the adjustment journal & show extracts from the financial statements. Round your answers to lớn the nearest whole £.




What is the underpinning theory?

Irrecoverable and doubtful debt adjustments are the application of both the concept of prudence, as they ensure that assets are not overstated, and the accruals principle because they match the expense lớn the financial period in which the income was generated.

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* Please note that when there is a change of accounting policy, such as the percentage used to lớn calculate the doubtful debts allowance, it is communicated by a note to lớn the accounts.

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Gill Myers is a self-employed accounts consultant. She has taught AAT qualifications since 2005 and written numerous articles & e-learning resources.