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Provision for bad and doubtful debts .

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Provision for bad and doubtful debts :  
He provision for doubtful debts is the estimated amount of bad debt  that will arise from accounts receivable  that have been issued but not yet collected. It is identical to the allowance for doubtful accounts.  The provision is used under accrual basis accountings so that an expense is recognized for probable bad debts as soon as invoices are issued to customers, rather than waiting several months to find out exactly which invoices turned out to be uncollectible. Thus, the net impact of the provision for doubtful debts is to accelerate the recognition of bad debts into earlier reporting periods.
A business typically estimates the amount of bad debt based on historical experience, and charges this amount to expense with a debit to the bad debt expense account (which appears in the income statement) and a credit to the provision for doubtful debts account (which appears in the balance sheet). The organization should make this entry in the same period when it bills a customer, so that revenues are matched with all applicable expenses (as per the matching principle)
The provision for doubtful debts is an accounts receivable contra account, so it should always have a credit balance, and is listed in the balance sheet directly below the accounts receivable line item. The two line items can be combined for reporting purposes to arrive at a net receivables figure.
Later, when you identify a specific customer invoice that is not going to be paid, eliminate it against the provision for doubtful debts. This can be done with a journal entry that debits the provision for doubtful debts and credits the accounts receivable account; this merely nets out two accounts within the balance sheet, and has no impact on the income statement.


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