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Accounts receivable

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Definition of Accounts receivable

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Accounts receivable

A current asset on the balance sheet, representing short-term
amounts due from customers who have purchased on account.


Accounts Receivable

Amounts due from customers for sales on open account, not evidenced
by a signed note.


ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

Amounts owed to a company by customers that it sold to on credit. Total accounts receivable are usually reduced by an allowance for doubtful accounts.


Accounts receivable

Amounts owed to the company, generally for sales that it has made.


Accounts receivable

Money owed by customers.


Accounts Receivable

Money owed to a business for merchandise or services sold on open account.



accounts receivable

Short-term, non-interest-bearing debts owed to a
business by its customers who bought goods and services from the business
on credit. Generally, these debts should be collected within a month
or so. In a balance sheet, this asset is listed immediately after cash.
(Actually the amount of short-term marketable investments, if the business
has any, is listed after cash and before accounts receivable.)
accounts receivable are viewed as a near-cash type of asset that will be
turned into cash in the short run. A business may not collect all of its
accounts receivable. See also bad debts.



Related Terms:

Accounts Receivable Days (A/R Days)

The number of days it would take to collect the ending
balance in accounts receivable at the year's average rate of revenue per day. Calculated as
accounts receivable divided by revenue per day (revenue divided by 365).


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Accounts receivable turnover

The ratio of net credit sales to average accounts receivable, a measure of how
quickly customers pay their bills.


accounts receivable turnover ratio

A ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by the year-end balance of accounts receivable. Technically
speaking, to calculate this ratio the amount of annual credit sales should
be divided by the average accounts receivable balance, but this information
is not readily available from external financial statements. For
reporting internally to managers, this ratio should be refined and finetuned
to be as accurate as possible.


Average age of accounts receivable

The weighted-average age of all of the firm's outstanding invoices.


Discounting of Accounts Receivable

Short-term financing in which accounts receivable are used as collateral to secure a loan. The lender does not buy the accounts receivable but simply uses them as collateral for the loan. Also called pledging of accounts receivable.


Unbilled Accounts Receivable

Revenue recognized under the percentage-of-completion
method in excess of amounts billed. Also known as cost plus estimated earnings in excess of
billings.


ACID-TEST RATIO

A ratio that shows how well a company could pay its current debts using only its most liquid or “quick” assets. It’s a more pessimistic—but also realistic—measure of safety than the current ratio, because it ignores sluggish, hard-toliquidate current assets like inventory and notes receivable. Here’s the formula:
(Cash + accounts receivable + Marketable securities) / (Current liabilities)


acid test ratio (also called the quick ratio)

The sum of cash, accounts receivable, and short-term marketable
investments (if any) is divided by
total current liabilities to compute this ratio. Suppose that the short-term
creditors were to pounce on a business and not agree to roll over the
debts owed to them by the business. In this rather extreme scenario, the
acid test ratio reveals whether its cash and near-cash assets are enough
to pay its short-term current liabilities. This ratio is an extreme test that
is not likely to be imposed on a business unless it is in financial straits.
This ratio is quite relevant when a business is in a liquidation situation
or bankruptcy proceedings.


Aging schedule

A table of accounts receivable broken down into age categories (such as 0-30 days, 30-60
days, and 60-90 days), which is used to see whether customer payments are keeping close to schedule.


aging schedule

Classification of accounts receivable by time outstanding.


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Allowance for bad debts

An offset to the accounts receivable balance, against which
bad debts are charged. The presence of this allowance allows one to avoid severe
changes in the period-to-period bad debt expense by expensing a steady amount to
the allowance account in every period, rather than writing off large bad debts to
expense on an infrequent basis.


Allowance for doubtful accounts

A contra account related to accounts receivable that represents the amounts that the company expects will not be collected.



Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

An estimate of the uncollectible portion of accounts receivable
that is subtracted from the gross amount of accounts receivable to arrive at the estimated collectible
amount.


Allowance method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected based on company experience.


Average Collection Period

Average number of days necessary to receive cash for the sale of
a company's products. It is calculated by dividing the value of the
accounts receivable by the average daily sales for the period.


Average collection period, or days' receivables

The ratio of accounts receivables to sales, or the total
amount of credit extended per dollar of daily sales (average AR/sales * 365).


Bad debts

The amount of accounts receivable that is not expected to be collected.


bad debts

Refers to accounts receivable from credit sales to customers
that a business will not be able to collect (or not collect in full). In hindsight,
the business shouldn’t have extended credit to these particular
customers. Since these amounts owed to the business will not be collected,
they are written off. The accounts receivable asset account is
decreased by the estimated amount of uncollectible receivables, and the
bad debts expense account is increased this amount. These write-offs
can be done by the direct write-off method, which means that no
expense is recorded until specific accounts receivable are identified as
uncollectible. Or the allowance method can be used, which is based on
an estimated percent of bad debts from credit sales during the period.
Under this method, a contra asset account is created (called allowance
for bad debts) and the balance of this account is deducted from the
accounts receivable asset account.


Cash conversion cycle

The length of time between a firm's purchase of inventory and the receipt of cash
from accounts receivable.


Cash Cycle

The length of time between a purchase of materials and collection of accounts receivable generated by the sale of the products made from the materials.


cash flow from operating activities, or cash flow from profit

This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.


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Collection Department

An internal department within a company staffed by specialists in collecting past due accounts or accounts receivable.



Collection policy

Procedures followed by a firm in attempting to collect accounts receivables.


Current asset

Typically the cash, accounts receivable, and inventory accounts on the
balance sheet, or any other assets that are expected to be liquidated within a short
time interval.


Current assets

Value of cash, accounts receivable, inventories, marketable securities and other assets that
could be converted to cash in less than 1 year.


Current assets

Cash, things that will be converted into cash within a year (such as accounts receivable), and inventory.


current assets

Current refers to cash and those assets that will be turned
into cash in the short run. Five types of assets are classified as current:
cash, short-term marketable investments, accounts receivable, inventories,
and prepaid expenses—and they are generally listed in this order in
the balance sheet.


Days Statistics

Measures the number days' worth of sales in accounts receivable (accounts receivable
days) or days' worth of sales at cost in inventory (inventory days). Sharp increases in these measures
might indicate that the receivables are not collectible and that the inventory is not salable.


Direct write-off method

A method of adjusting accounts receivable to the amount that is expected to be collected by eliminating the account balances of specific nonpaying customers.


Factor

A financial institution that buys a firm's accounts receivables and collects the debt.


Factoring

Sale of a firm's accounts receivable to a financial institution known as a factor.


Factoring

The sale of accounts receivable to a third party, with the third party bearing
the risk of loss if the accounts receivable cannot be collected.


Factoring

The discounting, or sale at a discount, of receivables on a nonrecourse, notification
basis. The purchaser of the accounts receivable, the factor, assumes full risk of collection and
credit losses, without recourse to the firms discounting the receivables. Customers are notified to
remit directly to the factor.


Factoring

Type of financial service whereby a firm sells or transfers title to its accounts receivable to a factoring company, which then acts as principal, not as agent.


mark to market

Refers to the accounting method that records increases
and decreases in assets based on changes in their market values. For
example, mutual funds revalue their securities portfolios every day based
on closing prices on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. Generally
speaking, however, businesses do not use the mark-to-market method
to write up the value of their assets. A business, for instance, does not
revalue its fixed assets (buildings, machines, equipment, etc.) at the end
of each period—even though the replacement values of these assets fluctuate
over time. Having made this general comment, I should mention
that accounts receivable are written down to recognize bad debts, and a
business’s inventories asset account is written down to recognize stolen
and damaged goods as well as products that will be sold below cost. If
certain of a business’s long-term operating assets become impaired and
will not have productive utility in the future consistent with their book
values, then the assets are written off or written down, which can result
in recording a large extraordinary loss in the period.


Maturity factoring

Factoring arrangement that provides collection and insurance of accounts receivable.


NUMBER OF DAYS SALES IN RECEIVABLES

(also called average collection period). The number of days of net sales that are tied up in credit sales (accounts receivable) that haven’t been collected yet.


Old-line factoring

Factoring arrangement that provides collection, insurance, and finance for accounts receivable.


Other current assets

Value of non-cash assets, including prepaid expenses and accounts receivable, due
within 1 year.


Provision for Doubtful Accounts

An operating expense recorded when the allowance for
doubtful accounts is increased to accommodate an increase in uncollectible accounts receivable.


Quick asset

Any asset that can be converted into cash on short notice. This is a subset
of a current asset, for it does not include inventory. Its most common components
are the cash, marketable securities, and accounts receivable accounts.


Quick Ratio

The simple ratio of a company's liquid assets to current liabilities. Such assets include cash, marketable securities, and accounts receivable.


Receivables balance fractions

The percentage of a month's sales that remain uncollected (and part of
accounts receivable) at the end of succeeding months.


Receivables turnover ratio

Total operating revenues divided by average receivables. Used to measure how
effectively a firm is managing its accounts receivable.


Restructuring Charge

A special, nonrecurring charge taken in conjunction with a consolidation
or relocation of operations, or the disposition or abandonment of operations or productive
assets. Such charges may include impairment losses as well as other expenses, such as writedowns
of other assets including accounts receivable and inventory, and accruals of liabilities for
so-called exit costs, including such expenses as lease terminations, closure costs, severance pay,
benefits, and retraining.


Revenue

An inflow of cash, accounts receivable, or barter from a customer in exchange
for the provision of a service or product to that customer by a company.


Short-term solvency ratios

Ratios used to judge the adequacy of liquid assets for meeting short-term
obligations as they come due, including
1) the current ratio,
2) the acid-test ratio,
3) the inventory turnover ratio, and
4) the accounts receivable turnover ratio.


Working Capital

Funds invested in a company's cash, accounts receivable and inventory. Net working capital is current assets minus current liabilities.


Accounts

‘Buckets’ within the ledger, part of the accounting system. Each account contains similar transactions (line items) that are used for the production of financial statements. Or commonly used as an abbreviation for financial statements.


Accounts payable

Money owed to suppliers.


ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

Amounts a company owes to creditors.


Accounts payable

Amounts owed by the company for goods and services that have been received, but have not yet been paid for. Usually accounts payable involves the receipt of an invoice from the company providing the services or goods.


accounts payable

Short-term, non-interest-bearing liabilities of a business
that arise in the course of its activities and operations from purchases on
credit. A business buys many things on credit, whereby the purchase
cost of goods and services are not paid for immediately. This liability
account records the amounts owed for credit purchases that will be paid
in the short run, which generally means about one month.


Accounts payable

Acurrent liability on the balance sheet, representing short-term obligations
to pay suppliers.


Accounts Payable

Amounts due to vendors for purchases on open account, that is, not evidenced
by a signed note.


Accounts Payable Days (A/P Days)

The number of days it would take to pay the ending balance
in accounts payable at the average rate of cost of goods sold per day. Calculated by dividing
accounts payable by cost of goods sold per day, which is cost of goods sold divided by 365.


Balance of Payments Accounts

A statement of a country's transactions with other countries.


Chart of accounts

A listing of all accounts used in the general ledger, usually sorted in
order of account number.


Days in receivables

Average collection period.


IRA/Keogh accounts

Special accounts where you can save and invest, and the taxes are deferred until money
is withdrawn. These plans are subject to frequent changes in law with respect to the deductibility of
contributions. Withdrawals of tax deferred contributions are taxed as income, including the capital gains from
such accounts.


National Income and Product Accounts

The national accounting system that records economic activity such as GDP and related measures.


NOTES RECEIVABLE

Notes receivable are promissory notes that the company has accepted from its debtors. Most promissory notes pay interest. Those that are due within a year are shown under “Current Assets.” Those that mature in more than a year would be listed under “Long-term Assets.” If a note is being
collected in installments, the payments due within the next twelve months are shown as a current asset, and the remainder is shown as a long-term asset.


Notes receivable

Amounts owed to the company that have been formalized by a legal agreement called a note.


Permanent accounts

The accounts found on the Balance Sheet; these account balances are carried forward for the lifetime of the company.


Temporary accounts

The accounts found on the Income Statement and the Statement of Retained Earnings; these accounts are reduced to zero at the end of every accounting period.


Cost Plus Estimated Earnings in Excess of Billings

Revenue recognized to date under the percentage-of-completion method in excess of amounts billed. Also known as unbilled accounts
receivable.


Monetary / non-monetary method

Under this translation method, monetary items (e.g. cash, accounts
payable and receivable, and long-term debt) are translated at the current rate while non-monetary items (e.g.
inventory, fixed assets, and long-term investments) are translated at historical rates.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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