Financial Terms
Allowance for bad debts

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Definition of Allowance for bad debts

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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.

Related Terms:

Allowance for doubtful accounts

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

Allowance method

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

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.

Bad debt

An account receivable that cannot be collected.

Sales allowance

A reduction in a price that is allowed by the seller, due to a problem
with the sold product or service.

Capital Consumption Allowance

See depreciation.

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Depreciation Allowances

Tax deductions that businesses can claim when they spend money on investment goods.

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

EBBS - Earnings before the bad stuff

An acronym attributed to a member of the Securities and
Exchange Commission staff. The reference is to earnings that have been heavily adjusted to
remove a wide range of nonrecurring, nonoperating, and noncash items.

Valuation Allowance

A contra- or reduction account to deferred tax assets.
The valuation allowance represents that portion of total deferred tax assets that the firm judges is unlikely to be realized. The probability threshold applied in evaluating realization is 50%. That is, if it is more than 50% likely that some or all of a deferred tax asset will not be realized, then a valuation allowance must be set off against part or all of the deferred tax asset.

Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)

The annual depreciation expense allowed by the Canadian Income Tax Act.







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