Is Accounts Receivable a Debit or Credit ?

is accounts receivable a debit or credit

Do you pay your accounts receivable either debit or credit?

Among the common yet confusing key accounts in accounting is account receivable, which can be a credit or a debit account. You will learn what accounts receivable is and why you are giving it a debit balance in this blog.

Accountable refers to:

The amount of money owing by a firm in the form of income from its customers that has not yet been collected due to services or products that have not been paid for at that moment is known as accounts receivable. Actually, it's only a temporary fix for the company's needs toward its clients. The accounts receivable record reveals the real amount owed by its clients to the company.

Transactions involving some rise in accounts receivable include:

The customer pays on the conditions of thirty days after a corporation sells items for $5000. A: The AR raises by five thousand dollars.

In the following scenario, a corporation bills a client for $10,000 of services and generates an invoice with a 60-day payment deadline. It brings the AR by $10,000.

Though there is always a default risk, AR is an appreciable stake in the company since it implies money that will one day be paid from it. On the balance sheet, accounts receivable show under current assets as, with client balance repayments, they should be turned into cash in less than one year.

A debit account, accounts receivable shows up in the part on equity on the balance sheet.
Every transaction in accounting entails at least two accounts applied under a double-entry accounting system. The basic accounting formula is:

Assets equate to liabilities plus equity.

Debit is the natural balance for asset accounts since the amount of assets increases on the left side of the equation, sometimes known as the debit side. AR is an asset, more precisely current asset, so the standard balance for an accounts receivable account is a debit balance.

A few such:

The company will update the accounts using Accounts Receivable $1000/Revenue $1000 if it is selling its goods to a customer on a credit basis where the payment is due in 30 days.

Two entries would be generated when a client pays $500 toward the current accounts receivable balance: Debit the $500 cash and credit the $500 accounts receivable.

In both circumstances, accounts receivable show a debit balance that denotes the amount owing on bills by clients not paying up to date. This story starts when credit sales to its clients are made and ends when the clients pay back the outstanding debt in accounts receivable. More fundamentally, though, AR has a debt balance suggesting it belongs in the asset category.

Simply said, AR is a debit in accounting when stated as "Debit AR." AR is thus money owing to the corporation by consumers, hence it has a debit balance in the general ledger.

Contra Accounts Receivable Notes

It should be noted, nevertheless, that occasionally accounts receivable have a negative amount. Therefore, as contra-asset accounts have an opposite normal balance, they get credit balances. The two primary counter-assets are:

1) Allowance for Doubtful Accounts: This is the AR provision most likely not receivable from consumers because of shortcomings of the same in a commercial venture. Allowance for Doubtful Accounts would show a credit balance of $5,000, for example, if a corporation noted accounts receivable of $100,000 but projected it would be unable to collect $5,000. This allowance thereby reduces the net realizable value of AR to $ 95,000.

2) Sales Discounts and Returns: Under relation to the outstanding AR, this account documents any probable expected customer discounts and goods returns. It performs the same function as Allowance for Doubtful Accounts, therefore lowering the net carrying value of Accounts Receivable equally.

The essential point is that although this account always shows a debit balance, the opposite is true for the AR-related contra accounts. Still, the main concept underlying accounts receivable is that it is a debit account.

Analytical Viewpoint of Accounting for Bad Debt Write-off

This is the reason that, generally speaking, in any company at least several percent of all outstanding client bills and billed amounts will not be paid due to several reasons, including bankruptcy or other collection issues. To remedy this, particular uncollectible amounts must be changed and written off in the accounts receivable using the write-off accounting technique.

The pattern would seem to be this:

Debit Allowance for Doubtful Accounts for a percentage of the uncollectible income as an adjustment when registering income.

Debit Bad Debt Expense when the other uncollected receivables were written off.

Direct credit accounts receivable to write off the deleted customer balances from the consolidation.

This approach balances the AR account by a credit entry while having bad debts recorded as an expense on the income statement shown as such through the Bad Debt Expense. The process also increases the expenses along with a reduction of the net revenues, which is a solid indication of the general consequences of loss absorption for the uncollected balances from consumers.


Though there are a few outliers, most of the time Accounts Receivable is a legitimate account for the business that shows the projected customer income. Although AR mostly serves accounting, it makes sense since it shows the financial claims against companies since goods and services were given without concurrent payment. In summary, unless in cases of a contra account, such as Allowance for Doubtful Accounts, the Accounts Receivable account will always show the debit balance. As you examine additional frequent activities that affect AR, remember in accounting the debit or credit difference.

Contact us here for Accounting services now!

Custom Accounting Solutions For Your Small Business

Contact Us Today