Allowance for doubtful accounts – sales method

This page explains the use of sales method for estimating allowance for doubtful accounts. Click here to read aging method.

The sales method (also referred to as income statement approach) estimates allowance for doubtful accounts using total credit sales for the period. Under this approach, some percentage of the total credit sales for the period is determined to be uncollectible. This percentage is determined on the basis of past experience and current economic conditions of territories where the company conducts its business.

Under sales method, aging schedule of accounts receivable is not prepared. The adjusting entry is made with the full amount of estimated uncollectibles i.e., without taking into account any existing balance in the allowance for doubtful accounts account. This approach is very simple and straight forward and is usually used by companies where the volume of credit sales is relatively small.

Example 1

The following data belongs to Southern Enterprises:

  • Total cash sales for the year 2019: $175,500
  • Total credit sales for the year 2019: $265,000

The Company has reasonable grounds to believe that 0.5% of the total credit sales will prove to be uncollectible.

Required: Compute the allowance for doubtful accounts for the year 2019 using sales method.

Solution

Allowance for doubtful accounts = $265,000 × (0.5/100)
= $265,000 × 0.005
= $1,325

Note: The cash sales figure of $175,500 has not been taken into account while computing the allowance for doubtful accounts.

Example 2

The total credit sales of Fast company for the year 2015 are $175,000. At the end of the year, the management estimates that 1% of the total credit sales will prove to be uncollectible. The balance in allowance for doubtful accounts is $650 before making adjusting entry for uncollectible accounts expense.

Required:

  1. Calculate allowance for doubtful accounts using sales method or income statement approach.
  2. Prepare adjusting entry to recognize uncollectible accounts expense and to update the allowance for doubtful accounts account at the end of the year 2015.

Solution:

(1). Allowance for doubtful accounts:

$175,000 × 0.01 = $1,750

(2). Adjusting entry at the end of the year:

estimating-uncollectible-accounts-income-statement-approach-img1

Notice that the existing balance of $650 in the allowance for doubtful accounts account has been ignored while preparing above journal entry.

The sales method (or income statement approach) of estimating uncollectible accounts is simple and easy to employ but is considered a less accurate and less reliable technique when compared with the aging method.

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