In our last blog we introduced you to balance sheets: the first in our Reading Financial Statements Series©
In this and following blogs we will explore some balance sheet accounts in more detail.
Receivables are an asset which is generally presented just below cash on the balance sheet. It represents amounts the association has the right to receive.
Receivables are amounts due from other people or entities. For associations, the largest and most common receivable is for unpaid assessments. Most associations bill owners for assessments each month. If an owner has not paid their monthly assessment by the due date, the assessment is considered a receivable from the owner.
Recording assessments revenues on the accrual basis without considering the effect of delinquent accounts receivable can mislead readers of an association’s statement of revenues and expenses. Assessments are recorded when billed under the accrual method. Should there be an accumulation of delinquent accounts, the statement of revenues and expenses will continue to present results assuming 100% collection of outstanding assessments. Readers should always refer to an aging report to assess the status of assessments receivable.
What if an association’s board of directors thinks that not all the amounts due to the association are collectible?
It is important not to overstate assets in an association’s financial statements. Consideration should be given to providing for an allowance for uncollectible receivables. An allowance for the total receivables that a board determines might be uncollectible should be presented below receivables on the balance sheet. The net of the two amounts should indicate to readers of the financial statements the amount the board expects to collect.
Bad debt expense
When an allowance for uncollectible accounts is recorded on the balance sheet, a second account, bad debt expense, is recorded on the statement of revenues and expenses. Recording bad debt expense helps boards and managers to understand the effect of not collecting all amounts that are billed, thus providing a more realistic bottom line.
Jeremy Newman, CPA
Newman Certified Public Accountant, PC