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GAAP For Non-Profits › Specific Financial Statement Items

Accounts Receivable

A few comments need to be made about accounts receivable:

  • Amounts receivable should be recorded regardless of whether revenue is affected. The offsetting entry may be to credit deferred contributions or deferred revenue. (3856.24)
  • Amounts owed from related parties and significant unusual amounts need separate disclosure. This may be in the notes or on the statement of financial position. (3856.39)
  • Where amounts will be repaid beyond one year, these should be noted with the expected payment dates where practical.

The Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Generally accepted accounting principles dictate that revenues are not recorded unless collection is reasonably assured. The way this is handled in practicality is to record the full amount of revenue and an allowance, or estimate of the amount that will not be collected. Setting up the allowance debits the revenue account and credits the allowance account, a contra-account to the receivable account.

The amount of the allowance may be determined in a number of ways: for example by the analysis of individual amounts owed; or by applying a percentage based on past experience with aged amounts. The amount of the allowance should be based on information known at the time of review, as opposed to information known at the balance sheet date or some earlier date.

Any amount owed that is known to be uncollectible should be written off.  A subsequent recovery of an amount previously written off would be credited to income, or against the allowance, reversing the original write-down.