In this introductory coverage, the difference in these accounts is assumed to be caused solely by the failure of previous estimations to be accurate. [1] Last year, the doubtful accounts expense for this company was reported as $7,000 but accounts with balances totaling $10,000 proved to be uncollectible. Because companies do not go back to the statements of previous years to fix numbers when a reasonable estimate was made, the expense is $3,000 higher in the current period to compensate. Mechanically, the underestimation still exists in the accounting records in Year Two. It creates the $3,000 debit in the allowance for doubtful accounts before the expense adjustment. Thus, although the current expense is $32,000 (8 percent of sales), the allowance is reported as only $29,000 (the $32,000 expense offset by the $3,000 debit balance remaining from the prior year). Students are often concerned because these two reported numbers differ. However, both are merely estimates. The actual amount of worthless accounts is likely to be a number somewhat different from either $29,000 or $32,000. Therefore, the disagreement caused by the lingering impact of the $3,000 Year One underestimation should not be an issue as long as company officials believe that neither of the reported balances is materially misstated.
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The percentage of receivables method handles this process a bit differently. Assume that the Year Two adjusting entry has not yet been made so that bad debt expense remains at zero and the allowance for doubtful accounts still holds a $3,000 debit balance. However, the company has chosen to use the percentage of receivables method rather than the percentage of sales method. Officials have looked at all available evidence and come to the conclusion that 15 percent of ending accounts receivable ($160,000 ×15 percent or $24,000) is most likely to prove to be uncollectible.How does application of the percentage of receivables method affect the recording of doubtful accounts?
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