Direct Write Off Method

What is the Direct Write Off Method?

The direct write off method is an accounting technique used to record uncollectible receivables by directly writing them off as an expense when they are deemed uncollectible.

Example of Direct Write Off Method

A company determines that a $1,000 invoice is uncollectible and writes it off directly by debiting bad debt expense and crediting accounts receivable.

How To Apply the Direct Write Off Method

  1. Identify the uncollectible receivable. 
  2. Debit bad debt expense and credit accounts receivable for the amount. 
  • Special Tip: Use the direct write off method only if uncollectible accounts are immaterial, as it does not comply with the matching principle. 

  • Advantages 
    • Simple and straightforward. 
    • No need to estimate bad debts in advance. 
  • Disadvantages 
    • Does not adhere to the matching principle. 
    • Can distort financial statements if bad debts are significant. 


What is an alternative to the direct write off method?

The allowance method, which estimates bad debts in advance.

It does not match expenses with the revenues they help generate.

Yes, especially if uncollectible accounts are insignificant.

It reduces net income when the bad debt expense is recorded.


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