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Percentage of Sales Method for Calculating Doubtful Accounts
percent of sales method formula

Once she has the specific accounts she wants to keep tabs on, she has to find how they stack up to her overall sales figures. Well, one of the more popular, efficient ways to approach the situation would be to employ something known as the percent of sales method. First, Jim needs to work out the percentage that each of these line items represents relative to company revenue.

Effectively run businesses generally aim for an average collection period of about a third less than the maximum credit terms. For example, if terms stipulate payment within 30 days, the business would aim to collect within 20 days. Most business owners will want to forecast things like cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable and net income. Either approach can be used as long as adequate support is generated for the numbers reported. However, financial accounting does stress the importance of consistency to help make the numbers comparable from year to year.

How much are you saving for retirement each month?

When it comes to sales, although it’s easy to just measure your team’s performance by how much money they bring in, this isn’t always a sign that your company is going in the right direction. In fact, focusing on results-oriented or monetary goals will make it more difficult to motivate your team because these results are not something they can control. For example, if a business has average equity of $300,000 and net income (also called earnings or profit) of $100,000.

  • Classifying accounts receivable according to age often gives the company a better basis for estimating the total amount of uncollectible accounts.
  • The percentage-of-sales method is used to develop a budgeted set of financial statements.
  • The new sales forecast will then be used to determine the forecast for the next period.
  • This method is labeled a balance sheet approach because the one figure being estimated (the allowance for doubtful accounts) is found on the balance sheet.
  • Not including these figures enables leadership, investors and creditors to understand the core operations of your business and its profitability.

Adjust the percentage of uncollected credit sales to reflect any changes that might affect your collections in the current period. Changes that might cause you to lower the percentage include an improving economy or an increase in creditworthy customers. In this example, assume overall economic growth will improve collections by 0.1 percent.


Each historical expense is converted into a percentage of net sales, and these percentages are then applied to the forecasted sales level in the budget period. For example, if the historical cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales has been 42%, then the same percentage is applied to the forecasted sales level. The approach can also be used to forecast some balance sheet items, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory. The percentage-of-sales method is commonly used to estimate the accounts receivable that a business expects will be uncollectible. When you use this method, use your small business’s past collection data to estimate what portion of the credit sales you generate each accounting period that will go unpaid. The amount of this estimated portion represents your doubtful accounts, which remain in a separate account in your records until you actually write off a specific account receivable.

  • For example, based on experience, a company can expect only 1% of the accounts not yet due (sales made less than 30 days before the end of the accounting period) to be uncollectible.
  • Knowing how to calculate sales growth can tell you whether you are doing as well as or better than your peers.
  • This means $90 out of your $5,000 in credit sales will likely be uncollectible based on your previous uncollectible accounts.
  • To demonstrate the application of the percentage-of-net-sales method, assume that you have gathered the following data, prior to any adjusting entries, for the Porter Company at the end of 2019.
  • A business would need to forecast the accounts receivable or credit sales using the available historical data.
  • The percentage-of-sales method is a financial forecasting model that assesses a company’s financial future by making financial forecasts based on monthly sales revenue and current sales data.
  • For example, assume Rankin’s allowance account had a  $300 credit balance before adjustment.

Creditors and investors are interested in the return on sales ratio because it provides an accurate picture of a company’s ability to pay back loans, the reinvestment potential, and any potential dividends. So far, we have used one uncollectibility rate for all accounts receivable, regardless of their age. However, some companies use a different percentage for each age category of accounts receivable. When law firm bookkeeping accountants decide to use a different rate for each age category of receivables, they prepare an aging schedule. An aging schedule classifies accounts receivable according to how long they have been outstanding and uses a different uncollectibility percentage rate for each age category. In Exhibit 1, the aging schedule shows that the older the receivable, the less likely the company is to collect it.

Return on sales vs. profit margin

The method used for preparing budgets and analyzing the financial data is called the percentage of sales method. Calculating the percentage of sales is converting the historical costs into net sales percentage and then applying this percentage to the forecast level of sales. A percent of sales is a measure of the ratio of the total sales of an individual item to the total sales of all items of a business or division. Even then, you have to bear in mind that the method only applies to line items that correlate with sales.

The percentage of sales method is a forecasting tool that helps determine the financing needs of any business. It is a forecasting model that estimates various expenses, assets, and liabilities, based on sales. It works under the premise that an increase in sales volume affects certain elements in the financial statement, such as accounts receivables, cost of goods sold, and inventory. Forecasts for notes payable, long-term debts, and equity elements such as retained earnings are not included in the percentage of sales.

Calculate forecasted sales.

The percent of sales method is one of the quickest ways to develop a financial forecast for your business — specifically for items closely correlated with sales. If your business needs a very rough picture of its financial future immediately, the percent of sales method is probably one of your better bets. Companies with credit sales will want to keep tabs on their accounts receivable to ensure bad or aged debt isn’t building up. This method just focuses on accounts receivable and can complement the percentage-of-sales calculations. It’s a useful forecasting tool for accurate budgets because it builds forecasts on key financial items like revenue, expenses, and assets, so companies can ensure the right amount of money goes to each department.

Before computer systems became common, keeping the total of thousands of individual accounts in a subsidiary ledger in agreement with the corresponding general ledger T-account balance was an arduous task. Mechanical errors (mathematical problems as well as debit and credit mistakes) tended to abound. However, current electronic systems are typically designed so that the totals reconcile automatically. The return on sales ratio can be instrumental in helping improve your sales process. Your company’s sales process or “formula for success” is typically developed based on the metrics that are most important to your company. Return on sales is often confused with other metrics, which we will explore here.

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