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Is Accounts Receivable An Asset Or Liability? Learn Everything

Accounts receivable is a type of asset account that represents the amount of money owed to the company by customers for products and services they've previously purchased. Thus, accounts receivable are money owed by a company's clients. A company can have one or more AR (Accounts receivable) accounts depending on the number of clients it has at any given time. The AR balance in an entity's current assets section reflects its ability to provide goods or services to current customers who owe them cash.

The nature of a firm's accounts receivable balance is determined by the industry in which it operates, as well as corporate management's credit policies. On a company's "balance sheet," A/R is tracked as a current asset, which includes, among other things, how much money a company expects to be paid (as assets) and how much it expects to pay out (as liabilities) (as liabilities). Understanding the A/R is critical in determining the overall health of a company.

Manual receivables processes produce low cash flow, high DSO, and a lengthy order-to-cash cycle. As a result, automating accounts receivable processes and improving the efficiency of a company's invoicing, credit, and collection methods is critical.

According to a PYMNTS.com survey, 87% of companies with automated AR functions process more quickly. As a result, your company can devote more time to high-value tasks while preventing AR from piling up and becoming lousy debt if you do the same. To learn more about accounts receivables, check out the in-demand and intelligent route to AR success.

So, is Accounts Receivable an Asset or Liability?

Accounts receivable is an asset. It's a current asset that can easily be turned into cash. Liabilities are something that you owe somebody in terms of cash or products, while assets are something you own. This is why it is easy to recognize accounts receivable as an asset, not reliability. Accounts receivable are listed on the balance sheet under current assets and are often considered among the most critical assets in an organization's financial statement.

To dig further into the roots of our statement, let's explore the terms asset and liability one by one to understand the concept better.

What Are Assets?

Assets are anything that has value and is owned by the business. They include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, real estate, and equipment. Assets are used to generate income for the company.

The assets of a company are shown on its balance sheet. They are classified as current, fixed, financial, and intangible. They are purchased or created to increase a company's value or to benefit its operations.

Access that other people or businesses do not have can also be considered an asset. Furthermore, a right or other type of access can be legally enforced, implying that a company's economic resources can be used at its discretion. Their use can be prohibited or restricted by the owner.

To be considered an asset as of the date of the company's financial statements, a company must have a right to something.

The balance sheet lists assets in order of liquidity (highest to lowest).

What Are Liabilities?

Liabilities are things that you owe. They are not the same as debt, money owed to a creditor. Instead, you owe liabilities to others, such as your employer or an individual creditor (such as an attorney). A liability, in general, is an unfinished or unpaid obligation between two parties. In accounting, a financial liability is also an obligation. Still, it is defined more by previous business transactions, sales, services, or anything that would provide economic benefit later.

Accounts receivable assets include current and future payments from customers who have previously bought goods or services from your business. So, for example, if a customer hasn't paid for their order yet but expects to do so soon, then this would be considered an asset account instead of a liability one because it represents future revenue streams for your company – making it less risky than having unpaid bills sitting around waiting for payment!

What Kind of Assets Can Be Included In Accounts Receivable?

Accounts Receivable is one of the three major classifications used by accountants and financial experts that determine how much money is owed to or due from a company at any given period in its existence - this includes assets such as inventory or property & equipment, liabilities such as long-term debt instruments like bonds issued by governments' agencies during times when interest rates were low; short term liabilities such as accounts payable notes payable issued by companies' vendors; equity shares held within pension funds etcetera.

Why Are Accounts Receivable Considered a Current Asset?

Accounts receivable are current assets as they can be turned into cash within one year, so they are considered liquid or easily converted into cash. This means that the asset value of accounts receivable can fluctuate, and your company can have more or less than its balance sheet says. The amount of an account receivable is based on what you owe to customers. Still, if some customers never pay their debts, then those debts will never be paid off in total—which means they're still considered assets on your balance sheet even though they've been charged off as a bad debt (negative) by your bank or other financial institution.

Can Accounts Receivable Be Negative?

Accounts receivable can be negative if there is a bad debt. A bad debt is a receivable that you will never collect because the client has already paid for the product or service, and the client doesn't owe you any more money. A bad debt expense is an expense that should be estimated at zero, even though it may appear on your income statement as an asset due to its use in calculating net income (profit). A contra account to accounts receivable is created when a customer owes money but pays up within 30 days of receiving their invoice from you.

Should You Include a Discount On Your Accounts Receivable Balance?

Yes, you should include a discount on your accounts receivable balance. Discounts are a good thing for both the buyer and the provider. First, they can encourage customers to pay their bills sooner and in advance. As a business owner, you may have noticed that some customers pay their bills at the end of each month along with other bills like rent or utility payments. Others Might pay these other expenses before receiving their invoices from you or never do so! Discounts can help encourage these bad habits because if a customer knows there will be a discount if they make sure their account is paid within 30 days, then there's less risk involved when paying early rather than waiting until later (which could mean higher interest rates).

By including discounts on your account receivables, you can guarantee that your loyal customers are going to pay you earlier than the rest.

Is Cash a Part of Accounts Receivable?

Cash is not a part of accounts receivable. Accounts receivable is a current asset – it's an asset because it can be used to generate revenue and produce a profit. Cash, on the other hand, is a non-current asset. It does not generate revenue or produce a profit.

The key difference between accounts receivable and cash is that accounts receivable can generate money for your company in the future through sales or collection of payments from customers who owe you money (a debtor). The amount owed will depend on what kind of contract was signed with each customer at the time when they purchased something from you; however, most likely, there will be some agreement between parties involved which determines how much money each party owes each other during the term(s) agreed upon by both parties involved in the transaction(s).

Can you get cash for accounts receivable?

Yes, you can get cash for accounts receivable. Accounts receivable are assets like any other item in your current assets category. In fact, if you look at the balance sheet of a business, you will see that it has an asset account for accounts receivable. Accounts receivable do not have to be cash and can be any type of payment from customers (such as credit card payments). The amount owed can be changed during the course of the year. Generally, it remains relatively stable over time unless significant changes such as a restructuring or new product launch require additional funds to be paid out over time instead of received immediately.

How Are Receivables Generated?

A receivable is typically generated when a company provides either a product or service to another company. Receivables are an asset that can be used as collateral for loans, and they're important because they represent money that has been earned through sales.

However, it's important to note that not all receivables are created equal! You don't want to keep too many bad debts on your books if possible—and there's no way around this fact: some customers will always be late with payments or refuse to pay at all.

Accounts Receivable vs. Income Statement vs. Cash Flow Statement

Accounts receivable is a current asset that represents money owed by clients to an entity in exchange for goods or services. Accounts receivable appear in the current assets section of the balance sheet. It is a current asset that represents money owed by clients to a source in exchange for goods or services.

It's important to note that accounts receivable can be either current or non-current at any given time, depending on how long it has been outstanding and whether or not you have started collecting payments from your customers. In addition, a company may also issue long-term promissory notes as part of its credit facility arrangement with banks or other financial institutions (such as when agreeing to provide working capital financing).

Where Does Accounts Receivable Appear In The Balance Sheet?

Accounts receivable appear in the current assets section of the balance sheet.

A large balance-sheet A/R amount may appear appealing. You'd think that every business would want a flood of future cash, but that isn't the case. Money in accounts receivable is not in the bank and can put the company at risk. For example, if Walmart declared bankruptcy or failed to pay, the seller would be forced to deduct $1.5 million from its A/R balance on its balance sheet.

How is the Accounts Receivable Turnover Ratio Calculated?

The accounts receivable turnover ratio is calculated this way: Net credit sales/average accounts receivable.

The ratio measures the times a company's accounts receivable are collected during the year. It's calculated by dividing net credit sales by average accounts receivable. The higher this figure, the better—and it shows that your customers aren't holding up the end of their deals with you!


Account receivable is a critical component of the balance sheet and must be effectively managed. On the other hand, a company would not want to have too much of it. A high accounts receivable balance indicates that a business is having difficulty or cannot collect payments on time. Failure to collect accounts receivable leads to bad debt, and the company suffers from poor cash flow, low credit scores, and a high days sales outstanding (DSO). Account receivable is an asset, but it's not always good. Accounts receivable can be a liability if you're paying off old debts with new ones or if the clients are slow to pay up. On the other hand, if you have highly profitable clients, they will likely pay up quickly and easily because they have money to burn!

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