Sales Discounts Definition, Accounting Treatment, Sample

Discounts on sales are recorded in a contra-revenue account named Sales Discounts. Therefore, its debit balance will be one of the deductions from sales (gross sales) in order to report the amount of net sales. Sales discounts as a contra-revenue account are expected to have a debit balance rather than the usual credit balance of revenue. This means that the expected balance of sales discount is contrary to, or opposite of, the usual credit balance in a revenue account. When a sales discount is recorded in the income statement, it reduces the company’s gross sale amount thereby resulting in a smaller net sales figure.

Both cash or sales discount and allowance for sales discount is the same. It is also not shown in the face of financial statements as well as in the noted to sales or revenue of financial reports. The opposite of the revenue contra accounts Sales Discounts, Returns and Allowances are expense contra accounts Purchase Discounts, Returns and Allowances. Sales discounts are otherwise called cash discounts or early payment discounts.

Credit Cash in Bank if a sales return or allowance involves a refund of a buyer’s payment. The net Revenue balance on an income statement is calculated as gross Revenue minus all contra-revenue items like Sales Returns, Allowances and Discounts. It is offered to the purchaser if they are able to pay off their credit purchases in a given period. It is mainly maintained by a company that uses a periodic inventory system. A discount received is the reverse situation, where the buyer of goods or services is granted a discount by the seller. The examples just noted for a discount allowed also apply to a discount received.

Report your result as “Net sales” below the sales discounts line on your income statement. The amount of net sales is the actual revenue you earned after accounting for discounts. Using the previous example, assume you had $20,000 in gross revenue during the period. There are two primary types of discounts in accounting that might occur in your small business – trade discounts and cash discounts. A trade discount occurs when you reduce your sales price for a wholesale customer, such as on a bulk order.

Accounting for the Discount Allowed and Discount Received

Sales Returns contra revenue account records the value of a sales deduction attributable to goods returned by buyers in exchange for a refund. Sales discounts are recorded as a reduction in revenue under the line item called accounts receivable. In this instance the accounts receivable is cleared by the receipt of cash and no sales discount is recorded.

Sinra Apparels can apply the same method across multiple products and multiple discounts. The total account receivable of $25,000 is discharged from the account receivable balance during the time the customer makes payment. Let’s discuss the step by the step accounting treatment of sales discount. Trade discount refers to the reduction in the price of a commodity or service sold to wholesalers at the time of bulk purchases. With every day that the payment is not received, the
seller or receivable has an opportunity cost– in terms of the financial return
he could have otherwise generated.

  • It increases sales but creates a new accounting entry for sales discounts to be recorded in the account books.
  • When a company offers sales discounts, it is essentially offering the customer a cash incentive to pay for their purchase earlier than when the account would normally be due.
  • If, for instance, the customer received a 1 per cent discount on the $100 for paying early.
  • Now, if Mr John makes full payment before 15th Sept 2020, a 5% discount will be given.
  • Sales discount as a contra revenue account is expected to have a debit balance rather than the usual credit balance of revenue.

The sales discount account will reduce cash by the discount percentage on all invoices. When customers avail of the discount, the accounts receivable get credited to reflect the change fully on the balance sheet. If the customer pays within the 10 days and takes the sales discount of 50, then the business will only receive cash of 1,950 and accounts for the difference with the following sales discounts journal entry. Let’s look at some examples of sales discount as a contra revenue account and how it is recorded as a debit contrary to the natural credit balance of revenue.

Types of Sales Discounts

Hence, companies offering small discounts for a 10-day payment return help to clear accounts quickly. Customers taking advantage of the sales discount tend to reduce the overall revenue figures for the business but encourage early payments as well as reduce bad debt. Moreso, early payments support the liquidity position of the company and reduce outstanding accounts receivable. In a situation where a company has offered discounts to several customers, the record for such sale discount will vary from the one given above. If for instance the invoice for a sales discount was offered to customers who made purchases at the end of a month, the customers will pay for these goods in the next month. This will make the invoice and the sales discount fall within two different accounting periods which could pose a challenge for accounting purposes.


In order to have accurate reports on all sales discounts, it is important to understand what it means and how it is recorded. Here, we shall discuss why a sales discount is a debit and not credit and the various journal entries for it. A company can offer different types of sales discounts that can affect the sales figures.

An example of a sales discount is when a buyer is entitled to a 1% discount in exchange for paying within 10 days of the invoice date, rather than the normal 30 days. An example of a sales discount is for the buyer to take a 1% discount in exchange for paying within 10 days of the invoice date, rather than the normal 30 days (also noted on an invoice as «1% 10/ Net 30» terms). Another common sales discount is «2% 10/Net 30» terms, which allows a 2% discount for paying within 10 days of the invoice date, or paying in 30 days. Although all these are contra-revenue accounts, our focus here shall be on the sales discount.

Accounting for Purchase Discounts – Entry, Example, and More

When a few customers take a sales discount or a discount is offered to a few customers, the amount of the sales discount taken is likely to be immaterial. Therefore, in such an instance, the seller can simply record the sales discount as they occur with a credit to the accounts receivable account for the amount of discount taken and a debit to the sales discount account. The sales discount as a contra-revenue account will reduce the total revenues.

Thus, it avoids having to impact the company’s income statement due to the different accounting periods. A sales discount has an impact on the revenue figures that will be recorded in a company’s income statement. Sales discounts do not reduce any assets or liabilities, only revenue which reduces net income. The purpose of a business offering sales discounts is to encourage the customer to settle their account earlier (10 days instead of 30 days in the above example). By receiving payment earlier the business now has use of the cash for an extra 20 days and reduces the chances that the customer will eventually default. Nonetheless, it is usually advisable to use a revenue account and a contra-revenue account when recording sales.

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It means that the customer pays $99 in cash (i.e $1 is subtracted from $100). In this article, we will discuss what type of account sales discounts is and how it is recorded in the financial statements. Contra revenue accounts can also be recorded within the sales account, but this means that it will be buried within the total amount of revenue reported, so that management cannot easily determine the amount of contra revenue. If a company has minimal contra-revenue activity, it is understandable to record these transactions within the revenue account.

A sales discount is a percentage reduction offered to customers by companies for goods or services. It requires that the customers pay for the goods or services within the stated period on the invoice in order to get the discount. The sales discount amount is usually subtracted from the total invoice amount to determine how much a customer will pay if they took advantage of the sales discount. When the customer pays, within the what is a prepaid insurance expense stipulated discount period, the cash account is debited by the amount that was paid by the customer. The discount given is debited in the sales discount account while the sum of the amounts that have been debited in the cash and sales discount account is credited to the accounts receivable. From the table above, we can see that once the customer takes the discount, the allowance for the sales discount account is debited.

A sales discount may be offered when the seller is short of cash, or if it wants to reduce the recorded amount of its receivables outstanding for other reasons. When the shoe company records this discount in the revenue section of its income statement, it will look like the table below if the transaction and the payment were both carried out within the same accounting period. So far, we have seen that the sales discount is a debit and not credit because it is a contra-revenue account. Now, we will look at various hypothetical scenarios of how sales discount accounting works. Some companies do not record gross sales and sales discounts in their income statement especially when the sales discount amount is small.

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