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Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hi, I would like to know how to write off accounts receivable (old unpaid invoices)? Is it need to use the write off or credit memo will do? Thia is for a small business owner. LLC. Thank you in advance. 

Solved
Best answer December 05, 2023

Best Answers
Rainflurry
Level 13

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

@Charm25 

 

You can zero out the invoices if you have access to make changes to prior, closed periods.  Since you're on cash basis, those entries were never on your balance sheet or P&L so zeroing them out will not impact any cash basis closed period.  It will affect any prior period accrual basis reports.    

 

If you don't have access to make changes, then, IMO, you should create credit memos that offset the revenue on the invoices, not create an offsetting expense.  On cash basis, when you apply a credit memo to an invoice, QB increases your revenue based on the invoice amounts and then offsets that with whatever accounts are assigned to the Product/Services on the credit memo.  If you assign an expense account to the credit memo, your revenue and expense will both increase, thereby offsetting.  That's correct for accrual basis but not cash.  On cash basis, you don't increase revenue, so the Product/Service on the credit memo should match the income accounts associated with the invoices.  That why it's easier to just zero out the invoices IMO.  Forgive me if you know all of this already.       

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22 Comments 22
CharleneMaeF
QuickBooks Team

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Writing off old unpaid invoices is easy, Charm25. We'll use the Credit memo feature. I'd be glad to show you how.

 

If the invoices you send through QuickBooks are no longer collectible, you can classify them as bad debts and remove them from your records. This process helps keep your accounts receivable and net income accurate. Here are the steps to write off invoice balances.

 

To start, let's run the Accounts Receivable Aging Detail report. Doing so helps us review all your invoices that should be considered bad debt. I'll show you how:

 

  1. Go to Reports.
  2. Find and open an Accounts Receivable Aging Detail report.
  3. Check which outstanding accounts receivable should be written off.
    1.PNG

 

Then, create a Bad debts expense account:

 

  1. Go to the Gear icon and then select Chart of accounts.
    2.PNG
  2. At the upper right, click New to create a new account.
  3. From the Account Type dropdown, choose Expenses.
  4. From the Detail Type ▼ dropdown, select Bad debts.
  5. In the Name field, enter Bad debts.
  6. Hit Save and Close.
    3.PNG

 

Next, if you haven't already, create a non-inventory item as a placeholder for the bad debt. It isn't a real item, it's just to balance the accounting:

 

  1. From the Gear icon, select Products & services.
    4.PNG
  2. At the upper right, click New, and then Non-inventory.
  3. In the Name field, enter Bad debts.
  4. From the Income account ▼ dropdown, choose Bad debts.
    5.PNG
  5. Hit Save and Close.

 

After that, create a credit memo for the bad debt:

 

  1. Go to + New and then select Credit memo.
    6.PNG
  2. Choose the customer from the Customer ▼ drop-down.
  3. From the Product/Service section, click Bad debts.
  4. On the Amount column, enter the amount you want to write off.
  5. In the Message displayed on statement box, enter Bad Debt.
    7.PNG
  6. Hit Save and Close.

 

Once done, apply the credit memo to the invoice:

 

  1. From the + New, select Receive payment.
    8.PNG
  2. Choose the appropriate customer.
  3. From the Outstanding Transactions section, add the invoices.
  4. From the Credits section, select the credit memo.
  5. Hit Save and Close.
    9.PNG
  6. The uncollectible receivable now appears on your Profit and Loss report under the Bad Debts expense account.

 

For more details about the process, please see this article: Write off Bad Debt in QuickBooks Online.

 

If you have any further concerns about tracking the transactions, please don't hesitate to post them here. I'm always ready to assist you. Have a great day!

Rainflurry
Level 13

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

@Charm25 

 

@CharleneMaeF 's response only applies if you're on accrual basis.  If you're on cash basis, zero out the old, unpaid invoices since they were never recorded as income.  

Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Thank you.. Yes, it's a cash basis.. How can I zero out if the books were already closed. Should I create a credit memo instead to offset the unpaid invoice? 

Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Thank you. This is a cash basis accounting method. 

Rainflurry
Level 13

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

@Charm25 

 

You can zero out the invoices if you have access to make changes to prior, closed periods.  Since you're on cash basis, those entries were never on your balance sheet or P&L so zeroing them out will not impact any cash basis closed period.  It will affect any prior period accrual basis reports.    

 

If you don't have access to make changes, then, IMO, you should create credit memos that offset the revenue on the invoices, not create an offsetting expense.  On cash basis, when you apply a credit memo to an invoice, QB increases your revenue based on the invoice amounts and then offsets that with whatever accounts are assigned to the Product/Services on the credit memo.  If you assign an expense account to the credit memo, your revenue and expense will both increase, thereby offsetting.  That's correct for accrual basis but not cash.  On cash basis, you don't increase revenue, so the Product/Service on the credit memo should match the income accounts associated with the invoices.  That why it's easier to just zero out the invoices IMO.  Forgive me if you know all of this already.       

Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Thank you. It really makes sense..  

Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hi.. Last question.. 

 

Write off feature in qbo is use for accrual basis only?

 

Then, for cash basis it is better to zero out invoices and if dont have access to change the invoice, better to use credit memo with income classification to zero out? 

Charm25
Level 2

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hi.. Last question.. 

 

Write off feature in qbo is use for accrual basis only?

 

Then, for cash basis it is better to zero out invoices and if dont have access to change the invoice, better to use credit memo with income classification to zero out? 

kenny84
Level 1

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

What if it is cash basis and  partial write off. For example the customer never payed off balance?  The example I am seeing zero it out for full write off. What should we date should be used current date or same date as the  write off.  Also, if it is a credit is used should we back date. Please explain in detail. Thanks

AlcaeusF
Moderator

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hello Rainflurry,

 

Thank you for sharing your input to help address the issue. We love to see members supporting one another! Have a great day. 

kkbmar
Level 1

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

What if they are older and partially paid invoices?  In our world there are often unpaid balances (small dollar), We are on a cash basis and want to clean these old invoices up.

Should I zero the out the whole invoice?  Seems like we were partially paid I should zero the balance of what's outstanding not the whole invoice

FateCandylaneT
QuickBooks Team

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

I appreciate you joining this thread, kkbmar. Let me share information to help you write off old and partially paid invoices in your online account.

 

With QuickBooks, you may consider creating credit memos for the remaining unpaid balances from the invoice. The steps shared by my colleague, CharleneMaeF above, have similar processes when writing off customer invoices that were paid partially. Thus, it's best to run an Accounts Receivable Aging Detail report to help you review all bills that are considered bad debts. To do this:

 

  1. Go to Reports and enter the Accounts Receivable Aging Detail report from the search section.
  2. Check which outstanding accounts receivable should be written off.

 

Once reviewed, you may follow Steps 2 & 3 outlined in this article when creating a bad debt expense account and item: Write off bad debt in QuickBooks Online.

 

Once done, enter the remaining amount balances from an invoice when creating credit memos for the bad debt. You may refer to the steps below:

 

  1. Go to the + New icon and select Credit memo.
  2. Choose the customer from the Customer ▼ dropdown.
  3. In the Product/Service section, select Bad Debts.
  4. Under the Amount column, enter the remaining balance to write off.
  5. In the Message displayed on statement box, enter “Bad Debt.”
  6. Then, select Save and Close.

 

Moreover, you can run specific reports to help review your business finances and other accounting data.

 

I'll keep this thread available if there's anything else you need further assistance with when managing sales transactions in your account. Just let me know, so I can provide additional help. Keep safe!

angelacct
Level 3

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

RE: Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

For the Cash Basis wouldn't you still complete most of the steps in @CharleneMaeF 's response except for the last step to select Receive payment?  

If not could you please list the steps for the Cash Basis. Thank you. 

MAnneJ
QuickBooks Team

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Thanks for joining the thread, @angelacct

 

Instead of receiving payments from your customers, you can issue a credit memo. By this, we can apply the credit amount to their invoice, which will show up as a return in their account. By doing this, you can clear the amount from your accounts receivable and reduce your net profit.

 

Here's how: 

 

  1. Select + New.
  2. Select Credit memo.
  3. From the Customer dropdown, select the customer's name.
  4. Enter the credit memo details, such as the date and the amount.
  5. Once done, select Save and close.

 

create credit memo.PNG

 

After creating the credit memo, it can be applied automatically to your invoices depending on if you've turned the settings on. Otherwise, here's how we can manually apply them to your invoice: 

 

  1. Go to + New icon, then select Receive payment.
  2. From the Customer dropdown, select the customer.
  3. In the Outstanding Transactions section, select the open invoice you want to apply the credit memo.
  4. In the Credits section, select the credit memos you want to apply.
  5. For the open invoice in the Payment column, enter how much of the credit you want to apply.
  6. Leave the Payment methodReference noDeposit to, and Amount received fields blank.
  7. Fill out the rest of the form and ensure the total is correct after applying the credit memo.
  8. Once done, select Save and close.

 

Furthermore, you'll want to check this article and learn how and when to give a credit memo or delayed credit to customers: Create and apply credit memos or delayed credits in QuickBooks Online.

 

Additionally, you can refer to this article for future reference if you want to learn how to personalize and add specific info to your sales forms: Customize invoices, estimates, and sales receipts in QuickBooks Online.

 

I'll leave this thread open for your comment if you need additional assistance managing your invoices in QuickBooks Online. Stay safe.

angelacct
Level 3

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Thank you so much for the information, I really appreciate it. 

ArielI
QuickBooks Team

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hi there, @angelacct.

 

I'm glad to see that my colleague was able to help you resolve your issue. Rest assured, we'll continue to provide you with quality customer service.

 

If you have further QuickBooks concerns, feel free to come back here. I'll be willing to lend a hand. Keep safe and have a great day!

Rainflurry
Level 13

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

@angelacct 

 

QB Employees don't understand proper accounting and it's clear by their responses that they really shouldn't be giving advice on how to handle this.  On cash basis, you have two options for uncollectible invoices:

 

1) Zero out the invoice.

2) Create a Credit Memo with an item linked to an income account, not an expense account.

 

You don't want to use an expense account like Bad Debt Expense on cash basis because that will increase your revenue with an offsetting expense.  Although the bottom line is the same, you don't want to show revenue from uncollectible invoices on cash basis. 

angelacct
Level 3

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

I just realized that you had already answered that "zeroing out the invoice" is the best practice for cash basis.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer the same question again. I really appreciate it.

blessyv
Level 1

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

Hello and good evening! 

I have some invoices that are old with overdue balances. I want to write off the remaining balance so that it is off from the aging report. At the same time, I have some invoices that are partially paid. If I clear out the invoice to a zero, that is going to increase the revenue. 

How do I clear the outstanding balance without increasing the revenue?

I want these off the books since they are really old.

 

Please help!

Thank you in advance,

Bless.

 

ArielI
QuickBooks Team

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

 

To zero out the open invoices, it's important to mark them as bad debt and write them off. Allow me to walk you through the process of writing off bad debt in QuickBooks Online (QBO), @customer.

 

First, you'll need to Create a bad debts expense account.

 

  1. Navigate to Settings and choose Chart of accounts.
  2. In the top-right corner, click New to add a new account.
  3. In the Account Type dropdown, select Expenses.
  4. Choose Bad debts from the Detail Type dropdown.
  5. Type “Bad debts” in the Name field.
  6. Click Save and Close.

 

Then create a bad debt item, here's how:

 

  1. Access Settings and choose Products & services.
  2. Click New at the top-right, then select Non-inventory.
  3. Enter “Bad debts” in the Name field.
  4. Select the Bad debts option from the Income account dropdown.
  5. Click Save and Close.

 

After that, you'll need to create a credit memo for the bad debt.

 

  1. Click on + New.
  2. Choose Credit memo.
  3. Use the Customer ▼ dropdown to select the customer.
  4. In the Product/Service line, pick Bad debts.
  5. Enter the amount you wish to write off in the Amount column.
  6. In the Message displayed on statement field, type in "Bad Debt."
  7. Click Save and Close.

 

Then you'll need to apply the credit memo to the invoice. Here's how:

 

  1. Click on + New again.
  2. Under the Customers option, choose Receive payment.
  3. Use the Customer ▼ dropdown to select the relevant customer.
  4. In the Outstanding Transactions section, locate and select the invoice.
  5. In the Credits section, choose the previously created credit memo.
  6. Click Save and Close.

 

For more detailed steps on writing off bad debt in QBO, you can refer to this article: Write off bad debt in QuickBooks Online.

 

Moreover, regarding to concern about clearing the outstanding balance without increasing the revenue, please be reminded that you'll need to consult an accountant to ensure that everything is properly recorded and that the revenue remains unaffected.

 

Additionally, you can get more hints while running your financial reports in our system, from these links:

 

 

If you have further questions about clearing old invoices, you can comment below, and we'll respond to you as soon as possible.

19980
New Member

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

How to write off unpaid old account on my credit profile

GlinetteC
Moderator

Write off (A/R), old unpaid invoices

I appreciate you following this thread.

 

I'm here to share additional insights on writing off unpaid old accounts.

 

If you're referring to the need to write off unpaid old invoices, you can record them as a bad debt, allowing you to update your accounts receivable and net income. You can follow the steps outlined by my colleague in the previous reply.

 

If you're referring to clear unpaid bills from your Accounts Payable account, you can delete them if you operate on a cash basis. However, if you have unpaid bills and use accrual accounting, you'll need to create a credit memo to clear those bills.

 

When making the credit memo, use the same expense account that was used for the original bills. Then, you can apply the credit memo to the unpaid bills to remove them from your Accounts Payable account. This approach allows you to properly account for the transactions on an accrual basis.

 

Additionally, you can generate reports to gain a deeper understanding of your business's financial health, improve financial management, better planning, and ultimately, more sustainable growth for your company.

 

Should you have any other questions regarding the write-off of unpaid old accounts or any other concerns, visit the Community. We are always here to help. Stay safe.

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