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Principles of Accounting, Volume 1: Financial Accounting

9.6 Explain How Notes Receivable and Accounts Receivable Differ

Principles of Accounting, Volume 1: Financial Accounting9.6 Explain How Notes Receivable and Accounts Receivable Differ
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Role of Accounting in Society
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 Explain the Importance of Accounting and Distinguish between Financial and Managerial Accounting
    3. 1.2 Identify Users of Accounting Information and How They Apply Information
    4. 1.3 Describe Typical Accounting Activities and the Role Accountants Play in Identifying, Recording, and Reporting Financial Activities
    5. 1.4 Explain Why Accounting Is Important to Business Stakeholders
    6. 1.5 Describe the Varied Career Paths Open to Individuals with an Accounting Education
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
  3. 2 Introduction to Financial Statements
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Describe the Income Statement, Statement of Owner’s Equity, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows, and How They Interrelate
    3. 2.2 Define, Explain, and Provide Examples of Current and Noncurrent Assets, Current and Noncurrent Liabilities, Equity, Revenues, and Expenses
    4. 2.3 Prepare an Income Statement, Statement of Owner’s Equity, and Balance Sheet
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Questions
    9. Exercise Set A
    10. Exercise Set B
    11. Problem Set A
    12. Problem Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  4. 3 Analyzing and Recording Transactions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Describe Principles, Assumptions, and Concepts of Accounting and Their Relationship to Financial Statements
    3. 3.2 Define and Describe the Expanded Accounting Equation and Its Relationship to Analyzing Transactions
    4. 3.3 Define and Describe the Initial Steps in the Accounting Cycle
    5. 3.4 Analyze Business Transactions Using the Accounting Equation and Show the Impact of Business Transactions on Financial Statements
    6. 3.5 Use Journal Entries to Record Transactions and Post to T-Accounts
    7. 3.6 Prepare a Trial Balance
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  5. 4 The Adjustment Process
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Explain the Concepts and Guidelines Affecting Adjusting Entries
    3. 4.2 Discuss the Adjustment Process and Illustrate Common Types of Adjusting Entries
    4. 4.3 Record and Post the Common Types of Adjusting Entries
    5. 4.4 Use the Ledger Balances to Prepare an Adjusted Trial Balance
    6. 4.5 Prepare Financial Statements Using the Adjusted Trial Balance
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  6. 5 Completing the Accounting Cycle
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 Describe and Prepare Closing Entries for a Business
    3. 5.2 Prepare a Post-Closing Trial Balance
    4. 5.3 Apply the Results from the Adjusted Trial Balance to Compute Current Ratio and Working Capital Balance, and Explain How These Measures Represent Liquidity
    5. 5.4 Appendix: Complete a Comprehensive Accounting Cycle for a Business
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  7. 6 Merchandising Transactions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Compare and Contrast Merchandising versus Service Activities and Transactions
    3. 6.2 Compare and Contrast Perpetual versus Periodic Inventory Systems
    4. 6.3 Analyze and Record Transactions for Merchandise Purchases Using the Perpetual Inventory System
    5. 6.4 Analyze and Record Transactions for the Sale of Merchandise Using the Perpetual Inventory System
    6. 6.5 Discuss and Record Transactions Applying the Two Commonly Used Freight-In Methods
    7. 6.6 Describe and Prepare Multi-Step and Simple Income Statements for Merchandising Companies
    8. 6.7 Appendix: Analyze and Record Transactions for Merchandise Purchases and Sales Using the Periodic Inventory System
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  8. 7 Accounting Information Systems
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Define and Describe the Components of an Accounting Information System
    3. 7.2 Describe and Explain the Purpose of Special Journals and Their Importance to Stakeholders
    4. 7.3 Analyze and Journalize Transactions Using Special Journals
    5. 7.4 Prepare a Subsidiary Ledger
    6. 7.5 Describe Career Paths Open to Individuals with a Joint Education in Accounting and Information Systems
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  9. 8 Fraud, Internal Controls, and Cash
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Analyze Fraud in the Accounting Workplace
    3. 8.2 Define and Explain Internal Controls and Their Purpose within an Organization
    4. 8.3 Describe Internal Controls within an Organization
    5. 8.4 Define the Purpose and Use of a Petty Cash Fund, and Prepare Petty Cash Journal Entries
    6. 8.5 Discuss Management Responsibilities for Maintaining Internal Controls within an Organization
    7. 8.6 Define the Purpose of a Bank Reconciliation, and Prepare a Bank Reconciliation and Its Associated Journal Entries
    8. 8.7 Describe Fraud in Financial Statements and Sarbanes-Oxley Act Requirements
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  10. 9 Accounting for Receivables
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Explain the Revenue Recognition Principle and How It Relates to Current and Future Sales and Purchase Transactions
    3. 9.2 Account for Uncollectible Accounts Using the Balance Sheet and Income Statement Approaches
    4. 9.3 Determine the Efficiency of Receivables Management Using Financial Ratios
    5. 9.4 Discuss the Role of Accounting for Receivables in Earnings Management
    6. 9.5 Apply Revenue Recognition Principles to Long-Term Projects
    7. 9.6 Explain How Notes Receivable and Accounts Receivable Differ
    8. 9.7 Appendix: Comprehensive Example of Bad Debt Estimation
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  11. 10 Inventory
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Describe and Demonstrate the Basic Inventory Valuation Methods and Their Cost Flow Assumptions
    3. 10.2 Calculate the Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory Using the Periodic Method
    4. 10.3 Calculate the Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory Using the Perpetual Method
    5. 10.4 Explain and Demonstrate the Impact of Inventory Valuation Errors on the Income Statement and Balance Sheet
    6. 10.5 Examine the Efficiency of Inventory Management Using Financial Ratios
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  12. 11 Long-Term Assets
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Distinguish between Tangible and Intangible Assets
    3. 11.2 Analyze and Classify Capitalized Costs versus Expenses
    4. 11.3 Explain and Apply Depreciation Methods to Allocate Capitalized Costs
    5. 11.4 Describe Accounting for Intangible Assets and Record Related Transactions
    6. 11.5 Describe Some Special Issues in Accounting for Long-Term Assets
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  13. 12 Current Liabilities
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Identify and Describe Current Liabilities
    3. 12.2 Analyze, Journalize, and Report Current Liabilities
    4. 12.3 Define and Apply Accounting Treatment for Contingent Liabilities
    5. 12.4 Prepare Journal Entries to Record Short-Term Notes Payable
    6. 12.5 Record Transactions Incurred in Preparing Payroll
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  14. 13 Long-Term Liabilities
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Explain the Pricing of Long-Term Liabilities
    3. 13.2 Compute Amortization of Long-Term Liabilities Using the Effective-Interest Method
    4. 13.3 Prepare Journal Entries to Reflect the Life Cycle of Bonds
    5. 13.4 Appendix: Special Topics Related to Long-Term Liabilities
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  15. 14 Corporation Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 14.1 Explain the Process of Securing Equity Financing through the Issuance of Stock
    3. 14.2 Analyze and Record Transactions for the Issuance and Repurchase of Stock
    4. 14.3 Record Transactions and the Effects on Financial Statements for Cash Dividends, Property Dividends, Stock Dividends, and Stock Splits
    5. 14.4 Compare and Contrast Owners’ Equity versus Retained Earnings
    6. 14.5 Discuss the Applicability of Earnings per Share as a Method to Measure Performance
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  16. 15 Partnership Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 15.1 Describe the Advantages and Disadvantages of Organizing as a Partnership
    3. 15.2 Describe How a Partnership Is Created, Including the Associated Journal Entries
    4. 15.3 Compute and Allocate Partners’ Share of Income and Loss
    5. 15.4 Prepare Journal Entries to Record the Admission and Withdrawal of a Partner
    6. 15.5 Discuss and Record Entries for the Dissolution of a Partnership
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  17. 16 Statement of Cash Flows
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 16.1 Explain the Purpose of the Statement of Cash Flows
    3. 16.2 Differentiate between Operating, Investing, and Financing Activities
    4. 16.3 Prepare the Statement of Cash Flows Using the Indirect Method
    5. 16.4 Prepare the Completed Statement of Cash Flows Using the Indirect Method
    6. 16.5 Use Information from the Statement of Cash Flows to Prepare Ratios to Assess Liquidity and Solvency
    7. 16.6 Appendix: Prepare a Completed Statement of Cash Flows Using the Direct Method
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  18. Financial Statement Analysis
  19. Time Value of Money
  20. Suggested Resources
  21. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
  22. Index

So far, our discussion of receivables has focused solely on accounts receivable. Companies, however, can expand their business models to include more than one type of receivable. This receivable expansion allows a company to attract a more diverse clientele and increase asset potential to further grow the business.

As you’ve learned, accounts receivable is typically a more informal arrangement between a company and customer that is resolved within a year and does not include interest payments. In contrast, notes receivable (an asset) is a more formal legal contract between the buyer and the company, which requires a specific payment amount at a predetermined future date. The length of contract is typically over a year, or beyond one operating cycle. There is also generally an interest requirement because the financial loan amount may be larger than accounts receivable, and the length of contract is possibly longer. A note can be requested or extended in exchange for products and services or in exchange for cash (usually in the case of a financial lender). Several characteristics of notes receivable further define the contract elements and scope of use.

Key Feature Comparison of Accounts Receivable and Notes Receivable
Accounts Receivable Notes Receivable
  • An informal agreement between customer and company
  • Receivable in less than one year or within a company’s operating cycle
  • Does not include interest
  • A legal contract with established payment terms
  • Receivable beyond one year and outside of a company’s operating cycle
  • Includes interest
Table 9.2

Think It Through

Dishonored Note

You are the owner of a retail health food store and have several large companies with whom you do business. Many competitors in your industry are vying for your customers’ business. For each sale, you issue a notes receivable to the company, with an interest rate of 10% and a maturity date 18 months after the issue date. Each note has a minimum principal amount of $500,000.

Let’s say one of these companies is unable to pay in the established timeframe and dishonors the note. What would you do? How does this dishonored note affect your company both financially and nonfinancially? If your customer wanted to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, would you agree? If so, what would be the terms?

Characteristics of Notes Receivable

Notes receivable have several defining characteristics that include principal, length of contract terms, and interest. The principal of a note is the initial loan amount, not including interest, requested by the customer. If a customer approaches a lender, requesting $2,000, this amount is the principal. The date on which the security agreement is initially established is the issue date. A note’s maturity date is the date at which the principal and interest become due and payable. The maturity date is established in the initial note contract. For example, when the previously mentioned customer requested the $2,000 loan on January 1, 2018, terms of repayment included a maturity date of 24 months. This means that the loan will mature in two years, and the principal and interest are due at that time. The following journal entries occur at the note’s established start date. The first entry shows a note receivable in exchange for a product or service, and the second entry illustrates the note from the point of view that a $2,000 loan was issued by a financial institution to a customer (borrower).

Journal Entry: January 1, 2018 debit Notes Receivable 2,000, credit Sales Revenue 2,000. Explanation: “To record sale in exchange for notes receivable.” Journal Entry: January 1, 2018 debit Notes Receivable 2,000, credit Cash 2,000. Explanation: “To record sale in exchange for a cash loan.”

Before realization of the maturity date, the note is accumulating interest revenue for the lender. Interest is a monetary incentive to the lender that justifies loan risk. An annual interest rate is established with the loan terms. The interest rate is the part of a loan charged to the borrower, expressed as an annual percentage of the outstanding loan amount. Interest is accrued daily, and this accumulation must be recorded periodically (each month for example). The Revenue Recognition Principle requires that the interest revenue accrued is recorded in the period when earned. Periodic interest accrued is recorded in Interest Revenue and Interest Receivable. To calculate interest, the company can use the following formulas. The following example uses months but the calculation could also be based on a 365-day year.

Formula: Interest equals Annual interest rate times loan principle times part of year where Part of year equals Number of accrued interest months divided by12 months.

Another common way to state the interest formula is Interest = Principal × Rate × Time. From the previous example, the company offered a $2,000 note with a maturity date of 24 months. The annual interest rate on the loan is 10%. Each period the company needs to record an entry for accumulated interest during the period. In this example, the first year’s interest revenue accumulation is computed as 10% × $2,000 × (12/12) = $200. The $200 is recognized in Interest Revenue and Interest Receivable.

Journal entry: December 31, 2018 debit Interest Receivable 200, credit Interest Revenue 200. Explanation: “To record interest accumulated after first 12 months.”

When interest is due at the end of the note (24 months), the company may record the collection of the loan principal and the accumulated interest. These transactions can be recorded as one entry or two. The first set of entries show collection of principal, followed by collection of the interest.

Journal entries: December 31, 2019 debit Cash 2,000, credit Notes Receivable 2,000. Explanation: “To record collection of note principle.” December 31, 2019 debit Cash 400, credit Interest Receivable 200, credit Interest Revenue 200. Explanation: “To record interest collection after 24-month term.”

Interest revenue from year one had already been recorded in 2018, but the interest revenue from 2019 is not recorded until the end of the note term. Thus, Interest Revenue is increasing (credit) by $200, the remaining revenue earned but not yet recognized. Interest Receivable decreasing (credit) reflects the 2018 interest owed from the customer that is paid to the company at the end of 2019. The second possibility is one entry recognizing principal and interest collection.

Journal entry: December 31, 2019 debit Cash 2,400, credit Notes Receivable 2,000, credit Interest Receivable 200, credit Interest Revenue 200. Explanation: “To record collection of principle and accumulated interest.”

If the note term does not exceed one accounting period, the entry showing note collection may not reflect interest receivable. For example, let’s say the company’s note maturity date was 12 months instead of 24 (payment in full occurs December 31, 2018). The entry to record collection of the principal and interest follows.

Journal entry: December 31, 2018 debit Cash 2,200, credit Notes Receivable 2,000, credit Interest Revenue 200. Explanation: “To record collection of principle and interest.”

The examples provided account for collection of the note in full on the maturity date, which is considered an honored note. But what if the customer does not pay within the specified contract length? This situation is considered a dishonored note. A lender will still pursue collection of the note but will not maintain a long-term receivable on its books. Instead, the lender will convert the notes receivable and interest due into an account receivable. Sometimes a company will classify and label the uncollected account as a Dishonored Note Receivable. Using our example, if the company was unable to collect the $2,000 from the customer at the 12-month maturity date, the following entry would occur.

Journal entry: December 31, 2018 debit Accounts Receivable 2,200, credit Notes Receivable 2,000, credit Interest Revenue 200. Explanation: “To record conversion of note to AR.”

If it is still unable to collect, the company may consider selling the receivable to a collection agency. When this occurs, the collection agency pays the company a fraction of the note’s value, and the company would write off any difference as a factoring (third-party debt collection) expense. Let’s say that our example company turned over the $2,200 accounts receivable to a collection agency on March 5, 2019 and received only $500 for its value. The difference between $2,200 and $500 of $1,700 is the factoring expense.

Journal entry: March 5, 2019 debit Cash 500, debit Factoring Expense 1,700, credit Accounts Receivable 2,200. Explanation: “To record sale of AR to third-party factor.”

Notes receivable can convert to accounts receivable, as illustrated, but accounts receivable can also convert to notes receivable. The transition from accounts receivable to notes receivable can occur when a customer misses a payment on a short-term credit line for products or services. In this case, the company could extend the payment period and require interest.

For example, a company may have an outstanding account receivable in the amount of $1,000. The customer negotiates with the company on June 1 for a six-month note maturity date, 12% annual interest rate, and $250 cash up front. The company records the following entry at contract establishment.

Journal entry: June 1 debit Cash 250, debit Notes Receivable 750, credit Accounts Receivable 1,000. Explanation: “To record conversion of AR to NR.”

This examines a note from the lender’s perspective; see Current Liabilities for an in-depth discussion on the customer’s liability with a note (payable).

Illustrated Examples of Notes Receivable

To illustrate notes receivable scenarios, let’s return to Billie’s Watercraft Warehouse (BWW) as the example. BWW has a customer, Waterways Corporation, that tends to have larger purchases that require an extended payment period. On January 1, 2018, Waterways purchased merchandise in the amount of $250,000. BWW agreed to lend the $250,000 purchase cost (sales price) to Waterways under the following conditions. First, BWW agrees to accept a note payable issued by Waterways. The conditions of the note are that the principal amount is $250,000, the maturity date on the note is 24 months, and the annual interest rate is 12%. On January 1, 2018, BWW records the following entry.

Journal entry: January 1, 2018 debit Notes Receivable: Waterways 250,000, credit Sales Revenue 250,000. Explanation: “To record sale in exchange for notes receivable 24 month maturity, 12 percent interest rate.”

Notes Receivable: Waterways increases (debit), and Sales Revenue increases (credit) for the principal amount of $250,000. On December 31, 2018, BWW records interest accumulated on the note for 12 months.

Journal entry: December 31, 2018 debit Interest Receivable 30,000, credit Interest Revenue 30,000. Explanation: “To record interest accumulated after first 12 months.”

Interest Receivable: Waterways increases (debit) as does Interest Revenue (credit) for 12 months of interest computed as $250,000 × 12% × (12/12). On December 31, 2019, Waterways Corporation honors the note; BWW records this collection as a single entry.

Journal entry: December 31, 2019 debit Cash 310,000, credit Notes Receivable: Waterways 250,000, credit Interest Receivable: Waterways 30,000, credit Interest Revenue 30,000. Explanation: “To record collection of principle and accumulated interest.”

Cash increases (debit) for the principal and interest total of $310,000, Notes Receivable: Waterways decreases (credit) for the principal amount of $250,000, Interest Receivable: Waterways decreases (credit) for the 2018 accumulated interest amount of $30,000, and Interest Revenue increases (credit) for the 2019 interest collection amount of $30,000.

BWW does business with Sea Ferries Inc. BWW issued Sea Ferries a note in the amount of $100,000 on January 1, 2018, with a maturity date of six months, at a 10% annual interest rate. On July 2, BWW determined that Sea Ferries dishonored its note and recorded the following entry to convert this debt into accounts receivable.

Journal entry: June 2, 2018 debit Accounts Receivable: Sea Ferries 105,000, credit Notes Receivable: Sea Ferries 100,000, credit Interest Revenue 5,000. Explanation: “To record conversion of note to Accounts Receivable, dishonored note.”

Accounts Receivable: Sea Ferries increases (debit) for the principal note amount plus interest, Notes Receivable: Sea Ferries decreases (credit) for the principal amount due, and Interest Revenue increases (credit) for interest earned at maturity. Interest is computed as $100,000 × 10% × (6/12). On September 1, 2018, BWW determines that Sea Ferries’s account will be uncollectible and sells the balance to a collection agency for a total of $35,000.

Journal entry: September 1, 2018 debit Cash 35,000, debit Factoring Expense 70,000, credit Accounts Receivable 105,000. Explanation: “To record sale of Accounts Receivable to third-party factor.”

Cash increases (debit) for the agreed-upon discounted value of $35,000, Factoring Expense increases (debit) for the outstanding amount and the discounted sales price, and Accounts Receivable: Sea Ferries decreases (credit) for the original amount owed.

Alliance Cruises is a customer of BWW with an outstanding accounts receivable balance of $50,000. Alliance is unable to pay in full on schedule, so it negotiates with BWW on March 1 to convert its accounts receivable into a notes receivable. BWW agrees to the following terms: six-month note maturity date, 18% annual interest rate, and $10,000 cash up front. BWW records the following entry at contract establishment.

Journal entry: March 1 debit Cash 10,000, debit Notes Receivable: Alliance 40,000, credit Accounts Receivable: Alliance 50,000. Explanation: “To record conversion of Accounts Receivable to Notes Receivable.”

Cash increases (debit) for the up-front collection of $10,000, Notes Receivable: Alliance increases (debit) for the principal amount on the note of $40,000, and Accounts Receivable: Alliance decreases (credit) for the original amount Alliance owed of $50,000.

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