Accounts Receivable

Keeping Track Of Money Owed To You

Accounts receivable is the term that bookkeepers and accountants use to refer to the outstanding money that is owed to you for sales that you have already made that haven't been paid for yet.

The account is called A/R for short. There usually is only one single account on the chart of accounts to track all of the outstanding invoices even though the word "accounts" is plural.

This is an account that should be added to your chart of accounts by the first time you write an invoice. The account will be used to track the money that is owed to your business. 

When you  obtain the bookkeeping services of a professional bookkeeper they will make sure this account is setup for you.

Bookkeeping 101 E-Book

This Bookkeeping 101 EBook is a useful tool for business owners, bookkeepers, accountants and anyone responsible for household personal finances.

You can receive the complete Bookkeeping 101 accounting series in a 23 page E-Book for $4.97 along with all sorts of other accounting, business and financial goodies.

Accounts Receivable Account

When you receive a payment from a customer, or when you write an invoice, you should enter the transaction in the register for your A/R account.

This account is listed in your chart of accounts as "Accounts Receivable." But if you really need to use more than one of this type of account in your business, then you can add additional A/R accounts to the chart of accounts as well.

Entering An Open Balance For A Customer

For each customer that you have, you will need to enter the amount owed to you on your start date. If you do not know the opening balance, you can choose a different start date starting from when you do know the opening balance.

Or you can figure out the opening balance by reconstructing what your customers owe you today by subtracting any payments they made between then and now, and adding any additional billings between then and now.

You can also ask your accountant for the year-to-date balances for your accounts.

When you enter the opening balance for your customers, you're building the A/R opening balance.

From Your Start Date Up To Today's Date

When you enter the following types of transactions using the standard sales forms (checks, bills, and invoices) you are ensuring that your A/R accounts (and accounts payable and income and expense accounts) are up-to-date and accurate:

Bill payments

Bills from vendors

Credits from vendors


Sales tax payments

Invoices and sales receipts with sales tax, if appropriate

Customer returns

Payments received from customers

Accounts Receivable Register

The A/R register will list all of the payments from customers, credit memos, invoices, and customer discounts that you have entered related to each of your individual customers.

New statement charges can typically be entered directly into the register. A statement charge will appear as one item, instead of the multiple items that are shown on the invoice. You cannot enter any other transactions directly into the register.

Following is a sample of what an Accounts Receivable register might look like:

Accounts Receivable

Do You Have An Accounts Receivable Question?

Ask your Accounts Receivable question and help others while you're at it!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Interest Charge on 30 Days Overdue Accounts Receivable 
What is the industry standard for interest charged on accounts that are 30/90/120 days overdue?

Beginner Accounts Receivable 
Hello Stephanie, I am going in for an interview for Accounts Receivable position and I am very nervous because this is dealing with the companies money. …

Batching Accounts Receivables 
Hi there, I have a question regarding the dates you should enter if you are batching entries. We are a charitable organization that takes in donations …

Accounts Receivable Accounting Entries On Interest Received 
What is the accounts receivable accounting treatment of interest received on a deposit account opened in a private limited company name but operated by …

A/R And A/P For Same Company In Simply Computer Software 
So this is what I have, Company A owes Company B $100.00, but Company B owes Company A $100.00 so what do I do in Simply Accounting as far as an entry …

Overdue Accounts Receivable 
What is a percentage or dollar amount that is added to an overdue accounts receivable considered to be?

Accounts Receivable Via Cash Sales 
I work for a family owned oil corporation. I use Quickbooks Pro 2008. I am having difficulty with the accounts receivable via cash sales. Many of the …

Excel Accounts Receivable and Aging Worksheet 
Do you happen to have or know where an accounts receivable aging worksheet created in Excel can be found and downloaded? I am wanting to find one that …

Accounts Receivable Issue 
What kind of journal entry would I use for sales that were accounted for in Accounts Receivable on an invoice? The deposits were not applied to the invoices …

Delinquent Accounts Receivable 
If a bookkeeper reviews delinquent accounts receivable and finds that a relative of his has not paid his account of $550, and you know he had been having …

Accounts Receivable Refund 
How do you go about posting a refund to Accounts Receivable?

Click here to write your own.

Related Products

More Bookkeeping 101

Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter, Bookkeeping Basics E-zine. It tells you every month about the new information that I have added, including some great tips and advice from myself and other Bookkeeping Basics readers.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Bookkeeping Basics E-Zine.


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.