Contra Account Definition: Types and Example

owner distribution contra account

Liabilities, conversely, would include items that are obligations of the company (i.e. loans, accounts payable, mortgages, debts). As a partnership equity account, an owner’s distribution is how much money an owner gets or withdraws out of the business based on how much profit a company generates. An owner might take profits for personal use or choose to keep them in equity accounts to use as future working capital. Depending on the amount an owner takes, these distributions can significantly reduce a company’s equity and assets. Other comprehensive income is a company’s change in equity during specific time frames, and it often comes from events and transactions that have unrealized cash gain or loss. When any gains or losses translate into cash, they get recorded on the income statement and removed from the other comprehensive income sheet.

How many types of contra entry are there?

How many types of Contra transactions are there? There are four different types of contra account: contra asset, contra liability, contra equity, and contra revenue.

The accumulated depreciation account has a credit balance and is used to reduce the carrying value of the equipment. The balance sheet would report equipment at its historical cost and then subtract the accumulated depreciation. Equity is the claim to, interest in, ownership or financial value of a company.

What Is the Benefit of Using a Contra Account?

These shares that are purchased by the company are called treasury stock. This stock has a debit balance and reduces the equity of the company. Costs like payroll, utilities, and rent are necessary for business to operate.

Sometimes there will be a separate account created to track amounts distributed to the owner from the company. Sometimes, these distributions are simply tracked through the retained earnings account. Owner’s Equity is the amount of assets left over after all the liabilities of the company are paid. It is the amount of money the owner initially contributed to the company as well as any other amounts invested at a later point in time. On the other side of the balance sheet, or equation, lie the liabilities and owner’s equity of the company. Like revenue accounts, expense accounts are temporary accounts that collect data for one accounting period and are reset to zero at the beginning of the next accounting period.

ESOPs: The Effect on the Company’s Financials

Those who are struggling with recording contra accounts may benefit from utilizing some of the best accounting software currently available. When accounting for assets, the difference between the asset’s account balance and the contra account balance is referred to as the book value. There are two major methods of determining what should be booked into a contra account. This type of account could be called the allowance for doubtful accounts or bad debt reserve. The balance in the allowance for doubtful accounts represents the dollar amount of the current accounts receivable balance that is expected to be uncollectible. The final component of owner’s equity is the draw or distribution account.

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Contra asset accounts are recorded with a credit balance that decreases the balance of an asset. Contra equity is a general ledger account with a debit balance that reduces the normal credit balance of a standard equity account to present the net value of equity in a company’s financial statements. Examples of equity contra accounts are Owner Draws and Repurchased Treasury Stock Shares. A contra equity account reduces the total owner distribution contra account number of outstanding shares listed on a company’s balance sheet. When a company buys back its own shares from the open market, it records the transaction by debiting the treasury stock account. A company may decide to buy back its shares when management feels the stock is undervalued or because it desires to pay stock dividends to its shareholders. Contra asset accounts like accumulated depreciation carry credit balances.

How to Read Your Balance Sheet

Both US GAAP and IFRS require companies to include a document that outlines the changes in all equity accounts for greater investor transparency. Changes that result from changes in net income for the period, total comprehensive income, revaluation of fixed assets, changes in fair value of available for sale investments, etc. Retained Earnings is the portion of net income that is not paid out as dividends to shareholders. It is instead retained for reinvesting in the business or to pay off future obligations. The preferred stock is a type of share that often has no voting rights, but is guaranteed a cumulative dividend. If the dividend is not paid in one year, then it will accumulate until paid off. The amount represents the value of accounts receivable that a company does not expect to receive payment for.

Treasury Stock → Share buybacks are used by companies seeking to compensate shareholders. A company’s repurchased shares are recorded as treasury stock and are no longer trading in the open markets post-buyback. The treasury stock account — considered a contra-equity account — then decreases by the amount used to repurchase treasury stock. This type of asset account is referred to as “contra” because normal asset accounts might include a debit, or positive, balance, and contra asset accounts can include a credit, or negative, balance. Most equity accounts carry balances, which often give insight into a company’s performance. For example, if a retained earnings account has a debit balance, it might mean the company experienced losses or issued more dividends than it had to give.


It breaks-out all the Income and expense accounts that were summarized in Retained Earnings. The Profit and Loss report is important in that it shows the detail of sales, cost of sales, expenses and ultimately the profit of the company. Most companies rely heavily on the profit and loss report and review it regularly to enable strategic decision making. Our table specifically details what changes contributed to our hypothetical company’s owner’s equity account increasing from $26 million to $42 million.

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It may be helpful to think of the income statement as a financial explanation of what happens in the period of time between two balance sheets. AssetDebits Credits XThe “X” in the debit column denotes the increasing effect of a transaction on the asset account balance , because a debit to an asset account is an increase.

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