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Is Accounts Receivable an Asset? Understanding it's Role on the Balance Sheet

Accounts receivable (AR) is considered a current asset on a company's balance sheet. It represents the money that is owed to the company by its customers for goods or services that have been delivered or performed but not yet paid for.

Recognizing the difference between accounts receivable as an asset versus revenue is essential. Although it counts as an asset, it is only potential revenue until it is actually collected. Additionally, while accounts receivable is an asset, it is not without risks. The possibility of non-payment or bad debts must be considered, which can affect a company's financial forecast and valuation.


  • Accounts receivable is a current asset on the balance sheet, representing owed payments for goods or services.
  • Efficient management of accounts receivable is vital for maintaining a company's liquidity and cash flow.
  • While considered an asset, accounts receivable carries the risk of potential non-payment, affecting financial stability.
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Accounts Receivable (AR) is an asset recorded on a company's balance sheet. It represents a legal obligation for customers to pay for goods or services they have received on credit. In essence, when a company provides a service or delivers a product and allows the customer to pay at a later date, the amount owed is considered AR. Managing AR is vital because it directly influences a company's working capital and overall financial health.


  • Working Capital: It is an integral part of working capital management, providing insight into potential future cash inflows.
  • Credit Sales: Monitoring AR is crucial as it arises from credit sales, which can be common in business-to-business transactions.

AR has a direct impact on  cash flow. Although AR is recorded as an asset, it only converts to cash once the customer pays their invoice. Delays in payment can lead to cash flow issues, while timely collection can enhance liquidity.

Cash Flow Considerations:

  • Timely Collection: Efficient AR management ensures that payments are received promptly, maintaining a healthy cash flow.
  • Credit Policies: Companies often establish credit policies and practices to mitigate the risk of late or non-payments by customers.

Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable (AP) are opposite sides of the same coin:

  • Accounts Receivable: Represents money customers owe to a company.
  • Accounts Payable: Represents money a company owes to its suppliers or other third parties.


  • AR is an asset: It appears on the balance sheet as a current asset.
  • AP is a liability: It is listed on the balance sheet as a current liability since it's money the company is obligated to pay out.

Understanding the interplay between AR and AP is crucial for effective financial management and maintaining a company's cash flow equilibrium.

Effective management of accounts receivable is crucial for maintaining healthy cash flows and ensuring that a business's asset—money owed by customers for goods or services rendered on credit—is realized. This section breaks down key strategies for overseeing this critical asset.

Payment terms dictate the timeline and conditions under which customers must settle their debts. For consistency and clarity, businesses should:

  • Define clear credit policies that specify payment deadlines (e.g., net 30 days).
  • Include interest or late fees for overdue payments to incentivize prompt payment.

Issuing invoices promptly after a credit sale is vital. For efficient collections:

  • Invoices should detail goods or services provided, total amount due, and payment deadline.
  • Regular follow-ups and reminders to customers help reduce the time it takes to collect receivables.

An  allowance for doubtful accounts is a reserve for receivables that may not be collected. Businesses should:

  • Periodically evaluate customer accounts to estimate potential bad debts.
  • Use historical data to inform the allowance, adjusting it to reflect current conditions.

The  accounts receivable turnover ratio measures how effectively a company collects on its receivables. To analyze:

  • Calculate by dividing net credit sales by the average accounts receivable during a period. 
  • A higher ratio indicates a more efficient collection process, while a lower ratio may suggest issues within the credit policy or collections process.
This section covers common inquiries about the nature of accounts receivable and their place in financial accounting. The answers are grounded in accounting principles and reflect standard practices.
Accounts receivable is classified as a current asset on a company's balance sheet. It represents outstanding payments from customers expected to be received within a year from the reporting date.
Accounts receivable is recorded as an asset, not revenue. It signifies money owed to the company by its customers — potential cash that the company expects to collect in the future.
On a balance sheet, accounts receivable is typically listed under current assets, following cash and equivalents and before inventories. It is shown net of allowance for doubtful accounts, which accounts for potential defaults by customers.
When you insure your accounts receivables with trade credit insurance from Allianz Trade, you can count on being paid, even if one of your accounts faces insolvency or is unable to pay. In addition, trade credit insurance from Allianz Trade comes with the added benefit of the support necessary to make data-informed decisions about extending credit to new clients or increasing credit to existing clients.

Allianz Trade is the global leader in trade credit insurance and credit management, offering tailored solutions to mitigate the risks associated with bad debt, thereby ensuring the financial stability of businesses. Our products and services help companies with risk management, cash flow management, accounts receivables protection, Surety bonds, business fraud Insurance, debt collection processes and e-commerce credit insurance ensuring the financial resilience for our client’s businesses. Our expertise in risk mitigation and finance positions us as trusted advisors, enabling businesses aspiring for global success to expand into international markets with confidence.

Our business is built on supporting relationships between people and organizations, relationships that extend across frontiers of all kinds—geographical, financial, industrial, and more. We are constantly aware that our work has an impact on the communities we serve and that we have a duty to help and support others. At Allianz Trade, we are strongly committed to fairness for all without discrimination, among our own people and in our many relationships with those outside our business.