A bad debt reserve is a contra account, which is designed to offset the receivables account with which it is paired. The receivables account has a natural debit balance, while the bad debt reserve has a natural credit balance. The result is a net receivable balance reported in the balance sheet. For example, a balance sheet may reveal $1,000,000 of accounts receivable, against which is offset $50,000 of bad debt reserve. McDonald's Corp. annual balance sheet for MCD company financials. DOW JONES, A NEWS CORP COMPANY News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education ... For financial statement purposes the allowance method is the better method since 1) the balance sheet will be reporting a more realistic amount that will be collected from the company's accounts receivable, and 2) the bad debts expense will be reported on the income statement closer to the time of the related credit sales. Apr 23, 2018 · A business typically estimates the amount of bad debt based on historical experience, and charges this amount to expense with a debit to the bad debt expense account (which appears in the income statement) and a credit to the provision for doubtful debts account (which appears in the balance sheet).