December 2, 2023

How to Write Off Bad Debt in QuickBooks Online

As a business owner, the last thing you want is to have unpaid invoices or bad debt on your books. Unfortunately, this is a common issue that many businesses face, especially in the current economic climate. However, there is a way to write off bad debt in QuickBooks Online, which can help you manage your accounts receivable and keep your books accurate. In this article, we will explain what bad debt is, why it is important to write it off, and how to do it in QuickBooks Online.

What is Bad Debt?

Bad debt is any amount that a customer owes you but is unlikely to pay. This is usually the result of unpaid invoices or overdue payments. Bad debt can occur for several reasons, such as a customer going out of business, disputing an invoice, or simply refusing to pay. In any case, bad debt can affect your cash flow and profitability, which is why it is important to manage it properly.

Why Write Off Bad Debt?

Writing off bad debt is important for several reasons. Firstly, it can help you maintain accurate financial records and ensure that your balance sheet reflects your true financial position. Secondly, it can help you avoid paying unnecessary taxes on income that you are unlikely to receive. Finally, it can help you identify trends and patterns in your accounts receivable, which can help you make informed decisions about future credit policies and procedures.


How to Write Off Bad Debt in QuickBooks Online

Writing off bad debt in QuickBooks Online is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Create a Bad Debt Expense Account

The first step is to create a bad debt expense account. This account will be used to record the amount of bad debt that you are writing off. To create this account, go to the Chart of Accounts, click on New, and select Expense as the account type. Give the account a name (e.g. Bad Debt) and save it.

  1. Mark the Invoice as Bad Debt

The next step is to mark the invoice or invoices as bad debt. To do this, go to the Sales menu, select Invoices, and then find the invoice that you want to write off. Click on the invoice to open it, and then click on the More button at the bottom of the page. Select Write Off as Bad Debt from the drop-down menu. This will open a new window where you can select the bad debt expense account that you created in step 1. Enter the amount of the bad debt and save the transaction.

  1. Review the Accounts Receivable Report

Once you have written off the bad debt, it is important to review the accounts receivable report to ensure that your books are accurate. To do this, go to the Reports menu, select Customers & Receivables, and then select the Open Invoices report. This report will show you all of the invoices that are currently outstanding and any bad debt that you have written off. Review the report carefully to ensure that it reflects your true accounts receivable balance.


Writing off bad debt in QuickBooks Online is an important part of managing your accounts receivable and keeping your books accurate. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your financial records are up-to-date and that you are not paying unnecessary taxes on income that you are unlikely to receive. If you have any questions or concerns about bad debt or any other accounting issue, be sure to consult with a qualified accounting professional.

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