When a business makes a sale to a client it generally does therefore on the expertise that if the product is discovered to be defective it will certainly undertake to fix or change the product free of charge, this is recognized as providing a product warranty.

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If the product does need to be repaired or changed then the service will incur warranty costs in doing so. The potential because that warranty prices to be incurred at some future date gives rise to a contingent liability for the business.

To be tape-recorded in the accounting records and included in the jae won statements the the business, a arbitrarily liability need to be both probable and also subject come reasonable estimation.

In the instance of warranty costs, over there is small doubt the some products will be defective and an outcome in a vouch claim and therefore the contingent legal responsibility is probable, and the an initial condition is satisfied, the following condition, the the organization must be able to estimate the level of the potential legal responsibility is questioned below.

Warranty expenses Estimation

For most businesses the estimate of warranty price involves the complying with steps:

Find the variety of products marketed in an accounting period e.g. 200,000 unitsUse historical or market data to establish the percentage of assets which are most likely to be subject to a vouch claim. E.g. 2%Use historic or market data to calculate the average expense of a fix or instead of product (warranty cost) e.g. 2.00

Based ~ above this details an calculation of the likely warranty prices for the accounting period can it is in calculated using the following formula:

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Based top top the instance values above the approximated warranty costs for year 1 room calculated as follows:

Warranty costs = Units sold x % topic to a case x average cost per claimWarranty prices = 200,000 x 2% x 2.00 = 8,000Based on historic or sector data the organization has estimated that the warranty prices for the assets sold during the accounting period (year 1) are likely to it is in 8,000.

As the cost is both probable and also can it is in estimated, the 8,000 arbitrarily liability need to be taped in the jae won statements that the business. Come comply with the corresponding principle, the estimated expenses of repairing and also replacing the products under the warranty have to be videotaped in the same duration as the revenues from those product sales.

It need to be provided this is the approximated warranty prices for products sold throughout this audit period, and is no the yes, really warrant expenses incurred.

Accounting for Warranties

The double entry audit journal required to document the estimated warranty costs for year 1 is together follows:


Estimated warranty prices journal entryAccountDebitCredit
Warranty expense8,000
Warranty prices liability8,000
Total8,0008,000

The estimated warranty cost is debited as an price to the revenue statement, and also credited to the warranty costs liability account (sometimes described as a guarantee reserve) come reflect the contingent legal responsibility the service has for products sold in year 1.

Actual guarantee Costs

During the following accounting period (year 2) warranty insurance claims will be produced products already sold by the business and also actual costs will be incurred in repairing and also replacing the defective products.

Suppose because that example, the company incurred actual expenses of 6,570 during the accounting duration relating to products sold in year 1, as these prices have currently been approximated and allowed for as soon as the product was sold, the cost for the duration can be debited to the warrant prices liability account in the balance sheet and also not to the income statement.

Assuming for simplicity all prices were paid because that in cash, the newspaper to record them is together follows:


Actual warranty prices incurred journal entryAccountDebitCredit
Warranty costs liability6,570
Cash6,570
Total6,5706,570

The balance ~ above the warranty prices liability account is now calculated as 8,000 – 6570 = 1,430. The company must now examine that this is adequate to covering the remaining potential claims for assets sold in year 1. If for everything reason (e.g. Increasing cases %, or repair costs) the calculation has adjusted then this have to be reflect in the audit records.

For example, intend the company estimates that the remaining claims are most likely to an outcome in a warranty expense of 2,500, then the estimate needs to be boosted by 2,500 – 1,430 = 1,070 through the following journal.


Amending the warranty expenses estimate journal entryAccountDebitCredit
Warranty expense1,070
Warranty prices liability1,070
Total1,0701,070

This procedure must now proceed until the warranties expire and also no more warranty expense needs to be enabled for

Of course each year extr products will certainly be offered and secondary warranty price contingent liability must be estimated and established because that those commodities using the procedure described above.

Warranty costs Liability in the Balance Sheet

The estimation of warranty price is a arbitrarily liability and is contained in the balance sheet as either a existing liability is the warranty duration is much shorter than 1 year, or under lengthy term legal responsibility if the warranty insurance claims are meant to happen in an ext than one year.

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About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of double Entry Bookkeeping. He has worked as one accountant and also consultant for an ext than 25 years and also has constructed financial models because that all species of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both little and tool sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and also an auditor through Deloitte, a big 4 audit firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.