Accounts Receivable Opening Balance

Opening Day Balance Sheet – Accounts Receivable

The opening day accounts receivable balance forms part of the opening balance sheet of the business. Accounts receivable are amounts which are owed to the business by its customers. Additionally they are sometimes referred to as trade debtors.

Suppose a business allows its customers credit. Consequently it invoices them for a product and receives payment at a later date (30 days 60 days etc). While the customer owes the business the money they are classified as an accounts receivable.

As can be seen the balance sheet of the business records the accounts receivable opening balance under the heading current assets. The term current assets indicates that the receivables are convertible into cash within a year.

accounts receivable opening balance - extract from the financial projections template

Accounts Receivable Opening Balance in the Financial Projection

The accounts receivable included in the opening balance sheet is no different than any other accounts receivable, only the timing differs.

The opening balance is simply the balance that was there before the first day of the financial projection. If the accounts receivable is generated after the first day, it will show up in the appropriate year. The opening accounts receivable should not be included in both places as this will result in double counting.

The date on which the financial projection starts is entirely a matter of personal choice. Usually it is better to have the date consistent with the start of a financial year.

Established Business Plan

For an established business there will normally be an accounts receivable opening balance. This assumes that the business has previously traded on credit with customers. The value of this opening balance can be found on the latest available balance sheet. The figure to use is the total of the amounts shown under the heading accounts receivable. It should be noted that alternative names such as trade debtors might be used.

Startup Business Plan

For a startup business, we recommend the use of the startup costs calculator. This calculator produces an opening balance sheet for inclusion in the financial projections template.

The figure to use for the accounts receivable opening balance is the value shown under the heading opening balance sheet in the calculator. This is effectively the amount of accounts receivable the business has when it starts trading. It is important to realize that this amount is funded by the opening debt and equity injections.

Having entered the opening balance, the template calculates the amount at the end of each subsequent year. The calculator does this by multiplying the average daily revenue for the year by the the accounts receivable days.

Closing accounts receivable balance = Average daily revenue x Accounts receivable days

What’s the Next Step?

Finally the next step in producing a financial projection for your business plan is to enter the inventory opening balance.

This is part of the How to Create Financial Projections Guide. The guide is a series of posts on how our template is used to produce simple financial models for a business plan.

Last modified January 5th, 2023 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Plan Projections. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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