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Analysis of Bad Debts
Allowance for doubtful accounts receivable (bad debts) is a contra account which reduce the balance of the company's gross accounts receivable.The relationship between the allowance and the balance in receivables should be relatively constant unless there is a change in the economy overall or a change in customer base.
Receivables Accounting Policy
Accounts Receivable, Net and Other
Included in "Accounts receivable, net and other" on Amazon.com's consolidated balance sheets are amounts primarily related to customers, sellers, and vendors. As of December 31, 2016 and 2017, customer receivables, net, were $3.9 billion and $6.4 billion, seller receivables, net, were $661 million and $692 million, and vendor receivables, net, were $2.0 billion and $2.6 billion. Seller receivables are amounts due from sellers related to Amazon.com's seller lending program, which provides funding to sellers primarily to procure inventory.
Amazon.com estimates losses on receivables based on known troubled accounts and historical experience of losses incurred. Receivables are considered impaired and written-off when it is probable that all contractual payments due will not be collected in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The allowance for doubtful accounts was $189 million, $237 million, and $348 million as of December 31, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Additions to the allowance were $289 million, $451 million, and $626 million, and deductions to the allowance were $290 million, $403 million, and $515 million in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The allowance for loan losses related to Amazon.com's seller receivables was not material as of December 31, 2016 and 2017.
Source: Amazon.com Inc., Annual Report
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts Receivable
|Dec 31, 2017||Dec 31, 2016||Dec 31, 2015||Dec 31, 2014||Dec 31, 2013|
|Selected Financial Data (USD $ in millions)|
|Allowance for doubtful accounts|
|Accounts receivable, gross|
|Allowance as a percentage of accounts receivable, gross1||%||%||%||%||%|
Source: Based on data from Amazon.com Inc. Annual Reports
1 Allowance as a percentage of accounts receivable, gross = 100 × Allowance for doubtful accounts ÷ Accounts receivable, gross
= 100 × ÷ = %
|Allowance as a percentage of accounts receivable, gross||Allowance for doubtful accounts divided by the gross accounts receivable.||Amazon.com Inc.'s allowance as a percentage of accounts receivable, gross declined from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.|