Provision - Meaning and Examples

Provision Definition

A student might have noticed that the liabilities side of the balance sheet includes an entry referred to as provisions. Understanding how and why such a provision is necessary for accounting will be a benefit that one can get from reading this article.

Definition of Provisions

A provision refers to the amount that is typically set aside from profits in order to cover probable future expenses or an asset reduction, although it is uncertain exactly how much is set aside.


Despite the fact that provision cannot be considered savings, it can be viewed as a method of identifying any potential liabilities in the future.


The majority of the time, a provision is used as a reserve. However, a provision is different from a reserve. Reserves are part of a profit that is set aside to be used to assist the company's growth and expansion. A provision is set up to cover probable liabilities in the future, while a provision covers probable future assets.

The Provision in Accounting

A matching principle states that every expense incurred in a given year must be reported alongside the revenue gained. By doing this, it will prevent financial statements from looking misleading if costs related to a certain year appear on previous or future balance sheets.


Provisions, therefore, ensure that revenues and expenses are included within the same accounting period, balancing the balance of the current year.

Provisions - Why are they Created?

It is important to create provisions for a specific purpose since they account for corporate costs that will need to be paid in the same year. Creating the provision is beneficial to the company since it also makes its financial statements more accurate.


Having set aside this amount does not represent a form of savings, as the expense is estimated and is expected to be spent.

Is a Provision a Reserve?

A reserve is not considered a provision if it does not exist.


In contrast, a provision is a fund that is allocated for a specific expense, whereas a reserve is one that is formed from the profit made by the company. In a reserve account, money is held that is readily accessible. The money can be accessed from the savings account, for example. 


Owners' associations, for example, may use reserve funds. A reserve fund may also have been set aside for unscheduled repairs. The exact reason for the repairs is unknown, nor are the exact costs associated. They only know that repairs will be needed at some point. 


As an example, an automobile company could set aside money itself for the repairs under warranty that have occurred within the last year. 

An Example of a Provision in Accounting

The majority of provisions are associated with bad debts. An accounting period is calculated by adding up the cost of the remaining unpaid debts.

Examples of provisions are:

1. Doubtful debts

2. Depreciation

3. Pension

4. Restructuring liabilities

5. Income taxes

6. Guarantee (product warranties)

FAQs on Provision - Meaning and Examples

1. Explain the Meaning of Liability.

A liability is something that a person or a company owes to third parties. A Liability is usually a sum of money, which is settled over time through the transfer of economic benefits including money, goods, or services. The liabilities are recorded on the right side of the balance sheet. In the section of liabilities, we have loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, bonds, warranties, and the accrued expenses.


Liabilities are quite a vital aspect of a company as they are used to finance operations that are used to pay for large expansions. These help the business to grow efficiently, as with the help of liability the business owner does not have to think twice to purchase a bulk of quantity, to hit the huge demand in the market and ultimately earn a profit that will also pay off the liabilities well enough. 

2. Define Income Statement

According to the company's income statement, it lost money because of its expenses and less revenue. As part of financial accounting, the income statement, along with the balance sheet and the statement of cash flows, is sometimes referred to as the "net income statement" or "statement of earnings."


Profit and loss statements are also known as income statements or statements of income and results.

3. Is Bad Debt and Doubtful Debt the Same?

The key difference is in the wording itself. Bad debts are those which cannot be collected by the business anymore, and will generally be a loss for the company. While Doubtful debts, in comparison, are unlikely to be collected, but there is still the possibility of receiving the payment from these debts for these outstanding balances, even if partial amount.

4. Are there any requirements for creating a provision?

There are a number of reasons why a provision can be created. Prior to a financial obligation being counted as a provision, certain requirements must be met.

Below are the requirements:

1. Management should conduct detailed regulatory measurements for the organization.

2. It is probable for an obligation to occur, but its occurrence is not guaranteed. At least 50% of the chances of it happening should exist.

3. The business must suffer a decrease in financial position as a result of the obligation.

5. Describe the accounting treatment of provisioning

A written-off bad debt in the account books is a good example of how accounting treats provisions.

Bad debt expense A/c Dr 50000

To Bad debt provision A/c 50000

6. Who Are Tax Provisions?

Tax provisions are amounts set aside by an organization for paying its income taxes. Calculating the amount of tax the business owes is done in this manner. The number of tax deductions that the provision is claiming must be adjusted for gross income.


In addition, you may have to include taxes, meals, interest expenses, depreciation allowances, holiday parties, etc. Calculated taxes are recorded on a company's books in a section called "tax provision", which is a provision for tax liabilities.

7. What are the Types of Provisions in Accounting?

Accounting provisions vary depending on the type of business. Bad debt provisions are common. Clients who cannot pay for their past due invoices create bad debt expenses by sending incomplete, unrecoverable payments.


The business creates an allowance for these bad debts, based on previous bad debt amounts and industry averages.


A good credit policy will provide you with the predicted provision of uncollectible accounts.

Among the other types of provisions in accounting are:

  • During the estimated useful life of an asset, depreciation spreads out its cost over its life. Depreciation provision (also known as accumulated depreciation) is the total value of all depreciation.

  • If a business can't meet their financial obligations, they make a promise to take on those obligations.

  • During the warranty period, businesses must spend money to repair or replace a product.

  • Tax-paying businesses estimate how much they will pay in taxes for the year by estimating their income tax payment.

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