Define: Write Off

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Write Off


Quick Summary


In accounting, writing off is the expensing of a balance sheet asset that has no future benefits.



What is the dictionary definition of Write Off?

Dictionary Definition


  1. To reduce an asset’s value to zero in a balance sheet.
  2. To reduce to zero a debt that can’t be collected.

Full Definition


In accounting, writing off is the expensing of a balance sheet asset that has no future benefits.

An example would be the writing off of goodwill. The worthless asset will be recorded as an expense on the current period’s income statement rather than keeping it on the balance sheet as an asset.

Similar to a write off is a write down. This is a partial write off. Only part of the value of the asset is removed from the balance sheet.

Writing off can be used to:

  • cancel a bad debt or obsolete asset from the accounts.
  • consider a transaction as a loss or set off (a loss) against revenues.
  • depreciate an asset by periodic charges.
  • charge a specified amount against gross profits as depreciation of an asset.

Write Off FAQ's