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Difference between Provision and Reserve

Difference between Provision and Reserve

What is the difference between a provision and reserve? Both seem to be similar in function, but are they really the same thing? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the key differences between provisions and reserves, and when each should be utilized in your financial reporting. Stay tuned!

What is Provision?

  • Provision is an accounting term that refers to the setting aside of funds to cover future liabilities or expenses. Provisions are often made for contingencies, such as bad debts, claims, or repairs.
  • The amount of the provision is typically based on an estimate of the likely cost of the liability or expense. Provisions are recorded in the accounts as a liability, and they are usually reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain adequate.
  • When a provision is no longer needed, it is reversed by writing it off against the relevant account. Provision accounting is an important part of financial planning and management. It helps businesses to ensure that they have enough funds available to meet their obligations, and it can also help to reduce tax liabilities.

What is Reserve?

A Reserve is an accounting term denoting an amount set aside out of earnings to provide for contingencies or the protection of assets. Such amounts may eventually be used to absorb losses, expand operations, make dividend payments, pay off liabilities, or repair damaged property.

  • Reserves may also accumulate over time due to conservative financial practices. The use of reserves allows a company to smooth out its financial statement results and maintain a consistent level of operations from one period to the next.
  • Reserve accounting is a critical tool in managing a company’s financial health and stability. By setting aside money in reserves, companies can avoid the need to cut back on operations or raise capital in times of economic hardship.
  • Reserve accounting also provides a cushion against unforeseen events such as natural disasters or litigation. Properly managed, reserves can help companies weather difficult times and emerge stronger and more resilient.

Difference between Provision and Reserve

Provision and reserve are two accounting terms that are often confused. A Provision is an estimate of a future loss, and a Reserve is an actual loss that has already been incurred. Provisions are recorded in the Balance Sheet as a liability, while Reserves are reported in the Income Statement.

Provisions are typically used to estimate things like bad debts, warranty expenses, and restructuring costs. Reserves, on the other hand, are used to report losses that have already been incurred, such as write-downs on inventory or impairment charges. While both Provision and Reserve account for losses, it’s important to remember that Provision is an estimate while Reserve is an actual loss.


In a nutshell, provision is the estimated amount of money that a company thinks it will need to pay its liabilities in the near future. Reserve, on the other hand, is set aside for specific purposes, such as covering potential losses or unexpected costs. When it comes to your business’s finances, understanding these two terms is essential.

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