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Debits on the Left, Credits to the Right, stuck in the middle past due! Double Entry Bookkeeping.

Updated: Mar 13

In the world of finance, the concept of double-entry bookkeeping has been a steadfast companion for centuries, providing a robust foundation for accurate financial record-keeping. In this blog post, we'll unravel the mystery behind double-entry bookkeeping, explore its significance, and guide you on how to leverage this powerful technique to maintain precise financial records for your business.



Understanding the Basics

What is Double-Entry Bookkeeping?

At its core, double-entry bookkeeping is an accounting method that records each financial transaction in at least two accounts. For every debit entry, there is an equal and corresponding credit entry, ensuring that the accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Equity) remains balanced.

The Fundamental Principles

1. Debits and Credits: A Counterintuitive Concept

One of the key aspects of double-entry bookkeeping is understanding the counterintuitive nature of debits and credits. In everyday life, these terms are often associated with bank transactions, where a credit implies an increase in funds and a debit implies a decrease. However, in the world of accounting, the roles are reversed.


Represent increases in assets and expenses or decreases in liabilities and income.


Denote increases in liabilities and income or decreases in assets and expenses.

So, while it may seem counterintuitive at first, mastering this reversal is crucial for accurate bookkeeping.


2. The Accounting Equation

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Every transaction impacts at least two accounts, maintaining the equilibrium of the accounting equation.


accounting equation

How to Use Double-Entry Bookkeeping

1. Identify the Transaction

Begin by identifying the financial transaction that needs to be recorded. This could range from a sale of goods or services to the payment of an expense.


2. Determine the Accounts Affected

For each transaction, identify the accounts that will be impacted. For example, a sale would involve accounts such as Cash or Accounts Receivable and Sales.


3. Apply Debits and Credits

Determine whether the accounts will be debited or credited based on the nature of the transaction.

Scenario 1: A Sale Transaction


Debit Side:

The asset account, such as Cash, is debited to reflect the increase in cash resulting from the sale.

Credit Side:

Simultaneously, the income or equity account is credited to acknowledge the increase in revenue.

Scenario 2: Purchase of Equipment on Credit


double entry bookkeeping

Debit Side:

An increase in an asset account, such as Equipment, is debited to represent the acquisition.

Credit Side:

A liability account, say Accounts Payable, is credited to recognize the obligation to pay for the equipment in the future.


4. Record the Transaction

Make the entries in the general ledger or accounting software. Ensure that the total debits equal the total credits for each transaction.


5. Check for Accuracy

Periodically, review your accounts to verify that the debits and credits are balanced. This is crucial for detecting errors and maintaining accurate financial records.


accounting equation

Example: Sale of Goods

Let's say your business makes a sale of $1,000. The double-entry would look like this:


Cash (Asset) - Debit:


Increase in cash due to the sale.

Sales (Income) - Credit:


Increase in sales revenue.

The Benefits of Double-Entry Bookkeeping



Provides a systematic approach to recording transactions, minimizing errors and ensuring precision.

Comprehensive Financial Picture:


Reflects the impact of each transaction on both sides of the accounting equation, offering a holistic view of a business's financial health.

Error Detection:


The equality of debits and credits serves as a built-in error-checking mechanism, making it easier to identify mistakes.



Double-entry bookkeeping is the backbone of accurate financial accounting, offering a structured and reliable method for businesses of all sizes. By understanding the principles and incorporating them into your financial management practices, you're not only ensuring the integrity of your records but also laying a solid foundation for informed decision-making and long-term success. So, embrace the power of double-entry bookkeeping, and let your financial records tell the accurate and balanced story of your business.


Caila Carreno

Founder, Polish and Precision

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult a qualified accountant or financial expert before making any decisions based on the content presented here.

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