Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bookkeepers and Accountants Choose Double Entry Bookkeeping for Accuracy

Double entry bookkeeping stretches back centuries perhaps even as early as the 12th century and is now accepted worldwide as the accounting standard to be employed by all companies in recording the financial accounting records. The first written explanation of the accounting system was reportedly by a Venetian mathematician Luca Pacioli towards the end of the 15th century.

The accounting industry has grown somewhat since then and today contains many technical words known but largely ignored by non accountants. The understanding and desire to understand accounting terms is further confused by the banking industry while adopting double entry bookkeeping as standard use what appears to be diametrically opposed terms in the presentation of information to their customers.

In accounting terms an asset such as money in the bank is a debit balance while bank customers are told if they have money in the bank it is a credit balance. This arises because what the bank is really saying is when a customer has money in the bank that the balance represents a creditor to the bank as it owes the customer money and is a creditor in the banks books. Hence the bank describes the balance as a credit balance.

The simplest way to understand double entry bookkeeping is the understanding that every financial transaction has a double effect. One effect is to change the profit and loss of the business with sales income increasing the financial profit and purchases reducing the financial profit. While the double entry is that every profit and loss transactions also has a balance sheet effect in either increasing assets or increasing liabilities.

In more complex accounting areas such as journal entries or bank transactions both sides of a transaction may have no impact on the profit and loss account as both sides of the double entry effect the value of balances in the balance sheet. For example when a creditor is paid the bank balance reduces and the amount owed by the business reduces by the same amount.

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