Accounting Basics: Debit and Credit Entries

bookkeeping 101 debits and credits

For example, when a company receives cash from a sale, it debits the Cash account because cash—an asset—has increased. On the other hand, if the company pays a bill, it credits the Cash account because its cash balance has decreased. In this context, debits and credits represent two sides of a transaction. Depending on the type of account impacted by the entry, a debit can increase or decrease the value of the account. Demystify accounting fundamentals with this comprehensive guide to debits and credits, their roles in transactions, and double-entry bookkeeping.

bookkeeping 101 debits and credits

For example, the transaction of paying your utility bill will create a credit for your accounts payable account and a debit for your utility expense account. A bookkeeper is responsible for identifying the accounts in which transactions should be recorded. Bookkeeping is the process of recording all financial transactions made by a business. Bookkeepers are responsible for recording, classifying, and organizing every financial transaction that is made through the course of business operations. The accounting process uses the books kept by the bookkeeper to prepare the end of the year accounting statements and accounts. To know whether you should debit or credit an account, keep the accounting equation in mind.

Debits and credits in accounting

The NACPB offers a certified public bookkeeper (CPB) certification, while the CPB offers a certified bookkeeper (CB) certification. Both the CPB and CB certifications require similar eligibility requirements. A proper financial data management system can provide valuable, actionable insights and prevent problems, such as skimming fraud. As a bookkeeper, you oversee the first steps of the accounting cycle, while an accountant typically handles the last two. In researching bookkeeping or bookkeeping accounting, you may come across information on accounting or find that bookkeeping and accounting are used interchangeably.

Check out our blog post on why debits and credits are essential in accounting. The balance sheet can be used to assess a company’s financial health, identify trends over time, and compare its performance to that of its peers. For small businesses, the balance sheet can be particularly useful in understanding where they stand financially and making informed decisions about their future. The size and scope of a business will determine whether the company needs a part-time bookkeeper, full-time specialist bookkeeper, or an entire accounting department.


When a business incurs a net profit, retained earnings, an equity account, is credited (increased). For that reason, we’re going to simplify things by digging into what debits and credits are in accounting terms. Before getting bookkeeping 101 into the differences between debit vs. credit accounting, it’s important to understand that they actually work together. Operating activities include cash generated from day-to-day operations, such as sales and expenses.

bookkeeping 101 debits and credits

By maintaining balance in the accounting equation when recording transactions, you ensure the financial statements accurately reflect a company’s financial health. Having the ability to prepare an accurate financial picture of an enterprise and keep records organized is essential for being a bookkeeper. As a bookkeeper, you will need to learn how to create balance sheets, invoices, cash flow statements, income statements, accounts receivable reports, and more. In terms of recordkeeping, debits are always recorded on the left side, as a positive number to reflect incoming money. There is no upper limit to the number of accounts involved in a transaction – but the minimum is no less than two accounts.

A Guide to Computerised Accounting

In this guide, we will answer all of these questions, along with everything else you need to know about debit and credit for your small business accounting. Before you take on any small-business bookkeeping tasks, you must decide whether a single- or double-entry accounting system is a better fit. The entry system you choose impacts how you manage your finances and how your bookkeeping processes will work.

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