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Debit versus Credit

Debit Versus Credit

Since the late 13th century, people have discussed debit versus credit. Double entry accounting was conceived centuries ago. Now, it is an international standard to record all business transactions with a debit and a credit. This double entry keeps the accounting equation balanced. It also ensures that one account is not left out of a transaction. If you make a mistake, an unbalanced ledger occurs.

Should You Learn It?

Even though accounting software guides you along the double entry process, it is still important to understand the debit and credit rules. This gives you the ability to correct mistakes and edit your company’s books. Without knowing the fundamentals of double entry accounting, you run the risk of keeping inaccurate records that may be beyond repair.

Entrepreneurs are often guilty of not truly understanding accounting and their company’s financial statements. Understanding these begins with grasping the debit and credit rules. These rules are part of a bigger concept: keeping the assets equal to the liabilities plus shareholders’ equity.

What are the rules?

The basic rules state whether an account increase or decreases with a debit or credit. Asset accounts and expense accounts increase with debits and decrease with credits. This means you debit cash to increase the cash account. It also means you debit your COGS to increase your cost of goods account. On the other hand, liabilities, revenues, and shareholders’ equity increase with credits and decrease with debits.

While these rules are not instinctual, they helped businesses keep accurate records for centuries. The extra work to record a debit and credit for each transaction helps prevent errors as well as making mistakes easier to identify.

If you want to add more value to your organization, then click here to download the Know Your Economics Worksheet.

Debit versus Credit

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Debit versus Credit

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Debit vs Credit

See Also:
Debits and Credits
Double Entry Bookkeeping

Debits vs Credits in Accounting

When people discuss debit vs credit, they are usually referring to double entry accounting. More specifically, a debit and credit are recorded for each transaction. These two are required for each transaction in order to keep the accounting equation in balance. There is more information about this in the next section.

Today’s accounting software is also based off of the debit and credit account ledgers. In fact, these programs also offer mobile applications to manage your business’s finances on the go. Even if new software reduces the need to understand debits and credits, it is still essential for business owners and managers to be comfortable with. For example, if one has to record an unusual transaction or correct a mistake, it is often necessary that he or she understands double entry bookkeeping.

What is Double Entry Bookkeeping?

Double entry bookkeeping is a method of recording business transactions using at least two accounts for each transaction. Each account receives a debit on the left side or a credit on the right side. Together, the debits and credits keep assets equal to liabilities plus shareholders’ equity. For example, imagine Business A purchases equipment using cash from Business B. Business A would record a debit to equipment, to increase this asset account, and a credit to cash, to decrease this asset account. Business B would record two transactions: a debit to cash and a credit to revenues, as well as a debit to COGS and a credit to Inventory.

The rules are not quite intuitive. They say to increase assets and expenses with debits and decrease with credits. On the other hand, increase liabilities and revenue with credits and decrease with debits. It takes memorization and commitment to learn these rules, but it pays off by having a better grasp of a company’s books.

Debits vs Credits for a Bank

One reason people have such a difficult time learning the difference of debit vs credit is their experience with bank accounts. When a business deposits money into a bank, it credits its account. Conversely, if you have a recurring charge, debit the account to decrease its amount. This is the opposite of the rules stated above for double entry accounting. Why are the bank’s debits and credits confusing? Banks are in the business of lending money. This means that a client’s deposit is a liability on their books; thus, it increases with a credit.

If you want to add more value to your organization, then click here to download the Know Your Economics Worksheet.

Debit vs Credit

Strategic CFO Lab Member Extra

Access your Strategic Pricing Model Execution Plan in SCFO Lab. The step-by-step plan to set your prices to maximize profits.

Click here to access your Execution Plan. Not a Lab Member?

Click here to learn more about SCFO Labs

Debit vs Credit

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