The Accountant Who Changed The World : Planet Money : NPR

The system is designed to keep accounts in balance, reduce the possibility of error, and help you produce accurate financial statements. True to its name, double-entry accounting is a standard accounting method that involves recording each transaction in at least two accounts, resulting in a debit to one or more accounts and a credit to one or more accounts. The number of subsidiary books to be maintained by a business depends on its nature, size and volume of transactions.

If a business buys raw materials by paying cash, it will lead to an increase in the inventory (asset) while reducing cash capital (another asset). Because there are two or more accounts affected by every transaction carried out by a company, the accounting system is referred to as double-entry accounting. In accounting, double entry accounting meaning a debit refers to an entry on the left side of an account ledger, and credit refers to an entry on the right side of an account ledger. To be in balance, the total of debits and credits for a transaction must be equal. Debits do not always equate to increases and credits do not always equate to decreases.

What Is the Disadvantage of the Double-Entry Accounting System?

Clearly this requires ratios, multiplication and division that were well beyond the scope of Roman numerals and abaci. It is not used in daybooks (journals), which normally do not form part of the nominal ledger system. The double-entry system began to propagate for practice in Italian merchant cities during the 14th century.

With stylized signs, all information could be recorded directly on clay tablets, which were cheaper and more portable than tokens. They would record trade transactions, debts and advances, in duplicate on clay tablets to be retained by the parties to the transaction. The earliest texts were pictographs on tablets written with a stylus, with accounting-specific writing systems evolving into more expressive systems that described politics, religion, and news. I’m here to tell you the real story of the invention of double-entry bookkeeping and modern accounting. With a double-entry system, credits are offset by debits in a general ledger or T-account. Once that is set up, the chart of accounts is used as a point of reference each time two or more accounts are selected in order to enter a transaction into the general ledger.

Rules Of Double Entry System

Unlike single-entry accounting, which requires only that you post a transaction into a ledger, double-entry tracks both sides (debit and credit) of each transaction you enter. Because the accounts are set up to check each transaction to be sure it balances out, errors will be flagged to accountants quickly, before the error produces subsequent errors in a domino effect. Additionally, the nature of the account structure makes it easier to trace back through entries to find out where an error originated. Double entry system has, therefore, become the standard and, in many cases, a basic requirement for maintaining accounting records of medium and large sized business enterprizes. Most of the today’s manual and computerized accounting systems are based on it. Paciolo thus made no
claim to the invention of the double entry system, but its inclusion in his book
has resulted in his being generally recognized as the the author of the first
published double entry bookkeeping text.