Double Entry Bookkeeping System

What is the Double Entry Bookkeeping System?

The double entry bookkeeping system is a method of bookkeeping which records each transaction twice. This reflects the dual nature of each transaction as it affects the business.

The first entry records what comes into the business (a debit) and the second entry what goes out of the business (a credit).

Each transaction reflects the basic accounting equation which can be stated as:

Assets = Liabilities + Capital

If each entry is recorded correctly the books of account will balance. This method of double entry helps with the compilation of accounting data which enables a trial balance, profit and loss account and a balance sheet to be drawn up.

Invented in the 13th century by Italian merchants, double entry bookkeeping is used worldwide. The principles were first set out in writing by the Italian monk Luca Pacioli (1445-1517) in the 1494 book ‘Summa de Arithmetica.’

For further information on the Double entry bookkeeping system see the Wikipedia definition.

Learn a new bookkeeping term

Random bookkeeping terms for you to discover.

Link to this page

Click in the box to copy and paste the double entry bookkeeping system definition link to your site.

Return to the Glossary

Last modified February 8th, 2017 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Double Entry Bookkeeping. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years in all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a BSc from Loughborough University.

You May Also Like