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What is the double-entry system?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Double-Entry System

The double-entry system of accounting or bookkeeping means that for every business transaction, amounts must be recorded in a minimum of two accounts. The double-entry system also requires that for all transactions, the amounts entered as debits must be equal to the amounts entered as credits.

Example of a Double-Entry System

To illustrate double entry, let’s assume that a company borrows $10,000 from its bank. The company’s Cash account must be increased by $10,000 and a liability account must be increased by $10,000. To increase an asset, a debit entry is required. To increase a liability, a credit entry is required. Hence, the account Cash will be debited for $10,000 and the liability Loans Payable will be credited for $10,000.

Double Entry Keeps the Accounting Equation in Balance

Double entry also means that the accounting equation (assets = liabilities + owner’s equity) will always be in balance. In our example, the accounting equation remained in balance because both assets and liabilities were each increased by $10,000.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

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