Types Of Bookkeeping Systems
A business also needs to determine the type of bookkeeping system that will be used for recording their business transactions. Many small businesses start out using the single entry system.
- Single Entry System
The single entry system is an "informal" accounting/bookkeeping system where a user of this system makes only one entry to enter a business financial transaction. It generally includes a daily summary of cash receipts and a monthly record of receipts and disbursements (worksheets). A checkbook, for example, is a single entry bookkeeping system where one entry is made for each deposit or check written. Receipts are entered as a deposit and a source of revenue. Checks and withdrawals are entered as expenses. If a manual system is used, in order to determine your revenues and expenses you have to prepare worksheets to summarize your income and categorize and summarize your different types of expenses. Bookkeeping software and spreadsheets are also available to do this for you. The emphasis of this system is placed on determining the profit or loss of a business. It got its name because you record each transaction only once as either revenue (deposit) or as an expense (check). Since each entry is recorded only once, debits and credits (recording method required for the double entry system) are not used to record a financial event. For those interested, the Internal Revenue Service's Publication 583 - "Starting a Business and Keeping Records" has a detailed example of a single entry type of system. While the single entry system may be acceptable for tax purposes, it does not provide a business with all the financial information needed to adequately report the financial affairs of a business. In the near future, we'll probably see the single entry system follow the same path as the dinosaur - extinction.
- Double Entry System
The double entry system is the standard system used by businesses and other organizations to record financial transactions. Since all business transactions consist of an exchange of one thing for another, double entry bookkeeping using debits and credits, is used to show this two-fold effect. Debits and credits are the device that provide the ability to record the entries twice and are explained in more detail later in this tutorial. The double entry system also has built-in checks and balances. Due to the use of debits and credits, the double-entry system is self-balancing. The total of the debit values recorded must equal the total of the credit values recorded. This system, when used along with the accrual method of accounting, is a complete accounting system and focuses on the income statement and balance sheet. This system has worldwide support as the system to use by businesses for recording their financial transactions. It got its name because each transaction is recorded in at least two places (accounts) using debits and credits.
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