Accounts: Their Construction and Interpretation for Business Men and Students of Affairs

By William Morse Cole | Go to book overview

APPENDIX C
SINGLE ENTRY

THROUGHOUT this book double entry has been assumed as the only correct system of bookkeeping. The reason was explained in Chapter II. A few words about the single-entry system may be interesting, though they can serve little purpose except to emphasize the advantage of the other.

The fundamental distinction is that theoretically single entry has none but personal accounts. When a transaction involves two such accounts, the entry is necessarily double, a credit to one and a debit to the other. If, for instance, we owe Jones and pay him by an order on Smith who owes us, we must debit Jones and credit Smith. Theoretically, by single entry this would be made as two entries:

J. Jones, Dr. 2,500
Paid him by an order on J. Smith
J. Smith Cr. 2,500
By an order to pay J. Jones for our account

In practice, however, these are often combined as in a double-entry journal, though the double form intervening between single forms is more or less dangerous, since the bookkeeper may not notice that here two postings are required.

It is not strictly in accordance with the single-entry theory to keep accounts with property, such as merchandise and cash, though it is customary to do so.

When expenditures are for such things as interest, expense, etc., the normal entry would be to disregard the nominal account entirely and simply credit cash. If, however, one wished to keep track of interest, an account could be kept with it, posting to it as under the other system. Just so far, however, the system would be double entry.

Under pure single entry, therefore, the situation is as follows: the books show all amounts owing and all amounts owed; the resources of other

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