Debit vs Credit: An Accounting Reference Guide +Examples

Debit vs Credit: An Accounting Reference Guide +Examples


Before we explain and illustrate the debits and credits in accounting and bookkeeping, we will discuss the accounts in which the debits and credits will be entered or posted. For bookkeeping purposes, each and every financial transaction affecting a business is recorded in accounts. The 5 main types of accounts are assets, expenses, revenue , liabilities, and equity. Debits increase asset, loss and expense accounts; credits decrease them. Credits increase liability, equity, gains and revenue accounts; debits decrease them. Examples include credit card accounts/balances, accounts payable, notes payable, taxes and loans. From the bank’s point of view, when a debit card is used to pay a merchant, the payment causes a decrease in the amount of money the bank owes to the cardholder.

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Credit and debit accounts

The accounting rule for nominal accounts is to debit expense and loss, and credit income and profit accounts. Personal accounts relate to the owner, partners, customers, suppliers, shareholders, etc. The debit/credit rule for personal accounts is to debit the receiver of the payment and credit the giver. For example, if the business purchases office equipment, you should debit the appropriate account with the purchase price.

The authors and reviewers work in the sales, marketing, legal, and finance departments. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of payment scheme technology and the operating rules applicable to each. However, the burger place purchased part of its inventory on $2,500 credit from a supplier, and payment for it is now due. Usually, a General Ledger has Subsidiary Ledgers, which contain the respective details of the account. For instance, an accounts receivable General Ledger will have Subsidiary Ledgers that contain information about the amount that each customer owes. A General Ledger for Inventory will contain Subsidiary Ledgers that will show the breakdown between raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods. Whether new to BlackLine or a longtime customer, we curate events to guide you along every step of your modern accounting journey.

Debits and Credits Explained

The groups of accounts help users determine whether to debit or credit an account. Credit and debit entries are the cornerstones of the double-entry system, which requires every business transaction to be recorded in at least two accounts. I did not have a formal accounting background when I started working in investment banking.

In actuality, these labels would instead be “” and “credit.” The reason for this distinction will become apparent in the following discussion. Debit and credits are accounting entries used to monitor money going out of or coming into the business. Debit and credit form the backbone of the double-entry system, where every transaction comprises two parts – for every debit transaction, there is a corresponding credit of an equal amount. The debits and credits must be equal because every transaction has two entries, one on each side. The total of the debits must always equal the total of the credits for that transaction.

Contra account

For double entry we traditionally use paper-and-pen “journal entries”, which we organize into General and Subsidiary Ledgers. Of course, advanced software such as Sage no longer requires us to maintain physical journals.


The information captured from a Debits And Credits ed transaction is more important than the form used in recording it. At a minimum, the written record should include the date of the transaction, the parties involved, the dollar amounts disbursed or collected, and the nature of the transaction. You will also need to increase the value of the bank loan account by $1000. But since this is a liabilities account, we refer to this as a credit. This can be a bit confusing, since the value of the account is going up, but we refer to it as a credit. That’s because the value of the account actually represents debt.

A general ledger is a record-keeping system for a company’s financial data, with debit and credit account records validated by a trial balance. Certain accounts are used for valuation purposes and are displayed on the financial statements opposite the normal balances. The debit entry to a contra account has the opposite effect as it would to a normal account. Double-entry accounting — a good option for reducing accounting errors — records two book entries to balance a business’s books to zero.

Revenue and gain accounts, where a debit decreases and a credit increases the balance. The double-entry accounting method requires each journal entry to have at least one debit and one credit entry. This entry increases inventory , and increases accounts payable .

Debits and Credits Outline

To credit an account means to enter an amount on the right side of an account. Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA, is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working on both the tax and audit sides of an accounting firm. She’s passionate about helping people make sense of complicated tax and accounting topics. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Forbes, and The New York Times, and on LendingTree, Credit Karma, and Discover, among others. Credits always appear on the right side of an accounting ledger.

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