Difference Between Single Entry Bookkeeping System and Double Entry Bookkeeping System

Keeping a track of expenses is highly essential, it could also be in the form of an entry system that is recorded in journals or books, titled as bookkeeping. 


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Bookkeeping is pivotal in maintaining accurate financial statements. Maintaining a record of the expenses not only let us know about the transactions, but helps set budget to manage further income and expenses. 

Bookkeeping makes tax preparation very easy with proper management of records of credits and debits, so that there is no hustle in finding old invoices, receipts or statements because they are already documented in the bookkeeping. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Single-entry bookkeeping is a simpler system, recording only one entry per transaction, usually as an income or an expense.
  2. Double-entry bookkeeping is a more comprehensive system, recording each transaction twice as a debit and a credit in corresponding accounts.
  3. Single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping systems help businesses maintain financial records, but double-entry bookkeeping provides a more accurate and complete picture of a company’s financial health.

Single Entry Bookkeeping System vs Double Entry Bookkeeping System

The difference between Single entry system and Double entry system is that single entry system is not based on the concept of duality and Double entry system follows duality, any one of the type of bookkeeping system is followed in all the companies or businesses. 

Single entry bookkeping system vs Double entry bookkeeping system

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Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison Single Entry Bookkeeping System Double Entry Bookkeeping System 
User Any sole businessman, small cooperationUsed by Large cooperation. 
RecordsThis records cash transactions only, thus known as incomplete recordsCash, Credit & Debit  transactions, therefore known as complete records
Accounts It can maintain personal accounts of vendors and cashbookIt can maintain all nominal, real-time and personal accounts
Acceptance Tax authorities do not accept this type of records, but some vendors or investors accept single entry type. Tax authorities willingly accepts double entry system due to systematic accounting.
Trial Balance Preparing trial balance is difficult as the records are incompletePreparing trial balance is easier as the records are complete

What is Single Entry Bookkeeping System?

A single-entry system in computation or accounting is a kind of bookkeeping method where any company’s financial records and transactions are infiltrated as a single entry in a logbook.

Since the single-entry system offers great convenience, many small business proprietors use them as a financial check keeper.

Companies that have a few numbers of employees, using cash basis accounting can conveniently use this type of bookkeeping system that comes free of cost.

A typical single-entry cashbook includes information like Date, Description, Transaction (Debit/ Credit), Final balance value.

All this information of the clients or vendors helps the accountant to keep a track of all the existing activities with a particular client.

Reconciliation of accounts is a bit difficult with a single-entry system due to its nature of single-sided entry in the logbook. The possibility of errors and extortions is higher and thus this method does not comply with the standards of GAAP.

Yet, many sole businessmen and their partners prefer using a single-entry system for their financial track of each growing year.

single entry bookkeeping system

What is Double Entry Bookkeeping System?

Double entry system in accounting is a type of bookkeeping system where all the financial transactions of the company are recorded as dual entry in the log i.e one account is credited and the other is debited.  

Double entry system is used worldwide by many MNCs, massive Healthcare corporations and medium-sized businesses for its great convenience, and the companies that have large number of employees

with various departments prefer double entry system for their financial record track. 

The logbook of double entry system includes information like Date, Credit& Debit amount, Total balance value. The Double-entry system works on the principle of Duality and accounting equation;

Liabilities + Owner’s investment= Assets

Reconciliation of accounts is very easy in case of Double entry system because the records are complete and systematic.    

double entry bookkeeping system

Main Differences Between Single Entry Bookkeeping System and Double Entry Bookkeeping System 

  1. Aspects: Single entry system is a bookkeeping system in which only one type of aspect of transaction can be recorded at a time either credit or debit. Double entry system is a type of bookkeeping system where both the aspects can be recorded in a single time. 
  2. Complexity: Single entry system is easy and anyone without prior accounting knowledge can use it whereas Double entry system is highly complex and only expert in accounting can handle this system. 
  3. Account: In singe entry system only personal and cash accounts are maintained. In Double entry system all personal, nominal and real accounts can be maintained. 
  4. Fraudulent: The chances of frauds and cheating in money are higher and in single entry system due to incomplete records. On the other hand, chances of frauds are negligeable because they have complete records and identifying frauds are easy. 
  5. Trial Balance: Data for preparing trial balance or financial reporting in single entry system isn’t enough, whereas companies with Double entry system can easily track their profit and loss statements because they have complete data of transactional records. 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0361368201000605
  2. https://vulms.vu.edu.pk/Courses/FIN611/Downloads/Notes%20on%20the%20Origin%20of%20Double%20entry%20Bookkeeping.pdf
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