What Is Single-entry Bookkeeping?

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There are two methods to choose from to use in the bookkeeping process, single-entry and double-entry. Single-entry bookkeeping is when the transactions your business sees are only recorded once, usually in a cash book or journal. The single-entry method is similar to how you would keep a checkbook. You would record your transaction once, including the date of the transaction, a brief description of it, and the amount of the transaction (usually in an income/expense column to separate whether the money came in or went out), then the running balance would be calculated.

Single-entry bookkeeping has both its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage to single-entry bookkeeping is that it is a very simple way to keep your records, and is perfect for very small businesses with minimal transactions. When using the single-entry method, you are also going to use cash-basis accounting. This means you only record a transaction when money exchanges hands, you will not have Accounts Payable or Accounts Receivable to track, which makes it easier as well. Some disadvantages to single-entry bookkeeping are your records are not very detailed and there is a greater chance for errors to be made. In double-entry bookkeeping, every transaction is recorded twice, giving you a chance to confirm every account is balanced, leaving less room for error.

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