Debits and credits are the basis of double-entry accounting systems. If you don’t understand how they work, it is very difficult to make entries into an organization’s general ledger.
Accountants and bookkeepers use debits and credits to balance each recorded entry for a company’s balance sheet and income statement accounts. Double-entry credits and debits are all part of the accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity.
Every transaction has a buyer and a seller. One party sells a service or product to a client or customer, the other party. The seller records the transaction in their Accounts Receivable, while the buyer records the transaction in their Accounts Payable.
The majority of companies use a double-entry bookkeeping system to keep track of their transactions. Double-entry bookkeeping requires a recording system that uses debits and credits.
Determining whether any particular transaction is a debit or a credit is the difficult part. That’s where using t-accounts comes in. Accounting instructors use T accounts to teach students how to do accounting work.
T accounts, refer to an account such as accounts payable, written in the visual representation of a “T”. For that account, each transaction is recorded as either a debit or a credit. The information can then be transferred to a journal from the T account. T accounts can also include cash accounts, expense accounts, revenue accounts, and more.
Is Accounts Payable a Credit or Debit?
When a company purchases goods or services on credit that needs to be paid back within a short period of time, it is known as accounts payable. Depending on the terms of the contract, some accounts may need to be paid within 30 days, while others will need to be paid within 60 or 90 days.
In finance and accounting, accounts payable can serve as either a credit or a debit. Because accounts payable is a liability account, it should have a credit balance. The credit balance indicates the amount that a company owes to its vendors.
Accounts payable is a liability because you owe payments to creditors when you order goods or services without paying for them in cash upfront. Individuals have accounts payable because we consume the internet, electricity, and cable TV for instance.
The bills are generated toward the end of the month or a particular billing cycle. It means the service needs to be paid by a certain date or you will default. Defaulting puts you at risk of having your service is disconnected and or paying late fees and reconnection fees to re-establish service.
If a company buys additional goods or services on credit rather than paying with cash, the company needs to credit accounts payable so that the credit balance increases accordingly.
If a company pays one of its suppliers the amount that is included in accounts payable, the company needs to debit accounts payable so the credit balance is decreased.
Keeping track of how transactions are recorded in each type of account is crucial to record accuracy. Accounting software can simplify this for you.
Recording Credits and Debits as Journal Entries
Making accounting journal entries is how accounting transactions are recorded. There’s a particular way to make an accounting journal entry when recording both debits and credits. In an accounting journal, debits and credits are always going to be in adjacent columns on a page. Debits will be on the left and Credits will be on the right. Entries are always recorded in the relevant column for the transaction that is being entered.
Recording Credits and Debits for Liability and Owner’s Equity Accounts
Liabilities are any items on the balance sheet that the company owes to financial institutions or vendors. They can be current liabilities such as accounts payable and accruals or long-term liabilities like bonds payable or mortgages payable.
The owner’s equity accounts set on the right side of the balance sheet such as retained earnings and common stock. They are treated the same as liability accounts when it comes to journal entries.
The rule for liabilities is: Increases in liabilities are recorded as credits. Decreases in liabilities are recorded as debits.
For example, if a company owes one of its suppliers $10,000 and that bill is due, what the company owes its suppliers are typically accounts payable and listed as liabilities on the balance sheet. The journal entry would look like this:
Accounts Payable: $10,000
When you pay the bill, you would debit accounts payable because you made the payment. The account decreases. Cash is credited because the cash is an asset account that decreased because you use the cash to pay the bill.
If a company decided to purchase $150,000 and inventory from A supplier and does so on credit (accounts payable), the journal entry looks like this:
Accounts Payable: $150,000
You debit the inventory account because it is an asset account that increases in this transaction. Accounts payable is credited to a liability account that increases because of the inventory was purchased on credit.
With the accrual methodology, the transactions are treated as a sale even though money has yet to be exchanged. The accounting department must be careful while processing transactions relating to accounts payable. Time is always of the essence where short-term debts are concerned. Because they need to be paid within a certain amount of time, accuracy is key. This ensures that bills are paid on time and in the correct amounts because mistakes in this area will affect the company’s available working capital.
Using accounting software makes the process of recording business transactions and keeping track of cash flow much easier. With the proper small business accounting software, you can easily monitor the chart of accounts, cost of goods sold, and more.