In Part 1 we covered the movement of 200 from Customer to Bank. We described this event as ‘Take deposit from Customer’ and valued this journal in a table:

Customer (200)
Bank 200

This article covers the additional dimensions that support a bare bones accounting system.

#8 – All movements must be identifiable

Over the life of a business, there could be more than one movement of 200 between Customer and Bank. For this reason, we must uniquely identify movements related to the same business event – we could use the following naming convention:

CustomerEVENT-1(200)
BankEVENT-1 200

Using this naming convention, we now have a unique handle for specific movements. In this example the unique journal is called Event-1 but accountants are free to create any naming convention so long as each event identifier is unique.

#9 – All movements occur on a specific date

Let’s expand our Customer/Bank event to reflect the date:

Customer22-DEC-2018EVENT-1(200)
Bank22-DEC-2018EVENT-1 200

💡Time is excluded from the event when reporting.

#10 – All movements specify a unit of measure

Value in modern society is measured with currency – let’s expand our Customer/Bank event to reflect the unit of measure:

Customer 22-DEC-2018EVENT-1USD(200)
Bank22-DEC-2018EVENT-1USD 200

💡 There are things that are extremely valuable but difficult to measure – for example, a company’s relationship with its customers or ‘Brand’.

#11 – Double Entry is a misnomer

You may have assumed that two entries per movement is the reason why we call this form of bookkeeping ‘Double Entry’ – this is not strictly correct.

Although it will take at least two tabular entries to represent any business event, consider a purchase (entry 1) funded partially by cash (entry 2) and the remainder placed on a credit card (entry 3) – this would be an example of a three sided entry.

#12 – Computers simplify accounting

Computers perform sums automatically and instantaneously when needed. This was not the case 500 years ago when Luca Pacioli described double-entry accounting.

Unfortunately, most tutorials still promote jargon such as ‘Balance carried forward‘, ‘Balance brought forward‘ and ‘T-Accounts‘ but these are implementation details that can be ignored for now.

Summary

The financial effects of any business are easily represented by rows and columns in a database table. This table is called a ledger and has five essential columns – bucket, date, event identifier, amount and currency.

Part 3 expands on these columns as they relate to double entry accounting.

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Last modified: 23rd August 2019

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