The End of Double Entry?

the start of Bintan golf

I am reading a couple of textbooks at the same time for the new term of 2009. I wish with you these few interesting paragraphs challenging the existence of the double-entry system.

The books that I am reading credited the first organised written thought on double entry system to this Franciscan monk called Luca Pacioli and his now famous work called “Summa de Arithmetica, Geometrica, Proportioni et Proportionalita” published in Venice back in 1494. It is simply a system of debits and credits, where the debits going to the left and credits going to the right. It is a system of subtraction-by-opposition ie. put on the opposite side if you want to minus.

Then a clever chap (possibly someone who cannot handle double entry) asked, “Why can’t we use positive and negative numbers instead of T-accounts?”

So if you want to pay salary, you just add to Salary expenses and minus the same amount from the Cash/Bank.

FYI – negative numbers were only accepted in the mathematics world in 17th century while double entry has been around since 13th/14th century.

In the 21st century’s classes of Edgar, both systems are used in our learning programmes.

P/S –


One Comment

  1. I would agree with that clever chap as he has a valid it or not, unfortunately, accounting is not very consistent in its definition. A good example is the double entry system which is not a rational analogy, rather a system of convention. to use maths to define the equation, instead of fixing some co-relations which are not consistent to the layman is 1. not user friendly and 2. not progressive with times, (since we can all agree that the concept of negative and zeroes are widely accepted by most societies, even talebans) i remember asking 2 accountants and 1 accounts lecturer (ACCA) who are so ingrained / brainwashed by the conventions of the double entry system that they were incapable of explaining to me the ‘widely accepted logic’ behind it. (1 guy, 2 girls) (on the hindsight, they struck me as computing programmers who are so specialised that they fail to realise that they fail to communicate with people without the reliance of using jargons… very sad indeed… for me, not short, i believe that we can move forward with time and use a system of positives and negatives to denote double entry system instead of the existing one.


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