Types of Accounts

According to the double entry system of bookkeeping, there are three types of accounts that help you to maintain an error-free record of your journal entries. Each account type has a rule to identify its debit and credit aspect called as the Golden Rule of Accounting. The accounts are:

Personal Accounts

Ledger accounts that contain transactions related to individuals or other organizations with whom your business has direct transactions are known as personal accounts. Some examples of personal accounts are customers, vendors, salary accounts of employees, drawings and capital accounts of owners, etc.

The golden rule for personal accounts is: debit the receiver and credit the giver.

Example: Payment of salary to employees

In this example, the receiver is an employee and the giver will be the business. Hence, in the journal entry, the Employee’s Salary account will be debited and the Cash / Bank account will be credited.

Real Accounts

The ledger accounts which contain transactions related to the assets or liabilities of the business are called Real accounts. Accounts of both tangible and intangible nature fall under this category of accounts, i.e. Machinery, Buildings, Goodwill, Patent rights, etc. These account balances do not come to zero at the end of the financial year unless there is a sale of the asset or payment made towards a liability or closure or acquisition of the business. These accounts appear in the Balance Sheet and the balances get carried forward to the next financial year.

The golden rule for real accounts is: debit what comes in and credit what goes out.

Example: Payment made for a loan

In this transaction, cash goes out and the loan is settled. Hence, in the journal entry, the Loan account will be debited and the Bank account will be credited.

Nominal Accounts

Transactions related to income, expense, profit and loss are recorded under this category. These components actually do not exist in any physical form but they actually exist. For example, during the purchase and sale of goods, only two components directly get affected i.e money and stock. But, apart from this we may incur profit or loss out of such transactions and we might incur some expenses for these transactions to happen. These secondary components fall under the Nominal Category and the accounts that are in Profit and Loss statement are shown under this category.

The golden rule for nominal accounts is: debit all expenses and losses and credit all income and gains.

Example of Nominal Account: Shipping Charges account and Salary account.


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