Wikipedia of Finance - e-learning course on Accounting Wikipedia Chapter - Single Entry System of Book-Keeping

Single Entry System – Definition, Format, Problems and Example


In essence, the Single Entry System is a simple bookkeeping technique in which transactions are entering just once, usually into a log or simple spreadsheet. Although this approach isn’t as exacting as double entry accounting, it still collects crucial data regarding a business’s revenue, expenses, and cash flow to provide valuable insights into its financial health. Let us understand what is a single entry system meaning with examples, format, problems and solutions.

Throughout this analysis, we’ll go deeper into the core concepts of the single entry accounting, including its benefits, limitations, and the types of businesses that usually use it. Understanding how this system works is crucial for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to handle their finances more skillfully while adhering to basic accounting regulations.

Single Entry System Definition

A single entry system is a method of maintaining financial information thru one sided accounting entry. The method is also refer to as the single entry accounting system. Normally small businesses preferred to maintain single-entry bookkeeping system with records of minimum necessities.

Single entry system example: such accounting system is pretty good to maintain records related to cash, account payable, receivables, taxes paid account and few other accounts. Accountant professionals typically include additional information along with this single-entry accounting to prepare financial reports and statements of the business.

Advantages of a Single Entry Accounting System

  • Single entry system is simple and less expensive to maintain as compared to double entry system.
  • No professionals are required to maintain such accounting system as compared to double entry system.
  • This type of accounting system is more preferable to start-up businesses.
  • System records daily flow of income and expenses thru daily cash receipt summary.
  • Single entry accounting is based on income statement due to which it is each to figure out profit and loss of the business or organisation at any given time.

Disadvantages of a Single Entry Accounting System

  • Lack of data may adversely affect planning and controlling of business strategic goals.
  • Lack of methodical and exact accounting data can lead to improper control over the business issues and lack of administration.
  • Any losses or theft are less likely to be found under this accounting system.

Single Entry Format / Single Entry Example

An oldest form of single entry accounting is cash book. Let’s take a example of single entry system format from cash book to further understand single entry accounting system.

F. No.DateDescriptionIncomeExpenseInventorySalaries
 01-AprBalance b/dRs. 45,000Rs. 17,000Rs. 9,300Rs. 12,500
E01108-AprUtilities Purchased Rs. 3,400  
E01212-AprMerchandise  Rs. 17,300 
E01317-AprWages Paid   Rs. 9,000
 23-AprBank depositRs. 22,700   
E01427-AprSupplies Rs. 5,200  
 30-AprBalance c\dRs. 67,700Rs. 25,600Rs. 26,600Rs. 21,500

Single Entry System Problems and Solutions

There are various different single entry system problems associated with accounting system they are:

  • Effectively tracking assets is not being carried out. Consequently, they are prone to being lost or stolen without any awareness.
  • It is impossible to conduct financial audits for single entry bookkeeping method. Information has to be initially converted into double-entry system for financial auditing purpose.
  • It is likely that errors and omissions may occur in single entry accounting. Before preparing the balance sheet in the double accounting system, it is essential to match all the different accounts first. This ensures accuracy and eliminates errors.
  • There is no provision to track the liabilities under single accounting system. One has to maintain books separately to keep records of payment dues.
  • Single entry accounting lacks with complete financial data due to which business management does not have sufficient information or clear picture to take right action at right time.

Financial accounting for single entry accounting solution is that now a days, all the computerized accounting systems are built based on double entry bookkeeping method. Since this financial accounting system has limitations due to which businesses switch to double entry system of accounting. Small and newly start-up businesses now exclusively utilize single bookkeeping methods. As businesses grow and scale up, it is advisable to transition to the double entry system. This shift enhances efficiency and accuracy in financial operations.

Accounting professionals are expert in converting single entry accounting into double entry accounting. At the same time it is time consuming to restructure and reconstruct all the statements and reports again.  If you are using single entry accounting system and planning to switch to other method, It is highly recommendable to switch to double entry system at the start of accounting year rather than converting at the later stage.


In summary, the Single Entry System is ideal for freelancers, small businesses, and sole owners since it is a simple yet effective way to manage routine accounting tasks and document financial transactions. It’s not as precise and dependable as the Double Entry System, but it’s still a good substitute for those who prefer a simple way to monitor their earnings and outlays without having to cope with complex bookkeeping procedures.

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