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

What is a Single Entry System? Definition, Format, Problems and Example


Single Entry System Definition:

A single entry system is a method of maintaining financial information thru one sided accounting entry. It method is also known as 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 system to prepare financial reports and statements of the business.

Advantages of a Single Entry Bookkeeping 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 system 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 Bookkeeping 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 bookkeeping system 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 PurchasedRs. 3,400
E01212-AprMerchandiseRs. 17,300
E01317-AprWages PaidRs. 9,000
23-AprBank depositRs. 22,700
E01427-AprSuppliesRs. 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:

  • Tracking of assets are not done effectively. It is likely to be lost or stolen without any knowledge.
  • 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 system. Otherwise in double accounting system, all the different accounts first have to be matched before taking preparing balance sheet which makes double accounting system error free.
  • 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 system 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 system 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. Single bookkeeping methods are now only used by small and newly start-up businesses. So it is recommended to switch to double entry system with the growing business to large scale.

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.

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