Understanding the Basics: Debit and Credits

Entries on a balance sheet are called debits and credits. Debits (DR) are for when you receive money, like a deposit. Credits (CR) are for when you spend money, like paying bills. How they appear on the balance sheet depends on what type of account they belong to.

Let’s delve into the definitions and examples of debits and credits to understand it’s basics.

What is Debit?

Debit is a fundamental concept in accounting and finance that represents the recording of an increase in assets or a decrease in liabilities or equity. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

In accounting, every financial transaction involves at least two accounts—a debit account and a credit account. Debit and credit entries are used to record these transactions in double-entry accounting systems, which are designed to ensure accuracy and maintain the balance of accounting records.

When a transaction occurs, the debit side of an account represents the left-hand side, while the credit side represents the right-hand side. Debits and credits are used to record changes in account balances, with specific rules governing which accounts are debited and credited based on the nature of the transaction.

In general, the following principles apply to debit entries:

  1. Assets: Debits increase the balance of asset accounts. For example, when a company purchases inventory for cash, it records a debit to the inventory account to reflect the increase in inventory assets.
  2. Expenses and Losses: Debits increase the balance of expense accounts and represent decreases in equity. For example, when a company incurs an expense, such as rent or utilities, it records a debit to the corresponding expense account.
  3. Drawings: Debits increase the balance of drawings accounts, which represent withdrawals of assets by the owner of a sole proprietorship or partnership.
  4. Liabilities and Equity Decreases: Debits decrease the balance of liability and equity accounts. For example, when a company makes a payment on a loan, it records a debit to the loan payable account to reflect the decrease in liabilities.

What is Credits?

In accounting, a credit refers to an entry made on the right side of an account. It represents an increase in liability, equity, or revenue accounts, or a decrease in asset or expense accounts. In simple terms, credits are used to record transactions that either increase what a company owes (liabilities), increase the owner’s stake in the company (equity), or increase income.

Here’s a breakdown of what credits signify:

  1. Increasing Liabilities or Equity: Crediting a liability account (such as Accounts Payable or Loans Payable) or an equity account (like Owner’s Equity) indicates an increase in the obligations owed by the business or an increase in the ownership interest in the business. For example, if a company takes out a loan, it credits the Loans Payable account to record the increase in liabilities.
  2. Increasing Income or Revenue: Crediting an income account (such as Sales Revenue or Service Revenue) reflects an increase in the earnings or revenue generated by the business. When a customer makes a purchase, the company credits the Sales Revenue account to record the increase in sales.
  3. Decreasing Assets or Expenses: Crediting an asset account (like Cash or Inventory) or an expense account (such as Rent Expense or Utilities Expense) signifies a decrease in the resources owned by the business or a reduction in the costs incurred. For instance, when a company pays off a portion of its outstanding debt, it credits the Cash account to reflect the decrease in cash assets.


At Santa Monica Accounting, we don’t just crunch numbers; we craft financial solutions that propel businesses forward. With a keen understanding of accounting principles like debits and credits, we ensure our clients’ financial records are not just accurate but also strategically aligned with their goals. Our meticulous approach means that whether we’re managing expenses or tracking revenue, every entry is meticulously balanced to provide a clear picture of your financial health. By harnessing the power of these foundational concepts, we empower businesses in Santa Monica and beyond to navigate complex financial landscapes with ease. With Santa Monica Accounting by your side, you can trust that every decision is backed by reliable data and a clear understanding of your financial standing. Let us be your partner in achieving lasting financial success.

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