Golden Rules of Accounting – An easy understanding

Written by Sravan

Updated on:

Hindus call it as “The Mahabharatha”
Christians call it as “The Bible”
Muslims call it as “The Quran”
Accountants call it as “Golden rules of Accounting”

  1. Debit What Comes In and Credit What Goes Out – Real Account
  2. Debit the Receiver and Credit the Giver – Personal Account
  3. Debit all Expenses and Losses and Credit all Incomes and Gains – Nominal Account

Page Contents

Introduction to golden rules of accounting

Every business will have some goals. To achieve such goals, it should have a good strategy, ability, rules & principles in addition to the numerous other factors contributing to its success.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee working for some one, to become successful in this dynamic world you need to understand the basic rules of accounting which govern every business and how these rules are to be applied in the process of accounting.

During my teaching, when I asked students to write a few basic accounting entries, most of the students were ended up with the wrong entries.

Some of the students even asked me like;

– I don’t know when to Debit an account & credit an account..!!
– My Sir told me that whatever comes to us is Debit & whatever goes out is Credit, Is it correct ?

The reason behind such lack of understanding is simple. Unfortunately, they are not aware of the basic rules which are the only guiding principles to record any financial transaction in accounting.

That is the reason we are calling it “Golden rules”, without which we cannot execute the process of journalizing (i.e. first step in the accounting process) effectively.

Let’s come to the point “Golden rules of accounting“.

As mentioned earlier, recording journal entries is the first step in the process of accounting; followed by the preparation of ledgers, Trial Balance, Profit & Loss account and finally Balance Sheet.

But, now with the entry of good accounting packages with a lot of features, recording the business transactions made easy and no need to go for a manual preparation from ledgers to Balance Sheet.

However, both in the traditional and modern accounting methods it has been mentioned on when to write on debit side of an account and when to write on a credit side of the account which can be discussed in further lessons.

Before you understand Golden rules of accounting, firstly you should learn about transactions.

In a Business Organisations, numerous transactions will takes place.
For example, Purchase of goods from Suppliers, Payment of transport charges to a transport firm , Godown charges paid by Cash, Electricity, Security charges, Labour charges, Loss on Sale of Plant and Machinery etc., These are called as “Transactions”.
These transactions can be divided into 3 categories.

  1. Which are related to Individuals & Firms
  2. Transactions which related to Cash,Goods or Properties,Loans etc.,
  3. Transactions related to Expenses and Losses & Incomes and Gains.

Therefore, these transactions shall be accounted and classified based on rules of accounting which can also be called “Golden rules of Accounting.”

Golden rules of accounting are of 3 types.

Golden rules of Accounting with examples

It means transactions relating to Properties & Assets. A business enterprise that owns it. Depending upon the physical existence or otherwise, it has been classified into

Real Account
  • Tangible:-  It means assets which have    
                                                 – Physical Existence
                                                 – Can be seen &
                                                 – Can be Touched
    For example, Cash a/c, Motor car a/c, Building, Furniture, Machinery etc.,
  • Intangible:-  It means assets which have

                                             – No physical existence
                                             – Cant be touched & 
                                             – Can’t be seen
                                             – But measured in terms of value & money.  
For example, Goodwill, Patents, Trade marks, Copy rights etc.,

Rule:- Debit what comes in
            Credit what goes out

Personal Account

It means the transactions related to Persons. Persons may be either.

  • Natural person : 
    Accounts which are related to individuals

    For example, Mr Raju, Ms. Sita Mrs.Mamatha etc.
  • Artificial Person:
    Accounts related to Firms (or) Companies (or) Societies etc.,

    For example, Agarwal Industries, Rao & Co., HDFC Bank, General Insurance Corporation etc.
  • Representative Person:
    Accounts which represent either a person or group of persons.

    For example, When wages are payable to workers on daily basis, then cumulatively will be called as ” Wages Payable”.
    Similar example is for Creditors.

Rule:– Debit the Receiver (or) the person who owes to the business 
                          Eg: Credit Sales
/ Debtors
            Credit the Giver (or) to Whom business owes             
                          Eg: Credit Purchases / Creditors

Nominal Account

Nominal accounts means transactions relating to “Expenses or Losses” and “Incomes or Gains“.
For Example, — Salary account (Expense)         
                         —Electricity account (Expense)
                         —Advertisement Account (Expense)
                         — Loss on Sale of Machinery (Loss)
                         — Income from Investment (Income)
                         — Gain on Sale of Car (Gain) etc.

Rule:  Debit all expenses (or) Losses
            Credit all Incomes (or) Gain

Golden rules of accounting
Golden rules of accounting

Practical Examples of Golden Rules of Accounting

Classify the following items into Personal, Nominal & Real Accounts
1. Sales                                                                     2. Capital
3. Mr. Surendra                                                      4. Interest
5. Purchases                                                            6. Rent
7. Bank                                                                     8. Sales Return
9. Electricity                                                           10. Discount received


1. Real                                                                        2.  Personal

3. Personal account                                                4.  Nominal
5. Real                                                                        6.  Nominal
7. Real                                                                        8.  Real
9. Nominal                                                               10. Nominal

Mr.Santosh Ltd & Co,a start up made the following transactions.
Commenced Business with Capital
— Purchased goods for Cash
— Sold goods for Credit to Shakunthala Ltd
— Paid wages to Labour
— Paid salaries to Employees
— Bought a Car for Official Purpose and paid through SBI Bank.
— Paid Rent for Office.

Solution :-
Firstly, you must Identify the transactions to which accounts it will impacted.
Then, Classify them into different types of accounts.

TransactionAccounts ImpactedType of Accounts
1.Bank a/c
Capital a/c
2.Purchases a/c
Cash a/c

Now, we will apply the Golden rules to each of the transaction by making journal entries.

It is a transaction and
Capital to Santosh ltd is increased & also Bank balance is increased.
Now, apply Golden rules

  • Debit what comes into the business. [Real Account]
    Mr.Santosh brought capital into the business. So,Cash balance/Bank balance will be increased. So,Bank balance is to be debited.
  • Credit, the Giver or to whom business owes. [Personal Account]
    Since the capital brought in by Mr.Santosh, X Ltd is in liability to pay the capital amount to Mr.Santosh. So, Mr.Santosh account is to be credited.

    So, the entry will be
    Bank A/c Dr
    To Mr. Santosh A/c Cr.

Note: You shall always pass entries from business point of view i.e., from Sanotsh ltd point of view. 
Logic: Businesses needs recording of transactions which will be done by accountants. So, you shall always pass accounting entries from business point of view.

  • Debit, What comes into the business (Real Account)
    Purchase of goods will increase in Stock, So purchases account is to be debited.
  • Credit,What goes out of the business.
    Here, the cash balance is reduced. So cash account is to be credited.
  • So, the entry will be
    Purchases A/c Dr
    To Cash A/c Cr.

Due to Sale of goods, Stock balance will be decreased &
As the goods sold on credit, Shakuntala ltd become the Debtor of X Ltd. So, debtors will be increased.
Now, apply Golden rules

  • Debit, the Receiver or Who owes to the business (Real Account)
    As the goods are sold to Shakuntala Ltd, it owes money to X Ltd. So Debtors account is to be debited. 
  • Credit,What goes out of the business.
    Sale of goods will decrease in Stock, So Sales account is to be credited.

    So, the entry will be
    Debtors A/c Dr
    To Sales A/c Cr.

Payment of wages to labour is an expense. Due to payment of wages, expenses will be increased &
Cash balance will be reduced after making the payment.

  • Debit, all the Expenses and Losses.
    X Ltd paid wages to labour. So it is to be debited.
  • Credit,What goes out of the business.
    Here, the cash balance is reduced. So cash account is to be credited.

    So, the entry will be
    Wages A/c Dr
    To Cash A/c Cr.

Payment of Salaries to employees is also an expense. Due to payment of Salaries, expenses will be increased &
Cash balance will be reduced after making the payment.

  • Debit, all the Expenses and Losses.
    X Ltd paid Salaries to employees. So it is to be debited.
  • Credit,What goes out of the business.
    Here, the cash balance is reduced. So cash account is to be credited.

    So, the entry will be
    Salaries A/c Dr
    To Cash A/c Cr.

Purchase of Car is an asset to X Ltd. As the Car coming into the business, Car account is to be debited &
Cash/ Bank balance will be reduced after making cash payment.

  • Debit, What comes into the business (Real Account)
    Purchase of Car will increase in asset balance, So Car account is to be debited.
  • Credit,What goes out of the business.
    Here, the SBI bank balance will be reduced. So Bank account is to be credited.

    So, the entry will be
    Car A/c Dr
    To SBI Bank A/c Cr.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to avoid errors or omissions in this material. In spite of this, errors may creep in. Any mistake, error or discrepancy noted may be brought to our notice which shall be taken care of in the next edition. In no event the author or the website shall be liable for any direct, indirect, special or incidental damage resulting from or arising out of or in connection with the use of this information.

Author is a Qualified CMA with rich industry experience for more than 6 years. He is an All India Ranker (AIR-101) in CMA and also a Semi-Qualified Chartered Accountant having a quite good experience in teaching the subjects of Accounting and Costing to the commerce aspirants.

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