What is Double Entry?

Double entry is an accounting methodology used by professionals to make sure that all accounts are properly balanced. When accounts balance, the likelihood that a data-entry error has been made is much less. For large, complex accounts with many transactions, it is easy to make errors that might go undetected for a long time. Double-entry is a crucial technology for catching those errors.

A double-entry transaction is a transaction that appears in two accounts. One account is debited by an amount exactly equal to what the other is credited. Thus, all transactions are always transfers between two accounts. Since they always appear with a plus sign in one account, and a minus sign in the other, the total over all accounts will always be zero, and thus, balanced accounts are guaranteed.

Double-entry is already familiar to most people as a transfer from one bank account to another, where money is withdrawn from one and deposited in another. Far less familiar is the idea that double entry can be used to track income and expenses as well as bank transfers. See the "Income/Expense" help window for more information.

Using Double Entry

To use the double entry, click on a box in the column marked "Transfer From" on the left-hand side of the register. A menu will drop down, listing all of the accounts from which a transfer may be made. Select one. When you record the transaction, the double-entry will automatically be made, and the transaction automatically appear in all windows showing the transfered-from and the transferred-to accounts.

To change a double-entry transaction, edit it in any window in which it appears. Any changes made will be automatically reflected in both accounts and all windows displaying the transaction. Similarly, when a double-entry transaction is deleted, it is deleted from both accounts; balances are automatically recalculated for both accounts.

To change the transfer account, simply select a new account from the pull-down menu. When you record the transaction, it will automatically be selected from the old account, and inserted into the new account.