Single-entry bookkeeping system
A single-entry bookkeeping system or single-entry accounting system is a method of bookkeeping relying on a one sided accounting entry to maintain financial information.
Most businesses maintain a record of all transactions based on the double-entry bookkeeping system. However, many small, simple businesses maintain only a single-entry system that records the "bare-essentials." In some cases only records of cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable and taxes paid may be maintained.
Single-entry systems are used in the interest of simplicity. They are usually less expensive to maintain than double-entry systems which require a significantly larger amount of expertise. If a double-entry system is needed, then the services of a trained person are often required.
According to the U.S.A. Internal Revenue Service: "A single-entry system is based on the income statement (profit or loss statement). It can be a simple and practical system if you are starting a small business. The system records the flow of income and expenses through the use of:
- A daily summary of cash receipts
- Monthly summaries of cash receipts and disbursements."
Additionally, in the U.S.A. Internal Revenue Manual, it is stated:
- The single entry system of record keeping does not include equal debits and credits to the balance sheet and income statement accounts. A single-entry accounting system is not self-balancing. Mathematical errors in the account totals are thus common. Reconciliation of the books and records to the return is an important audit step.
- A single-entry system may consist only of transactions posted in a notebook, daybook, or journal. However, it may include a complete set of journals and a ledger providing accounts for all important items.
- A single-entry system for a small business might include a business checkbook, check disbursements journal or register, daily/monthly summaries of cash receipts, a depreciation schedule, employee wages records, and ledgers showing debtor and creditor balances.
- Data may not be available to management for effectively planning and controlling the business.
- Lack of systematic and precise bookkeeping may lead to inefficient administration and reduced control over the affairs of the business.
- Single-entry record administration of those assets may occur.
- Theft and other losses are less likely to be detected.
- IRS Publication 583: Starting a Business and Keeping Records, 2015 http://www.irs.gov/publications/p583/ar02.html#en_US_201408_publink1000253168
- IRS Manual 22.214.171.124.2 (03-01-2003) http://www.irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-010-003-cont02.html#d0e3364