The Rationality of Rules of Debit and Credit

21 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015

See all articles by Sony Warsono

Sony Warsono

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)

Date Written: December 4, 2015


Double-entry bookkeeping (DEB) and the rules of debit and credit (RDC) have been used in practice and taught in academia for at least 500 years. In the journal Issues in Accounting Education, certain scholars have debated whether RDC needs to be eliminated from introductory accounting courses. The proponents argue that teaching RDC bears greater costs than benefits and that the rules are not intuitive for most students. Conversely, the opponents argue that RDC is fundamental knowledge in accounting and has been shown to survive without many changes. The unfinished nature of the debate was partly due to the absence of the objective rationality of RDC. This paper shows that DEB and RDC have a close relation mathematically. Initially, this paper presents certain important facts regarding double entry bookkeeping as great knowledge that should be respected by modern accounting scholars. Furthermore, this paper presents the rationality of RDC. This rationality is based on a mathematical perspective because RDC was documented in the book of mathematics and written by a professor of mathematics. RDCs are applied to address the writings on the reduction of monetary value.

Keywords: Double entry bookkeeping, Rules of debit and credit, Inbtroductory accounting courses, Non-negative monetary unit

Suggested Citation

Warsono, Sony, The Rationality of Rules of Debit and Credit (December 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Sony Warsono (Contact Author)

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) - Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) ( email )

Jl. Humaniora, Bulaksumur
Jogjakarta, DI Yogyakarta 55281

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