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Resource: Martin Blais / Beancount on the double entry counting method (bookkeeping)

If you’re in a position of responsibility in any organisation – a business or department of a business, a social club, a non-profit – it is utterly essential that someone you trust who is not the accountant or bookkeeper understands the basics of accounting enough to ask annoying questions about it and spot discrepancies.

That someone doesn’t have to be you, but it probably is you.

Martin Blais’ explanation is a good introduction to the logic behind the system that almost everyone uses.


This document is a gentle introduction to the double-entry counting method, as written from the perspective of a computer scientist. It is an attempt to explain basic bookkeeping using as simple an approach as possible, doing away with some of the idiosyncrasies normally involved in accounting. It is also representative of how Beancount works, and it should be useful to all users of plain-text accounting.

Note that I am not an accountant, and in the process of writing this document I may have used terminology that is slightly different or unusual to that which is taught in perhaps more traditional training in accounting. I granted myself license to create something new and perhaps even unusual in order to explain those ideas as simply and clearly as possible to someone unfamiliar with them.

I believe that the method of double-entry counting should be taught to everyone at the high school level everywhere as it is a tremendously useful organizational skill, and I hope that this text can help spread its knowledge beyond professional circles.

Basics of Double-Entry Bookkeeping

The double-entry system is just a simple method of counting, with some simple rules…

Martin Blais – The Double-Entry Counting Method

See also:
Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean (Karen Berman and John Case)
Resources: Seth Godin on money stuff – cashflow, price, overheads, and finding the right size
Show me the money
The money game
Toolkit (v0.1)
No shortage of money
Waste what, want what

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...