Golden Rules of Accounting with Example 3 Types of Accounts

Golden Rules of Accounting

One of the most famous and commonly used terms in the field of accounting and finance is “Three golden rules of accounting”. The phrase itself shows that these rules form the very basis of accounting and act as a cornerstone for all bookkeeping. They are also known as the traditional rules of accounting or the rules of debit and credit. Application of three golden rules is only possible if correctly determine the type of account using in business transactions i.e. Real, Personal or Nominal Account.

I hope you have an understanding of Accounting Terminologies.

Note: Rules of accounting does not means that in one transaction only one rule will be applicable. There may be two rules that will be applied. Whenever the transaction will be done on a cash basis then only two rules apply, real or nominal. But when it’s on a credit basis then the Personal account replace with a Real account of cash.

3 Golden Rules of Accounting with Example

First, you should understand the different types of Accounts Types, which is mentioned below. Every Journal Entry have a direct Effect on Income Statement or Balance Sheet.

3 Types of Accounts

  • Real Account: Its related to Capital nature Expense, Balance Sheet Items
  • Nominal Account: Its related to Revenue nature Expenses, Income Statement Items
  • Personal Account: When the Transaction will be done on credit then the personal account comes.

List of Accounting Golden Rules

  • Real Account: Debit What comes in and Credit What Goes out
  • Nominal Account: Debit all Expenses and Losses and Credit all Income and Profit
  • Personal Account: Debit the receiver and Credit the giver



Its Traditional rules for posting the transactions into journal and ledgers. Debtors and Creditors are expressed into Personal Accounts, Expense, losses and profit come into Nominal and Assets come into Real Account. So by remembering the 3 rules bookkeeping can be understood within a short time. You can get more ACCA information.

Note: 3 Rules can be explained into 2 Catagory.

1. Real Account

Real accounts: Debit What comes in and Credit What Goes out

These are related to Balance Sheet Items. An example is Land and Building, Furniture and Fixture, Cash, Plant and equipment. Real accounts are those which have an effect of more than one year.

Real Account treatment rule:

  • Debit What Comes In,
  • Credit What Goes Out

This principle is applied in the case of real accounts. Real accounts involve machinery, land and building etc. They have a debit balance by default. Thus when you debit what comes in, you are adding to the existing account balance. Similarly, when your credit what goes out, you are reducing the account balance when a tangible asset goes out of the organization.

 Example 1 (With capital nature items)

Purchased Furniture for $10,000 in cash.

Furniture A/C 10,000 Real a/c – Dr. what comes in
Cash A/C 10,000 Real a/c – Cr. what goes out

Because the transaction is cash bases that are why both real accounts come in dual concept. But if the same transaction is done on credit then the Cash account replaced with a Personal account.

Real Account

2. Nominal Account

Nominal Account: Expenses and Losses will be debited & All Incomes And Gains will be credited

  • All Expense and loss Debited
  • All profit and income Credited

Nominal Accounts are related to Income Statements Item. Examples are Salary and Wages, Commission, Utility bills, Carriage, losses, Income, Profit. Nominal accounts are those which have less than one year of effect on business.

This rule is applied when the account in question is a nominal account. The capital of the company is a liability. Therefore it has a default credit balance. When you credit all incomes and gains, you increase the capital and by debiting expenses and losses, you decrease the capital. This is exactly what needs to be done for the system to stay in balance. For example;

Nominal Account Example

• Paid 1$8,000 as rent.
Accounts Involved Debit/Credit Rule Applied
Rent A/C 18,000 (Nominal a/c) – Dr. the expenses
To Cash $18,000 (Real a/c) – Cr the Giver

  • Profit Gained $ 100

Cash Debited With $ 100 (Real A/c)

Profit Credited With $100 (Nominal A/c)

Nominal Account

3. Personal Account

Personal Account: Debit The Receiver, Credit The Giver

As I mentioned above if the transaction is made on a credit basis then these rules come into existence. This will replace with one side of the Real account. This principle is used in the case of personal accounts. When a person gives something to the organization, it becomes an inflow and therefore the person must be credit in the books of accounts. Personal accounts are only the replacement of finance, cash. That is Debtor or Creditor.

Personal Account Example;
• Paid 15,000 cash to Amazon.
Accounts Involved Debit/Credit Rule Applied
Amazon A/C 15,000 Personal a/c – Dr. the receiver
To Cash A/C 15,000 Real a/c – Cr. what goes out

In the above transaction cash is a capital nature and balance sheet item so it will be treated under the Real account. Amazon relates to the financing item so treated with a Personal account.

Personal Account

Before understanding the 3 Golden Rule of accountings you should know the basic accounting terminologies,  classification of Capital and revenue Expenditure then you can better understand the types of accounts and rules for debit and credit.

I hope this Post helps for a better understanding of the Modern Approach of Basic Accounting for Journal Entries. Once you understand it, your whole process from Journal Entry to Balance Sheet everything will be understandable.

Golden Rules of Accounting Infograph


Related Post