Avoid …

Double-entry bookkeeping, with a couple of exceptions.

If you look at a bookkeeping textbook, you may get the impression that double-entry bookkeeping is the only system in use. Actually double entry is only suitable for professional accountants, and most small businesses would do best to look at a simpler system.

Of course, you may take the view that if your business venture falls through, then you would look at a career in accountancy. That is one exception. You may already be using a double-entry system, probably as computer software, you are happy with it, and would like to know more about it. That is the other exception.

Debit-Positive Convention

If you want to be an accountant, then of course you will need to learn double entry. After that, you might take a look at debit-positive convention. This is where debits are treated as positive numbers, and credits are treated as negative numbers. This gives a compact method of dealing with accounting transactions which is useful if you have to deal with anything that has to be consolidated, or if you just want to present a schedule where you can sight-read all the numbers. It is also possible to work in credit-positive convention.

The method of entering numbers on the David Porthouse & Co spreadsheet owes something to debit-positive convention. If you type a negative number, it is transferred to the other column (this works with credit-positive convention as well). This allows numbers to be entered quickly from a handheld numeric keypad if things need to be done manually.