Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated March 16, 2021

What is Debit?

A debit is an accounting record that represents either an increase in assets or a decrease in liabilities or net worth. A debit is the opposite of a credit.

How Does Debit Work?

For example, let's say that Company XYZ sells $1,000,000 worth of widgets to John Doe for cash. On the balance sheet, the accountants would debit cash by $1,000,000 (that is, increase cash) and credit inventory by $1,000,000.

Why Does Debit Matter?

In accounting terms, "debit" and "credit" confuse most people, and it is usually clearer (and safer) to indicate which accounts increase or decrease. However, any financial professional should know the terms.

Debits and credits reflect the double-entry bookkeeping method. This involves making at least two recording entries for every transaction: a debit in one account and a credit in another account. The method helps prevent errors because the sum of the debits should equal the sum of the credits.

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