Can you explain accounting (simply)?

July 9th, 2012 → 2:09 pm @

Dear Carol,

With my science background I have problems with accounting as is taught everywhere.

Why do I have to have a lined book, wouldn’t an Excel file be just as good or better?

Could you recommend me a course that would explain why things are done this way?

Thank you,




Sure, a spreadsheet program like Excel (or the free Open Office Calculate) works great for record keeping in a simple small business.


If you are interested in a bookkeeping class I can recommend the free on-line tutorial offered by Bean Counter at It teaches the double entry system, not the more simplified record keeping that I explain in Business Tips and Taxes for Writers.


Or the Internal Revenue Service’s Publication 583 – “Starting a Business and Keeping Records” has a detailed example of a single entry type of system. It’s only 27 pages long, if you don’t mind reading IRS publications.


If you don’t like reading IRS-ese, then try Business Tips and Taxes for Writers, especially Chapters 8, 9 and 10 where I show authors a simple record keeping system.


I think it will help a lot!


Carol Topp, CPA


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