Thoroughly Modern Accounting: Shifting to a De Re Conceptual Pattern for Debits and Credits

  • Chris PartridgeEmail author
  • Mesbah Khan
  • Sergio de Cesare
  • Frederik Gailly
  • Michael Verdonck
  • Andrew Mitchell
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11158)


Double entry bookkeeping lies at the core of modern accounting. It is shaped by a fundamental conceptual pattern; a design decision that was popularised by Pacioli some 500 years ago and subsequently institutionalised into accounting practice and systems. Debits and credits are core components of this conceptual pattern. This paper suggests that a different conceptual pattern, one that does not have debits and credits as its components, may be more suited to some modern accounting information systems. It makes the case by looking at two conceptual design choices that permeate the Pacioli pattern; de se and directional terms - leading to a de se directional conceptual pattern. It suggests alternative design choices - de re and non-directional terms, leading to a de re non-directional conceptual pattern - have some advantages in modern complex, computer-based, business environments.


De se De re Directional terms Debits and credits Accounting information systems 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BORO Solutions Ltd.LondonUK
  2. 2.OntoLedgy Ltd.LondonUK
  3. 3.University of WestminsterLondonUK
  4. 4.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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