Accounting Transaction Analysis: Learn The Basics With Examples

Wajiha Danish | July 28 2023

Whether you’re a student just starting to explore the accounting field or a business owner looking to enhance your financial literacy, understanding the basics of transaction analysis is crucial for interpreting and making sense of financial data.

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What is accounting transaction analysis?

Accounting transaction analysis lies at the heart of the accounting process. It involves dissecting and deciphering the various financial transactions within an organization, enabling professionals to accurately record, classify, and report these transactions. By developing proficiency in transaction analysis, you’ll gain a basic skill set that empowers you to evaluate the financial health of a business, make informed decisions, and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the essentials of accounting transaction analysis, breaking down complex concepts into easy-to-understand examples and practical scenarios. Whether you want to build a solid foundation or refresh your knowledge, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this enlightening journey together as we unravel the intricacies of accounting transaction analysis.

What is an accounting equation?

The accounting equation is a fundamental principle in accounting that represents the relationship between a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It is expressed as:

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity

In other words, the accounting equation states that a company’s total assets must be equal to the sum of its liabilities and shareholders’ equity. Here’s a brief explanation of each component:

1. Assets

Assets represent the economic resources owned by a company that have measurable value and are expected to provide future benefits. Examples of assets include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, property, equipment, and investments.

2. Liabilities

Liabilities refer to the company’s obligations or debts that it owes to external parties. These can include loans, accounts payable, accrued expenses, and other forms of debt.

3. Shareholders’ Equity

Shareholders’ equity, also known as owners’ equity or stockholders’ equity, represents the residual interest in the company’s assets after deducting liabilities. It includes the initial investment made by shareholders plus any additional contributions made over time, retained earnings (profits reinvested into the business), and other equity items like stock options or preferred stock.

The accounting equation must always be in balance, meaning that the total value of assets must be equal to the sum of liabilities and shareholders’ equity. This equation is the foundation for double-entry bookkeeping, where every transaction affects at least two accounts and ensures that the equation remains balanced.

The accounting transaction analysis in 5 steps

The accounting transaction analysis process typically involves the following five steps:

1. Identify the transaction

The first step is to identify the transaction or event that has occurred and needs to be recorded. This could be a sale of goods or services, purchase of inventory or equipment, receipt of cash, payment of expenses, etc.

2. Determine the accounts involved

Once the transaction is identified, you need to determine which accounts are affected by the transaction. For example, a sale of goods will involve accounts such as Sales Revenue and Accounts Receivable, while a purchase of inventory will involve Inventory and Accounts Payable.

3. Classify the accounts

After identifying the accounts involved, you need to classify them into appropriate categories such as assets, liabilities, equity, revenues, or expenses. This step helps in organizing the financial information and preparing financial statements.

4. Analyze the impact on the accounts

Next, you need to analyze how the transaction affects each of the identified accounts. Determine whether the account will increase or decrease and by how much. This analysis is based on the accounting equation, which states that assets equal liabilities plus equity.

5. Record the transaction

The final step is to record the transaction in the accounting system. This involves making entries in the appropriate accounts using a double-entry bookkeeping system. Each transaction should have at least two entries, with one debiting an account and the other crediting an account. The debits and credits must be equal, ensuring that the accounting equation remains in balance.

By following these five steps, you can effectively analyze and record accounting transactions, maintaining accurate financial records for your business.

Accounting transaction analysis by using T-accounts for transaction analysis

Accounting transaction analysis involves the examination and interpretation of financial transactions to determine their impact on specific accounts. T-accounts are a visual representation tool used to analyze and record transactions in accounting. They provide a simplified way to understand how transactions affect different accounts and their corresponding debit and credit entries.

Let’s go through an example to illustrate how T-accounts can be used for transaction analysis: 

Suppose a company, ABC Corporation, has the following transactions during a particular month:

1. On June 1st, ABC Corporation receives $10,000 in cash as an investment from the owner

To analyze this transaction using T-accounts, we would create two T-accounts: “Cash” and “Owner’s Equity.” The Cash account represents the company’s cash balance, and the Owner’s Equity account represents the owner’s investment.

Here’s how the T-accounts would look before and after the transaction: 

Before the Transaction:

Cash: 0

Owner’s Equity: 0

After the Transaction:

Cash: +$10,000

Owner’s Equity: +$10,000

In this case, since the owner invested $10,000 in cash, we record a $10,000 increase in the Cash account (debit entry) and a $10,000 increase in the Owner’s Equity account (credit entry). The debits and credits must balance out, ensuring the accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Owner’s Equity) remains in equilibrium.

2. On June 5th, ABC Corporation purchases office supplies worth $500 on credit

To analyze this transaction, we would create two T-accounts: “Office Supplies” and “Accounts Payable.” The Office Supplies account represents the company’s supplies inventory, while the Accounts Payable account represents the company’s obligations to pay the supplier.

Here’s how the T-accounts would look before and after the transaction: 

Before the Transaction:

Office Supplies: 0

Accounts Payable: 0

After the Transaction:

Office Supplies: +$500

Accounts Payable: +$500

In this case, since the company acquired office supplies worth $500 on credit, we record a $500 increase in the Office Supplies account (debit entry) and a $500 increase in the Accounts Payable account (credit entry). The debits and credits remain balanced.

3. On June 10th, ABC Corporation receives an invoice for $1,200 for services rendered by a consultant. The payment will be made in 30 days

To analyze this transaction, we would create two T-accounts: “Accounts Payable” and “Expenses.” The Accounts Payable account represents the company’s outstanding payment to the consultant, while the Expenses account represents the cost incurred for the consultant’s services.

Here’s how the T-accounts would look before and after the transaction: 

Before the Transaction:

Accounts Payable: $500

Expenses: 0

After the Transaction:

Accounts Payable: +$1,200

Expenses: +$1,200

In this case, since the company receives an invoice for services rendered, we record a $1,200 increase in the Accounts Payable account (credit entry) and a $1,200 increase in the Expenses account (debit entry).


By using T-accounts, accountants can visually track and analyze the impact of transactions on specific accounts. This method helps ensure accuracy and facilitates the preparation of financial statements, such as balance sheets and income statements, based on the recorded transactions. For more information, please contact Monily’s experts.

Also Read: 5 Tips on Managing Bookkeeping Effectively

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Author Bio

Wajiha is a Brampton-based CPA, CGA, and Controller with 17+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and is a Chartered Certified Accountant. Wajiha spearheads Monily as its Director and is a leader who excels in helping teams achieve excellence. She talks about business financial health, innovative accounting, and all things finances.