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What is a Real Account? Its Types, Advantages & Disadvantages (With FAQs)

A real account is an account that holds and carries forward balances at the end of the year. These amounts become the opening balance for the next period. The areas on the balance sheet where the actual accounts are found are Assets, Liabilities, and Equity. Real accounts also include accounts against assets, accounts against liabilities, and accounts against equity. This is because these accounts hold balances beyond the current fiscal year.

What is Real acocunt
What is Real account

Real accounts are not reflected in the income statement. All balances of income, expenses, and profit and loss accounts (called nominal or temporary accounts) recorded in the income statement are returned to retained earnings at the end of each fiscal year, and the starting balances of these accounts are zero. Since retained earnings are real accounts, this means that the balances of all nominal accounts are finally transferred to one real account.

Auditors will periodically review the real account content as part of the audit process.

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Examples of Real Accounts


A business organization’s resources that are owned by the organization, can contribute to revenue generation, and have a monetary value that can be used to pay the organization’s liabilities are company assets. Assets are further divided into two different categories:

Tangible assets

Assets that can be seen or touched are considered tangible assets. Tangible assets include cash, furniture, inventory, buildings, machinery, etc.

Intangible assets:

Various assets that can be touched or cannot be touched are considered intangible assets. Examples of intangible assets include patents, goodwill, and trademarks.


These are legal and financial obligations an organization has to others. Examples of liabilities include loan obligations, trade payables including accounts payable, and bills payable.

Stockholder’s Equity

Shareholders’ equity is the value of assets available to the company’s shareholders after payment of liabilities. Examples include retained earnings, common stock, etc.

Advantages of Real Account

The followings are the benefits of the real account:

The rule “debit what goes in, credit what goes out” makes journaling easier by making it clear which side is which i.e., must be posted on the debit or credit side.

Represents the final balance of assets and liabilities shown on the balance sheet and is carried forward to the next financial year.

Disadvantages of Real Account

The followings are the drawbacks of the real account:

If there is an error in the closing balance of the real accounts in one fiscal year, the same error is carried forward to the next fiscal year. The closing balance of a fiscal year is the opening balance of the next fiscal year.

Understanding the Basics

In accounting there are three accounts in which you are dealing which are:

  1. Real Account
  2. Nominal Account
  3. Personal Account

Real Accounts

As mentioned earlier, real accounts represent assets, liabilities, and equity. Bank account, gold deposit account, inventory account, patent account, business loan account, etc. These accounts accumulate funds that roll over for years to come.

Nominal Accounts

Unlike real accounts, nominal accounts close in the same fiscal year and do not contain cumulative balances. Instead, the organization transfers them to the income statement at the end of the year. Thus, each year contains nominal account figures specific to that year only. Nominal accounts represent profits or gains, losses, expenses, and income. Accounts categorized as personal accounts usually contain the profit or loss incurred in a particular transaction. This ultimately helps determine if the company is profitable or incurring losses. For example, determine if there are rental accounts, fire damage accounts, transfer accounts, interest-receiving accounts, salary accounts, commission-receiving accounts, rebate-receiving accounts, etc.

Personal Accounts

These accounts, on the other hand, are specific to individuals, businesses, institutions, corporations, etc. They represent natural persons such as Roy’s Account, Leo’s Account and Mary’s Account, and artificial persons such as Care Charitable Trust, Helper Traders and Big Shoppers Ltd. Similar to real account balances, personal account balances carry over to the next fiscal year unless the individual settles the account’s dues in that year.

Types of Real Accounts

Real Accounts are classified into the following two types:

Tangible Real Accounts

These Tangible real accounts represent objects or assets that can be touched or grasped. For example, land account, cash account, time deposit account, stock account, etc.

Intangible Real Accounts

These Intangible real accounts represent intangible assets such as copyright accounts and good faith accounts.

Golden Rules of Accounting and Real Account

Real accounts have to do with the golden rules of accounting. Specifically, the rule is “Debit what comes in & Credit what goes out.”

With a real account, when something (such as an asset) enters the business, it is debited from the account. If you have any problems, please make a deposit to your account. Let’s say you buy new machinery with $5,000 in cash on 1st October 2022. Bill the equipment account (incoming) and credit the cash account (outgoing).


Various key points related to real accounts are:

  • These accounts appear on the organization’s balance sheet showing the company’s equity, liabilities, and assets.
  • The term “real” refers to the permanent and ongoing nature of these accounts. These accounts remain active from start to finish of trading.
  • The applicable golden rule is that an organization should claim debit what comes into it and credit what comes out of it.


Real accounts, also called permanent accounts, are account balances that are carried forward from one fiscal year to another. In other words, the closing balance of one fiscal year of the company becomes the opening balance of the next fiscal year on the balance sheet. Examples are assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. It will continue to act from the beginning of the business to the end. As a result, some of these accounts may temporarily have zero balances.

Further Reading: Click on the below-mentioned link to read relevant articles on finance & accounting.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Question

What are real accounts give example?

Real accounts represent assets, liabilities, equity, or capital. Examples of real accounts include cash, furniture, machinery, loans, banking, investments, land, and capital.

Name a few examples of Intangible Real accounts.

An intangible real account is an asset that cannot be touched or seen and does not physically exist. You can measure them in terms of money, such as patent accounts, trademark accounts, goodwill accounts, and copyright accounts.

What is the golden rule of accounting for Real accounts?

The golden rule of real account accounting is to debit what comes in and credit what goes out. Each transaction debits the component entering the store and credits the component leaving the store.

What are real and nominal accounts?

Nominal accounts start with a zero balance for the next fiscal year, while real accounts start with the ending balance of the previous period. A nominal account is also called a temporary account and a real account is also called a permanent account.

What are the Real account types?

Real accounts can be further categorized into two types.

  • Tangible Real Accounts
  • Intangible Real Accounts

Do real accounts appear in the balance sheet or income statement?

Real accounts appear on the balance sheet and form the closing balance for the current financial year and the opening balance for the following financial year.

Are Real accounts temporary accounts?

No, Real accounts are permanent accounts that are carried forward to the next fiscal year.

What are the 3 nominal accounts?

Revenue accounts, Expense accounts, and Gain & Loss accounts are 3 Nominal accounts.

Is the bank a real account?

Both Bank & Cash are real accounts

Is salary a real account?

Salary is an expense account & a nominal account.

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