Nominal Account

What is the Nominal Account?

Nominal Accounts are accounts related and associated with losses, expenses, income, or gains. Examples include a purchase account, sales account, salary A/C, commission A/C, etc. The outcome of a nominal account is either profit or loss, which is then ultimately transferred to the capital account.

  • The nominal account is an income statement account (expenses, income, loss, profit). It is also known as a temporary account, unlike the balance sheet account ( Asset, Liability, owner’s equity), which are permanent accounts.
  • So nominal accounting starts with a zero balance at the start of every accounting year. Then during the period, it accumulates all the gains and losses and returns to zero balance at the end of every accounting year by transferring/paying the amount/ balances to a permanent account.
Nominal Account

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For eg:
Source: Nominal Account (

Nominal Account Example

Consider a temporary account like a sales account that is opened for recording the sale of goods and services during the year. At the end of the financial year, the total sales are transferred to the revenue statement account. Similarly, expenses are recorded in the expense accountExpense AccountExpense accounting is the accounting of business costs incurred to generate revenue. Accounting is done against the vouchers created at the time the expenses are more and which again at the end of the year are transferred to the revenue statement account. In the end, the positive/ negative changes (Revenue- expenses) are transferred to a permanent account in the balance sheet.

Based on the periodicity of the flow of funds, the Account is divided as below.

  • An Income is a short-term inflow of funds during the fiscal year.
  • Expenses are the short-term outflow of the fund during the fiscal year.
  • An asset is the long-term inflow of funds whose time horizon can be spread to multiple years, so assets value can be calculated as a present value of future cash flow.
  • A Liability is a long-term outflow of a fund that is extending beyond the financial year.
Types of AccountLong Term InflowLong Term OutflowShort Term InflowShort Term Outflow
Real AccountAssets
Personal AccountAssetsLiability
Nominal AccountIncomeExpenses

The Rules of Nominal Account

The golden rules to record any transaction under nominal accounts are:

1.) Debit all the expenses and losses.

2.) Credit all the income and gains.

Let us understand the rules of Nominal account with the help of an example:

Suppose a good is purchased for Rs.15,000 in a cash transaction. To record this transaction, we are affecting two accounts i.e., purchase account and cash account.

Account InvolvedDebit/CreditRule Applied
Purchase AccountDebitNominal Account – Debit all Expense
To Cash AccountCreditReal Account – Credit what goes out

The amount will be Rs. 15,000 in both debitDebitDebit is an entry in the books of accounts, which either increases the assets or decreases the liabilities. According to the double-entry system, the total debits should always be equal to the total more and credit.

Transferring Fund from Nominal Account to Real Account

The following journal entries show how the balances in nominal ac are shifted through an income summary account to the retained earnings account-Retained Earnings Account-Retained Earnings are defined as the cumulative earnings earned by the company till the date after adjusting for the distribution of the dividend or the other distributions to the investors of the company. It is shown as the part of owner’s equity in the liability side of the balance sheet of the more

#1 – Shift all Rs. 10,000 of revenuesRevenuesRevenue is the amount of money that a business can earn in its normal course of business by selling its goods and services. In the case of the federal government, it refers to the total amount of income generated from taxes, which remains unfiltered from any more generated during the month to the income summary account

nominal account 2

#2 –  Shift all Rs. 9,000 of expenses generated during the month to the income summary account (there is assumed to be just one expense account)

nominal account 3

#3 – Shift the Rs. 1,000 net profit balance in the income summary account to the retained earnings account

nominal account 4
The preceding entries can be completed manually. However, an accounting software package will handle the transfer tasks automatically, once an authorized user sets the rollover flag in the software to close the old reporting year and shift recordkeeping to the next fiscal year.

Difference Between a Nominal Account and a Real Account-

When we differentiate these two accounts, the main parameter we consider is the balances in these accounts at the end of the fiscal year.

Nominal Account Video


This article has been a guide to what is Nominal Accounts. Here we discuss the golden rules to record any transaction with examples. Also, we discuss the Nominal account vs. Real Account. Here are the other articles in accounting that you may like –

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