Terminology (bookkeeping)

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I'm already struggling with bookkkeeping terminology in Dutch, my native language. And the more in English. Let's use this article to keep terms & translations consistent.

Both Dutch & English entries might be included here. Or one entry might mention the other entry, without the latter having a separate heading - Whatever.


The word account can have multiple meanings within bookkeeping.

  • Here, it means the entity, to which amounts are associated, added and subtracted
  • Dutch: grootboekrekening or rekening.

Accounts payable

Accounts payable are the outstanding invoices from suppliers, that haven't yet been payed:

  • In Dutch: Handelskrediteuren.
  • Account payable is not to be confused with regular creditors: This is short term credit, from the time between receiving an invoice and paying the invoice. It's not like 'real' credit - Only a float.
  • That's why in Dutch, handelskrediteuren is a better name than just krediteuren.

Example: VAT at closing balance

At a closing balance of any given year, there is likely to be a post at credit concerning VAT that has to be disbursed to the Belastingdienst over the last period of that year. That would be called Creditor: Belastingdienst (VAT to be disbursed) or something like that. This is credit, not accounts payable.

The moment this VAT submission is done, this amount changes to accounts payable: Only now it became a regular account payable.

Accounts receivable

  • EN: accounts receivable
  • NL: debiteuren or handelsdebiteuren.


  • Balance - Balans
  • Closing balance - Eindbalans
  • Opening balance - Openingsbalans.

BTW-aangifte → VAT submission

BTW: Verschuldigd → VAT Due

BTW: Voorbelasting → VAT Pretax

Chart of Accounts (CoA)


Commission basis

When earning a commission on webshop sales, this commission is calculated over an amount dubbed commission basis. Two ways to calculate this amount:

Commission basis = sales mount -/- VAT -/- delivery costs -/- VAT over delivery costs
Commission basis = revenue -/- delivery costs -/- VAT over delivery costs.

Crediteuren → Accounts payable

Debet - Debit

Financial fact → Journal entry

Financieel feit → Journal entry

General ledger - Grootboek

General ledger or grootboek: The collection of all accounts or grootboekrekeningen

Grootboekrekening → account


This means the same as leverancierskrediteuren: Credit or float from suppliers.


  • Accounts payable
  • (Supplier credit - Supplier creditors)
  • (Trade credit? - Trade creditors?)

Journaalpost → Journal entry

Journal entry

Probably the core activity when doing bookkeeping, is recording financial facts, financiële feiten, bookkeeping facts? or boekingsfeiten? in an administration or bookkeeping.

  • There is a difference between a financial fact and what ends up in an administration, just like a map is not the same as the actual territory: It's only a representation. However, this distinction probably won't be mentioned again here
  • The act of recording a financial fact in an administration, is called in Dutch journaliseren or simply inboeken
  • Such a recording of a financial fact, is called a journaalpost or journal entry
  • A journaalpost consists of at least two regels or mutations?, to assure that debet and credit are balanced


Journaliseren → Journal entry


The Dutch term "vreemd vermogen" translates to "foreign capital" or "liabilities" in English. In accounting and finance contexts, "vreemd vermogen" refers to funds or capital that come from external sources, such as loans or other forms of debt. It represents the portion of a company's financing that is not provided by its owners or shareholders but is instead borrowed from creditors or other external parties.

So, in English, you can use either "foreign capital" or "liabilities" to convey the meaning of "vreemd vermogen" depending on the specific context in which it is used.

Means of production


Onttrekking privé

  • Private withdrawal
  • Withdrawal private?


How do you call the act of putting stuff in a bookkeeping?

  • EN: Posting [1]
  • NL: Inboeken.

Rekening → Account


  • Current account
  • (Checking account)

Rekeningschema → Chart of Accounts (CoA)


  • NL: Omzet
  • EN: Revenue - Not turnover.

General meaning

  • Revenue first and foremost, is an amount that does not include VAT
  • It's usually the sales amount ex. VAT.


Within bookkeeping, revenue is usually an mount without delivery costs, as transactions that include delivery costs, are likely to be administrated separately.


Within webshop operations, revenue is usually including delivery costs, but without VAT over delivery costs

Sales amount

  • EN: Sales amount, sales figure or sales price
  • NL: Verkoopbedrag.

This is the amount that changes hand as part of a transaction. So it's usually including VAT.


  • English: VAT Due
  • Dutch: BTW Verschuldigd

This is VAT that has been invoiced by the company to its customers and that has to be disbursed to the tax authorities.

The encircled amount is VAT: Due

VAT Pretax

  • NL: BTW Voorbelasting
  • EN: VAT Pretax.

Pretax is VAT that is charged to the company, by its suppliers. This is the stuff that is claimed back at VAT filings.

This is an invoice from a supplier. The encircled amount is VAT: Pretax

VAT Rate

Is it rate or tariff in English?

In English, you can refer to these groups as "High VAT Rate" and "Low VAT Rate." This terminology is clear and straightforward, making it easy for others to understand the distinction between the two categories. Using "tariff" instead of "rate" could potentially be confusing, as "tariff" often refers to taxes or duties imposed on imports or exports, rather than the standard tax rates applied to goods and services within a country.

VAT Submission

Dutch: BTW-aangifte

English name:

  • VAT declaration
  • VAT report
  • VAT return
  • VAT submission → I prefer this term.

Verkoopbedrag → Sales amount

Vreemd vermogen → Liabilities