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.

Accounts payable

NL: 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

NL: Debiteuren


What's the proper English term for BTW-aangifte?

That's an excellent question for ChatGPT: It has endless patience for such nitpicking questions:

> I have a single-owned business, in The Netherlands. Every month, I have to send a form to the tax office (Belastingdienst) to inform them about VAT. In Dutch, this is called "BTW-aangifte". What would be the English term for this? "VAT submission", "VAT declaration", or maybe something else?
The English term for "BTW-aangifte" in the Netherlands is typically "VAT return" or "VAT declaration." Both "VAT submission" and "VAT report" are also commonly used alternatives to describe the process of providing information to the tax office regarding Value Added Tax (VAT) transactions. The specific term can vary slightly based on regional variations and preferred terminology, but "VAT return" and "VAT declaration" are widely understood and used.

Personally, I find VAT return a strange term, just as I find the US term tax return strange → I'll use VAT submission.

BTW: Verschuldigd

  • BTW: Verschuldigd is VAT that has been invoiced to the company's customers and that has to be disbursed to the tax authorities.
  • English: VAT: Due

BTW: Voorbelasting

This is VAT that has been incurred in purchases done by the company:

  • NL: BTW: Voorbelasting
  • EN: VAT: Pretax.

Chart of accounts - Rekeningschema

Chart of accounts [1] or rekeningschema: List of all accounts or grootboekrekeningen

Debet - Debit

Financieel feit

I'm often struggling with how to call the stuff that you put on a line in a bookkeeping:

  • Financieel feit [2]
  • Journaalpost - That's how it appears in the bookkeeping. That's not exactly what I'm looking for here
  • Bookkeeping fact (EN).

General ledger - Grootboek

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


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


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


Journaalpost: A mutation in an administration where debit and credit are balanced: It always involves at least two lines, regels or mutations [3]

Means of production


Onttrekking privé

  • Private withdrawal
  • Withdrawal private?


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

  • EN: Posting [4]
  • NL: Inboeken.


  • Current account
  • (Checking account)


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

VAT: Due

BTW: Verschuldigd

VAT: Pretax

BTW: Voorbelasting

VAT Rate

Is it rate or tariff in English?

> I have a single-owned business, in The Netherlands. Every month, I have to send a form to the tax office (Belastingdienst) to inform them about VAT. In Dutch, this is called "BTW-aangifte". Figures are split into two groups: "High VAT" and "Low VAT". How would you call these groups in English? "High VAT Rate & Low VAT Rate", or "High VAT tariff & Low VAT tariff"? Or something else?
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.