Debit/Credit Flashcards - Drill and Practice for Principles of Financial Accounting

Created by Susan M. Moncada, Ph.D., CPA, Indiana State University
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Initial Publication Date: August 17, 2010


For instructors who foster the traditional approach to teaching principles of financial accounting, these 25 interactive PowerPoint flashcards allow students to practice drilling the rules of debits and credits. The flash card feedback refers to the acronym EARLS to help students learn the debit and credit rules applied to increasing and decreasing specific accounts. Mastering and applying the rules of debits and credits is a critical concept essential to understanding the functions of the accounting cycle including how information flows through to the financial statements. Instructors can modify the flashcard questions to suit their specific needs.

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Learning Goals

As a result of using these flash cards, students should be able to:
  • Identify whether increasing or decreasing specific accounts results in the account being debited or credited.

Context for Use

This drill and practice activity is designed to be used as students are learning how to record transactions at the early stages of the accounting cycle. Prerequisite knowledge of the following concepts is essential:
  • the accounting equation
  • pre-adjusting journal entry transactions analysis
  • the definitions of the terms debit and credit and the nature of debit and credit accounting procedures
  • the normal balances for typical pre-adjusting entry accounts

Implementation options- This exercise can be used:
  1. As an in-class drill and practice or review activity with students in the class selecting and providing answers to the flash card item. The class could also be divided into two teams, with the team that knows the most answers receiving bonus points.
  2. As a supplementary drill and practice activity completed independently by students for outside of class time.

Higher Order Thinking Skills: Comprehension and Application.

Description and Teaching Materials


  • EARLS (Expenses, Assets, Revenues, Liabilities, Stockholders' Equity) and LASER (Liabilities, Assets, Stockholders' Equity, Expenses, Revenues) acronyms and diagrams for remembering the rules for applying debits and credits.. The flash card feedback is based on the EARLS acronym. Students can remember this acronym by referencing the television show My Name Is Earl. EARLS diagram (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 13kB Aug13 10)
  • Debit and Credit PowerPoint Flash cards. The EARLS acronym also fits nicely into the t-account notation. Debit & Credit PowerPoint Flashcards (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 265kB Sep22 10)

Teaching Notes and Tips

  1. Instructors and/or students need to practice running this PowerPoint flash card presentation prior to attempting to use it.
  2. To select a flash card, users must click on the hyperlinked card number on each flash card. Clicking on a card's blue background may cause the sequencing of the flash card presentation to malfunction.
  3. Once a flash card has been selected, moving from slide to slide should be accomplished using the return button until the user is back on the 25 flashcard home page.
  4. Caution: Clicking on white areas on any screen will cause the flash card sequencing to malfunction as well.
  5. Each flash card changes color once it has been viewed. To rerun the flashcards, the presentation must be closed and re-opened.


Using these flash cards provides for individualized formative assessment when students use them for independent practice outside of class. These concepts are typically assessed on a unit exam that covers the accounting cycle.

References and Resources

Kimmel, P. D., Weygandt, J. J. & Kieso, D. E. (2009). Accounting Tools for Business Decision Making, 3rd edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.