If so:

  1. What would be the use cases of such an entry?
  2. Is it a debit, or a credit, or something else entirely?

Context: I'm developing software that has accounting functionality and was writing database queries to get debits & credits

  • Debits: where amount < 0
  • Credits where amount > 0

and realized that doesn't account for zero, which I'm not even sure whether I need to account for...

  • It doesn't seem to make sense to have this in the context of "debit and credit accounting" since, by its nature, it doesn't change the balance. Similarly it isn't intrinsically a debit or a credit. Are you asking theoretically or do you actually have accounting entries like this? It may be worth asking your "product owner" or whoever your business contact is. I could see cases where an accounting entry was added with zero but it (by definition) wouldn't be either a debit or credit. But there could be use cases for recording it like "pro bono" services though. Value/service but zero cost. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 19:44
  • @seventyeightist I don't have any such entries, I just became curious in the process of writing this code.
    – swrobel
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 20:00
  • In the context of writing software, I would expect that you'd end up with 0 entries because someone credited or debited the wrong account and fixed the error by zeroing out the amount rather than removing the entry (and that if the front end is coded to attempt to prevent that, there will be bugs). That's not the correct way to handle it from a technical accounting perspective but it's something that humans are likely to do in practice. Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


One use case I can see for it is for tracing system-generated entries. It's very common to have lots of book entries be fully automated. The presence of those entries, however, does enable anyone looking at the ledgers to see that the entries were passed but with nil amounts. If they are not present, then one has to investigate why the entries were not posted which can be very difficult to do.

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