What does parentheses mean in accounting, anyway?

Well, parentheses are generally used to show an increase or decrease in something. In accounting, you might see parentheses around a number to show that it’s negative. For example, if a company has ($5,000) in its bank account, that means the company owes $5,000.

Think of parentheses as little hints that something is different than usual. In accounting, they often show that a number is negative (meaning the company owes money). But parentheses can be used for other things, too – like in math equations to help solve a problem.

If you see parentheses around a number in accounting, it’s generally a good idea to take a closer look to see what it means. Keep reading to learn more about parentheses in accounting, why accountants use brackets for negative numbers, and more.

## Accounting Negative Numbers in Parentheses

Accounting negative numbers in parentheses involves placing a negative sign to the left of the number and enclosing it in parentheses. The double negatives cancel each other out, so the net effect is that the number is positive. For example, the number -5 becomes (5).

While accounting for negative numbers in parentheses may seem like a small detail, it’s actually an important part of keeping accurate records. After all, if a company owes money, you need to be able to track exactly how much is owed.

Loving this post? Make sure to check out our other article about PPE in accounting before you go!

## Why Do Accountants Use Brackets for Negative Numbers?

Accountants use brackets for negative numbers because it’s a quick and easy way to show that a number is negative. Plus, it helps to keep the numbers tidy and organized.

Some people might argue that using a minus sign (-) or parentheses instead of brackets would be just as effective. However, using a minus sign can sometimes be confusing. For instance, if you see the number 5-, is that five minus something or just a negative five? Using parentheses eliminates this ambiguity.

When it comes to negative numbers, clarity is key. After all, you don’t want to make a mistake when tracking how much money a company owes. That’s why accountants prefer to use brackets.

## Accounting with Parentheses FAQ

### Do parentheses mean negative in accounting?

Yes, parentheses typically mean negative in accounting. However, they can also be used for other purposes, such as in math equations.

### When do accountants use parentheses?

Accountants use parentheses when they need to show that a number is negative. For example, if a company has ($5,000) in its bank account, that means the company owes $5,000.

### Why do accountants use parentheses?

Accountants use parentheses because it’s a quick and easy way to show that a number is negative. Plus, it helps to keep the numbers tidy and organized.

### What do parentheses mean in balance?

In general, parentheses around a number in accounting mean that the number is negative. So, if you see parentheses around a number in a company’s balance sheet, it means the company owes money.

### What do parentheses mean in taxes?

In taxes, parentheses around a number typically mean that the amount is deductible. For example, if you see (100), that means you can deduct $100 from your taxes.

### What does it mean when there are two sets of parentheses around a number in accounting?

When there are two sets of parentheses around a number in accounting, it generally means that the number is a negative percentage. For example, if you see ((5)), that means the number is -5%.

### Are parentheses and brackets the same thing?

No, parentheses and brackets are not the same thing. Parentheses are typically used to show that a number is negative, while brackets are usually used to show that a credit balance or loss needs to be displayed in the income statements. Brackets also are utilized to show credit entries.