Watch My Tiller Accounting 101 Video

Here is the video. Heather has a two second cameo at the 30 second mark.

This is the post where the brainchild started and it took off after I clicked on the YouTube link.

I am not going to steal my own thunder so take a look. I took lots of creative license here. Depending on where you are at in the video, the following words come to mind; hilarious, funny, silly, serious, relaxing, educational, entertaining, joyful, humorous, creative, inspiring, overwhelming, worthless, useless, and meaningful. Don’t forget to stay for the after class party.

Please let me know if I should quit my day job.




Enjoyed the video, though being that close to the edge of a cliff at the end made me nervous! One thing it helped me realize (besides the lack of proof about COVID via computer) is that while I think I generally understand the difference between an asset (something I have) and a liability (something I owe), the difference between a debit and a credit isn’t intuitive to me.

Credit and debit appear to be opposite things, though I’m just realizing that I have a ‘debit card’ and a ‘credit card’, and I use them in the same way. I guess the difference is that the debit card tells the store to take money directly from my account, and the credit card tells the store that the bank will pay them through a line of credit I have, and then I have to pay the bank back (which don’t seem like opposites to me). I associate the word ‘debit’ with ‘subtract’, and the word ‘credit’ with ‘add’ (opposites), though all the credit card ‘adds’ is liability.

If I understand Asset vs Liability, does it matter if I don’t understand Debit vs Credit (ie. is it only necessary if I’m an accountant doing “Bookkeeping”)? I don’t see those terms used anywhere in Tiller. Maybe I need to take remedial Accounting!


Thanks for making it to the end of the video.

There is no need to worry if you do not totally understand debits and credits. Most people do not have a clue. Debits and credits are the foundation of the double entry accounting system. Unfortunately, use of these words outside of the context of the accounting system causes much confusion.

The video provides a short, quick, and basic understanding of how it all works. If the video got you to think, which it did for you, that is great. I believe everyone would benefit from understanding more about how all of this fits together.

Here is a link to the spreadsheet I created and used in the video.

If the community finds value here, I have ideas on how we might proceed.


Wow. While I learned the key concepts, @blake, I also really appreciated your sense of humor— the stockpile of Tiller Money shirts, the mask, the self-deprecating captions, the “after-class party”…

Thanks for pulling this together and sharing, @blake.

I have a little bit of the same confusion as you do, @jpfieber, around the credit & debit concept but it feels like there is a clue in @blake’s video. I thought it was interesting with double-entry accounting that when @blake paid the phone bill, the “Phone” category received a $200 (positive) debit— as though something of value were being transferred into it; I think essentially you are adding value to the “Phone” category in the form of phone service whose value can be quantified in dollars (i.e. that account is being funded). (Before watching, intuitively, from single-entry accounting, paying the phone bill is a negative expense).

So perhaps a “debit card” works more in this context… when you buy groceries on your debit card, you are funding your “Groceries” category with the value of the food… whereas when you buy groceries on your credit card, the key transaction is the loan from a 3rd party…? :thinking:

Wait I thought you already quit your day job?! Nice touch with the face shield! Can never be too safe. :laughing:

This is great, @Blake ! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for making this video and helping explain this @Blake .

I’d say Tiller is a quasi-double-entry accounting system. Here’s what I mean:

For example. when you Pay the Phone bill from your Checking account, that will appear as 1 line in your Transactions sheet. But:
Your checking account is decreased by the amount of the bill.
Your Phone expense category is increased by the amount of the bill. This really is an increase, since there is more money in your Phone expense category.

When dealing with Transfers, from one account to another account, then Tiller requires two Transaction lines to follow double-entry accounting methods. One account is reduced and the other account is increased by the same amount.

In both these examples, the left side and right side balance out to zero.


I appreciate the replies.

Facts - @jpfieber , @randy , @jono are smart people.
Assumptions - None of them are bookkeepers or accountants. None have substantial formal training in accounting.
Observations - It is interesting to see how each one of them intuitively thinks about the matter. Based on their experiences, each one gets to the goal line but they take different paths and articulate using their own words and language. While their words and language may be the same or similar to the others, their are subtle differences in meaning. This is nothing new but just an inherent given in the study of language.

I want to get any more feedback that is out there and then I will have some ideas to share.



Your observation is correct. Not a bookkeeper or accountant. But my Dad is an accountant so some of it rubs off.