When formatting numbers, there is a difference between Accounting and Currency formatting. I have read so many Excel books in my lifetime that I never came across a clear explanation of these formats.

In the older versions of Excel, under Format Cells; you will notice that Excel never displayed how these two formats actually performs. And on top of all this, the $ icon was incorrect.  In the earlier versions, the $ icon tool tip displayed Currency but in actuality it formatted the number as Accounting. Therefore, if you used the Format Cells dialogue box, Currency formatted the numbers as Currency and Accounting formatted the numbers as Accounting. But the icon showed Accounting and did Currency format. See below for the two different dialogue boxes for the format that show no differences in the Sample box.

In Excel 2007 and 2010, Microsoft fixed the problem with the $ icon where it displays in the tool tip the word Accounting and it formats the number as Accounting. However, if you click in the Number Group and the down arrow symbol next to the word General, Excel still does not display an example what the two formats look like after the command is performed. The words Currency and Accounting are displayed next to unclear icons. See below.

Here is where I explain the differences to you in two simple sentences.!

  • Accounting starts with the letter “A” and that means the dollar symbol is “away” and “align” left from the numbers.  For example:
$                    2,000.00
$                      1,00.89
$                         56.99
  • Currency starts with the letter “C” and that means the dollar symbol is “close” to the numbers.
    For example:




See how simple it is!!!