The financial accounting terms real and nominal refer to permanent accounts that appear on the balance sheet (real) as well as temporary accounts that appear on the income statement (nominal).
An account is used to record the effects of events and transactions on a company's financial statements. Events can be both internal and external and will involve a change in assets, liabilities, and owner's equity; while a transaction is a specific type of external event that involves the exchange of value between two entities.
Accounts are maintained for assets, liabilities, owner's equity, revenues and expenses. Generally, they are divided into two subcategories: