General journal

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A general journal is a daybook or subsidiary journal in which transactions relating to adjustment entries, opening stock, depreciation, accounting errors etc. are recorded. The source documents for general journal entries may be journal vouchers, copies of management reports and invoices. Journals are prime entry books, and may also be referred to as books of original entry, from when transactions were written in a journal before they were manually posted to accounts in the general ledger or a subsidiary ledger.


It is where double entry bookkeeping entries are recorded by debiting one or more accounts and crediting another one or more accounts with the same total amount. The total amount debited and the total amount credited should always be equal, thereby ensuring the accounting equation is maintained. [1]

In manual accounting information systems, a variety of special journals may be used, such as a sales journal, purchase journal, cash receipts journal, disbursement journal, and a general journal. The transactions recorded in a general journal are those that do not qualify for entry in any special journal used by the organisation, such as non-routine or adjusting entries.

Manual processing

A bookkeeper or accountant would usually maintain the general journal. A general journal entry is a record of financial transactions in order by date. A general journal entry would typically include the date of the transaction (which may be dispensed with after the first entry of the day), the names of the accounts to be debited and credited (which should be the same as the name in the chart of accounts), the amount of each debit and credit, and a summary explanation of the transaction, commonly known as a narration. Each debit and credit account and the narration would be entered on consecutive lines, and typically at least one line would be left blank before the next journal entry, and entries should not be split over more than one page. Though not a requirement, it is widespread practice to enter the debits first, followed by the credits and then the narration. Whatever format is adopted, it should be applied consistently.

There may be multiple debit or credit entries, but the sum of the debits must be equal to the sum of the credits. For example, multiple expenses (debits) may be paid with one payment (a credit).

See also

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Bookkeeping Recording of financial transactions

Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting in business and other organisations. It involves preparing source documents for all transactions, operations, and other events of a business. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts and payments by an individual person or an organization/corporation. There are several standard methods of bookkeeping, including the single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping systems. While these may be viewed as "real" bookkeeping, any process for recording financial transactions is a bookkeeping process.

Double-entry bookkeeping, in accounting, is a system of book keeping where every entry to an account requires a corresponding and opposite entry to a different account. The double-entry system has two equal and corresponding sides known as debit and credit. The left-hand side is debit and the right-hand side is credit. In a normally debited account, such as an asset account or an expense account, a debit increases the total quantity of money or financial value, and a credit decreases the amount or value. On the other hand, for an account that is normally credited, such as a liability account or a revenue account, credits increase the account's value and debits decrease that value. In double-entry bookkeeping, a transaction always affects at least two accounts, always includes at least one debit and one credit, and always has total debits and total credits that are equal. This is to keep the accounting equation in balance. For example, if a business takes out a bank loan for $10,000, recording the transaction would require a debit of $10,000 to an asset account called "Cash", as well as a credit of $10,000 to a liability account called "Notes Payable".

Debits and credits

In double entry bookkeeping, debits and credits are entries made in account ledgers to record changes in value resulting from business transactions. A debit entry in an account represents a transfer of value to that account, and a credit entry represents a transfer from the account. Each transaction transfers value from credited accounts to debited accounts. For example, a tenant who writes a rent cheque to a landlord would enter a credit for the bank account on which the cheque is drawn, and a debit in a rent expense account. Similarly, the landlord would enter a credit in the rent income account associated with the tenant and a debit for the bank account where the cheque is deposited.

Accounts receivable Claims for payment held by a business

Accounts receivable, abbreviated as AR or A/R, are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised by a business and delivered to the customer for payment within an agreed time frame. Accounts receivable is shown in a balance sheet as an asset. It is one of a series of accounting transactions dealing with the billing of a customer for goods and services that the customer has ordered. These may be distinguished from notes receivable, which are debts created through formal legal instruments called promissory notes.

Financial transaction Form of agreement carried out between a buyer and seller

A financial transaction is an agreement, or communication, carried out between a buyer and a seller to exchange an asset for payment.

Trial balance

A trial balance is a list of all the general ledger accounts contained in the ledger of a business. This list will contain the name of each nominal ledger account and the value of that nominal ledger balance. Each nominal ledger account will hold either a debit balance or a credit balance. The debit balance values will be listed in the debit column of the trial balance and the credit value balance will be listed in the credit column. The trading profit and loss statement and balance sheet and other financial reports can then be produced using the ledger accounts listed on the same balance.

General ledger

In bookkeeping, a general ledger, also known as a nominal ledger, is a bookkeeping ledger in which accounting data is posted from journals and from subledgers, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, fixed assets, purchasing and projects. A ledger account is created for each account in the chart of accounts for an organization, are classified into account categories, such as income, expense, assets, liabilities and equity, and the collection of all these accounts is known as the general ledger. The general ledger holds financial and non-financial data for an organization. Each account in the general ledger consists of one or more pages. An organization's statement of financial position and the income statement are both derived from income and expense account categories in the general ledger.

The fundamental accounting equation, also called the balance sheet equation, represents the relationship between the assets, liabilities, and owner's equity of a person or business. It is the foundation for the double-entry bookkeeping system. For each transaction, the total debits equal the total credits. It can be expressed as furthermore:

A direct debit or direct withdrawal is a financial transaction in which one person withdraws funds from another person's bank account. Formally, the person who directly draws the funds instructs his or her bank to collect an amount directly from another's bank account designated by the payer and pay those funds into a bank account designated by the payee. Before the payer's banker will allow the transaction to take place, the payer must have advised the bank that he or she has authorized the payee to directly draw the funds. It is also called pre-authorized debit (PAD) or pre-authorized payment (PAP). After the authorities are set up, the direct debit transactions are usually processed electronically.


A ledger is a book or collection of accounts in which account transactions are recorded. Each account has an opening or carry-forward balance, would record transactions as either a debit or credit in separate columns and the ending or closing balance.

A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments in multiple ways, typically debit or credit cards. A merchant account is established under an agreement between an acceptor and a merchant acquiring bank for the settlement of payment card transactions. In some cases a payment processor, independent sales organization (ISO), or member service provider (MSP) is also a party to the merchant agreement. Whether a merchant enters into a merchant agreement directly with an acquiring bank or through an aggregator, the agreement contractually binds the merchant to obey the operating regulations established by the card associations.

Single-entry bookkeeping or single-entry accounting is a method of bookkeeping that relies on a one sided accounting entry to maintain financial information. The primary bookkeeping record in single-entry bookkeeping is the cash book, which is similar to a checking account register, except all entries are allocated among several categories of income and expense accounts. Separate account records are maintained for petty cash, accounts payable and receivable, and other relevant transactions such as inventory and travel expenses. To save time and avoid the errors of manual calculations, single-entry bookkeeping can be done today with do-it-yourself bookkeeping software.

A journal entry is the act of keeping or making records of any transactions either economic or non-economic.

A suspense account is an account used temporarily or permanently to carry doubtful entries and discrepancies pending their analysis and permanent classification.

In bookkeeping, accounting, and finance, net sales are operating revenues earned by a company for selling its products or rendering its services. Also referred to as revenue, they are reported directly on the income statement as Sales or Net sales.

Special journals Specialized lists of financial transaction records

Special journals are specialized lists of financial transaction records which accountants call journal entries. In contrast to a general journal, each special journal records transactions of a specific type, such as sales or purchases. For example, when a company purchases merchandise from a vendor, and then in turn sells the merchandise to a customer, the purchase is recorded in one journal and the sale is recorded in another.

Unified ledger accounting

The concept of a unified ledger accounting application is often new to people who have used traditional modular accounting systems, though the idea is very simple. Traditional modular systems have separate General, Purchase and Sales Ledgers which reflect times when accountants wrote information into large paper books or ledgers. Balances on control accounts were copied from one book to another, so that a full set of accounts could be completed and as an additional process control accounts were reconciled. This ensured that all of the individual entries added correctly to the control totals before any transfers were made.

Credit card card for financial transactions from a line of credit

A credit card is a payment card issued to users (cardholders) to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services based on the cardholder's promise to the card issuer to pay them for the amounts plus the other agreed charges. The card issuer creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the cardholder, from which the cardholder can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance.

A deposit account is a bank account maintained by a financial institution in which a customer can deposit and withdraw money. Deposit accounts can be savings accounts, current accounts or any of several other types of accounts explained below.

Desi Namu Accounting system

Desi Nama or Vahi Padhati is the traditional accounting system developed and used in the Indian subcontinent. Early forms of this system were reportedly used in India before the double entry book keeping system was developed in Europe.


  1. Jerry J. Weygandt; Paul D. Kimmel; Donald E. Kieso (4 May 2010). Accounting Principles, Peachtree Complete Accounting Workbook. John Wiley & Sons. p. 60. ISBN   978-0-470-38667-5 . Retrieved 6 April 2012.