A diagram showing the stages involved from the moment a transaction occurs to the moment it is recorded into its appropriate ledger account.

A diagram showing the stages involved from the moment a transaction occurs to the moment it is recorded into its appropriate ledger account.

ZIMSEC O Level Principles of Accounts Notes: Books of Original Entry

  • These are the books in which transactions are first recorded for example when a credit sale is made.
  • They are also known as subsidiary books.
  • When a transaction takes place in the business it is often important and imperative to record as much details about a transaction as possible.
  • There is a separate book for each kind of transaction.
  • The nature of a transaction determines which book it is recorded into.
  • Sales are recorded in their own books, Purchases in another and Cash in yet another and so on.
  • The following details are recorded in the Books of Original entry:
  • The date of the transaction-the transactions are grouped and arranged according to their dates.
  • A details column where the details of the transaction are recorded.
  • A folio column where an entry which points to the where the information is recorded in the ledger for example an the account number in the Sales/Purchases Ledger where the information is recorded.
  • The monetary column where the transaction amount is recorded.
  • Books of original entry are also known as “journals” or “day books”
  • The other book of original entry is simply known as a “journal.”
  • The Cash Book is a special book of original entry.
  • The names “journal” (synonym for diary) and day book reflects the use of the books for memoranda purposes within the organisation i.e. transactions are recorded on a day to day basis.
  • Typically businesses use the following books of original entry:
  • The Sales Journal/Sales Day Book -for credit sale transactions
  • The Purchases Journal/Purchases Day Book-for credit purchases
  • The Returns Outwards Journal (Returns Outwards Day Book)/Purchases Returns Journal(Purchases Returns Day Book)l-for Purchases returns (Returns outwards)
  • The Returns Inwards Journal(Returns Inwards Day book)/Sales Returns Journal(Sales Day Book)-to record Sales Returns/Returns Inwards
  • Cash Book for cash and bank related payments and receipts
  • The Journal which is used for everything else that does not have a day book above.
  • After entries have been made in the books of original entry they are then summarised and entered into accounts kept in various corresponding ledgers following the double entry principle.
  • Each separate ledger is kept by a different bookkeeper to ease the workload and as a control measure against errors and fraud.

To access more topics go to the Principles of Accounts Notes page.


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