If any transaction is not covered by either the four main daybooks (sales, purchases, returns inwards and outwards) or the cashbook, then it will be entered in the Journal. Although it may seem like the Journal will contain lots of different transactions, you will soon find that the entries that belong in the Journal are more likely to be one-off or unusual transactions and, as a result, it will not contain many entries. Also, the journal will appear different to the main four daybooks we have just seen. The appearance of an entry in the journal will be as follows:
The date of the transaction and the value of the transaction are self-explanatory. In the details section of the journal contains two main entries. These will cover the name of the account to be debited and the name of the account to be credited - we are literally writing up the double-entry transaction in a form of long-hand. The journal represents a sort of extra record of the double entry transactions - remember it is not part of the double entry system itself. The narrative is a simpler description or explanation of the traction that this entry contains. Notice how in the space where we state the name of the account to be credited, the entry is indented slightly. This is always the case - so as to distinguish the entry from the debit entry. The debit entry must always come first.
Once the entry has been made in the journal, the entries should then be posted to the actual double-entry accounts, just as described in the journal entry.
It is possible to split the debit or the credit entries between two or more accounts. As long as the total of the debit entries, adds up to the same as the total of the credit entries then that is acceptable. This is shown in the example below:
- There are no other rules for making journal entries. Although it can cover a wide range of different transactions, common areas for journal entries would include:
- Correction of errors
- Credit purchases and sales of fixed assets
- Opening and closing down businesses
- Cancellation and transfers of outstanding debts to the business
- Double entry bookkeeping
- Daybooks and ledgers
- Cashbooks and petty cashbooks
- The sales daybook
- Purchases daybook
- Returns daybooks
- The Journal
- Trading and profit and loss accounts
- Balance sheets
- Features of the VAT system
- VAT and the double entry system
- The trial balance
- Bank reconciliation statements
- Control accounts
- Suspense accounts and the correction of errors
- Computers in accounting
These notes are aimed at people studying for AQA A Level Accounting Unit 1, but will also be suitable for other courses and exam boards.
Originally submitted by duke_stix on TSR Forums.