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Throughout time, the general journal has been referred to in many ways. For example, it is also known as the book of original entry, the primary book, the book of primary entry, and the book of first entry. After all accounts are posted, we can now derive the balances of each account. As shown in the ledger above, the company has $7,480 at the end of December. There was a debit to Taxes and Licenses so we posted that in the left side (debit side) of the account.

This initial documentation serves as the basis for posting transactions to the general ledger and ultimately preparing financial statements. Transactions are recorded primarily in the books of the original entry before they are posted to the accounts in the ledger, therefore they are also known as books of prime entry. These books provide aid to the ledger in reference to particular transactions which cannot be posted straight to the ledger. They are secondary to the general ledger which stay the main book of account. Information recorded in the books with the original entry is more detailed, while those published in the book are laconic and their form resembles a summary[3]. All journal entries are periodically posted to the ledger accounts.

Referencing the source document could also help in tracking errors and discrepancies should there be any. Before you can even record any other details about the transaction, you must first enter the date of the transaction. While you can customize the contents of a book of original entry to an extent, certain details are mandatory and should be found in one. A prime example of a book of original entry is the general journal.

Types of books of original entry

Someone on our team will connect you with a financial professional in our network holding the correct designation and expertise. For example, Accounts Receivable may be made up of subsidiary accounts such as Accounts Receivable – Customer A, Accounts Receivable – Customer B, Accounts Receivable – Customer C, etc. While the journal is known as Books of Original Entry, the ledger is known as Books of Final Entry. About the Author – Dr Geoffrey Mbuva(PhD-Finance) is a lecturer of Finance and Accountancy at Kenyatta University, Kenya. He is an enthusiast of teaching and making accounting & research tutorials for his readers.

In the journal, two aspects of every transaction are recorded, following the double-entry system of accounting. The art of accounting and its related study is a very interesting and vital component of maintaining accounts. The books of double entry hold a very vital and important role in the preparation of accounts.

  • A prime example of a book of original entry is the general journal.
  • So the double-entry system of accounting starts with recording the transactions in the journals, and then their eventual posting in their respective accounts.
  • Each transaction is also recorded in a journal reflecting the concerned account, whether credit or debit.
  • In a journal, there are two columns for different accounts, the debit account and the credit account.

It is common to leave some space at the left-hand margin before writing the credit part of the journal entry. The starting entry is an entry created at the beginning of the fiscal year to debit the assets shown on the previous year’s balance sheet and credit the liabilities and capital to open the books. Ledger is called the Principal Book of account and can be obtained all the accounting information from this book. Both Journal and Ledger are necessary to complete a system of accounting. This central repository does the job of recording journal and ledger entries simultaneously.


They are similar in that they function as a book of original entry – transactions are first recorded in these books before they are posted into a ledger. This more so applies to transactions that are recorded or to be recorded in a special journal, although it might apply to a general if no special journal is maintained. For monitoring purposes, every journal entry must provide a reference to its source document (e.g. invoice number). Daily transactions are recorded in the https://personal-accounting.org/ledger/ which reduces chances of any omission.


A ledger contains many accounts, and each business transaction is recorded in the appropriate ledger account. The general journal will then only be used for transactions that won’t be recorded in the special journals such as depreciation and amortization. However, for medium and large businesses that have higher volumes of transactions, special journals might be needed as to not overcrowd the general journal.

Advantages of Books of Original Entry

These entries are recorded in the general journal shown below. As derived from a French word, journal means daily from its root word Jour which means day. Get all the important information related to the CBSE Class 11 Exam including the process of application, important calendar dates, eligibility criteria, exam centers etc. FundsNet requires Contributors, Writers and Authors to use Primary Sources to source and cite their work. These Sources include White Papers, Government Information & Data, Original Reporting and Interviews from Industry Experts. Reputable Publishers are also sourced and cited where appropriate.

In this, you record any business transaction that occurs at a firm initially. Business transactions that can be measured are recorded in the order in which they are entered, i.e., in chronological order. Journal is called the Book of Original Entry since every transaction is first recorded. Rules of debit and credit are applied to each transaction at the time of recording in the books of accounts.

The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. One of the main advantages of using General Journal is that it provides an exact details about all transactions. It provides a place to take any kind of transaction, even Trial Balance. The two headings are, a) account headings column b) date of entries column.

As such, the concept of “books of original entry” is more catered toward businesses that maintain manual books of accounts. Aside from the bare minimum (e.g. transaction date, amount, reference), the details to be included in a special journal can be engineered to cater to the needs of the business. The main reason why a business might want to maintain a special journal is that it wants to segregate specific transactions from other transactions. Much like the general journal, it is a book of original entry as it is where transactions of a specific type are first recorded.