ZIMSEC O Level Principles of Accounts Notes: The General Journal
As already said there are several books of Prime Entry namely:
- The Sales Day Book
- The Purchases Day Book
- The Returns Inwards Day Book
- The Returns Outwards Day Book.
- The Cash Book
- Each of these books is devoted to a particular type of transaction. For example all Purchases returns are recorded in the Returns Outwards Day Book.
- There are, however, other types of transactions which do not pass through these books.
- These transactions are much rarer in businesses when compared to those transactions which are recorded in the above books.
- These transactions are recorded in the Journal.
- The Journal is also known as the General Journal or Journal Proper.
- This book acts as a diary for all these other transactions before they are transferred to the General Ledger.
- For each transaction the following are recorded:
- The date
- The name of account(s) to be debited and the amount(s)
- The name of the account(s) to be credited and the amount(s)
- A description and explanation of the transaction (this is called a narrative)
- A folio reference to the source documents giving proof of the transaction.
- Using a journal prevents fraud and errors.
Uses of the Journal
- Some of the main uses of the Journal are listed below:
1 The purchase and sale of fixed assets on credit.
2 Writing off bad debts.
3 The correction of errors in the ledger accounts.
4 Opening entries. These are the entries needed to open a new set of books.
5 Adjustments to any of the entries in the ledgers.
NB This is not an exhaustive list.
The layout of a journal
- The first line records the account to be debited.
- The second line records the account to be debited.
- The final line provides a summary of the transaction and what transpired.
- The journal is not part of the double entry system but rather acts as a diary.
- Once an entry has been made it is recorded into the relevant accounts in the General Ledger.
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