a record of transactions, giving, for each transaction, a note of which ledger accounts are to be debited and credited. In principle, every transaction is entered in the journal when it occurs and postings are later made to the ledger in accordance with the notes in the journal. In practice, the most important parts of the journal have become separate books – the cash book, the purchases daybook, the purchases returns book, the sales daybook and the sales returns book. It is not necessary to post both a debit and a credit for each entry in the daybooks and returns books; a periodic total of either debits or credits, depending on the book, is sufficient (see the entries in this dictionary for the individual books), and the nature of the posting to be made is obvious from the book in which the entry is made so that no annotation is necessary. The cash book is treated as both a part of the journal and a part of the ledger so that no posting of entries is required. Journal entries, especially adjusting entries, with annotations may still be made from transactions that are not recorded in the daybooks, returns books or cash book. Journal entries are also used in teaching bookkeeping. The journal and the separate books into which it has been divided are known as ‘books of original entry’ or ‘books of prime entry’.


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