What Are Books of Original Entry?

Books of original entries, often referred to as first entry books, serve as the repository for comprehensive journal entries along with accompanying documents and transaction particulars. They validate and ensure the presence and precision of financial transactions before they are formally documented or transcribed into individual ledgers.

Books of Original Entry facilitate the organization in recording daily transactions along with all pertinent details. They aid in preserving transactions in a predetermined sequence, and their chronological arrangement aids in efficient data management, minimizing the likelihood of errors or omissions. Furthermore, they consistently enable the tracking of data flow from financial statements to the primary journal books of accounts.

Due to technological advancements and innovations, numerous new software solutions in the market are extensively employed for accounting purposes in handling books of original entry and source documents electronically. These procedures effectively mechanize much of the recording and reporting involved in accounting. However, the aforementioned concept remains integral, as it forms the bedrock of financial reporting and analysis within any organization.


In general the books of original entry and source documents are of two types, shown as follows:

1 – Special Journals

Special Journals encompass the distinct books of original entries designated for specific types of transactions. Once the transactions are logged in these specialized books, such as Sales Journal, Purchase Journal, and Cash Journal, the respective balances are subsequently transferred to their individual and dedicated ledgers. These journals serve specific purposes:

  • Sales Journal: Records transactions for sales invoices when goods are sold on credit.
  • Purchase Journal: Documents purchases when goods are acquired from suppliers on a credit basis.
  • Cash Journal or Cashbook: Registers payments or receipts made in cash.
  • Sales Return & Purchase Return Journal: Captures instances of sales returns and returned purchases, among others.

2 – General Journal

General Journals serve as the primary records for transactions that do not find a place in any specialized journal. In simpler terms, they act as the initial point of entry for transactions that do not meet the criteria for any specialized books of entry.


Example In terms of examples, there are various instances that could be considered as books of original entry, including:

  1. Cash Journals
  2. Bank Journals
  3. Sales Journals
  4. Purchase Journals
  1. Cash Journals:

Cash Journals serve as the initial records where all cash-based payments and receipts are meticulously documented and preserved. Within the entry period, every transaction involving the movement of cash in or out of the organization is meticulously logged in the cash journals, complete with supporting documentation.

  1. Bank Journals:

Similar to cash journals, Bank Journals play a crucial role in recording all transactions pertaining to the movement of funds in and out of the organization’s bank accounts for a specific period.

  1. Sales Journals

Sales Journals constitute the primary books of entry where original records of transactions directly linked to the organization’s sales revenue are documented.

  1. Purchase Journals:

Purchase Journals act as the designated books of original entry for transactions concerning purchases.

The books of original entry form the cornerstone of an organized, transparent, and accurate accounting and financial recording system. This ensures that every financial transaction is accurately recorded, categorized, and summarized, thereby generating reliable financial reports that are invaluable for stakeholders in making well-informed investment decisions.


Having gained insight into the different books of original entry, it becomes crucial to understand their key components. These books serve as repositories for transactions and their accompanying details, necessitating the inclusion of specific components for proper transaction recording. These essential components include:

Date of Transaction: Before documenting a transaction in the journal, it is imperative to specify the date on which the transaction actually occurs or is officially recorded in the books of accounts. If the journal is organized chronologically, it is advisable to input the transaction on the correct date.

Relevant Party & Transaction Details: When recording transactions in the special journal, it is essential to indicate the party involved in the credit transaction, such as the supplier for purchase transactions. In the case of entries in the general journal, ensure to include pertinent details of the parties involved.

Narration: The transaction’s narration furnishes concise details and offers an explanation for the nature or reason behind the transaction.

Reference to the Original Document: It is important to make reference to the original document that serves as the basis for booking the transaction, such as an invoice number for purchases.

Monetary Details: The entry should specify the monetary amount associated with the transaction.

Provide the Ledger Account: Indicate the pertinent ledger account where the transaction will be posted upon successful completion of recording in the original books.


These books play a crucial role in business operations as they facilitate organized and systematic financial record-keeping. Here are some key uses:

  1. Accurate and Timely Recording: These books provide a designated space to promptly record transactions as they occur, ensuring nothing is overlooked and all transactions are appropriately documented.
  2. Chronological Order: Transactions are recorded in a sequential order, enabling the tracking of events and maintaining a clear historical record.
  3. Error Reduction and Categorization: Categorizing transactions into specific books, such as cash transactions in the cash book and sales records in the sales journal, minimizes the likelihood of errors and confusion. This segregation simplifies retrieval of details when needed and reduces the risk of mixing up transactions.
  4. Enhanced Accountability: The streamlined process allows accountants or software systems to swiftly input details. This expedites the process, thereby improving overall accountability. Additionally, it ensures that financial activities can be easily traced.
  5. Foundation for Financial Statements: These records serve as the foundation for preparing financial statements. These statements, providing clear and accurate information about the business to external parties, are derived from the books of original entry.
  6. Auditing and Data Analysis: During audits, these books are invaluable. Auditors select samples for examination to verify the accuracy and completeness of transactions. The information within these books aids in trend analysis for management and stakeholders, offering insights into areas like sales, revenue, and costs.
  7. Meeting Legal Requirements: The books also serve in meeting legal obligations, including tax reporting and regulatory filings.

In conclusion, these documents serve as a crucial and valuable source of reference for making well-informed business decisions. Their meticulous maintenance is fundamental to the smooth functioning and financial health of a business.


The foundational concept of financial recording and reporting in any business brings forth its own set of merits. Let’s explore the advantages first:

  1. Comprehensive Recordkeeping: The use of books of original entry ensures that daily transactions are meticulously recorded, significantly reducing the likelihood of omitting any transaction.
  2. Error Identification: These books encompass detailed transaction records along with succinct narrations. This facilitates the swift identification of any errors in the transaction during the ledger’s account posting process.
  3. Chronological Order: Transactions are methodically recorded in chronological order, simplifying their categorization and subsequent transfer to the pertinent ledgers.


However, this process also carries certain drawbacks:

  1. Volume and Bulk: Journals tend to be voluminous and consist of numerous volumes, making handling and managing the data a challenging task.
  2. Search Complexity: Locating a specific transaction can be cumbersome unless the person is aware of the transaction’s date.
  3. Time-Consuming Ledger Posting: The post-booking of all transactions into the individual ledger is a time-intensive process.

Books Of Original Entry Vs Ledger

While both serve as vital accounting records within a business, there are distinct differences between them:

  1. Recording Timing: The former records transactions as they occur, while the latter involves grouping, classification, and separate posting of transactions to different accounts.
  2. Purpose Sequence: Books of original entry primarily focus on maintaining chronological and systematic transaction records before their transfer to the ledger. Ledger recording follows this initial step.
  3. Data Source and Detail: The former serves as the primary source of financial data for the business, whereas the latter provides a detailed record of activities with individual account categorization.

Together, they form the bedrock of accounting, ensuring organized tracking and accurate preparation of financial statements.

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