Books of original entry

Books of original entry
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Methods and techniques

Books of original entry is a term which implies to a specified sequence of events in the process of preparing hand-written accounting books[1]. Daniel W. Kimuda defines this term as 'the books of record in which transactions are recorded as they occur on a daily basis and in chronological order, before they are posted to the relevant accounts in the ledger'[2].

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].

Types of books of original entry[edit]

Books of original entry are known as either journals or day books. The following are commonly types of books of original entry[4]:

  • Sales journal (or Sales day book) - for credit sales
  • Purchases journal (or Purchases day book) - for credit purchases
  • Returns inwards journal (or Returns inwards day book ) - for returns inwards
  • Returns outwards journal (or Returns outwards day book) - for returns outwards
  • Cash book - for payments and receipts of cash and cheques
  • General journal (or Journal) - for other items.

Principles of original entry[edit]

(a) The original entry is originated from a document. Each transaction begins with a document. When the document is written down in the book of original entry adequate to it, there is a permanent record of the document on the books of the firm. From then on, the document itself is no longer useful, although it is usually postponed. If necessary, documents can be used as evidence in the event of a dispute, and sometimes they are requisite to be presented in court[5].

(b) Entries are created in chronological order. This gives the opportunity to return to the starting point of a certain event. Because the original entry always contains a "narrative" - a continuous written report of the event - it is easier to follow what occurred[6].

(c) The original entry is then posted to the Ledger. When publishing in the Ledger you can achieve some savings in double entries[7].


  1. Gambling. T, (2011)
  2. Kimuda. D, (2008)
  3. Kimuda. D, (2008)
  4. Woods. F, Sangster. A, (2018)
  5. Hoyle. K, Whitehead. G, (2014)
  6. Hoyle. K, Whitehead. G, (2014)
  7. Hoyle. K, Whitehead. G, (2014)


Author: Karolina Stankiewicz