Journal is the book of primary entry in which every transaction is recorded before being posted into the ledger. It is that book of account in which transactions are recorded in a chronological (day to day) order. In modern times, besides the main journal, specialized journals are maintained to record different type of transactions. The process of recording transaction in a journal is termed as journalising. A journal is generally kept on a columnar basis. Journalising is the root of accounting.
In a bookkeeping system involving the use of books of prime entry, it is inevitable that there will be transactions that do not correspond with the main books of prime entry used,that is, the daybooks and cash books. In order to complete the system, another book is needed in which to capture sundry items prior to entering them in the ledger. This book
is called ‘the journal’ and is used for a wide variety of transactions, such as:
• the purchase and sale of non-current assets on credit;
• the write-off of bad debts;
Procedure of Journalising
The following procedure is followed for passing journal entries-
— Analyze each transaction in terms of accounts affected. As a rule every transaction has at least two accounts.
— Find out the type of accounts affected in a transaction i.e. personal, real or nominal.
— Apply the rules of debit and credit to each type of accounts involved.
— The debit and credit accounts must be equal. Sometimes, a journal entry may have more than one debit or more than one credit. This type of journal entry is called compound journal entry. Regardless of the number of debits or credits in a compound journal entry, the aggregate amount of debits should be equal to the aggregate amount of credits.