Understanding Journals and Ledgers
Journals: Journals are recorded in the general journal daybook. A journal is a formal and chronological record of financial transactions before their values are accounted for in the general ledger as debits and credits.
A company can maintain one journal for all transactions, or keep several journals based on similar activity (e.g., sales, cash receipts, revenue, etc.), making transactions easier to summarize and reference later.
For every debit journal entry recorded, there must be an equivalent credit journal entry to maintain a balanced accounting equation.
Ledgers: A ledger is a record of accounts. The ledger is a permanent summary of all amounts entered in supporting Journals which list individual transactions by date.
These accounts are recorded separately, showing their beginning/ending balance. A journal lists financial transactions in chronological order, without showing their balance but showing how much is going to be charged in each account.
A ledger takes each financial transaction from the journal and records it into the corresponding account for every transaction listed. The ledger also sums up the total of every account, which is transferred into the balance sheet and the income statement.
There are three different kinds of ledgers that deal with book-keeping: Sales ledger, which deals mostly with the accounts receivable account.
This ledger consists of the records of the financial transactions made by customers to the business.
A purchase ledger is the record of the purchasing transactions a company does; it goes hand in hand with the Accounts Payable account.