Journal entry format

A journal entry is used to record the debit and credit sides of a transaction in the accounting records. It is used in a double-entry accounting system, where both a debit and a credit are needed to complete each entry. The essential elements of the journal entry format are as follows:

  • A header line may include a journal entry number and entry date. The number is used to index the journal entry, so that it can be properly stored and retrieved from storage.
  • The first column includes the account number and account name into which the entry is recorded. This field is indented if it is for the account being credited.
  • The second column contains the debit amount to be entered.
  • The third column contains the credit amount to be entered.
  • A footer line may also include a brief description of the reason for the entry. An entry in the footer line is highly recommended, since there are so many journal entries that it is easy to forget why each entry was made.

Thus, the basic journal entry format is:

 

Debit

Credit

Account name / number

$xx,xxx

 

Account name / number

 

$xx,xxx

The structural rules of a journal entry are that there must be a minimum of two line items in the entry, and that the total amount entered in the debit column equals the total amount entered in the credit column.

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