What is a Journal Entry in Accounting? A Comprehensive Guide

Journal entries are records of business transactions in an organization's accounting system. They contain the essential data for a single business transaction, including the date, the amount to be credited and debited, a brief description of the transaction and the accounts affected. This method of double-entry accounting has been used for centuries to keep financial records and track what a company has used its resources for and where those resources come from. A well-documented journal entry consists of the correct date, the amounts to be debited and credited, the description of the transaction and a unique reference number. Another way to visualize business transactions is to write a general entry in the journal.

This includes the date, the titles of the accounts to be debited and the corresponding amounts, followed by the titles of the accounts to be credited and the corresponding amounts. The most common business transactions have examples of journal entries that accompany them. Adjustment entries are made at the end of an accounting period to record transactions that were not recognized during the period, such as accumulated or deferred expenses, or to correct an error from the previous period. Accounting software allows you to create, review and approve a journal, along with supporting documentation. To prepare a journal entry, an accountant must determine which accounts should be debited and credited. BlackLine Journal Entry allows accountants to automatically execute and extract transaction details from their source system.

A journal details all of a company's financial transactions and notes which accounts are affected. Accounting teams usually dive right into this process at the end of the month to reconcile entries and accounts. Journal entries use debits and credits to record changes in the accounting equation in the general journal. The totals of debits and credits for any transaction must always be equal, so that the journal entry is “in balance”. For example, a journal entry for an item that has been sold on credit will record the value of the sale as a debit in the accounts receivable and as a credit in the sales account. Journal entries come in different formats, depending on their format and function within the accounting cycle.

With knowledge of what is happening with the cash account, it is easier to record debits and credits in the diary. This system has been widely used for centuries, so each transaction affects at least two accounts; thus, an entry in the journal will always include a debit and a credit in the accounting books where they are recorded. In conclusion, journal entries are essential records for any business transaction. They provide an accurate record of all financial activities within an organization. They also help accountants keep track of all financial transactions that have taken place over time.