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What Is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping involves consistently recording an organization’s financial transactions. Its data then forms financial reports communicating the company’s current and historical financial standing.


This process begins with source documents like purchase and sales orders, invoices, and cash register tapes. Data is then recorded in journals and transferred to the general ledger, a master document showing credits and debits for each account. To learn more, visit https://www.wellbalancedbookkeeping.net/.

Bookkeeping involves consistently recording a company’s financial transactions into a general ledger. This includes capturing purchases, sales revenue and expenses as well as processing invoices for payment. Bookkeeping also involves creating a budget, tracking cash flow and supporting tax deduction claims with detailed financial records. Up-to-date books are crucial for ensuring that a company can meet its financial obligations, especially in the case of a loan application or tax audit.

The process of recording a transaction begins with identifying what type of account it will affect and then categorizing it using debits and credits. For example, a bookkeeper may record a purchase of office supplies as a’supplies expense’ and assign it to the accounts payable and assets accounts. The final step in this process is to create a journal entry.

Once the journal is complete, the bookkeeper posts the entries to the company’s general ledger. This provides a breakdown of accounting activities by account so the bookkeeper can monitor company finances on an ongoing basis. The most important part of this process is ensuring that all the accounts balance. For example, a company’s accounts payable should not exceed its assets, and its accounts receivable should not be equal to its liabilities.

A well-organized bookkeeping system should also include a chart of accounts which lists all the different kinds of accounts that the business maintains. This allows the bookkeeper to easily locate the account that was updated in a given transaction. A chart of accounts should also have a description of each type of account as well as the name of its owner and the date when it was created.

As a business grows, it will need to expand its bookkeeping system in order to keep up with its increasing number of transactions. This may require switching to an accounting software program or enlisting the help of a professional accountant.

A small business that is looking to cut down on the time it spends on its bookkeeping and accounting processes should consider outsourcing this task to a bookkeeper or an accountant. This will save the company both time and money, while ensuring that all the necessary information is being recorded correctly.

General Ledger

A general ledger is a comprehensive list of all the financial transactions recorded within a company. It organizes transactional data into accounts categorized by assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. The accounting information in the general ledger is used to prepare income statements, cash flow statements and balance sheets.

Each account in a general ledger is assigned a unique number, letters or combination of numbers and letters (known as a GL code). These codes make it less likely that an entry will end up in the wrong account. The general ledger also contains a description of each entry, including the account it impacts, the amount involved and the date of the transaction.

The general ledger is a core component of double-entry bookkeeping. This means that every accounting transaction must affect at least two accounts — a debit and a credit. The total of all the debits must match the total of all the credits in order for the system to ring up accurate and trustworthy financial reports.

To keep the general ledger up to date, a company’s accountant or bookkeeper must use the general journal to record business transactions as they occur. Once the entries in the journal are complete, they will be posted to corresponding accounts in the general ledger. The accountant or bookkeeper must ensure that each entry is correctly categorized as either a debit or credit. For example, a cash payment against an invoice will be recorded as a debit to “expenses” and a credit to “cash.”

At the end of each financial period, the accountant or bookkeeper should use the information in the general ledger to prepare a trial balance. A trial balance is a summary of the ending balances of all the accounts in the general ledger, organized into assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. The accountant or bookkeeper will then compare the totals of all the debits and credits to determine if they match.

If they don’t, the accountant or bookkeeper must identify the discrepancy and figure out why it occurred. This may require speaking to departments or staff members and reviewing transaction documentation. The accountant or bookkeeper may then prepare journal adjusting entries to correct the discrepancy in the general ledger.

Chart of Accounts

A chart of accounts is a list of the different financial accounts that fill out a company’s general ledger. It’s similar to a filing system that categorizes a business’s financial transactions, making it easier to record them and report on them later. Standard charts of accounts include five main categories: asset accounts, liability accounts, equity accounts, and revenue and expense accounts. Each account has a number that corresponds to its category on the financial statement, which is important for following tax rules and other accounting regulations.

The main purpose of a chart of accounts is to make it easy for business owners to see how money comes in and goes out on a daily basis. By separating accounts for different types of spending and earnings, it gives managers a bird’s eye view of their business and makes it easier to comply with the rules that govern accounting and reporting.

Every account on a chart of accounts has an identification code, a name and a description to help with recording and finding information later. The numbering system can vary depending on the type of business, with some allowing for additional digits to identify divisions, departments and the account’s category (such as using a three-code system for assets and a five-code system for expenses). A company may also choose to include different subcategories within each account for greater flexibility in data mining or reporting.

A large company’s chart of accounts may have thousands of individual financial accounts, while a small business’s chart may only contain a handful. Whether it’s large or small, however, the chart of accounts is essential for any business that wants to keep track of its finances and ensure compliance with regulations. It’s possible to add or delete an account from the chart of accounts at any time of year without affecting the accuracy of its records, though it’s best not to do so until close to the end of the fiscal year to avoid skewing the numbers. Many businesses use accounting software to manage their charts of accounts, which can streamline the process and automate the creation of reports.


The payroll process involves monitoring the hours employees work, measuring compensation and sending payment to the employee or directly into an account. Depending on the industry and type of business, this can include overtime, sick leave, vacation and personal days. It can also involve calculating and recording employee taxes, health insurance premiums and national insurance contributions. All of this information needs to be properly recorded in a company’s financial journal and general ledger for accounting purposes.

Bookkeeping can be a time-consuming process. Some small businesses choose to outsource the process to a professional bookkeeper. This can reduce the amount of time you spend on the task and can help you get your books in order more quickly. It can also free up your time to focus on other important tasks, such as marketing or sales.

Payroll is a significant expense for most companies. It’s also deductible, so it’s important to make sure that your accounting is accurate and complete. It’s also important to comply with regulatory payroll standards and procedures.

There are three types of payroll accounting entries: initial recordings, accrued wages and manual payments. Initial recordings typically only include employee salaries and taxes. Accrued wages are typically recorded at the end of a financial period or accounting period, which could be quarterly or annually. This depends on the size of your business and how frequently you need to review your finances for stakeholders. Manual payments are when payments to employees are made manually, such as by mailing a check to the employee’s address. Payroll journal entries should be updated whenever this happens.

In addition to making these kinds of payroll entries, it’s important to reconcile your accounts on a regular basis. This ensures that the total in your profit and loss or income statement matches the total in your cash account. In addition, it helps you catch errors before they have a chance to affect the real money that you’re spending or receiving.

Most accounting software will automatically record payroll transactions and balance your accounts for you. This can be a huge time saver and is especially helpful if you have multiple employees or work with contractors. However, it’s still a good idea to have at least one person review your journal entries before they go live. This can be a colleague or a member of your accounting team.