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How to fill in a bookkeeping ledger

Any size business has a flow of daily operations involving shipments and payments along with receipts and invoices passing through hands. A bookkeeping ledger allows for recording the days, weeks, and months of business transactions. Bookkeeping ledgers permit the tracking of funds and inventory, the company's budget and auditing purposes. Ledgers can consist of single or double-bound pages depending upon the type of business and what information needs to be recorded.

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  1. Record the date and the check number for the business transaction used to buy inventory, pay for services or pay vendors. Place in initials on the line under the check number column if payment was received by businesses in person or leave the space blank for accounting bank deposits. Initialled entries can be used for verification that payment was made and by whom in case of accounting errors later.

  2. Write the type of transaction made concerning either payment/items received or made to a business. Record the type of inventory and quantity amount if the transaction involved a shipment of goods. This allows a written record of stocked inventory if warehouse records do not correspond to shelved goods. Record the amount receivable/payable for sales journals.

  3. Write in the name of the company with whom the business transaction was made. This allows an updated record of those reputable companies remaining in good standing and those who might have been late in payment or shipments. You can create a reliable vendor list used when your business becomes unexpectedly low in supplies during peak sales times and needs fast delivery.

  4. Note the credit or debit amount for each individual transaction in the last column. Record subtotals and totals. Make sure to double-check all amounts to balance the company budget, assess net profits and record losses. Double-checking amounts allows for tracking accounting operations if recorded funds on receipts do not match up to the amounts in counter tills, treasury safes or bank records.

  5. Write in any additional notes in the margin space provided or create footnotes at the bottom of the ledger page. For footnotes, put numerals at the places you want to include additional information along the ledger lines. Note the corresponding numeral and add the required information at the bottom of the page or within an appendix at the back of the ledger.

  6. Tip

    Keep all invoices and receipts in a convenient place to maintain an accurate ledger book. If making any mistakes, simply cross out the error and begin again on the following empty line. Avoid using any type of erasing or cover-up on mistakes, such as whiteout that can spread onto other lines or make your writing appear illegible on the dried correction fluid.

    Warning

    Business ledgers may be subpoenaed in a court of law during auditing proceedings if information is found inaccurate when filing IRS returns. Other businesses may also file lawsuits involving unpaid delivered inventory or owed payments. Keep the ledger neat and make sure all information is accurate and easy to read. Do not throw away any invoices or receipts after recording all information. These can be used to support your claims.

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Things You'll Need

  • Single-bound ledger
  • Double-bound ledger
  • Receipts
  • Invoices

About the Author

Based in southwestern Pennsylvania, Michelle Hickman has written since 2006 on an array of topics including lifestyle, writing instruction and financial services. Her first articles appeared in "The Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Focus Magazine." She holds a certification in computer and information science from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center.

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