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Bookkeeping: Posting Journal Information to the Appropriate Accounts

12 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Bookkeeping Transactions

When bookkeepers close their books at the end of the month, they summarize all the journals — that is, they total the columns and post the information to update all the accounts involved.

Posting journal pages is a four-step process in bookkeeping:

  1. Number each journal page at the top if it isn’t already numbered.

  2. Total any column that’s not titled General Debit or General Credit.

    Any transactions recorded in the General Debit or General Credit columns need to be recorded individually in the General Ledger.

  3. Post the entries to the General Ledger account.

    Each transaction in a General Credit or General Debit column must be posted separately. You just need to post totals to the General Ledger for the other columns in which transactions for more active accounts were entered in the General journal. List the date and journal page number as well as the amount of the debit or credit, so you can quickly find the entry for the original transaction if you need more details.

    The General Ledger account only shows debit or credit (whichever is appropriate to the transaction). Only the journals have both sides of a transaction.

  4. In the PR column of the journal, record information about where the entry is posted.

    If the entry to be posted to the accounts is summarized and totaled at the bottom of the page, you can just put a check mark next to the entry in the PR column. For transactions listed in the General Credit or General Debit columns, you should indicate an account number for the account into which the transaction is posted. This process helps you confirm that you’ve posted all entries in the General Ledger.

Posting to the General Ledger is done at the end of an accounting period as part of the process of closing the accounts.

The example shows a summarized journal page, specifically the Cash Receipts journal. You can see that entries that are listed in the Sales Credit and Cash Debit columns on the Cash Receipts journal are just checked. Only one entry was placed in the General Credit column, and that entry has an account number in the PR column:

Summary of Cash Receipts journal entries after the first five days.
Summary of Cash Receipts journal entries after the first five days.

As you can see in the figure, after summarizing the Cash Receipts journal, there are only four General Ledger accounts (General Credit, Accounts Receivable Credit, Sales Credit, and Cash Debit) and three customer accounts (S. Smith, J. Jones, and P. Perry) into which you need to post entries. Even better, the entries balance: $2,900 in debits and $2,900 in credits.

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The Essentials of Bookkeeping Transactions

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