Source Documents Definition, Types, Importance, and Pros

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Once the customer pays the bill, the seller issues a receipt that details the order and payment terms. This source document is proof that the seller fulfilled the order and the client paid the balance. Receipts should be matched to checking and credit card statements and the petty cash log. There are many kinds of source documents, including payroll documents, sales receipts, invoices, purchase orders, and banking documents. Most can be classified as either internal or external documents, depending on whether they were generated within or outside a company. In simple words, from the source documents of accountancy, the transactions are recorded in the books of accounts.

If payment is made using internet banking, it will either be posted along with the check or separately. Auditors require complete access to all the papers in order to confirm the accuracy of the company’s balances in each account. All of a company’s source papers should be saved and stored for later use in order to improve transparency and streamline operations.

Invoices thus normally relate tocredit transactions and specifically, income on credit. Businesses normally send an invoice together with goods so as to indicate the amount of payment required to be paid to them. What is Trial Balance What is the definition of trial balance, its meaning, and how is it prepared?

A source document is a piece of paper that documents and proves that a transaction has occurred. The examination and verification of source documents is the first step in the accounting cycle. They provide the information needed to complete journal entries that are recorded in the accounting journal.

Credit and Debit Notes

Sales Order – is a document issued to the customer and generated by the firm itself. Nowadays sales orders are digitally transmitted soft copies over company’s internal network. The time card is an internal document that companies use for registering the working hours of the personnel and pay wages.

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Each time a company makes a financial transaction, it generates some paper trail. If a small business writes a check from its checking account for office supplies, for example, the check and office supplies receipt become the source documents. No, a journal entry is the official way of recording transactions in the books. All journal entries are based on source documents that serve as evidence of transactions. Some other types of source documents include payroll records, accounting notes and reports, leases, financial contracts, and credit memos. Source documents are the first record of the details of the business transaction.

Sales Documents

These documents of accountancy provide authentic proof of the recorded transactions. Examples of source documents are invoice or bill, cash memo, cheque, sales order, purchase order, credit note, petty cash voucher, credit card sales voucher, etc. Generally, external source documents are considered more important, as they provide proof that your company did have a transaction with another party. For example, if your company purchased something, but does not have any payment documents from the seller, then the accountant does not have the right to record such entry in the books.

This incash flow from operating activitiesation is necessary for the preparation of accurate accounting records. On a practical level, the original invoices and credit notes are of course sent to the customer. You may be working from a copy, or in some cases simply from a computer listing transactions within the accounting system. It’s vital that you make sure you’re reporting the correct transaction date, and payer.

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The time card records the name of the employee, the working day, the entry time and the exit time. Also, the debit note can be sent from the seller to the buyer when the amount payable by the buyer increases. In this case, the seller notifies the buyer that in their accounts they have increased the amount what the buyer owes to the seller. Formally, it can serve as a request for extra payment from the buyer, e.g. when there were changes to the original invoice. When a company sells any product or service to another party, it issues an invoice or a bill.

A check from a cash register

When purchasing goods from a store or an online retailer, receipts are typically automatically issued. The vendor may provide a receipt following consumer payment of the invoice. On sales/purchase invoices, remittances are frequently pre-printed as a tiny cut-out piece at the bottom or along the right side. The seller will produce a paper outlining all the specifics of the sale when an item is sold.

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These documents are the first record regarding any detail of the business transactions. The source documents consistently report the date, time, amount, and nature of the transactions. The article will help understand the meaning of source documents and books of original entries, journals, cash books and unique purpose subsidiary books.

Another common type of statement and source document is the bank statement, which shows the monthly transactions in your bank account. It is a journal since cash and bank transactions are first recorded in it, and it is a ledger because no other cash account is created when a cashbook is created. When preparing a cash book, transactions are not entered into the journal. When transactions are recorded for the first time in a cash book, it is a book of original entries. This book keeps track of all cash transactions, such as payments and receipts.

If you do have them but don’t organize them, this can still cause issues. Nothing is more stressful than scrambling to find a receipt from two years ago while trying to run a business. In general, a source document is anything that shows a business transaction.

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It contains all details of the transaction such as quantity, amount, selling price, etc. It also shows the name of the parties involved in the transaction, the description, the quantities of items in the transaction, the date, and delivery location. The goods received note is like the delivery note, but in this case, it will be issued by the buyer. A purchase order contains the description of the items, the quantities to purchase, the price, the delivery dates, and the payment terms. The receipt contains the names of the two parties involved in the transaction, the date, the amount of money transferred and the currency.

There are a number of possible controls that can be used to reduce the risk that source documents are not properly recorded in an accounting system. One of the more common controls is to pre-number documents, so that missing documents are easier to track down. It accumulates hours-worked information from employee timesheets, which is then included in customer invoices that in turn result in the creation of a sale and accounts receivable transaction. Thus, in this situation, the timesheet is the source document for a sale transaction.


This bank statement shows it as a payment received and made, respectively. When a company is audited, the auditor’s ability to see a complete and easily available paper trail of all transactions improves the audit’s overall objectivity and validity. Bank statements support the accounting books by showing any adjustments to the company’s cash balance. Bank deposit slips serve as evidence that money has been deposited into the seller’s bank account. A time card supports the issuance of a paycheck or electronic payment to an employee. If employee hours are being billed to customers, then it also supports the creation of customer invoices.

It’s also helpful in keeping track of daily expenses, receipts, and the closing cash balance at the end of the day. In other words, subsidiary books are those in which we document transactions initially, and ledger accounts are created based on those transactions. An accountant responsible for entering the financial data into the accounting system can always refer to the source documents and determine the possible clerical errors. A source document is a document in which the financial data is first recorded to substantiate a transaction entering the accounting system. MRPeasy integrates sales, purchases, production, inventory, and finances to provide you with an accurate real-time overview of your business. Accounting source documents are documents that provide proof of economic transactions.

  • Since they prove that your company completed a transaction with another business, they are often considered more important in the accounting world.
  • This ensures that Maiden is once again shown as still owing the money due for the 5,000 CDs.
  • All these books are known as books of original entry due to the transactions first recorded in these books.
  • Good bookkeeping software will generate these source documents for you as you progress through the sales process.

These frequently include a description of the delivered goods so that the customer may compare it to their order as soon as it arrives. Read on as we take a deeper look at a list of these distinct business source papers and an explanation of their functions. Use an automated filing system for easier reconciliation and tracking. This will also ensure it’s easier to track down any missing paperwork.

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Journals are “written up” using the data found on their source materials. When a consumer pays with a check or cash, the seller creates a bank deposit slip, which is presented to the bank along with the check and cash. The total amount being deposited as well as a breakdown of the cash and check amounts will be shown on the deposit slip. Timecards show how many hours an employee has worked, used to support the issuance of any accompanying electronic payments or paychecks.


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