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A business that sells mainly for cash may still prepare invoices or receipts, which are very similar to invoices. Consult your institution’s library to find out what newspaper archives they provide access to. A check is a unique bank note that serves as the customer’s payment’s representation of cash.

It consists of the date, amount, and other relevant information of a particular transaction. For most retail businesses, however, the source document that accountants will work from is the till roll. This shows the total amount taken in for goods and services, whether by cash, check, or card. 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.

What are Accounting Source Documents?

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 (GRN) is like the delivery note, but in this case, it will
be issued by the buyer. The
delivery note usually shows the names of the parties, delivery location, the
date, and the descriptions and quantities of items in the transaction.

For every financial transaction, a business keeps evidence in the form of a generated paper trail or digital trail. For example, a cheque is drawn for purchasing office stationery and given to the supplier and the supplier issues a receipt against it. In the accounting industry, source documents include receipts, bills, invoices, statements, checks – i.e., anything that documents a transaction. Some accountants prefer to manage the documents for their clients, which can be easily (and digitally) done via the online portal you use to communicate with the firm.

  • The supplier should have a completed paying-in slip stub/counterfoil in the paying-in book, showing the payment of the check into the bank.
  • If you are audited, these source documents will be vital to support your position and to defend yourself in a tax dispute.
  • Source documents are an internal document that act as tangible evidence of a business deal.

Compare your paper to billions of pages and articles with Scribbr’s Turnitin-powered plagiarism checker. Access and download collection of free Templates to help power your productivity and performance. The seller will include an unique remark to indicate the amount to be repaid if the buyer decides not to keep an item but returns it to the vendor.

Consult your institution’s library to find out what academic journals they provide access to. When paying with cash, it’s a good practice to have a receipt as confirmation of payment. When purchasing goods from a store or an online retailer, receipts are typically automatically issued. 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. Source documents are an internal document that act as tangible evidence of a business deal.

The counterfoil or carbon copy of such receipt is used as a source document. Additionally, these documents carry a unique number, either numeric or alphanumeric, which not just helps in identification, but also facilitates referencing. And because these are pre-numbered, they help in the classification of transactions and also find out the missing source documents. An original source document contains the signature and seal of the business, where information cannot be forged or tarnished. In photocopy, the details of the transaction can be forged; thus, photocopies should be avoided and original documents must be maintained.

Delivery note

The 78-year-old is known for tracking down stolen Nazi gold and war criminals as well as being a leading authority on the verification of wartime documents, but felt uncomfortable supplying them to the government’s review. Heinrich Himmler gave secret orders for up to 1,000 enslaved labourers to be shot in cold blood on the British island of Alderney, previously unpublished documents disclosed to the Observer reveal. Purchase Order is an official document generated by a buyer of goods/services as an offer for the seller. Petty Cash Voucher – It is used for petty cash expenses such as stamps, postage and handling, stationery, carriage, etc.


Accounting source documents can be categorized also as internal or
external, depending on if they were generated within the company, or received
from another party (e.g. seller of goods). Accounting source documents are documents that provide proof of economic transactions. Recordkeeping is a task that few people enjoy, whether you are doing it for yourself or for your business. Yet maintaining documentation of financial transactions is critical not just for the health of your company, but to protect yourself in the event of an audit. A debit note is a document that records the fact that an invoice has been paid, resulting in a decrease in the amount owed to the supplier. A Credit Note is a document that records the fact that an invoice has been received, resulting in an increase in the amount owed to the supplier.

If employee hours are being billed to customers, then it also supports the creation of customer invoices. It can also be electronic, such as an electronic record of the hours worked by an employee, as entered into a company’s timekeeping system through a smartphone. If you are being audited by the IRS or the MDR, source documents will be vital to defending yourself and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. A skilled tax attorney can work with you to analyze your source documents and put together a strong defense.

As you can see, all of the source documents are used to ensure that only proper goods are ordered, received, and paid for. The goal of a diary is to consistently keep track of all financial transactions in chronological order on a daily basis. The bank will keep a record of the transaction so that it appears on both the payor’s and the recipient’s bank statements. The person who is an authorised signatory of the bank account from which the check is issued must sign the check. Each check has a unique number that needs to be entered into the accounting software.

Proofreading & Editing

The part on the left is used as a counterfoil, whereas the right part is for use by the banker. Both the parts are stamped and signed by the cashier when cash or cheque is deposited and the counterfoil is returned to the customer. It contains the details of cash or cheque deposited, name of the bank branch, account number, name of the account holder, the signature of the depositor, cheque number, etc.

In this case, the buyer notifies the seller that they do not intend to pay for the goods if purchased on credit, or they expect a refund or credit from the seller if goods have already been paid for. Likewise, every company must have a procedure about the source document
destruction policy. This procedure helps organizations to control the
elimination of such documents for a certain period of time.

If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper with some experience collecting client documents, chances are you’ve either heard someone say this, or you’ve said/experienced it yourself. With no source documents to match transactions in reconciled statements, there may not be sufficient documentation to satisfy auditors, yield variance definition which can cause serious problems for your clients. Various regulations mandate that some source documents be retained for a number of years. It may also be prudent to retain these documents irrespective of regulations, if only to provide evidence in the event of a lawsuit, or to provide better customer service.

How Long to Retain Source Documents

The original is delivered to the customer, and the duplicate is retained as a record in the business. A source document is an original record which contains the detail that supports or substantiates a transaction that will be (or has been) entered in an accounting system. This reluctance to collect source documents usually occurs for a couple of reasons. First, many accounting and bookkeeping professionals believe that it is the small business’s own responsibility to keep track of their documents. Second, managing source documents – especially keeping track of paper – can be a huge pain.