Daybook (bookkkeeping)

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In bookkeeping, a daybook (general journal?, subsidary journal?) or dagboek, is part of a bookkeeping where mutations are being recorded that always relate to the same account.


Examples of usual daybooks:

  • Cash
  • Bank
  • Purchase orders
  • Sales orders.


Reasons for having daybooks:

  • For folks who are only involved with a part of the overall bookkeeping, like someone managing a cash register at a company, who therefore is only involved with cash transactions
  • To make recording transactions more efficiently: All transactions have the same counter account.

Another maybe indirect advantage of using the concept of daybooks: In my humble spreadsheet administration, I recently (2023.03) added to mutations a column Source that refers to the kind of source:

  • B - Bank statement
  • C - Credit card statement
  • P - Purchase invoice
  • S - Sales invoice
  • V - VAT declaration.

Note that there is no source related to cash transactions: I don't maintain petty cash, so any cash transcation involves ontrekking privé.

Now that I use this extra column, the mutation descriptions become much shorter. A description for a purchase invoice becomes e.g. KPN: 134536: Only company + invoice ID.

No more complex transactions?

I suspect that one of the consequences of deploying daybooks could be, that you can't record complex transactions anymore. With complex transactions, I mean transactions that involve more than two mutations, or where the 'intermediate' mutations are cancelled by the 'outer' transactions. E.g.: VAT submission and VAT payment happening on the same day: As separate bookings, these would involve four mutations. Booked as one 'complex' transaction, it would only involve 2 mutations.

When using daybooks, maybe you can't do complex transactions anymore, since they would involve two books (at least, in the example above) in one transaction.