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What are source documents and why are they important? –

This section lists the types of sources most frequently used in academic research and describes the sort of information that each commonly offers. A timesheet is a data table that an employer can use to track the time that a particular employee has worked during a certain period. Businesses use timesheets to record time spent on tasks, clients, or projects. There are different methods to record timesheets, such as paper, spreadsheet software, and online time tracking software.

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. They may be the only record of certain transactions, such as payments made directly into the bank account of a supplier by a customer through the banking system (a BACS transfer).

In accounting, a “source document” refers to any document that substantiates and evidences a transaction. It’s important to retain and organize these documents to research problems or questions that arise concerning transactions. You also might need to provide these to the IRS if it audits you or questions anything related to your tax return. In most circumstances, photocopies of source documents are legally acceptable. The article gives an overview of what are accounting source documents and what are their goals, content, and examples. In historical studies, old articles are used as primary sources that give direct evidence about the time period.

  • They usually contain a description of a business transaction, the date of the transaction, a specific amount of money, and an authorizing signature.
  • Note that the purchase order and dispatch note are not records from which accounting transactions should be entered.
  • Part of their audit involves reviewing the details of various transactions, which are originally shown in the source documents.
  • They are external documents or documents related to external activities which are first input in the accounting source systems.
  • Instead they have separate pages at the back of the checkbook (behind all the checks) where you can hand-write the details of checks you have issued, including the check number, the value and who/what they were for.

This is a form sent to Acme setting out the 5,000 CDs to be supplied and the price to be paid (already agreed between the companies). A source document is the location where a document or a portion of another document was retrieved. For example, when using an optical scanner, the document being scanned is considered the source document. You’ll likely use a variety of these sources throughout the research process, and the kinds of sources you use will depend on your research topic and goals. If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools, citation, and plagiarism, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

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What Are the Types of Source Documents in Accounting

And right at the bottom of the page, you can find more questions on the topic submitted by fellow students. He is a graduate of University of Toronto and has a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College. Morgan is an avid coin and banknote collector and always enjoys learning about coins from around the world. Speaking of Hubdoc, document collection and management is made easy with auto-fetch, email, mobile upload, scanning, and our automatic filing system.

Our goal is to deliver the most understandable and comprehensive explanations of financial topics using simple writing complemented by helpful graphics and animation videos. Also, another entry reversing the payment will have to be made in Acme’s books. This ensures that Maiden is once again shown as still owing the money due for the 5,000 CDs. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

  • When you make a deposit of cash or checks at the bank, you’ll receive a slip to prove it.
  • A bank statement is used to enter payments into the accounting system and match them to invoices.
  • These include your bank and credit card account statements, copies of your cleared checks, a petty cash log, and receipts.
  • In its most basic form, it acknowledges that a seller has been paid for goods or services.
  • Just as the name suggests, it is a document that serves as the proof or source of the transaction.
  • 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.

The Internal Revenue Service mandates retention intervals for some types of documents related to payroll. If there is any question regarding the retention period for a document, consult with a knowledgeable attorney. Credit Note – A credit note is a document sent by a seller to the buyer notifying that a credit has been made to their account against the goods returned by the buyer. Source documents arrive in a company through many different departments, mostly via sales and purchase departments. A materials receipt that specified the objects purchased and the price paid, but that was scanned without the name of the supplier would not qualify.

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Source documents are vital when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting because it proves that a particular financial transaction has occurred. For example, a company that sells widgets would want to keep track of all widget sales. Source documents – such as invoices and purchase orders – can be used to document each sale. “Source document” is a term used in the accounting world closing entries types example to mean the original document that contains the details of a business or financial transaction. It typically has information about the names of the parties involved, the amount paid (if any), the purpose of the transaction, and the date. Source documents often have a unique number assigned to them, so that they can be easily identified within an accounting or software system.

How Long to Retain Source Documents

These documents serve as proof and can be attached to invoices that are sent to the client. A petty cash log is where you record petty cash expenditures and is part of a manual record-keeping system. There are two primary types of entries in a petty cash log—a debit to record cash and a credit to reflect a cash withdrawal from the petty cash fund. These credits can be for such transactions as payment for office supplies, meals, or stamps. Similarly, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) accepts scanned documents as long as the records are produced and retained in paper format or stored in an electronically accessible and readable format.

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It also gives the vendor a document that can used to record the sale of goods. A source document is an original document, such as an invoice or a canceled check, which contains essential details that will either support or substantiate a transaction. It doesn’t have to be a paper document, as electronic records are acceptable.

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Whether it’s primary or secondary, always properly cite the movie in the citation style you are using. When you do research, you have to gather information and evidence from a variety of sources. It is essentially a summary of the financial relationship between two businesses, including any amounts owing. Invoices thus normally relate to credit transactions and specifically, income on credit.

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They are not always reliable and may be written from a biased or uninformed perspective, but they can still be cited in some contexts. Having source documents readily available will make the reconciliation process easier and more accurate. It’ll also help to gather clean data that can be translated into business insights. If your business has employees, maintain copies of their timesheets and expense reports as a backup in case there’s ever a question about the accuracy of a transaction. Often, businesses will bill their clients for time or expenses that were incurred by their employees.


These are all original documents that were created from a transaction and the first component in an accounting system. There are a few general accounting source documents that are important to retain for your records. These include your bank and credit card account statements, copies of your cleared checks, a petty cash log, and receipts.

Source documents definition

It’s an internal document sent to the customer after the item has shipped and helps to maintain cash flow and streamlines the accounting process. As shown in the sample below, a typical invoice includes the seller and buyer details, date, invoice number, payment due date and payment terms, a description of the service or product, and amount charged. The type of source document you should retain varies with the type of transaction you need to substantiate.

Importance of Source Documents

A check counterfoil is the part of the check kept by the drawer (writer) of the check as a record of the transaction – a record that the check was written and the payment was made. Businesses normally send an invoice together with goods (or once services have been delivered) so as to indicate the amount of payment required to be paid to them. Bookkeepers and other accounts personnel are adamant that a business keeps records of everything. As mentioned in the previous lesson, the source document is the first document that exists relating to a transaction.

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. If your aim is to analyze the government’s economic policy, a newspaper article about a new policy is a secondary source. But if your aim is to analyze media coverage of economic issues, the newspaper article is a primary source. Untuk Berita dan Update K-Pop lainnya, selalu buka
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