1.2 Ledgers, Journals, Masters, and Transactions

First, there are files that keep information that would be kept on ledger cards in a manual accounting system. Examples are, files that contain customer information (names and addresses), files for keeping similar information for vendors, and the General Ledger account file. Since this information does not change a great deal, these files are also known in the computer accounting system as master files, and are constantly referenced by the rest of the accounting system.

The second type of file is a journal file. Journal files are used to record the accounting transactions that take place. Examples of journal files are, the file where invoices are entered (the Sales Journal), the file where vouchers are entered (the Purchases Journal), and the General Journal. These files usually have a great deal of activity in them, and records entered in these files are posted throughout the accounting system. In the computer accounting system, these files are also referred to as transaction files.

Another characteristic which differentiates masters from transactions, is the life of the records. Typically, master records will be kept for the life of the accounting system. In contrast, you would hardly keep invoices from 1959.

The computer accounting system uses two letter abbreviations to represent each of the different ledgers and journals that are used. These abbreviations are:

C/Books Ledger                                                                       
Ledger Code Ledger Name Contains                                                       
gl General Ledger General Ledger Accounts                                              
ap Accounts Payable Vendors                                                            
ar Accounts Receivable Customers                                                       
in Inventory Inventory Product Codes                                                   
fa Fixed Assets Fixed Assets Codes                                                     
jb Job Cost  Job Cost Codes                                                            
jc Job Cost Activity Job Cost Activity Codes                                           
tx Sales Tax Sales Tax Accounts                                                        
em Payroll Employees Employees                                                         

C/Books Journals                                                                                           
Journal Codes Journal Name Contains                                                                          
gj General Journal General Journal Transactions                                                              
pj Purchases Journal Vouchers                                                                                
sj Sales Journal Invoices                                                                                    
cr Cash Receipts Payments                                                                                    
cd Cash Disbursements Checks                                                                                 
dj Fixed Asset Depreciation Fixed Assets Depreciation Transactions                                           
ia Inventory Adjustment Journal Inventory Adjustment Transactions                                            
wp Work in Process Journal Work in Process Transactions                                                      
pr Payroll Payroll Vouchers                                                                                  
rs Receiving Slips Receiving Slips