The process of transferring information from the books of prime entry to the ledgers is known as “posting”.
A posting list, or list of postings, is simply a summary of the entries that are made in the ledger accounts. Strictly speaking, a posting list is not required in a manual system but it is an easy way for examiners to check students’ understanding of how the books of prime entry are posted to the ledger accounts.
In addition, they can be very useful when we believe an error has been made in posting to the ledgers as they provide this information in a convenient format.
Information to be included in a posting list
- The date
- The names of the ledger accounts that amounts will be posted to
- The amount to be recorded in each ledger account and whether that amount will be recorded on the debit or credit side of the ledger account
- Additional information can also be included if desired; for example we might also record:
- A reference indicating which book of prime entry is being posted from
- A reference indicating the person who has posted the entries
- A description of what the posting is for
Layout of a posting list
Posting lists can be laid out in a number of different ways and three different methods are shown below. [Note that these are very similar to the ways in which Journals are laid out – the main difference is that Journals will also include a description or explanation for the entries being made.]
|Date||Account||Debit (£)||Credit (£)|
Note also that the rows in the above layouts can be ordered differently; for example debits do not have to be recorded before credits
Entering lists of postings in the General Ledger
When a bookkeeper posts to the General Ledger accounts they usually follow certain conventions when recording the transactions.
Convention re: dates
If we are posting an individual transaction into the General ledger (e.g. a single sale) we will record the date of the transaction. If however, we are posting the totals for a period we will record the date the totals were calculated up to. For example, if we were posting the totals from the Sales Day Book for the month of March 2020, we would use the date 31st March 2020.
Convention re: descriptions
In addition to the date, we would also record a description next to each entry in the General Ledger accounts. Traditionally this description would be the name of the General Ledger account in which the corresponding debit or credit can be found.
[Note that this convention is not always easy to follow, particularly when we are posting period totals from the Books of Prime Entry. In section 5 we will look at how we can deal with these situations]
A business wishes to record the following entries in its General Ledger (for the sake of simplicity no dates have been included in this example):
The General Ledger accounts are shown below. The postings are shown in dark red and you will note that the description “Petty cash” is used in the Postage account as the corresponding credit to the debit of £20 can be found in the Petty cash account. Likewise, the description of “Postage” is used in the Petty cash account as this is where the corresponding debit to this entry can be found.
In addition to the above, bookkeepers will often include additional information for each entry made in a General Ledger account; for example a bookkeeper might record:
- The name (or initials) of the book of prime entry from which the posting has been made
- Reference numbers that enable the transaction to be traced to the original financial documents
- A description of the type of transaction that is being recorded
The amount of additional information that is recorded will depend on the amount of space available in the Ledger and whether the additional information will be worth the additional time and effort required to record it.