Source Documents


After the initial recording, all documents should be preserved and organized into a file and put into a system so they can be retrieved at any time. It is also important to make a record of general internal control procedures specifying who in the firm can access and authorize payments, orders, and other transactions. The source document is a good internal control and provides evidence a transaction occurred. Providing source documents to your bookkeeper or accountant in a timely manner assists them in preparation of financial statements and accurately analyzing your business activity. Each time a company makes a financial transaction, it generates some paper trail.A source document is an original record which contains the detail that supports or substantiates a transaction that will be entered in an accounting system. Once the information in a source document has been recorded in the accounting system, the source document is indexed for easy access and archived. Documents generated within the past year are generally stored on-site, with older documents being stored in less expensive off-site storage facilities. A receiving report is issued and all three of these documents are sent to the accounting department to approve the invoice from the vendor. If all of these documents agree, the invoice is approved and the cashier issues a check for the goods. This invoice template will act as a guideline for you when creating sales invoices to keep records of transactions.Prenumbering of commonly-used forms helps to enforce numbering, to classify transactions, and to identify and locate missing source documents. A well-designed source document form can minimize errors and improve the efficiency of transaction recording. Accepts scanned documents as long as the records are produced and retained in paper format or stored in an electronically accessible and readable format.

  • If employee hours are being billed to customers, then it also supports the creation of customer invoices.
  • At a minimum, each source document should include the date, the amount, and a description of the transaction.
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  • This is a source document that supports the issuance of a cash, check, or electronic payment to a supplier.
  • A source document describes all the basic facts of the transaction, such as the amount of the transaction, to whom the transaction was made, the purpose of the transaction, and the transaction date.
  • 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.
  • Accepts scanned documents as long as the records are produced and retained in paper format or stored in an electronically accessible and readable format.

Source documents are used to record transactions because they are original and show an objective report of the economic activities of each transaction. This document gives the buyer’s accounting department an objective and reliable record of the purchase transaction. It also gives the vendor a document that can used to record the sale of goods. There are a number of possible controls that can be used to reduce the risk that source documents are not properly recorded in an accounting system.

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If your taxes are audited, the source documents provide the proof that you’ve made those purchases. The same holds for your business, but in business, you keep original documents for every financial transaction, not just charitable donations. The source document may be created in either paper or electronic format. For example, automated accounting systems may generate the source document electronically or allow paper source documents to be scanned and converted into electronic images. Accounting software often provides on-screen entry forms for different types of transactions to capture the data and generate the source document.

source documents

As you can see, all of the source documents are used to ensure that only proper goods are ordered, received, and paid for. Learn accounting fundamentals and how to read financial statements with CFI’s free online accounting classes. Our Accounting guides and resources are self-study guides to learn accounting and finance at your own pace. This can be used as evidence of cash sales, which supports the recordation of a sale transaction.

Source Document Definition

Source documentmeans the document transmitted to the Juvenile Court Clerk by email. Source documentmeans the document transmitted to the Probate Court Clerk by email. Source documentmeans the document transmitted to the Court by facsimile machine/system.

source documents

If a small business writes a check from its checking account for office supplies, for example, the check and office supplies receipt become the source documents. The source document’s information should be recorded in the appropriate accounting journal as soon as possible after the transaction. After recording, all source documents should be filed away in some system where they can be retrieved if and when needed.

What Are Source Documents?

Certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst. Internal Review Service , as long as these photocopies are complete, legible, and accurate representations of the original document, they are legally acceptable. This can be used as evidence for a disbursement of funds from petty cash.Rosemary Carlson is an expert in finance who writes for The Balance Small Business. She has consulted with many small businesses in all areas of finance. She was a university professor of finance and has written extensively in this area. Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

What is the importance of source document?

Importance of Source Documents The source document is essential to the bookkeeping and accounting process as it provides evidence that a financial transaction has occurred. During an accounting or tax audit, source documents back up the accounting journals and general ledger as an indisputable transaction trail.There are several objectives in accounting for income taxes and optimizing a company’s valuation. This supports the issuance of a paycheck or electronic payment to an employee. If employee hours are being billed to customers, then it also supports the creation of customer invoices.A source document captures the key information about a transaction, such as the names of the parties involved, amounts paid , the date, and the substance of the transaction. Source documents are frequently identified with a unique number, so that they can be differentiated in the accounting system. The pre-numbering of documents is particularly useful, since it allows a company to investigate whether any documents are missing. In most circumstances, photocopies of source documents are legally acceptable. It provides the information required to analyze and classify the transaction and to create the journal entries. To facilitate referencing, each source document should have a unique identifier, usually a number or alphanumeric code.

How Long To Retain Source Documents

Source documentmeans the original document from which the image is transmitted to the court by facsimile machine/system. Source documentmeans the original document transmitted to the court by facsimile machine. Source document means the document transmitted to the court by facsimile machine/system. Show bioRebekiah has taught college accounting and has a master’s in both management and business.In addition, source documents are also essential in the auditing process. When companies undergo an audit, the auditor’s access to a clear and accessible paper trail of all transactions enhances the overall legitimacy and independence of the audit.It is usually necessary to retain source documents for several years. 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.In order to reaffirm the accuracy of the company’s balances in individual accounts, auditors need full access to all the documents. Overall, to run a business more smoothly and enhance transparency, all its source documents should be kept and stored for future reference. When a business generates a financial transaction, it creates a paper trail. This paper trail is called a “Source Document.” Your bookkeeper or accountant may ask you to provide them with some sort of source document to verify data and record transactions correctly.One of the more common controls is to pre-number documents, so that missing documents are easier to track down. A key aspect of proper accounting is maintaining record of expenses through Source Documents, paper or evidence of transaction occurrence.Many source documents are also stamped to indicate an approval, or on which to write down the current date or the accounts to be used to record the underlying transaction. At a minimum, each source document should include the date, the amount, and a description of the transaction. When practical, beyond these minimum requirements source documents should contain the name and address of the other party of the transaction. Because they serve as physical evidence that a financial transaction actually occurred. Nowadays, these documents do not necessarily need to be a physical hard copy – they may be in a traceable electronic form.

Accounting Source Documents

Many businesses and government agencies also use the IRS standard of complete, legible, and accurate reproductions of the original documents. Isn’t it amazing how important a simple piece of paper can be in the accounting industry?Once a transaction has been journalized, the source document should be filed and made retrievable so that transactions can be verified should the need arise at a later date. Source documentmeans the local government record from which local government record data is obtained for electronic storage. The term does not include backup copies of the data in any media generated from electronic storage. If you plan to scan accounting or legal documents to facilitate storage, check with the relevant institution to be sure they will accept the documents in the format you’re planning to use. This contains a number of adjustments to a company’s book balance of cash on hand that the company should reference to bring its records into alignment with those of the bank.

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For these reasons, a company should adopt a document destruction policy that strictly controls the shredding or other form of elimination of source documents until a certain number of years have passed. A source document is the original document that contains the details of a business transaction.Typical source documents include, but are not limited to, wage and tax statements, sales invoices, purchase invoices, cancelled checks, deposit slips and point of sale records, such as cash register tapes. Some common examples of source documents include sales receipts,checks, purchase orders,invoices,bank statements, and payroll reports. These are all original documents that were created from a transaction and the first component in anaccounting system. Any information generated through source documents should be properly recorded in either the company’s journal, accounting software, or financial books.