What is a journal?

Definition of a journal

A journal is an accounting mechanism that moves an amount from one nominal account to another.

How journals work:

You will always post journal entries in pairs to show the amount moving between the accounts.

For example, if you prepare your accounts to the end of March each year, and your accountant sends you a bill for £1,000 in June that covers your accounts to 31st March. You need to include that bill in your accounts to 31st March, rather than the following year, so you would post two sets of journal entries:

  • On 31st March, debit the 'Accountancy Fees' category and credit the 'Accruals' category to include the fees in your costs
  • On the date of the bill, in June, debit the 'Accruals' category and credit the 'Accountancy Fees' category so that the bill doesn't create a double charge in your accounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I post journals or should my accountant post them?

If you have an accountant, they will normally post journal entries for you. Journals are an exception rather than a rule in accounting, so it’s best to speak to your accountant if you think that you might need them.

Bookkeeping and tax tips

If you check this box, we’ll send you business tips tailored for landlords. If you’d like more general small business tips, leave it unchecked.

We are committed to keeping your information safe. Read our Privacy Policy to find out more.

Related Definitions

Are you an accountant or bookkeeper?

Find out more about FreeAgent for your practice.