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What is a Journal Entry in Quickbooks?

Published: August 28, 2023 · 14 mins

Editorial Team
Written By Editorial Team

In the world of financial management, accurate record-keeping is paramount. And at the heart of this practice lies the powerful tool known as the “journal entry.” Whether you’re a small business owner, an aspiring accountant, or a curious individual seeking to understand the intricacies of financial tracking, unraveling the concept of journal entries in QuickBooks can be a transformative journey.

This comprehensive guide delves into the realm of journal entries, specifically within the widely used accounting software QuickBooks. From demystifying their purpose to exploring their essential components and demonstrating their practical applications, we embark on a quest to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the financial landscape confidently.

What is Journal Entry?

A journal entry is a fundamental accounting record that captures the financial transactions of a business entity. It serves as a chronological and systematic recording of transactions, providing a detailed account of the movement of money and resources within an organization.

At its core, a journal entry documents the dual impact of each transaction using the principles of double-entry bookkeeping. This means that every transaction affects at least two accounts, with an equal and opposite impact on each side. This duality is represented by debits and credits, which are the core elements of a journal entry.

Debits and credits are not inherently positive or negative; they represent the increase or decrease of specific account balances. When creating a journal entry, you must identify the accounts affected by the transaction and determine the appropriate debit and credit amounts. The debits and credits must always balance, ensuring that the accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Equity) remains in equilibrium.

Journal entries include essential components to provide a comprehensive record of the transaction. These components typically include:

  • Date: The date of the transaction is recorded to establish a chronological order.
  • Accounts: The specific accounts impacted by the transaction are identified. For example, cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, or sales revenue.
  • Debit Amount: The amount debited to the respective account is recorded.
  • Credit Amount: The amount credited to the corresponding account is recorded.
  • Description: A brief explanation of the transaction is provided, outlining the nature and purpose of the entry.

Journal entries are typically first recorded in the general journal, which serves as a preliminary record of all transactions. Later, these entries are transferred to the general ledger, where each account has its own individual page to maintain a comprehensive and organized view of financial activity.

What is Included in Journal Entries in QuickBooks Online?

So, what exactly is included in a journal entry in QuickBooks Online? Let’s find out!

Dates and Numbers:

Just like a well-organized calendar, every journal entry starts with a date, capturing the moment when the transaction occurs. Additionally, each journal entry is assigned a unique number, which distinguishes one entry from the next.

Accounts and Amounts:

QuickBooks Online allows you to select the accounts to be debited and credited, capturing the essence of the transaction. The amounts assigned to each account reflect the financial impact of the transaction. 

Memos and Descriptions:

Adding memos and descriptions to your entries allows you to narrate the tale behind each transaction. You can provide context, specify the purpose, or include any other relevant details that help in enhancing the clarity and understanding of your financial records.

Additional Details:

QuickBooks Online offers additional details to enhance your journal entries. You can include tax codes, classes, and customer or vendor information, providing a comprehensive view of each transaction.

What Is the Purpose of a Journal Entry in QuickBooks?

By understanding the purpose of journal entries in QuickBooks, businesses can maintain accurate financial records, generate meaningful reports, ensure compliance, and make informed decisions to drive their success.

Accurate Recording: 

Journal entries capture the details of financial transactions, ensuring precise documentation of money flows, asset acquisitions, and debt settlements.

Foundation for Financial Reporting: 

Journal entries serve as the foundation for generating comprehensive financial statements and reports, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.

Audit Trail: 

By creating a clear audit trail, journal entries enable you to trace back and verify the accuracy of recorded transactions, ensuring transparency and facilitating the auditing process.

Informed Decision-Making: 

Accurate and up-to-date journal entries provide essential financial information for making informed business decisions, allowing you to analyze trends, identify areas for improvement, and strategically plan for the future.

Compliance and Accountability: 

Journal entries ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulations, promoting accountability within your financial management practices.

Financial Transparency: 

Through proper categorization and classification of transactions, journal entries enhance financial transparency, allowing stakeholders to understand the financial health and performance of your business.

Integration and Analysis: 

Journal entries serve as a basis for integrating with other financial management processes and systems, enabling deeper analysis of financial data and facilitating effective financial planning.

Historical Record: 

They create a historical record of financial transactions, providing a reference for future analysis, reporting, and decision-making.

Concepts to Consider when Creating different types of journal entries

Creating different types of journal entries in QuickBooks allows you to accurately record various financial transactions within your business. 

Understanding Credits and Debits:

In accounting, debits and credits are fundamental concepts used to record and track financial transactions. Debits represent increases in expenses and assets or decreases in liabilities and equity. Credits, on the other hand, indicate decreases in assets and expenses or increases in liabilities and equity. 

Balance Sheets:

  • A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a specific point in time.
  • It consists of three main sections: assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • The balance sheet follows the accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity.
  • It shows what a company owes (liabilities), what it owns (assets), and the residual value for owners (equity).

A Balance Sheet Example:

  • A balance sheet example may include assets such as cash, accounts receivable, inventory, property, and equipment.
  • Liabilities could include accounts payable, loans, and accrued expenses.
  • Equity represents the ownership value of the business, including retained earnings and shareholders’ equity.
  • The balance sheet helps assess a company’s financial health, solvency, and ability to meet its obligations.

Remembering When to Debit and Credit:

  • It’s important to remember the general rules for when to debit or credit accounts.
  • Debit increases assets and expenses, and decreases liabilities and equity.
  • Credit increases liabilities and equity, and decreases assets and expenses.
  • The specific accounts involved in a transaction determine whether it should be debited or credited.
  • Practice and familiarity with common transactions will help you develop an understanding of when to debit and credit accounts.

How to Make General Journal Entries in QuickBooks?

Creating general journal entries in QuickBooks allows you to record and track financial transactions that do not fit into specific predefined categories. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make general journal entries in QuickBooks:

  • Launch QuickBooks: Open QuickBooks and log in to your company file.
  • Access the Journal Entry Screen: Click the “+” icon at the top right, choose “Journal Entry” under “Other.”
  • Enter Date: Add the transaction date in the designated field.
  • Account Details: Debit and credit the relevant accounts, entering amounts for each.
  • Add Additional Rows: Include more lines if the entry involves multiple accounts.
  • Provide Description: Briefly explain the transaction’s purpose or nature.
  • Save or Record: Review the information, then click “Save and Close” or “Save and New.”
  • Verification: Run a “General Ledger” report to ensure the entry is recorded correctly.

By following these steps, you’ll efficiently record general journal entries in QuickBooks and maintain accurate financial records.

How to Edit a Journal Entry in QuickBooks?

By effectively reversing journal entries, you can maintain accurate financial records and ensure that the necessary corrections are made in your QuickBooks Online software. To reverse a journal entry in QuickBooks Online, follow these steps:

  • Access Settings: Click on the gear icon, typically located in the top right corner of the QuickBooks Online interface.
  • Select Chart of Accounts: From the drop-down menu that appears, choose the “Chart of Accounts” option.
  • Locate the Account: Find the specific account for which you want to reverse the journal entry within the Chart of Accounts.
  • Access Account History: Click on the “Account History” option for the chosen account.
  • Find the Journal Entry: Look for the journal entry within the Account Register. The entry should display “Journal” in the “Type” field or “Ref No.”
  • Open the Journal Entry: To view the details of the journal entry, select it and click on “Edit.”
  • Choose the Reverse Option: In the Edit window, select the “Reverse” option.
  • Save the Reversed Entry: After verifying the changes, click on the “Save” button to save the reversed journal entry.

Following these steps allows you to reverse a journal entry in QuickBooks Online without deleting the original entry. This is particularly useful when you need to distribute a transaction between two accounting periods or correct a debit and credit mistake.

After editing a journal entry using the reverse method in QuickBooks, the software automatically generates a new journal entry to maintain accurate bookkeeping. This process helps balance any modifications made previously. The new entry contains the following information:

  • Retained Journal Number: The new journal entry retains the original journal number but adds the letter “R” to indicate that it has been reversed or resolved.
  • Consistent Information: The information within the new journal entry matches the details of the previous entry. This includes the same accounts, names, and descriptions associated with the transaction.
  • Date Alignment: The date of the new journal entry is set as the first day of the month, aligning with the date of the original journal entry. This maintains consistency in the chronological order of transactions.

By preserving the original journal number, ensuring consistent information, and aligning the date, the new journal entry accurately reflects the reversal and maintains the integrity of your financial records in QuickBooks.

How to Delete a Journal Entry in QuickBooks?

If you need to delete a journal entry that was created in error, it’s important to follow these steps carefully. Deleting a journal entry without proper consideration can disrupt the balance of your accounts. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Access Settings: Click on the gear icon to access the Settings option in your QuickBooks software.
  • Select Chart of Accounts: From the drop-down menu, choose “Chart of Accounts.”
  • Locate the Account: Find the specific account associated with the journal entry you want to delete within the Chart of Accounts.
  • Access Account History: Click on the “Account History” option for the chosen account.
  • Find the Journal Entry: Look for the journal entry within the Account Register. The entry should display “Journal” in the “Type” field or “Ref No.”
  • Open the Journal Entry: To view the details of the journal entry, select it to open the full entry.
  • Delete the Entry: In the entry window, locate the “Delete” button and click on it.
  • Confirm Deletion: When prompted for confirmation, click “Yes” to confirm the deletion of the journal entry.

Please exercise caution when deleting journal entries as it can impact the accuracy of your financial records. Ensure that you have reviewed the entry thoroughly and have determined that it should be permanently erased.

How to Delete a Line in a Journal Entry in QuickBooks?

When incorrect transactions are mistakenly added to a journal entry and need to be removed, follow these simplified steps for easy resolution:

  • Navigate to the Left Side Menu: In QuickBooks, locate the left side menu navigation.
  • Choose the Transaction Option: Select the “Transaction” option from the available choices.
  • Access the Chart of Accounts: Click on the “Chart of Accounts” option.
  • Locate the Transaction: Find the location where the transaction is saved.
  • View the Register: Click on the “View Register” link associated with the transaction.
  • Highlight the Journal: Identify the specific journal entry that requires modification and highlight it.
  • Select Edit: Click on the “Edit” option.
  • Utilize the Trash Bin Icon: Choose the trash bin icon, often represented as a delete or remove symbol.
  • Delete the Journal Entry Line: With the trash bin icon selected, delete the specific line from the journal entry.

By following these steps, you can easily remove incorrect transaction lines from a journal entry in QuickBooks. It is important to review the entry carefully and ensure that the desired line is deleted to maintain the accuracy of your financial records.

How to Delete a Journal Entry in QuickBooks Desktop or Online?

Deleting a journal entry in QuickBooks, whether in the Desktop or Online version, is a straightforward process. Here’s a simplified guide to help you do that:

  • Access Make General Journal Entries: From the Company menu, select “Make General Journal Entries.”
  • Choose the Main Tab: In the Make General Journal Entries box, navigate to the Main tab.
  • Locate the Journal Entry: Look for the journal entry you wish to delete. To assist you in identifying the correct entry, use the Left Arrow in the upper left corner of the box.
  • Note the General Journal Entry Number: Verify if you have the General Journal Entry number for the entry you want to remove.
  • Use the Find Function: Click on “Find” and enter the Entry No. in the designated section.
  • Delete the Journal Entry: Once you have located the correct entry, you can proceed to delete it using the available options.

By following these steps, you can confidently delete a journal entry in QuickBooks Desktop, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of your financial records.

How to Delete a Journal Entry in QuickBooks Online:

  • Access Settings: First, select the “Settings” option in QuickBooks Online.
  • Choose Chart of Accounts: From the available options, navigate to the “Chart of Accounts.”
  • Locate the Relevant Account: Find the specific account associated with the transaction you want to delete.
  • Access Account History: In the Action column, choose “Account history” for that account.
  • Select the Journal Entry: Locate the desired journal entry and click on it to select it.
  • Delete the Journal Entry: Look for the “Delete” option and click on it to delete the journal entry.
  • Confirm Deletion: When prompted, choose “Yes” to confirm that you want to remove the transaction.

By following these steps, you can easily delete a journal entry in QuickBooks Online. However, exercise caution and ensure that you are deleting the correct entry. Always review the entry thoroughly before deletion to maintain the accuracy of your financial records.

How to Restore a Deleted Journal Entry in QuickBooks Online?

Once a journal entry or any other transaction is deleted in QuickBooks, it cannot be recovered. However, you can review the details of the deleted journal item in the Audit Log and manually restore them if needed. Here’s a step-by-step guide for that:

  • Access the Audit Log: Select “Audit Log” from the Gear menu in QuickBooks.
  • Apply Filters: In the Users section, click the “Filter” button and choose “All Users” to include all users’ activities.
  • Set the Date Range: In the Date column, select “All Dates” to include all transactions within the log.
  • Choose Relevant Events: Mark the “Transactions” box under Events to focus on transaction-related activities.
  • Show Deleted/Voided Transactions: In the Show box, select “Deleted Voided Transactions” to display the deleted entries.
  • Apply the Filters: Click the “Apply” button to apply the selected filters to the Audit Log.
  • Locate the Deleted Journal Entry: Find the deleted journal entry within the log and choose “View” to access its details.
  • Take Note of the Information: Click on the newly added history to review the information related to the deleted journal entry.

By following these steps, you can examine the details of a deleted journal entry in QuickBooks using the Audit Log and then add it manually.

Conclusion 

A journal entry in QuickBooks is the backbone of accurate financial record-keeping. It serves as the artist’s brush, painting a vivid picture of your company’s financial transactions. Through carefully crafted debits, credits, dates, numbers, accounts, and amounts, each journal entry captures the essence of money flowing in and out, assets being acquired, and debts being settled.

With QuickBooks, journal entries allow you to maintain a comprehensive record of your business’s financial story. From sales to expenses, payments to adjustments, every transaction finds its rightful place in the journal entry, ensuring transparency, accuracy, and compliance.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
With over 200 years of combined industry experience, our Editorial Team at Top10Ratings is a diverse group of expert reviewers, product analysts, and content experts. They come from backgrounds in renowned product testing labs, acclaimed review platforms, and leading market research firms. Together, they ensure that every review, ranking, and insight offered on Top10Ratings is comprehensive, expert-driven, and trustworthy. Their dedication to authenticity and clarity guarantees that our readers always receive reliable and actionable advice.
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