The Importance of Source Documents Pridgeon & Zoss

The time card records the name of
the employee, the working day, the entry time and the exit time. The check printed from a cash register provides proof that a purchase was paid for in cash or by card. Consult your institution’s library to find out what newspaper archives they provide access to. However, news articles are not always reliable and may be written from a biased perspective or with the intention of promoting a political agenda. News articles usually do not cite their sources and are written for a popular, rather than academic, audience.

  • They are external documents or documents related to external activities which are first input in the accounting source systems.
  • This section provides an overview and description of the source documents themselves.
  • A bank statement 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.
  • Basically, these documents substantiate the business transaction, whose entry is made in the books, as they are the first and foremost input to the accounting process.

A source document is the location where a document or a portion of another document was retrieved. For example, when using an optical scanner, the document being scanned is considered the source document. A financial professional will offer guidance based on the information provided and offer a no-obligation call to better understand your situation. Also, another entry reversing the payment will have to be made in Acme’s books.

Your institution’s library will likely contain access to a wide selection of each. Eliminate grammar errors and improve your writing with our free AI-powered grammar checker. Our mission is to empower readers with the most factual and reliable financial information possible to help them make informed decisions for their individual needs. Our goal is to deliver the most understandable and comprehensive explanations of financial topics using simple writing complemented by helpful graphics and animation videos.

Print Sources

Even though Cornwell’s testimony may not be “directly relevant” with respect to the submissions to the banks for loans,” it does support the “prosecution’s contention” of Trump’s motive to inflate assets, Lovel explained. Instead, Trump, who was the star of NBC’s “The Apprentice” at the time, handed out a Forbes magazine list to support his bid during a management presentation with Bills’ leadership, according to Cornwell. Ultimately, Trump lost his bid for the football team to billionaire Terry Pegula, who outbid him by $400 million. It goes to show that Trump would go to great lengths to prove his net worth, even if it wasn’t an official financial statement, Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University, told Salon. Former President Donald Trump relied on a Forbes article to “prove” his net worth when placing a bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills – a decade-old business move that came under scrutiny during his New York civil fraud trial on Tuesday.

The pre-numbering of documents is particularly useful, since it allows a company to investigate whether any documents are missing. 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. In certain instances, it may even be important to provide the chain of custody to be able to determine that the source document in question remained under your control. A bank statement is used to enter payments into the accounting system and match them to invoices.

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Generally, external source documents are considered more important, as they provide proof that your company did have a transaction with another party. For example, if your company purchased something, but does not have any payment documents from the seller, then the accountant does not have the right to record such entry in the books. Source documents detail the basic facts of a transaction—amount, date, payee and purpose. Without this information to back up your business transactions, your accountant doesn’t have the full financial picture needed to prove that you earned every bit of your tax refund or qualify for a small business loan.

How Long to Retain Source Documents

Credit Note – A credit note is a document sent by a seller to the buyer notifying that a credit has been made to their account against the goods returned by the buyer. Source documents arrive in a company through many different departments, mostly via sales and purchase departments. 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. A materials receipt that specified the objects purchased and the price paid, but that was scanned without the name of the supplier would not qualify. A document that presented all the information in the original receipt, but that had been retyped in Word or Excel format would also not qualify. The
time card is an internal document that companies use for registering the
working hours of the personnel and pay wages.

Frequently asked questions about types of sources

It’s your financial team’s job to be sure anything you report to the government and other institutions is thoroughly backed up by proof—especially in the case of a tax audit, when your transaction trails must be impeccably documented. In the modern era, many businesses and individuals choose to store source documents in electronic form. This can be as simple as scanning a receipt or invoice or even taking a picture of a purchase order for your records. There are typically two methodologies when it comes to source documents and bank reconciliation. The first is reconciling straight from a bank or credit card statement, while clients are responsible for keeping source documents. The second has the bookkeeper collecting these documents, and using them to perform more detailed bank reconciliation.

What are Accounting Source Documents?

If the majority of your client interactions involve clarification, clients might struggle to see the value you provide to their business and become frustrated by the frequent back-and-forth communication. While both of these reasons may be true, bookkeepers who have a process in place for collecting and managing source documents can forge more powerful business partnerships with their clients. For starters, it can help your clients to prepare for an audit and increase accuracy and efficiency in your bank reconciliation workflow. Source documents exist to provide conclusive evidence of a transaction, otherwise known as an “audit trail”. However, as cloud-based general ledger softwares such as Xero and QuickBooks Online have become more popular, many accountants and bookkeepers have shied away from collecting client source documents. Bank statements are important because they summarize all of the transactions that have taken place in a bank account during a specific period.

Nevertheless, newspapers can help when you need information on recent topics or events that have not been the subject of in-depth academic study. Archives of older newspapers can also be useful sources for historical research. Many websites don’t provide the author’s name, so it can be hard to tell if they’re an expert. Websites often don’t cite their sources, and they typically don’t subject their content to peer review.

These source documents are important for a number of reasons, including drafting financial statements, balancing your budget, and defending yourself in tax litigation. They can be maintained in paper or electronic form and must be kept for at least 3 to 4 years after the transaction has been completed. For every financial transaction, a business keeps evidence in the form of a generated paper trail or digital trail. For example, a cheque is drawn for purchasing office stationery and given to the supplier and the supplier issues a receipt against it. The source document is a good internal control and provides evidence a transaction occurred.

Source Documents or Source Vouchers

Documents generated within the past year are generally stored on-site, with older documents being stored in less expensive off-site storage facilities. Out of the 86 parties that were contacted to potentially bid on the Bills, Trump was one of six who made it to a final bid, according to a Morgan Stanley document shown at trial, ABC News reported. But, when Morgan Stanley attempted a close review of Trump’s bid, the former president declined to provide his financial statements. Many businesses nowadays and even government organisations are using the IRS standard for the complete, legible and accurate generation of original documents. In this case, the cheque and the receipt are the source documents, i.e., evidence that such a transaction has taken place.

When a certain amount is received from a customer, a document is issued as a receipt that shows the date and amount of payment, details of the payer, and purpose of payment. The counterfoil or carbon copy of such receipt is used as a source document. Basically, these documents substantiate the business transaction, whose entry is made in the books, as they are the first and foremost input to the accounting wave integrations process. The former president refused to disclose financial statements to bankers involved in his $1 billion bid for the football team in 2014. An original source document contains the signature and seal of the business, where information cannot be forged or tarnished. In photocopy, the details of the transaction can be forged; thus, photocopies should be avoided and original documents must be maintained.