Business Source Documents: Introduction and Examples

what is a source document

Attorneys may also need access to source documents, in order to bolster their positions on various issues involving litigation. A source document is also used by companies as proof when dealing with their business partners, usually in regard to a payments. It accumulates hours-worked information from employee timesheets, which is then included in customer invoices that in turn result in the creation of a sale and accounts receivable transaction. Thus, in this situation, the timesheet is the source document for a sale transaction. When conducting audits, compliance checks, or for other business-related purposes, source documents are frequently inspected. Transactions, general ledgers, trial balances, diaries, and financial statements are a few examples of source documents.

Source Document Role in an Accounting Transaction

A source document captures the key information about a transaction, such as the names of the parties involved, amounts paid (if any), 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.

Purchase Documents

A selection over which seller to purchase the product from will be made after considering and weighing the estimates, typically based on who is the least expensive. Ask a question about your financial situation providing as much detail as possible. At Finance Strategists, we partner with financial experts to ensure the accuracy of our financial content. CFI is the official provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst.

  1. A Cash Receipt is issued when the seller receives cash or check from the buyer upfront for the sale of products or services.
  2. 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.
  3. Read on as we take a deeper look at a list of these distinct business source papers and an explanation of their functions.
  4. Instead of making payments by check, a business can make payments online or by other electronic means.

Importance of Source Documents

what is a source document

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. Additionally, auditors check the annual financial statements of a business to ensure their accuracy. Part of their audit involves reviewing the details of various transactions, which are originally shown in the source documents. The source documents serve as proof of amounts accurately recorded in later steps of the accounting cycle, from the accounting journals and ledger to the final financial reports. Any information generated through source documents should be properly recorded in either the company’s journal, accounting software, or financial books. 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.

Handling source documents

If all of these documents agree, the invoice is approved and the cashier issues a check for the goods. 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 other words, a promissory note is a written promise by the borrower to pay the lender on demand or at a given future date. A Check or Cheque is a negotiable instrument that evidences an unconditional order to the bank by the maker of the check to pay the bearer or the person named in the check a specified sum of money. Simply put, it is an order by a customer to the bank to transfer money from the customer’s bank account to the seller or another person.

Instead of making payments by check, a business can make payments online or by other electronic means. Businesses normally send an invoice together with goods (or once services have been delivered) so as to indicate the amount of payment required to be paid to them. Bookkeepers and other accounts personnel variable overhead efficiency variance are adamant that a business keeps records of everything. As mentioned in the previous lesson, the source document is the first document that exists relating to a transaction. On sales/purchase invoices, remittances are frequently pre-printed as a tiny cut-out piece at the bottom or along the right side.

These documents capture relevant information about the transaction and are used as reference when recording transactions in the accounting system. Each time a company makes a financial transaction, it generates some paper trail. If a small business writes a check from its checking account for office supplies, for example, the check and office supplies receipt a 2021 update on tax and education credits become the source documents. They cover a wide range of reports and forms, such as bank statements, invoices, receipts, and purchase orders. For instance, receipts serve as evidence of payments made, but invoices record the sales of goods or services to clients. There is a primary reason why source papers are crucial to the bookkeeping and accounting process.

Even if the documents are digitally generated, it is still important that your company create backups or even print them to ensure their availability in situations where there is an audit or lawsuit. Otherwise, a business would not be able to prove to its auditors that the transactions from which its financial statements were compiled ever occurred. There may also be times when someone within a business needs to research prior transactions; if so, a well-organized set of source documents, either on paper or digitized, will be needed for this research. A variety of documents are utilised in small business accounting to compile the financial accounts of the enterprise. The accounting books’ core papers—purchase orders, invoice source documents, and receipts—contain all pertinent information about each transaction. Source documents are critical to auditors, who use them as evidence that recorded transactions actually occurred.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Shaun Conrad is a Certified Public Accountant and CPA exam expert with a passion for teaching. After almost a decade of experience in public accounting, he created to help people learn accounting & finance, pass the CPA exam, and start their career. A Credit Note is issued by the seller to the buyer which reduces the seller’s accounts receivable with the customer. On the other hand, a Debit Note is issued by the buyer to the seller which reduces the buyer’s accounts payable with the seller. Managing a large number and variety of documents, data correctness, human data entry, document security, trouble with retrieval, and adherence to document retention laws are some challenges.

what is a source document

An interest-bearing note has a specified interest rate charged on the outstanding principal. On the other hand, a noninterest-bearing note has no stated interest rate on its face. The words check and cheque refer to the same thing in the context of financial instruments.

When a consumer pays their bill, they send a remittance advice to the supplier that includes the payment amount and the invoice numbers. If payment is made using internet banking, it will either be posted along with the check or separately. The seller will produce a paper outlining all the specifics of the sale when an item is sold. If the vendor does not require payment in full before shipping the goods, they will specify their payment terms, or how long the buyer has to pay, on their invoice.