The word "journal" has been derived from the French word "jour". Jour means day. So journal means daily. Transactions are recorded daily in journal and hence it has been named so. It is a book of original entry to record chronologically (i.e. in order of date) and in detail the various transactions of a trader. It is also known Day Book because it contains the account of every day's transactions.
Journal has the following features:
Journal is the first successful step of the double entry system. A transaction is recorded first of all in the journal. So the journal is called the book of original entry.
A transaction is recorded on the same day it takes place. So, journal is called Day Book.
Transactions are recorded chronologically, So, journal is called chronological book
For each transaction the names of the two concerned accounts indicating which is debited and which is credited, are clearly written in two consecutive lines. This makes ledger-posting easy. That is why journal is called "Assistant to Ledger" or "subsidiary book"
Narration is written below each entry.
The amount is written in the last two columns - debit amount in debit column and credit amount in credit column.
The following arte the advantages of journal:
Each transaction is recorded as soon as it takes place. So there is no possibility of any transaction being omitted from the books of account.
Since the transactions are kept recorded in journal, chronologically with narration, it can be easily ascertained when and why a transaction has taken place.
For each and every transaction which of the two concerned accounts will be debited and which account credited, are clearly written in journal. So, there is no possibility of committing any mistake in writing the ledger.
Since all the debits of transaction are recorded in journal, it is not necessary to repeat them in ledger. As a result ledger is kept tidy and brief.
Journal shows the complete story of a transaction in one entry.
Any mistake in ledger can be easily detected with the help of journal.