A cash disbursement journal is a record kept by a company's internal accountants that itemizes all financial expenditures a business makes before those payments are posted to the general ledger. On a monthly basis, these journals are reconciled with general ledger accounts, which are then used to create financial statements for regular accounting periods.

Breaking Down a Cash Disbursement Journal

Generally maintained by accounting software, these journals contain essential information such as the disbursement amount, check number, transaction type, payee, payer, and memo. But some businesses record other important details, such as discounts on bulk items purchased. Varying types of expenses may either be listed in different columns, or they may receive distinct codes.

Journal managers must be detail-oriented, and they must fastidiously record every transaction, to help prevent cash from being misdirected or misappropriated. Furthermore, cash disbursement journals can help business owners with cash management by providing clear pictures of inventory expenses, wages, rental costs, and other external expenses. This data can be crucial to making sound business decisions moving forward.