1, 2, 3 Columns Cash Book +Video Guide

The cash book is a subsidiary book of first entry for all cash transactions. It is also a ledger book because it has a balance at the end of the period like all other ledger accounts.

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What is a Cash Book?

There are 3 types of cash book

  1. The Single column cash book
  2. The double or two columns Cashbook
  3. The Three columns Cashbook.

Single Column Cash Book

A single or one column cash book is the cash book with one column for an amount which is usually a cash column or sometimes a bank column only. The cash book has two sides which are the debit side and the credit side, which are identifiable with columns and date, particulars, folio and amount on both sides divided by a thick line between the two sides like any other ledger account.

All cash receipts are entered on the Debit (receiving) side and all cash payments (money being given out) are entered on the Credits (giving) side of the account. The general rule in entering into the cash book is to debit all receipts and credit all payments.

See also: YouTube Video: On The Single Column

Balancing the Cash Book

After recording a transaction into the cash book, it is necessary to balance it at the end of the period. The essence is to ascertain the cash in hand at the end of the business.

This is done by adding up the receipts side and payment side separately. The cash in hand otherwise referred to as balance carried down is the difference between total receipt and total payment. The account is balance carried down is the difference between total receipt and total payments. The account is balanced therefore when you carry down are shown with a single line above them and a double line underneath.

When balancing the account, the two totals should fall along the same straight line even though one side may contain more items than others. The balance carried down at the end of the period is the opening balance brought down at the beginning of the next period.

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To determine the ‘particular’ column for each transaction the following rules apply

  • When goods are bought for resale, the particular is purchase.
  • When assets are bought for use in the business, the particular is the name of the asset e.g. furniture, motor van, etc.
  • When goods are bought and sold in business, the particular is  ‘sales’
  • When the assets are sold or disposed of, the particular is the disposal of the asset.
  • When expenses are paid for the business, the particular is the name of the expenses e.g. wages, rent stationery, electricity bill, etc
  • When a debtor pays in money into the business, the particular is the name of the debtor.
  • When the business pays its creditor, the particular is the name of the creditor

Two Columns Cash Book

The two Columns or double columns cash book is the subsidiary book for recording receipts and payment of cash and cheques. Being a ledger, it has two columns on either side (i.e debit and credit sides) cash are recorded under cash and cheques under the bank column.

The cash book shows the dates, details of the cash transaction, reference paid called folio and the amount of cash or cheque.

Receipts are recorded on the debit sides while payments are recorded on the credit side.

See also: YouTube Video on the two Columns Cash Book

What is Contra Entry?

Where a single double Column cash book is kept for both cash account and bank account, movement of funds between the two accounts is often debited and credited simultaneously in the cash book, one entry opposite the other. Such two entries of the same amount that are posted opposite each other are referred to as ‘contra’ entries and are designated by the letter ‘c” for example, when office cash is paid into the bank, the cash column credited thus completing the double-entry within the cash book. The entries are revised where cash is withdrawn from bank for office use:

  • When cash is lodged in the bank’s current account from the office.

Debit cash column of cash book, with “cash” as particular and letter “c” inserted in folio column on both sides.

  • When cash is withdrawn from the bank for the business use.

Debit cash column of the cash book, with “bank” inserted under particular.

Credit bank column of the cash book with “cash” inserted under particular and letter “c” in the folio column on both sides.

What is Overdraft?

Overdraft is the excess of payment out of the bank over the receipt through the bank. Before an account is withdrawn, it must be previously arranged with the bank manager. A credit balance on the bank column of the book indicates overdraft


The cash column of the cash book is not expected to have a credit balance. It either has a debit balance to show that there is still cash for another payment or no balance where receipt equals payments.

The bank column of the cash book can have a debit balance, where the receipt is more than payments. No balance where receipts equal payments and credit balance where payment is more than receipts.

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What are Debit and Credit Balances?

  • A debit balance is where the total on the debit side exceeds the total on the credit side.
  • A credit balance is when the total on credit exceeds the total on the debit side.

Three Columns Cash Book

This type of cash book has three columns for recording cash discounts, cash, and bank transaction


There are two types of discounts

  1. Trade discount
  2. Cash discount

Trade Discount

This is a deduction from the catalog or price list of goods sold to a retailer so that he can resell and make a profit. It is deducted to show the net invoice price of goods sold and therefore reflect only on the invoice. A trade discount is not recorded in the cash account.

Cash Discount

A cash discount is an allowance given to a customer for prompt payment of an invoice. To qualify for cash such an allowance, payment must be made within the period specified by the supplier. Cash discounts will have to be deducted at the time payment is made. There are two main reasons for offering a cash discount:-

  1. To collect outstanding debts promptly and
  2. To reduce as much as possible the chances of outstanding debt becoming bad.
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Functions of the Cash Books are:

  • The cash book serves as the book of original entry or subsidiary book for daily cash transactions.
  • The cash book forms part of the ledger account
  • To ascertain the amount of day’s balance against which physical cash is checked and reconciliation prepared.
  • Cashbook serves as the full record of some transactions e.g. cash paid to or withdrawn from the bank.
  • The cash book reveals the liquidity position of the organization at any given time.
  • The cash book allows a concert to plan for the future cash requirement.

See also: YouTube Video On The Three Columns

Cash Security

The following essential physical feature and facilities must be found in the cash office for cash security.

  • Cashier’s cage.
  • Cash tank for boxes with locks.
  • A safe built into the wall.
  • Mercury lights for detecting fake currencies.
  • Notice to the public exhibiting the business working hours.

General Duties of the Cash Office:

  • Receipt and payment of cash and cheque.
  • Posting vouchers into the cash book.
  • Daily balancing of the cash book.
  • Operation of bank account e.g. lodgment of cash and cheque
  • Providing information on the cash position to the Director, finance, and supply.
  • Submission of cash book and vouchers to the final account section to enable the latter to prepares the monthly transcript.

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