Primary accounting documents


Primary accounting documents are drawn up for each business transaction. Without them, it is impossible to reflect the activities of the organization at the accounts, since these documents serve as the basis for subsequent accounting procedures, and act as confirmation of the operation.

The primary accounting document in accounting is an official paper that is drawn up in transactions and other economic activities. However, the set and rules for preparing the primary documentation differ depending on the specifics of the procedure. In most cases, the seller is responsible for preparing the primary documentation before the transaction. However, difficulties often arise with paperwork, since there is no single list of forms of “primary”. Accordingly, each company independently determines the forms of these documents, taking into account the purpose of their application.

Although there is no standard list of forms for this category of documents, the laws establish a list of mandatory details. In addition, the company needs to fix in the accounting policy those forms that it will use in the future.

Examples of primary accounting documents:

  • Consignment notes, reflecting what goods, material values ​​one organization transfers to another. They must be drawn up in duplicate, and these documents are signed by both parties to the transaction. If the company uses stamps, they must be affixed to these documents.
  • Acts of delivery and acceptance. These documents are drawn up after the performance of work or services, they are designed to confirm that the party to the transaction received the services and their result complies with the contract. Until the signing of the act, the work is not considered officially completed.
  • Payroll and other types of papers that confirm the fact of payment of salaries, bonuses, sick leave to employees.
  • Cash documents. This is a separate category of primary documentation that covers receipts and debit orders, payment orders, advance reports, and so on.

We have given an incomplete list of what is the primary document in accounting. Depending on the specifics of the activity and accounting, this list may vary, supplemented by various documents confirming the economic activities of the enterprise.

What documents are legally binding

In order for the documents to be considered as primary, so that they have legal force, it is necessary to use the details provided by law. Firstly, this is the name of the document itself, for example, “Accounting certificate”. Without this, documents cannot be taken into account. In addition to the name, the rules for preparing primary documentation require the following data:

  • Name of the originator of the document;
  • short content and title of the operation the document is about;
  • monetary or physical indicators;
  • positions of persons;
  • signatures and date.

Correctly executed documents have legal force, respectively, they can serve as evidence during a trial. Full-length evidence is required to resolve conflicts with clients, contractors, partners. For example, a buyer may refuse to pay for the goods or try to invalidate the transaction. And then, if you were not serious about filling out the documents, and they have fake signatures or the “primary” is framed with errors, you will not be able to use it as evidence.

Therefore, you should not sign for the supplier if he did not manage to do it himself. Never falsify primary documentation, even if it seems to you a mere formality. Carefully save and organize all the “primary”, carefully check the availability of all the details.

Lawyers are often asked questions whether the presence of a seal on primary documents is required. However, since 2015, most companies are not required to receive and affix a seal. Enterprises have the right to start it if they consider it necessary, but from the point of view of legal force, this is not at all a mandatory attribute. But if the organization does use a seal, this should be stated in its charter.

Sometimes the other side insists on putting a seal. You must opt ​​out if the company does not have a seal. You can even notify the counterparty about this in writing and provide an extract from the charter if he insists.

Internal and external accounting documents

“Primary” which is issued by company itself, belong to one of two groups: internal or external. Internal documentation is called one that applies only to the organization that issued it. In addition, external documents can be received by the enterprise from the outside: from suppliers, partners, buyers.

In turn, internal documents are divided into 3 categories:

  • Administrative. As is clear from the name of the category, we are talking about the documentation that records orders. The manager can give them to a specific employee or the whole structure.
  • Executive. All papers that confirm that a certain business transaction has taken place fall into this category.
  • Accounting registration. This category includes documentation in which the company collects and systematizes information from other documents.

How to work with accounting registers

Accounting registers are carriers of ordered information that collect and organize documentation, these include books, cards, sheets. After registration of business transactions in the primary documentation, the same information must be reflected in the registers.

Registers can be maintained in different ways. For example, the chronological method, which records events sequentially, depending on how business transactions were performed in time. Another approach is systematic; it is used, for example, when registering cash books. In this case, transactions are recorded based on economic indicators. But many companies use a combined approach that combines a chronological and systematic approach. The registers also differ in content: synthetic, analytical or combined.

How to correct primary documentation

The first thing to remember is that there is a group of documents that cannot be corrected at all. These are bank and cash documents, including payment orders, as well as strict reporting forms, which are issued instead of KKT checks. What to do if mistakes are made in such documents? Documents with errors cannot be accepted for execution, instead of them you need to draw up new, already correctly filled forms.

Please note that you cannot simply throw away or tear up an incorrectly completed document, this is a violation. The accountant must cross out the incorrectly drawn up document and file it in the ledger along with the “correct” document. However, the cash book and the advance statement do not belong to the category of cash documents. Accordingly, they can be corrected. But you need to do it right.

Errors in these documents must be corrected so details and the main text remains preserved. It is impossible to completely replace a incorrect form when it comes to primary documentation. Instead, you should resort to one of two adjustments.

The first way to make adjustments to the “primary” established by law: in the text of the document itself the incorrect information is crossed out with one line, the correct data is entered, then the date should be entered and written “Corrected”. The final stage is the signatures of those who drew up the document indicating the names and initials.

Often, primary documents are drawn up in duplicate, so errors are duplicated. In such cases, you need to correct both copies, otherwise the changes will not be valid. In the worst case scenario, if the second copy is not corrected, the court will consider as reliable the information that was indicated in the text before the amendments were made.

The second way to correct data is to compile a corrected copy. It is suggested by the FTS: instead of correcting the original document, a new copy with the same date and number should be drawn up. In this copy, we indicate that the document is revised, we fix its serial number and date. Such a document must contain the information “amendment No.” plus an indication of the date. This line will distinguish it from the document in which the mistake was made.

Finally, it is worth noting that the rules for preparing primary documentation allow not to correct minor errors at all. If the error does not interfere with identifying the parties to the transaction, does not distort its terms, names of works, goods, does not affect the cost and quantity of goods, it is not material.


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