Every business transaction in a firm is accompanied by documentation (papers), which are called documents. Among other things, the job of the bookkeepers is to channel each document to the
proper drawer.


The examples pertain to a small furniture-making company named USA Furniture.

  1. An invoice arriving from the Electric Corporation is filed in a drawer called electricity expenses.
  2. When the enterprise buys wood from the Africa Wood company, it receives an invoice. The invoice is filed in a wood purchases drawer, or wood for short.

  3. When the enterprise buys glue from the Real Glue company, the invoice received from Real Glue
    (a supplier) is filed in a drawer named

  4. When the enterprise sells round tables to the Center Furniture shop, it issues (prints) an invoice for the buyer. A copy of the invoice is filed in a drawer called sales of round tables, or round tables for short. If the enterprise sells only one type of table, the drawer will be called tables.

Every document has a corresponding drawer in which it will be filed. Some documents are produced by internal units within the enterprise. For example, when wood is moved from the raw materials warehouse (Warehouse A) to the production line, Warehouse A issues a document noting that the raw material has been removed from it. The document is filed in a drawer called Warehouse A. The document provides specifications of the wood that has been removed from the warehouse. When the goods are moved from the production line to the finished products warehouse (Warehouse B), another document is issued and filed in the Warehouse B drawer. In practice, a folder with dividers, or any other filing method, can be used instead of a drawer. The use of the word “drawer” is a convenient tool for visualization.

The main documents in a company are invoices received from suppliers, sales invoices given to customers, receipts obtained following payment, salary slips (for employees), bank statements, checkbooks, and internal vouchers.

Note: for definitions of the terms invoice and receipt, see the “Fundamental Concepts in Accounting” chapter at the end of the book.

More about Drawers

In order to make the explanations in the following section (called “Registration”) easier to understand, assume that an additional copy of every document is filed in some “virtual drawer”, as will be explained through the examples of filing below, as well as those already given.


  1. Receiving an invoice from the Electric Corporation– A copy of the invoice is filed in a virtual drawer called Electric Corporation. The original invoice is filed in a drawer called Electricity expenses. Filing the invoice in the Electric Corporation drawer is a reminder that the firm must pay the bill to the Electric Corporation.
  2. Receiving an invoice from the Africa Wood supplier of wood – A copy of the invoice is filed in a (virtual) drawer called Africa Wood to remind the firm that it must pay that company for the wood. The original invoice is filed in a wood purchases drawer. It may be asked what happens if the company pays the bill immediately. This question will be dealt with later, but a virtual drawer is necessary in any case.
  3. Receiving an invoice from the Real Glue supplier of glue: A virtual drawer named Real Glue is opened. The original invoice is filed in the glue drawer.
  4. Sales of round tables to Center Furniture – A virtual drawer named Center Furniture is opened and a copy of the invoice is filed in it. The original is filed in a table sales drawer.

And so forth.