What is a Day Book?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2018
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Day books are simple journals that are used to record daily events as they occur. Books of this type provide a daily written document that normally includes details such as the date, time of day, and the basic data regarding the event. They can be helpful in a number of business situations, including the creation of a chronological listing of transactions that are later recorded in accounting records.

The use of a day book is common in a number of settings. Many law enforcement agencies, such as local police stations, will make use of this tool to record arrests and other activities as they take place. The book can later be used to cross check the accuracy of reports that are filed with the department, creating a valuable backup resource for any information entered into a permanent record.

In a similar manner, corporate executives sometimes use such documents to create an ongoing record of the tasks they completed during the course of the business day. Events such as meetings and conferences, discussions with department heads, or time spent entertaining clients are examples of the data that is usually recorded. As with other records, these simple books make it much easier to create a more permanent record later, without providing much of a distraction as the events are occurring.


The sales day book serves a similar purpose for the salesperson. The book serves as a record of any events or transactions associated with the sales effort. This includes any transactions that may take place, such as a new sale, meeting with a prospective or existing client, or signing a new customer, or renewing a contract with an existing customer. In this application, it provides a quick and easy way to record relevant events, making it easier to provide a fuller account of each event at a later time.

While a traditional day book is an actual book composed of pages and a sturdy binding and cover, there are also electronic versions of this handy tool available. Many electronic books are configured to load with ease on handheld devices, making it very easy to access and update the entries for a given day. In some cases, the software that drives it will also allow the notes to be downloaded into other programs, such as a sales database. This makes it possible for the user to then access each recently downloaded entry, add more detail to the entry, and create a complete record of each event that occurred on that day.


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Post 6

@fBoyle-- I still use a paper day book planner. I know there are electronic alternatives but even the smallest one is still heavier than a paper day book. My day book is small, fits easily in my purse/bag and I carry it with me everywhere.

And not everyone can be technologically savvy. I think personal day books will continue to be in use no matter how many new alternatives are made.

I also know several small businesses in my area that still keep invoices with day books. So I don't think business day books are going to disappear any time soon either.

Post 5

@turquoise-- I think they all use computers now.

I actually don't know anyone who still uses a paper day book. Everyone has computers/laptops/tablets and there are even electronic day books and planners on the market.

At work also, all records are kept electronically because it's more reliable and safe. All our records have backups, so we can't lose it. Even our appointments are put into the computer.

Post 4

When I was in grade school, all my teachers had day books to keep attendance. They also used these books to keep track of our assignments and who got what grade on each assignment.

Do teacher use electronic day books now? Or are they still using the paper ones?

Post 3

The sales representatives in the office where I work have to keep day books. This is so they can hand them over to the boss every now and then, and he will read them to make sure that they are doing all they are supposed to be doing.

The boss had been complaining that the sales reps were not making enough face-to-face visits. They had become to reliant on email for contacting clients, so he made a new rule that they had to go see a certain number of clients in person per week.

Each time they made a visit, they recorded it in the day book, along with the date and time. The boss let them know that he would verify the information by contacting clients, so they were not tempted to lie.

Post 2

I used to work as a private investigator and I kept detailed day books any time I was working a case.

They were invaluable for lots of reasons. They help you keep track of the investigation, monitor your expenses, write more relevant reports and create connections between information

Post 1

I have been keeping a day book of some sort or another since I was 16 and I am now 43. I think it is a good habit to get into. My entries are not very long. They just mention what I did, any big news that happened, any thoughts that occupied my mind.

I have a terrible memory and this is an easy way to keep a record of my life. Every once in a while I go back and reread them and I am always amazed at how much I have forgotten.

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