What Is a Payment Ledger?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 May 2020
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A payment ledger is a type of accounting record that helps to track payments that are disbursed for specific purposes. It is not unusual for a ledger of this type to be created for a project or event, making it very easy to keep track of all expenses and disbursements related to that particular activity. Depending on the nature of the event or project, the ledger may serve as the means of documenting funds received into the project as well as any funds that are paid out in order to manage the expenses associated with the activity.

Considered a basic approach to bookkeeping, a payment ledger usually focuses on the receipt of payments related to a specific activity. For example, if the students associated with a specific class choose to sell candy bars in order to raise money for a project, there is a good chance a ledger will be maintained for the duration of the activity. The detail included in the ledger will often list the name of the buyer, the number of units purchased, the total amount collected toward the purchase, and usually even the delivery address of the buyer.

Other examples of the payment ledger may include other types of data. Information such as an invoice amount and number may be included, the mode of payment used to settle the invoice, and even the date that the payment is tendered may be included in the detail. In situations in which partial payments on account are received, that amount and the payment date are also likely to be included in the ledger detail. As with most types of accounting records, the purpose of the ledger is to provide accurate and concise information about the financial transactions so that there is a permanent history of the events, with no questions about what transpired and when those events took place.

The complexity of the payment ledger will often depend on both generally accepted accounting principles and any guidelines that are followed in the creation and execution of the project associated with the activity recorded in the ledger. This means that a payment ledger kept to track the activities associated with a fundraising project by a local house of worship may be somewhat simplistic in comparison to the ledger maintained by a multinational corporation that is launching an operation in a new locality. As long as the detail is accurate and can be verified with supporting documentation, and meets any standards necessary for the type of activity involved, the ledger can be a very helpful means of tracking the transactions associated with the effort.

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