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What Are the Different Types of Ledger Paper?

By Osmand Vitez
Updated May 16, 2024
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Ledger paper is the physical document on which accountants write journal entries and other accounting data. Many different types of ledger paper are available, including lined, dot, column, and square graph paper. The most used paper type is the column style, with single or multiple column pads for recording journal entries and other information. Additionally, columns may go from left to right on the page, or there may be rows across the paper that start at the top and go down to the bottom. Many accountants use the paper to write entries and other data down prior to entering it into the company’s accounting system.

Column pads — or columnar paper, another popular name — typically work best for accounting. Historically, the paper is green in color or tint, leading to the documents being informally called green bars or green sheets. Multiple columns are necessary for most accounting work; those types with six to eight columns are very popular. In some cases, different columnar pads may be necessary for different types of accounting work. Keeping these original documents is of utmost important, so using a consistent style of ledger paper can maintain this standard.

Filling out the ledger paper is another important part of selecting and using the correct type. Each sheet needs space for dates, descriptions, account numbers, and debits and credits. The last two items represent the actual dollar amounts for the transaction needing documentation. When selecting ledger paper, it is best to find a style that has lines, columns, and sections of graph boxes, all in a specific order. Columnar paper has all these features in the necessary order, which is another reason for its popularity with accountants.

A different type of columnar pad may also be useful in accounting. This style is a bit more simplistic, having two groups of columns on the sheet of paper; the left side is the debit column, and the right side is the credit column. Under these two broad columns, there are several others, such as date, description, account number, and dollar amount. Each entry only takes a single line, with debit entries on the left and credit entries on the right. In some ways, this paper is a bit more economical as accountants may be able to fit more journal entries onto the ledger paper, which also allows for fewer paper documents to hold in storage.

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