How to Use Columnar Pads in Accounting

Manual accounting often makes heavy use of columnar pads. These sheets provide several columns and spaces where accountants can write numbers and figures. A common use for the pads is to write calculations for journal entries or actual journal entries. Using the pads is not difficult. The problems that often exist with these pads are the potential to make messy handwritten notes or having to write and rewrite figures.

Write a list of headers at the top of each column used on the pad. Headers may include date, description, account number, debit and credit.

Fill out the columnar pad based on the information at hand. For example, a journal entry requires a date, brief description, account number and dollar amounts for the debits and credits in the entry.


Complete any calculations on the columnar pad just below the journal entry. This allows accounting supervisors or auditors to complete a math check on the figures if necessary.


Use the columnar pad to support journal entries and other adjustments to the general ledger. Sign your initials to the entry once it is complete and store the documents with the company’s accounting documents.