This section is from the book "Elementary Banking", by John Franklin Ebersole. Also available from Amazon: Elementary Banking.
The books used by a bank are of various kinds and their purpose is indicated by name.
(1) A "ledger" is a book used to keep a record of balances. To "post" means to enter in the proper columns either the debits or credits on the ledger, and the difference between them represents the balance either due by or to the bank. From a strict accounting standpoint, we should not say enter, list or post but instead should use the words "credit" or "charge" as the case may be. Most banks are doing away with bound books, especially ledgers, and substituting cards or loose leaves. This plan enables several men to work on the same records, which would be impossible if they were bound in a single book. Alphabetical division is also easier of adjustment and "inactive" accounts can be readily separated from "active" accounts. Totals of balances can be listed upon adding machines for proof more easily from loose sheets than from bound books. But whether bound or not, records of balances are kept upon ledgers.
(2) A "journal" is a book in which daily transactions are listed in regular order as to accounts, and the total debit or credit is then posted on the ledgers. Journals, too, may be loose sheets, so that they can be inserted in the carriage of an adding machine; indeed, machines have been invented upon which both debits and credits may be written and the machine will automatically subtract or add and print the new balance. The journal, then, is merely a subdivision of the ledger.