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Understand source and targets

The article explains the concept of source and targets and how they reflect on a Transaction Journal Report.

What is source and targets

QuickBooks uses a concept called Source and targets to build transactions and reports. Understanding source and targets help you create more effective reports and faster Advanced Finds.

Source is the summary information about a transaction. It contains all source data (source account, source name, source memo and source amount, etc...).

Targets  provide the detail information about the transaction and include all target data (target accounts, target names, target memos, target amounts, etc...).

The transaction journal shows the amounts debited and credited to a journal ledger. It also helps determine source and targets of a transaction. Every transaction that affects accounts has a transaction journal. Keep in mind that the first line of a transactional journal is the transaction source and the subsequent lines are the transaction targets.

You can open the transaction journal report in four different ways:

Important notes on source and targets

Let's use Invoice # 12345 (Screenshot 1) as an example. If we open the transaction journal (Screenshot 2) for the invoice, we can see the debit and credit side as well as the source and target data. A/R is debited for $540 and each account associated with the items is credited for the total amount. The source is the first line (in green box) and the targets are the subsequent lines (in blue box)



  • You have one source name (Jennifer Fisher), one source account (Accounts Receivable) and one source amount ($540) but you can have multiple target names (Jennifer Fisher and State Board of Equalization), multiple target accounts (Subcontracted Labor Income, Labor Income, Design Income and Sales Tax Payable) and multiple target amount ($200, $305 and $35).
  • While source data only occur once, target data can occur multiple times. Hence, Jennifer Fisher occurs 4 times for target name and Labor Income occurs twice for target account.
  • You can run the Transaction Journal report for only one transaction.
  • To change the transaction data displayed in the Transaction journal report,
    1. Click Customize Report.
    2. Go to the Filters tab.
    3. From the Filter list, select Detail Level.
    4. Under Detail Level,
      • Click the Summary only radio button to display only the Source data.
      • Click the All except summary radio button to display only the Target data.
    6. Click OK.
  • The Journal report displays targets in the order they were added to the transaction. Setting the Sort By field to different columns does not change the order in which the targets are displayed.
  • In transactions that have no target memo, QuickBooks copies the source memo into the target memo.

  • Although the report doesn't show them as part of the target data, the transaction number, transaction type, document number, and transaction date are always in both the source and the targets.

  • Sales Tax targets take the target names from the sales tax item, not from anything on the transaction. In the sample screenshot, the target name for sales tax item is not Jennifer Fisher but the Tax Agency (Vendor) - State Board of Equalization
KB ID# HOW13268
1/24/2017 7:19:05 AM
QYPPRDQBKSWS05 9138 Pro 2017 b7b74a