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How to Fill Out a Receipt Book: The Ultimate Guide for Businesses and Individuals

How to fill out a receipt book


In a world where meticulous record-keeping reigns supreme, mastering the art of filling out a receipt book is indispensable for businesses and individuals alike. From tracking expenses to maintaining financial transparency, "How to Fill Out a Receipt Book: The Ultimate Guide" offers a comprehensive roadmap for navigating this essential aspect of financial management. 

Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or a conscientious consumer, this guide is your key to unlocking the power of organized documentation and fiscal responsibility.


Did you know that a missing receipt could cost you money – whether it's a denied reimbursement, an overlooked tax deduction, or a disputed return?


This guide will demystify the world of receipt books. We'll cover everything from the basic elements to specialized types for rent, services, and even those popular Adams or Staples brands. By the end, you'll be a receipt-filling pro!


Mastering the Basics - Filling Out a Receipt Book in 7 Steps


1. Grab Your Receipt Book 


Seems obvious, but ensure you have the right book! Generic receipt books work for most scenarios, but some businesses might have personalized pre-printed options for specific services. For example there are specific receipt formats for plumbers, HVAC, roofing, etc.


2. Fill in the Date


Write the current date of the transaction. This is usually written at the top right section. It is crucial for accurate record-keeping.


Just above the date you can have sequential numbers. This can be pre printed as in generic formats. They can have a unique set of numbers if it is a personalized or custom printed format.


  • The date and consecutive numbers are important points of reference to identify specific transactions.


3. Identify the Payer and Payee


Write the customer's or business name clearly. If it's a walk-in customer with no prior relationship, you might simply write "Cash Sale." A more detailed description of the customer is necessary in some cases.


For example, in the case of home delivery services, it's important to include both the customer's name and full address on the receipt. This ensures accurate delivery and provides a clear record of the transaction, helping to resolve any issues that may arise during delivery.


You, the business providing the service, can write you contact information at the top left. That includes your business names, address, phone, and website address. Personalize it with a logo if you can.


4. List and Detail the Items or Services


Write the details of the products or services sold in this section. This might just be a few words as in the case of a person renting a room. 


However, more details are required as in the case of an equipment rental company. You need to write the quantity/units, description, name of product/service, and corresponding price.


  • Products: Describe what was purchased, including quantity and price per item (e.g., "2 boxes of widgets - $10.00 each").
  • Services: Mention the type of service provided and the duration (if applicable) (e.g., "House Cleaning - 5 hours - $50.00")


5. Calculate and Record Amounts 


Do the math! Write down the subtotal, taxes, and total. Calculate the total cost for each line by multiplying the quantity or other unit of measure by the corresponding price. 


Let’s look at an example where the unit of measure in this case is Hours. Your cost for House Cleaning would be $50 since you charged $10 per hour and worked 5 hours. See example below.



Description of Work




House Cleaning














Taxes (6%)








  • Subtotal: Add up the individual costs for items or services.
  • Taxes: Check your local regulations and add any necessary sales tax.
  • Total: Calculate the final amount total the customer owes.


6. Specify Payment Method


Indicate whether the payment was made in cash, by check, credit card, or another method. If paid by check, include the check number.


7. Don't Forget the Signature!


The receipt serves as proof, so ensure both you (or the business representative) and the customer (if applicable) sign the receipt.


The Key to Efficiency - Understanding Carbon Copies

If you've ever wondered about those colored pages in your invoice or receipt book, they're for carbon copies! These specially treated sheets allow you to create multiple copies of a single receipt with just the pressure of your pen. But unlike the messy process of using traditional carbon paper, receipt books utilize a modern technology called carbonless paper.

Carbon Copies vs. Carbon Paper:

Carbon Paper: This was the old-school method, where a separate sheet coated with a black waxy ink (the carbon paper) was placed between two sheets of regular paper. Pressing down while writing transferred the ink, creating a duplicate on the sheet below.


Carbonless Paper: Modern receipt books use specially treated paper. The top sheet has a microencapsulated dye layer, and the middle sheet has a clay coating that reacts with the dye upon pressure. This eliminates the need for a messy separate sheet of carbon paper, making handwritten receipts cleaner and more convenient.

Why Carbon Copies are Important

Record-Keeping: Having a carbon copy of each receipt gives you an immediate backup, eliminating the need to rewrite information for accounting or other purposes.


Proof of Transaction: Both you and the customer have a record of the transaction (especially for handwritten receipts) in case of discrepancies. This proof of purchase can save both parties a lot of headaches. 


Organization: Copies can be used for different departments (e.g., sales, accounting, etc.) and customer records, promoting better organization.

Who Gets What Copy in a Receipt Book

Customer: Always gets the original white receipt.

Business: Keeps at least one of the carbon copies (yellow, pink, etc.) for their records.


Additional Copies: Some receipt books have multiple copies for specific departments (e.g., sales, accounting, etc.)


Filling Out Different Receipt Types: Practical Examples


Now that you grasp the basics and understand carbon copies, let's explore how to adjust your approach for different types of receipts.

How to Fill Out a Money Receipt Book (General Sales)


Scenario: A customer walks into your appliance store and purchases a few appliances. Here's how to document this transaction on a standard money receipt:

Key Fields:

  • Quantity: Write the quantity sold in this field.
  • Item Description: Be specific enough for clarity, but no need for lengthy product codes. Example: "Coffee and Espresso Machine," "Countertop Microwave."
  • Price per Unit: The individual price of each item.
  • Subtotal: The total cost of all items before taxes are added.
  • Taxes: Consult your local sales tax rates and calculate the appropriate amount.
  • Total Sale Amount: The final amount the customer owes, including taxes.
  • Payment Method: Indicate how the customer paid (cash, credit, check, etc.). For credit cards, you can include the last four digits for reference.


Here is an Example with Filled-In Fields:

Filled out sample receipt


Remember: Both you and the customer should retain a copy of the receipt for your records!


How to Fill Out a Rent Receipt Book

Legal Considerations: Address whether there are specific local or state requirements for rent receipts (landlord-tenant laws).


Key Fields:

  • Tenant name
  • Renter address
  • Rental period (start and end dates)
  • Rent amount
  • Mention of security deposit or late fees (if applicable)


Additional Note: Emphasize the importance of both landlord and tenant keeping copies of rent receipts.


Receipt Books for Services (Babysitting, Daycare, etc.)

Scenario: A parent pays you for childcare services.


Key Fields:

  • Type of service (babysitting, daycare, tutoring, etc.)
  • Date(s) of service
  • Hours worked
  • Hourly rate or flat fee
  • Additional charges (transportation, late pick-up, etc.)


Considerations: Discuss whether taxes need to be included based on your service type and income level.


Specialized Printed Receipts

  • Adams money receipt book


  • Adams is a popular brand offering pre-printed carbonless receipt books with dedicated fields for particular transactions. It saves time if you regularly issue similar types of receipts. 
  • It is probably the easiest format to fill out and constitute the most basic elements as described above. You can purchase them online or at your nearest office supply store.


  • Receipt book from Staples.


  • Staples provides a range of generic receipt books as well as some specialized options (e.g., rent receipts). Consider the frequency and types of transactions you commonly record before you decide which one to use.


How to Design a Receipt Book: Customization for Your Needs

While the basic steps of filling out a receipt book remain consistent, some situations benefit from a customized approach.  Here's a look at your options for designing your own receipt book:

  • DIY Design:  If you have basic design skills, you can create your own receipt template using word processing or online tools. This allows you to tailor the fields to match your specific business needs (e.g., dedicated sections for hourly rates, client project codes, or specific tax categories).


  • Ordering Custom Pre-Printed Books: For the ultimate convenience and a professional look, ordering custom receipt books is the way to go.  Printing services allow you to include your logo, pre-printed fields for the data you track most, and even compliance disclaimers for your industry.

When to Consider Customization:

  • Branding: Reinforce your business identity with custom receipts.
  • Specialized Needs: Include fields that aren't found on generic receipt books.
  • High Volume: Pre-printed books save time if you issue lots of receipts frequently.




Additional Tips for Mastering Receipt Books


  • Keeping Receipts Organized:
    • "How to bind a receipt book" for finished receipts: Offer simple binding options (stapler, binder clips).
    • Digital Storage: Scan receipts or use receipt-tracking apps for searchable records.


  • Avoiding Errors:
    • Double-Check Calculations: Use a calculator to ensure accuracy, especially when dealing with taxes or multiple items.
    • Clear Handwriting: If filling out by hand, write legibly. Consider software or pre-printed receipts for a more polished look.


  • Software Alternatives:
    • Invoicing Software: Many programs include receipt creation features alongside more robust accounting tools.
    • Receipt Generator Apps: Convenient for occasional receipt needs.


Extra Tips to Consider:

  • Legal Requirements: Take a moment to research whether your state or industry has any specific regulations regarding receipt retention. Some businesses are required to keep records for several years for tax or audit purposes.  A quick online search with the terms "[your state] receipt retention laws" should provide guidance.


  • Customer Service: Detailed and accurate receipts aren't just for your own records; they demonstrate professionalism and protect both you and the customer in case of disputes over payments, returns, or services rendered. Always provide a clear receipt and ensure the customer has their copy.


Ready to upgrade your receipt system? Explore our personalized and custom printed receipt books. Organizing financial documents for maximum efficiency!"



Whether you're a small business owner, a diligent individual, or simply want to get a handle on those slips of paper, mastering the receipt book is a valuable skill. By understanding the basics, utilizing carbon copies, choosing the right type of receipt book for your needs, and following our additional tips, you'll streamline your record-keeping and protect your financial well-being.


Michael Reid

Posted on March 19, 2024