Differences in General Journals and Special Journals You Need to Know

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 An accounting journal according to Wikipedia is the systematic recording of financial transactions belonging to an organization or business. In accounting, journals are divided into 2 types namely special journals and general journals. The equation of the two journals will produce the same output, but between general journals and special journals the designation is different. Due to the large number of company transactions, making general journals alone is considered ineffective in being able to check every transaction quickly. This is the reason for the need for special journals in recording financial transactions. The following discussion about the differences between general journals and special journals.

What is a General Journal & Special Journal?

A general journal is a journal used to record all types of financial transactions in a business for a certain period. Meanwhile, special journals are journals grouped specifically according to the type of transaction. The specific transactions referred to are transactions that often occur in each month and are always repeated. There are 4 types of special journal groupings, namely purchasing journals, sales journals, revenue journals, and cash disbursement journals.

Function of General Journal & Special Journal

a. General journal
General journals have 5 important functions for a company, while the five functions are:

– Historical Function: Recording of each transaction is based on the time the transaction occurred, so that the general journal can describe the company’s daily activities in one month.

– Recording Functions: General journals are used to carry out various financial recording activities that occur within a company over a certain period of time.

– Analysis function: Analyze all transactions to find out which accounts must be debited or credited.

– Instruction Function: Is an order to record the ledgers both in debit and credit according to the results of the analysis.

– Informative Function: Public journals have a function as information through recording the transactions made.

b. Special Journal
While special journals are grouped into 4 types based on their functions, the following types of special journal functions:

– Purchasing Journal, serves to record all purchases of business goods on credit.

– Sales Journal, to record all transactions related to the sale of business goods on credit.

– Cash Receipts Journal, to record all money receiving transactions from various income sources.

– Cash Spending Journal, to record all money disbursement transactions from various expenditure sources.

Journal Recording Methods

Easy Tips to Detect Errors in a Balance Sheet

For the method of recording between general journals and special journals does not differ much, what needs to be considered are the steps before entering into the journal, the following steps:

Identify every transaction that goes into the general journal or special journal. Do not get it wrong in entering transactions.
Identify the balance, whether it will reduce or even increase the initial balance. Pay attention to the initial balance and type of transaction to identify.
Research in writing the nominal of each transaction, not to be wrong in writing.
Do an analysis to find out what is on the debit and on credit must be the same.
Difference between General Journal and Special Journal
To find out the differences between general and special journals, you can see the characteristics of each journal:

General journal

Consists of 2 columns, namely debit and credit.
To record all transactions made by the company.
The form of this journal consists of Date, Account, Information, Reference (Ref), and Amount columns consisting of Credit and Debit.
All transactions are only recorded in one journal only.
Done every time a transaction occurs.
For this journal, posting from the journal to the general ledger is carried out immediately after every transaction.
Recording can be done by one person.
Used only in service companies and trading companies that are still relatively small, where the transaction is not so much.
Only has one type.
The function of this journal is based on the usefulness of the journal.
Special Journal

Consists of many columns.
Only used to record transactions of the same type and often occur.
The form of the journal is adjusted to the columns needed to record similar transactions.
Transactions that occur must be recorded according to the type in several different types of journals. For example, if the transaction is related to expenses, then it must be recorded in the Cash Spending Journal.
Done periodically, usually at the end of every month.
Posting from journals to ledgers is carried out periodically and collectively.


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