What is Special Journal

What is Special Journal

What is Special Journal

A large enterprise has a large volume of business transactions therefore it becomes essential to divide the journal into certain subsidiary books. These subsidiary books are also termed as the book of original entry or special journals.

Use of Special Journal

A special journal is useful in a manual accounting or bookkeeping system because it eliminates the time-consuming task of recording all debit and credit general ledger account names and figures in a general journal. The total numbers of these journals are passed to the general ledger in summary form on a regular basis. Transactions are reported in special journals in chronological order, making transactions easier to study.

Examples of Special Journals:

The following are the main subsidiary books generally maintained by a business:


In this book all cash receipts and payments are recorded in chronological order, all cash receipts are recorded on the debit side and all cash payments are recorded on the credit side.

Purchase journal:

It contains the account of all those suppliers of creditors from whom goods are purchased on credit for the purpose of resale only it is also called creditors or account payable ledger.

Sales journal:

It contains the account of all those customers debtors to whom goods were sold on credit only it is also called debtors or account receivable ledger.

Purchase return and allowance journal:

In this book transactions relating to the goods returned to the suppliers are recorded it does not record the return of goods that were purchased on a cash basis.

Sales return and allowance journal

In this book transactions relating to the goods returned by the customers are recorded it does not record the return of goods that were sold on a cash basis.

With today’s low-cost and efficient accounting tools, the advantages of using a special journal instead of a general journal for routine transactions have vanished. For example, when a sales invoice is created with accounting software, the general ledger and subsidiary accounts are automatically and correctly updated.

General Journal Vs. Special Journal

The difference between special journal and general journal is stated below:

General Journal:

The General Journal is used to record all business activities in chronological order. It consists of two lines (debit and credit) and is used by the majority of businesses, ranging from a home-based enterprise to a complex manufacturing sector. Routine operations for a small company should be easily handled by a single accounting journal. The general journal is created using the transaction note/receipt that the corporation received/issued.

Special Journal:

Specialized journals are created to support the general journal with more complex transaction processes. Owing to the vast number of transactions that occur per day, the trading and manufacturing industries typically use this journal. Using a single journal for all businesses to classify similar transactions (such as sales and purchases) or trace high-intensity transactions would make it too complicated. As a result, sales transactions are reported in the sales journal, purchases in the purchasing journal, and cash receipts and payments in the cash journal.

We also have:

What is Joutnal Entry in Accounting?

What is Ledger in Accounting?

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