General Journal:

most common journal to record every transactions affecting accounting system. All transactions in this journal will be posted to general ledger.

Special Journals:

used to record common transactions of 4 types:

  1. sales on credit to "sales" journal (SJ);
  2. purchases on credit to "purchases" journal (PJ);
  3. cash received to "cash receipts" journal (CRJ);
  4. cash paid to "cash payments" journal (CPJ)

The Ledger postings must contain 4 parts: Date, Details, Ref ( which journal: GJ, SJ, PJ, CRJ or CPJ) and Amount

However, the special journals do not cover all required transactions in general ledger, the rest should use GJ.

The General Journal parted the other accounts which are generally:

  • Sales returns not yet paid for;
  • Purchase returns not yet paid for;
  • Non-inventory credit transactions (e.g. Equipment acquired on credit)
  • Adjusting entries on balance day ;
  • Closing entries;
  • Reversing entries;
  • Correction entries;

Comparability: The General Journal adopted to more industries rather than Special Journals, while it has less efficiency and spend longer time; furthermore, the special journals have division of labour which is clearly focusing on Internal control which is significant for managerial accounting.