Throughout this textbook we illustrate the effects of many transactions using the format of a two-column general journal. This format is ideal for textbook illustrations, as it all lows us to concisely show the effects of any type of business transactions
But while general journal entries are useful for our purposes, they are not the most efficient way for a business to record routine transactions. A supermarket, for example, may sell 10,000 to 15,000 items per hour. Clearly, it would not be practical to make a general journal entry to record each of these sales transactions. Therefore, most businesses use special journals, rather than a general journal, to record routine transactions that occur frequently,
Special-Jouruals Provide Speed and Efficiency
A special journal is an accounting record or device designed to record a specific type of routine transaction quickly and efficiently.
Some special journals are maintained by hand. An example is the check register in your personal checkbook. If properly maintained, this special journal provides an efficient record of all cash disbursements made by check
But many special journals are highly automated. Consider the polnt-of-sale (POS) terminals that you see in supermarkets and large retail stores. These devices record sales transactions and the related cost of goods sold as quickly as the bar-coded merchandise
can be passed over the scanner
Let us stress that the accounting principles used in special journals are the same as those used for transactions recorded in a general journal. The differences lie in the recording techniques, not in the information that is recorded. Remember also that special journals are highly specialized in terms of the transactions they can record. Thus every business still needs a general journal to record transactions that do not fit into any of its special journals, including, for example, adjusting entries, closing entries, and unusual events such as a loss sustained from a fire