Examples of General Journals, Definition, General Journal Questions, & How to Make

Examples of General Journals, Definition of general journals, How to Make, & Examples of General Journal Questions – Are you curious about general accounting journals? You are not alone, because nowadays more and more people are interested in knowing more about journals because they want to apply better bookkeeping to businesses, regardless of the scale or type of company. For those who are school graduates or majoring in economics, keeping a journal may not be difficult. But for the layman, this can be very confusing.

So, if you also want to apply better bookkeeping to your business, then learning about general journals is the right step. This is because this general journal is part of the stages in recording the accounting cycle .

The results of this recording are then used as material for calculations in the next stage. It can also be said that making this general journal is the first step in preparing financial reports.

At a glance, the general journal itself is identical to a diary, of course to record every debit or credit account transaction that occurs in a certain order. Usually, as the first recording stage, the transaction records in this general journal will contain details such as date, nominal amount and transaction name. Even though it seems simple, the making of this general journal cannot be done haphazardly and must also be based on the basic science of accounting as well, bearing in mind that this is also related to the existence of a business.

This article will invite you to find out about general accounting journals, starting from their meaning, how to make them, to examples that might be used as references. Understanding the basis for making and the appropriate steps, the general journal will show you, a valid nominal for consideration of various crucial steps in your business.

Definition of General Journal in Accounting

In terms of etymology, the word journal comes from the word Jour (French), which means day. The journal itself is used to record various activities chronologically based on date or daily order which then contains relevant details. While the word general is used because various transactions are recorded in the journal, they cannot be recorded in a special journal. The general journal itself is also widely known as the general ledger .

In accounting, general journals contain details including the name of the transaction, account group and nominal in the debit or credit column. Then it can be concluded briefly that the definition of a general journal in accounting is a journal that is used to record every evidence available from all financial transactions during a certain period of time in a systematic and chronological manner which can facilitate financial management by internal and external companies.

In addition, general journals, in simple terms, can also be said to be journals that are used to record various transactions that cannot be recorded in special journals. As is well known, these special journals include revenue journals, cash receipts journals, purchase journals and cash payment journals. Because as is well known there are various other journals in accounting, such as adjusting journals, closing journals and reversing journals.

In learning how to make a journal using the transaction cycle approach, the Introduction to Accounting book below can be studied by Sinaumed’s because it contains information on the steps for making journals easily.

Purpose of Creating a General Journal

From the explanation of the definition of a general journal above, you may already be able to estimate the purpose of making a general journal for a company. Well, in general, general journals are made with the aim of identifying and carrying out various matters relating to financial transactions. In more detail, the purpose of making a general journal, or also known as journalism, can be described as follows:

  • To identify each transaction that occurs
  • To determine the transaction value
  • To record the economic impact of transactions
  • To facilitate the process of transferring the impact of the transaction to the appropriate account

From the description of the purpose of the journaling above, it can be seen that general journals are used more in the bookkeeping of a service company than a trading company. The reason is because all transactions in a service company will be recorded chronologically. In contrast to trading companies, which are more effective when applying accounting by making special journals.

To find out other accounting applications that are in line with the needs of the business world and industry, Accounting is Easy A Practical Guide to Learning Accounting for Beginners contains various materials as well as enrichment exercises and discussions that are easy to understand.

General Journal Functions

From the definition of a general journal, it can be seen that the most basic function of a general journal is as a place to record all financial transactions during a certain period in a systematic and chronological way. While in its application, general accounting journals have important functions as described below:

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1. Historical Function

Because journaling is done chronologically, all transactions are recorded in order of date and are applied on a daily basis. The general journal can then also describe the company’s activities every day, sequentially and continuously. This is what then makes the general journal have a historical function, which records all transaction records systematically, makes it easy to track history and so on.

2. Recording Function

As with other journals, of course, general journals also have a function as recording or documentation. This is because every transaction that occurs within the company will always be recorded in the general journal. This means that any changes in capital, costs, assets and income will be recorded first in a general journal which will then be used as material for preparing financial reports at the end of the period.

3. Function Analysis

Even though it looks like a diary, in fact, inputting data in general journals is also not done randomly. Each record or record of transactions in the general journal is the result of transaction analysis. Transactions are identified as credits and debits which also include the classification of accounts, and the transaction value. Thus, the general journal also meets the requirements to have an analysis function.

4. Instruction Function

In addition to the three functions mentioned above, it turns out that a general journal is not just a diary but also has an instructive function in the process of inputting data into the ledger. This can happen because the recording in the general journal does not stop at transaction documents, but also in the form of instructions for credit or debit.

5. Informative Function

As a note, of course the general journal contains a large amount of information and details regarding evidence of recording transactions that have occurred. With a general journal, a variety of relevant information can facilitate internal and external parties in matters of financial management.

General Journal Benefits

Accounting general journals can indeed be applied by trading and service companies. However, based on the details of the function above, the general journal offers benefits for companies that apply it. The benefits of general journals for companies include:

  • To find out information related to the increase or decrease in an estimate.
  • To find out the amount to be recorded in one or more estimates.
  • To find out the amount to be debited or credited, which should be balanced in value.
  • To find out the amount that has been uploaded to the correct estimate in the general ledger, according to the details (work) is marked (reference).
  • To find out the amount that has been uploaded to the correct estimate in the general ledger, according to the estimate number, it is accompanied by a mark (reference).

To get to know more about the benefits of general journals used by a company, the characteristics of the company and much more, the book Introduction to Accounting by Hery, SE can be used by Sinaumed’s as a learning reference.

Basic Principles in Making General Journals

To be able to record systematically in an accounting general journal, there are several basic principles that must always be considered. The basic principles of making general accounting journals include:

  • Identify various kinds of proof of transactions that take place within the company, including memos, receipts, notes, invoices and so on.
  • Identify which account is affected by the transaction and then classify whether it includes the type of debt, assets or capital.
  • Identify the occurrence of reductions or additions to accounts that are relevant to the transaction in question.
  • Identify the occurrence of a credit or debit to the relevant account of the transaction in question.
  • Record transactions in the general journal based on transaction evidence.

How to Make a General Journal

After knowing the basic principles of making a general journal, if you intend to make a general journal, then there are a number of things you need to know, so that your efforts in recording can later produce optimal results. Here are 3 things you need to do to keep a systematic general journal:

1. Understand the Accounting Equation

Of course you need an understanding of the accounting equation, in order to be able to identify how to enter transactions into the journal, including determining the account used to determine the debit and credit sides. While the basic accounting equation is:

Assets = Debt + Equity

Then it can be translated back as:

Assets = Debt + Equity + (Income – Expenses)

By understanding this basic accounting equation, it will be easier for you to identify groups of accounts. For example, inventories are categorized under an asset group. Likewise with trade receivables that also go into assets, and so on.

You also need to understand about the normal balance of each of the 5 accounts in the general journal. So that when a transaction occurs, you can determine the category quickly. The five accounts that you need to know the normal balance for are illustrated in the following table

Account Normal Balance Table

Account debit Credit Normal Balance
Assets (properties/assets) Increase Reduce debit
Debt (liability) Reduce Increase Credit
Capital Reduce Increase Credit
Income Reduce Increase Credit
Burden Increase Reduce debit

Description of the normal account balance table:

  • When assets (assets/assets) increase, you can record it on the debit side. Meanwhile, if assets decrease, you can record it on the credit side. While the normal balance of this asset account is on the debit side.
  • For accounts payable (liabilities) are the opposite of asset accounts where when debt increases, you record it on the credit side. Meanwhile, if the debt decreases, it is recorded on the debit side. The normal balance of this accounts payable account is on the credit side.
  • Next is the capital account, which is the same as the debt account. If capital increases, it is recorded on the credit side while when capital decreases, it is recorded on the debit side. For capital accounts, the normal balance is on the credit side.
  • It is no different from an income account which is also the same as a debt account or a capital account. If income increases, it is recorded on the credit side. Meanwhile, if income decreases, it is recorded on the debit side. The normal balance for this revenue account is on the credit side.
  • For expense accounts, the recording is the same as for asset/asset accounts where as the load increases, it is recorded on the debit side. Meanwhile, when the load is reduced, you can record it on the credit side. For expense accounts, the normal balance is on the debit side.
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2. Collect and Identify Transaction Evidence

After you understand the basic accounting equation which is part of the knowledge, then you can start collecting transaction evidence which is the basis for recording transactions in the journal. Evidence of this transaction includes notes, invoices, invoices and receipts which can then be identified in the next process.

You need to ensure that only transactions that can change financial position are recorded in a journal where in each transaction, at least 2 accounts will be affected. That is, not all transactions can be included in the general journal. To make it easier for you to recognize whether a transaction has an impact on the company’s monetary position, you can also use the basic accounting equation, namely:

Assets = Debt + Equity

3. General Journal Recording

After sorting out which transactions can be recorded in the general journal and categorizing them, you can start journalizing using the double-entry system . This system records every transaction that has an impact on 2 financial positions, namely debit and credit, in the same amount. The general journal writing format that you can use is as follows:

Date Information Ref. debit Credit

Example of General Journal 

General Journal of Trading Companies

Before you start journaling right away, there’s nothing wrong with listening to the following illustration which can then be used to compile examples of general journals for the company PT Hari Mulia Bersama.

Collect Proof of Transaction

  1. On January 5, 2020, Pak Hari made an investment in his company, PT Hari Mulia Bersama, worth IDR 500,000,000.
  2. On January 11, 2020, Rp. 20,000,000 was paid for a 1-year office lease.
  3. On January 15, 2020, purchased office equipment and supplies with a value of Rp. 10,000,000 and Rp. 5,000,000, respectively.
  4. January 20, 2020, received cash income from sales of IDR 10,000,000.
  5. January 31, 2020, paid the January employee salary of IDR 25,000,000.

Transaction analysis or identification

  1. The deposit of investment capital makes the company’s assets then increase in the form of cash of IDR 500,000,000 (debit), meaning Mr. Hari’s capital increases to IDR 500,000,000 on the credit side.
  2. Company assets (cash) reduced by IDR 20,000,000 (credit) to pay rent. The company has assets in the form of prepaid rent amounting to Rp. 20,000,000 (debit).
  3. Company assets, each equipment increases by IDR 10,000,000 and equipment is IDR 5,000,000. However, the company’s cash assets decreased by IDR 15,000,000.
  4. Profit (from sales) makes income increase on the credit side of IDR 10,000,000. The company’s assets (cash) increased by IDR 10,000,000 (debit).
  5. Salary expense IDR 25,000,000 (debit). Meanwhile, the company’s assets (cash) decreased by IDR 25,000,000 (credit).


PT Hari Mulia Bersama

General ledger

As of 31 January 2020

Date Information Ref. debit Credit
5 Jan 2020 Cash

Initial capital

500,000,000 500,000,000
11 Jan 2020 Prepaid lease


20,000,000 20,000,000
15 Jan 2020 Equipment





Jan. 20, 2020 Cash


10,000,000 10,000,000
Jan. 31, 2020 Salary expense


25,000,000 25,000,000
TOTAL 570,000,000 570,000,000

By listening to the illustrations and examples of general journals above, you can learn them as a reference when you want to compile your own journal. Make sure you consistently and thoroughly carry out the recording step by step starting from collecting transaction evidence, identifying and inputting it in the general journal. That way, you can get a valid amount when you enter it in the company’s accounting ledger.

Sinaumed’s can find various other accounting problems in the Tangkas Series 2 Expert Accounting Book: Introductory Basic Accounting Question Bank which provides a variety of questions from easy, medium to difficult levels.

This is an explanation of the meaning, how to make and examples of general journals that you can learn and apply to your business. With its characteristics that are similar to a diary, this general journal can greatly facilitate the administration of various types of businesses so that they can have a more structured financial management.