Purchases Journal

Special Journals

In a typical 2-column manual accounting system, transactions are entered as debits to one (or more) account and balancing credits to one (or more) account. If you consider some recurring transactions (such as sales) that will hopefully occur many times during an accounting cycle, all this double entry can add up to a lot of work. That's where special journals come into play.

Special journals are designed as a simple way to record a single type of frequently occurring transaction. The types of special journals depends on the nature of the business, but a few types are frequently seen in businesses that rely on manual accounting procedures:

Purchases Journal

The Purchases journal is used for recording credit purchases such as merchandise for resale to customers, business supplies, equipment, and other such purchases. (Cash purchases are not recorded here, they belong in the cash payments journal.)

Purchases Journal Examples

In Figure A below, you'll see five credit purchase transactions posted to the Purchasing Journal. Note that each transaction reflects a credit to Accounts Payable, and a debit to one or more debit accounts depending on the transaction.

(To see Figure A, click the A button in the flash progran at the bottom of this page. This is where you'll find all the figures for this tutorial.) 

Posting from the Purchasing Journal

When you record credit purchases in your Purchasing Journal, the column values are posted like so:

  • Accounts Payable should be posted as a single credit total in your general ledger, as shown in Figure B.
  • Purchases recorded in the journal should be posted as a single debit total in your general ledger, as shown in Figure B.
  • Store Supplies and Office Supplies should be posted as single debit totals to your general ledger, as shown in Figure C.
  • All other transactions in the Other Accounts column should be posted individually in the general ledger, as shown in Figure D. (The posting reference column reflects the appropriate general ledger account number.)

Purchases Returns and Allowances

When merchandise purchased is subsequently returned, or the seller grants an adjustment to price, this entry is recorded in the general journal.

(Remember, the purchases journal is used for recording credit purchases only. Purchases returns are not credit purchases, and do not fit into any of the special journals, so they go in the general journal.)

The credit portion of the transaction is recorded in the Purchases Returns and Allowances account in the general journal, while the debit portion is recorded in the Accounts Payable account (as shown in Figure E below).

In the case of a non-merchandise return or allowance, Accounts Payable is credited. The account that was credited in the original transaction is debited (as shown in Figure E below).

Purchases Journal Illustrations

The Purchases Journal is a special journal designed to record a single type of frequently occurring transaction — in this case, credit purchases. This tutorial cover the concept of the purchases journal from the original transactions through the posting process.

17 thoughts on “Purchases Journal

  1. Company A bought Company B. Company A did not buy the receivable nor pay the payable except for Notes Payable that they paid in full. All assets and liabilities except for long-term liabilities stayed with Company B.

    What is the necessary journal entries for Company B? I was thinking the following entries…

    A: Debit to Cash: Credit to ?

    B: Debit Notes Payable: Credit to Cash

    Thanks, Warren

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