What is a Sales Journal?

Sales Journal

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Sales Journal

A sales journal, also known as a sales daybook or sales book, is a specialized accounting journal used to record all credit sales transactions of a business. It is a chronological record, meaning transactions are recorded in the order they occur. This journal helps businesses keep track of sales made on credit, without the immediate exchange of cash.

The primary purpose of the sales journal is to streamline and categorize sales transactions to make the process of transferring this data to general ledger accounts more efficient.

Typically, a sales journal might include columns for:

  • Date of the transaction.
  • Customer’s name or account name.
  • Invoice number.
  • Amount of the sale (sometimes broken down into principal and sales tax).
  • Other columns as needed, depending on the nature and complexity of the business’s sales transactions.

At the end of a given period (e.g., month-end), the total amounts in the sales journal are summarized and then posted to the appropriate general ledger accounts, such as Accounts Receivable and Sales Revenue.

It’s important to note that only credit sales are recorded in the sales journal. Cash sales, on the other hand, are recorded in the cash receipts journal or another appropriate journal.

Example of a Sales Journal

Let’s use a fictional scenario involving a boutique clothing store called “Vogue Styles” to illustrate how a sales journal is utilized.


“Vogue Styles” offers a mix of cash and credit sales to its customers. However, only credit sales are recorded in the sales journal. Here’s a representation of the sales journal for the first week of July 2023:

Sales Journal - Vogue Styles
Week: July 1 - July 7, 2023

Date      | Customer Name     | Invoice No. | Amount
07/01/23  | Elizabeth Walker  | VS1001      | $150
07/02/23  | Mark Johnson      | VS1002      | $210
07/03/23  | Cathy's Salon     | VS1003      | $320
07/05/23  | Anderson Hotels   | VS1004      | $450
07/06/23  | Brian Lee         | VS1005      | $180
Weekly Total                             | $1,310

Each entry in the sales journal represents a credit sale transaction. For instance, on July 1st, Elizabeth Walker purchased clothing on credit for $150. Instead of paying immediately with cash, she will be invoiced with terms provided by “Vogue Styles” (for example, net 30 days).

At the end of the week, the total credit sales amount to $1,310. This total will then be posted to the general ledger, increasing the Accounts Receivable account by $1,310 and also increasing the Sales Revenue account by the same amount.

The individual customer details will later help “Vogue Styles” in tracking the payments made by each customer and ensure that all credit sales are eventually settled.

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