General Journal Template

General journal is an accounting term to record any financial transactions for service businesses and non cash transactions in merchandise and manufacturing business. Its format varies between different businesses. Columns that you will always find are debit amount, credit amount, Chart of Account (CoA) and its description. Other columns are optional. You may find some are having transaction IDs, subsidiary account, customers etc. Furthermore, its column layout will also vary.

In accounting theory, data from this journal will be summarized in trial balance before being adjusted and reported in particular business financial statement.

How to create general journal in Microsoft Excel

If you have don’t have any references on its format, or if your boss doesn’t require you to create specific format, you can start from the scratch by opening Microsoft Excel and start to create a table. But, before that, you need to create a Chart of Account table.

What if I already have a general journal data in Excel format?

You can either to create a new worksheet inside your Excel file or you can create a new spreadsheet where you can move your data to this new spreadsheet.

You can follow steps below to start creating your own. Remember that you are free to use other functions or switch its column positions.

Step 1 : Create Chart of Account Table

Chart of Account or CoA is a list of account names to group and categorize company’s transactions. Each company may have different names and codes. Furthermore, financial statements should consists all accounts in proper arrangement. Although your company falls to similar service or merchandise or manufacturing categories, size of your company as well as your company’s products might differs. It yield to different account names.


Below is a sample of Chart of Account Table. This is a basic Chart of Account table where your intention is to create a dropdown list for your journal. Create the first column for your CoA codes and the right column for its description.

Step 2 : Create General Journal Table

You can choose between these two examples to suit more of your needs. Their differences are in Chart of Account columns. Both are implementing double-entry bookkeeping method. The first one requires you to record amount twice (in debit and credit columns) and select particular CoA in a single column. The second one requires you to write transaction amount once (either in debit or credit column) but you need to pair CoA at the left and right side of debit and credit columns.

General Journal Table with single Chart of Accounts column

To create a general journal table with double entry bookkeeping entry method you need to create table as you can see in screenshot below.

There are columns for dates, where you can write your transaction dates chronologically, transaction description, and CoA dropdown list where you can pick CoA to classify your transaction. VLOOKUP formula will show you respective CoA. Then, you can create a debit and credit colum for typing your transaction amount. Remember that you need to classify your transaction twice with similar amount in debit and credit columns. You need to pair them to make sure that the transactions are balanced.

Now, you know how to create your own journal. You can continue to learn on how to summarize them into General Ledger or Financial Statements.

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General Journal Template

General journal template below is a Microsoft Excel template that you can use to record your daily transactions. It is created with similar approach with above tutorial.

  General Journal Template (162.4 KiB, 912 hits)

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