All information entered into the accounting system is stored in files in the computer. There are two basic types of information kept in the computer.
First, there are files that keep information that would be kept on ledger cards in a manual accounting system. Examples are, files that contain customer information (names and addresses), files for keeping similar information for vendors, and the General Ledger account file. Since this information does not change a great deal, these files are also known in the computer accounting system as master files, and are constantly referenced by the rest of the accounting system.
The second type of file is a journal file. Journal files are used to record the accounting transactions that take place. Examples of journal files are, the file where invoices are entered (the Sales Journal), the file where vouchers are entered (the Purchases Journal), and the General Journal. These files usually have a great deal of activity in them, and records entered in these files are posted throughout the accounting system. In the computer accounting system, these files are also referred to as transaction files.
Another characteristic which differentiates masters from transactions, is the life of the records. Typically, master records will be kept for the life of the accounting system. In contrast, you would hardly keep invoices from 1959.
The computer accounting system uses two letter abbreviations to represent each of the different ledgers and journals that are used. These abbreviations are:
Ledger Code Ledger Name Contains
gl General Ledger General Ledger Accounts
ap Accounts Payable Vendors
ar Accounts Receivable Customers
in Inventory Inventory Product Codes
fa Fixed Assets Fixed Assets Codes
jb Job Cost Job Cost Codes
jc Job Cost Activity Job Cost Activity Codes
tx Sales Tax Sales Tax Accounts
em Payroll Employees Employees
Journal Code Journal Name Contains
gj General Journal General Journal Transactions
pj Purchases Journal Vouchers
sj Sales Journal Invoices
cr Cash Receipts Payments
cd Cash Disbursements Checks
dj Fixed Asset Depreciation Fixed Assets Depreciation Transactions
ia Inventory Adjustment Journal Inventory Adjustment Transactions
wp Work in Process Journal Work in Process Transactions
pr Payroll Payroll Vouchers
rs Receiving Slips Receiving Slips