Common and Not-So-Common Transactions
Most of the time, for most companies, the everyday transactions look pretty much the same as everyone else's. Revenues are earned, bills are paid, assets depreciate. The journal entries to record those basic transactions are the same for a one-man law firm as for a giant manufacturing company.
Some businesses do things just a little bit differently, and that can trigger unique transactions that occur only within that type of company. Retail companies will have some transactions that aren't found in service businesses, and even some that aren't found in other product-based companies, such as manufacturers. To account for these uncommon transactions, a little individualized accounting is in order, and that may involve special accounts treated in unexpected ways.
Those unique transactions are often repetitive for the companies that use them. However, there are also events that take place across all different industries but happen rarely. Examples include fixed-asset sales (covered in Chapter 5) and capital contributions (in Chapter 15). With transactions specific to certain businesses, and unusual transactions common to most businesses, accounting manages to stay interesting. Some of the distinctions involved in these special transactions can be tricky, so ask your accountant for guidance whenever you're unsure about the accounting treatment.