Meaning of Trial Balance
Define the Trial Balance
Purpose of a Trial Balance
Trial Balance acts as the first step in the preparation of financial statements. It is a working paper that accountants use as a basis while preparing financial statements.
Trial balance ensures that for every debit entry recorded, a corresponding credit entry has been recorded in the books in accordance with the double entry concept of accounting. If the totals of the trial balance do not agree, the differences may be investigated and resolved before financial statements are prepared. Rectifying basic accounting errors can be a much lengthy task after the financial statements have been prepared because of the changes that would be required to correct the financial statements.
Trial balance ensures that the account balances are accurately extracted from accounting ledgers.
Trail balance assists in the identification and rectification of errors.
Example; The Following is an example of what a simple Trial Balance looks like:
|ABC LTD Trial Balance as at 31 December 2011|
|Furniture & Fixture||5,000|
|Cost of sales||8,000|
|General and Administration Expense||2,000|
- Title provided at the top shows the name of the entity and accounting period end for which the trial balance has been prepared.
- Account Title shows the name of the accounting ledgers from which the balances have been extracted.
relating to assets and expenses are presented in the left column (debit
side) whereas those relating to liabilities, income and equity are
shown on the right column (credit side).
- The sum of all debit and credit balances is shown at the bottom of their respective columns.
Advantages (Objectives of Trial Balance)
1. It ensures that the transactions recorded in the books of accounts have identical debit and credit amount.
2. Balance of each ledger account has been computed correctly.
3. Balance of each and every ledger account has been transferred
accurately and on the correct side of the sheet on which trial balance
has been prepared.
4. The debit and the credit columns of trial balance have been added up correctly.
5. Preparation of final accounts is not possible without preparing trial balance first.
6. Agreed trial balance is a prima facie evidence of the arithmetical accuracy of the accounting books maintained.
7. Errors which are revealed by preparing trial balance (listed below)
are rectified even before the preparation of final accounts.
Errors revealed by (the preparation of) trial balance
If trial balance does not agree, the disagreement may be due to :
(1) Omission to post an amount into ledger: If an item is not posted
from journal or subsidiary book to ledger, two sides of trial balance
shall not agree, e.g., if goods sold on credit to A are recorded
properly in sales book but not debited to A’s account’ in ledger, the
debit side of trial balance shall fall short.
(2) Omission to
post an amount in trial balance: It is natural if balance ‘of an account
is not recorded in trial balance the two sides of trial balance shall
not agree which is an indication of error in accounts.
Wrong totalling or balancing of ledger account: If any account in the
ledger is wrongly totalled or balanced, then also the trial balance
shall not agree.
(4) Wrong totalling of subsidiary books: If
the total of any subsidiary book is wrongly cast, it would cause a
disagreement in the trial balance, e.g., if purchase book totaled Rs.
2,500 instead of 2,050, the debit side of the trial balance shall exceed
the credit side by Rs. 450.
(5) Posting on the wrong side:
When an item is by mistake posted on the wrong side of the ledger
account it would cause disagreement in the trial balance, e.g., if Rs.
200 have been allowed as discount and while posting into discount
account the amount has been credited to discount account. It will result
in a difference of Rs. 400 in two sides of trial balance.
Posting of wrong amount: If wrong amount is posted in one of the two
accounts while posting, it would immediately cause disagreement of trial
balance e.g. goods worth Rs. 690 have been sold to ‘X’ but ‘X’s account
has been debited with Rs. 960. It will increase the debit side of trial
balance by Rs. 270.
Trial Balance Limitations – Shortcomings of trial balance
An agreed trial balance does not prove by itself that :
1. All transactions have been correctly analyzed and recorded in proper
accounts. For example wages paid for installation of fixed asset might
have wrongly been debited to wages account.
2. All the transactions have been recorded and nothing has been omitted.
3. Certain types of .errors (listed below) remain undetected even after the preparation – of trial balance.