What Is a General Ledger? How It Works, Importance, Examples

You can prepare financial statements once you have verified the accuracy of your ledger accounts. Further, you also match General Ledger Account balances to the source documents to see if the accounts are accurate. However, with online accounting software like QuickBooks, the General Ledger Reconciliation had become a lot easier. Some of these accounts are balance sheet accounts and some are income statement accounts.

Under this method, each transaction affects at least two accounts; one account is debited, while another is credited. In order to simplify the audit of accounting records or the turbotax customer service analysis of records by internal stakeholders, subsidiary ledgers can be created. Further, the shareholder’s equity includes share capital, retained earnings, and treasury stock.

A Monthly Expenses Summary tab enables you to add general ledger codes for each monthly expense. Use this small business general ledger template to oversee transactions and track your small business’s overall fiscal health. At the top of the ledger, enter the account information https://intuit-payroll.org/ and reporting period. For each transaction, record the date, details, post reference, and debit and credit figures to keep an accurate record of all transactions. Use this sample general ledger template with example text and figures to track financial transactions.

  1. Therefore, General Ledger acts as an important financial record that is audited whatever may be the case.
  2. The stockholder’s equity refers to the excess of assets over liabilities of your business.
  3. For a large company, the general ledger could contain thousands of accounts, known as the chart of accounts, representing balances resulting from journals, subledgers, and external system transaction data.
  4. Then, the balance of each of the General Ledger Accounts is posted in your Trial Balance Sheet.
  5. This is done by comparing balances appearing on the Ledger Accounts to the original documents like bank statements, invoices, credit card statements, purchase receipts, etc.

Understanding an organization’s finances is essential for creating budgets and business strategies, as well as for assessing the financial health of a business. When you hire a bookkeeper who understands your industry, they’re able to set up your books using sub-ledgers that make sense for you. It’s much easier to reconcile transactions when they’re still fresh in your mind, which they won’t be if you put off reconciling your books once a year for tax season. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets.

A business’ financial transactions are first recorded in a general journal. From there, the specific amounts are posted into the correct accounts within the general ledger. Sometimes referred to as a book of original entry, the general journal lists all financial transactions of a business, and the general ledger organizes and balances transactions. Use this simple general ledger template to gain insight into your business’s financial data and debit and credit accounting records.


She enjoys writing in these fields to educate and share her wealth of knowledge and experience. On 12 Jan 2018, ABC Co. made $2,000 more sales on cash, in which the cost of the goods was $1,100. On 11 Jan 2018, ABC Co. made sales on cash $1,200, in which the cost of the goods was $700.

Enter expenses, such as wages or operational and marketing costs, and revenue sources, such as commissions, sales, and investments. A dynamic Summary tab provides a dashboard view of budgeted expenses compared to revenue so that you can easily review and share key financial information. The transactions are recorded in the general journal first, then the related accounts in the general journal will go to the general ledger. Keep a running balance of the debits and credits so you can determine if the account will balance when you have entered all the transactions. The general ledger is one of the cornerstones of the double-entry accounting system.

Examples of General Ledger Accounts

For instance, when doing their own books, many business owners assign revenue sub-ledgers numbers starting at 100 and expense sub-ledgers codes starting at 200. If you decide to research double-entry bookkeeping, you’ll probably come across the term “trial balance” often. If you choose to set up a double-entry ledger, you should be ready to prepare trial balances regularly. Plus, since the general ledger is essential to double-entry bookkeeping, it helps companies ensure financial accuracy. An accurate ledger is also a good safeguard against issues like embezzlement and fraud. A general ledger summarizes all the transactions entered through the double-entry bookkeeping method.

Expense accounts

Sign up to a free course to learn the fundamental concepts of accounting and financial management so that you feel more confident in running your business. For example, you identified that a payment of $1,000 to your vendor William Paper Mill was wrongly recorded as $100. Now, the best practice of recording a correct entry is to reverse the original entry and then record a new entry with the correct amount.

We’ve compiled the most comprehensive collection of free general ledger templates for accountants, CEOs, accounts payable and receivable teams, and other bookkeeping personnel. The general ledger and general journal are both components of a double-entry accounting system. In order to understand how a double-entry system functions, we need to have a clear understanding of the differences between the general ledger and general journal, which are noted below.

Double-entry bookkeeping is the most common accounting system for small businesses. It’s a way of managing your day-to-day transactions and stay on top of possible accounting errors. Every business transaction is recorded twice—once as money leaving an account (a credit) and again as money entering an account (a debit). When you record a financial transaction, it’s called a journal entry, because bookkeeping has always been done by hand, in journals.

The set of 3-financial statements is the backbone of accounting, as discussed in our Accounting Fundamentals Course. In accounting, a General Ledger (GL) is a record of all past transactions of a company, organized by accounts. General Ledger (GL) accounts contain all debit and credit transactions affecting them. In addition, they include detailed information about each transaction, such as the date, description, amount, and may also include some descriptive information on what the transaction was. This feature automatically matches the transactions recorded in your books of accounts with the bank statement balances.

Thus, the shareholder’s equity appears on the liability side of your company’s balance sheet after current and non-current liabilities. A Control Account is nothing but a General Ledger Account where you record only the summarized information regarding a specific account. Thus, you need to refer to a related subsidiary ledger to know the details of such a control account.