General ledger

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In bookkeeping, a general ledger, also known as a nominal ledger, is a bookkeeping ledger in which accounting data is posted from journals and from subledgers, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, fixed assets, purchasing and projects. A ledger account is created for each account in the chart of accounts for an organization, are classified into account categories, such as income, expense, assets, liabilities and equity, and the collection of all these accounts is known as the general ledger. The general ledger holds financial and non-financial data for an organization. [1] [ dead link ] Each account in the general ledger consists of one or more pages. An organization's statement of financial position and the income statement are both derived from income and expense account categories in the general ledger. [2] [ dead link ]

Contents

Terminology

The general ledger contains a page for all accounts in the chart of accounts [3] arranged by account categories. The general ledger is usually divided into at least seven main categories: assets, liabilities, owner's equity, revenue, expenses, gains and losses. [4] The main categories of the general ledger may be further subdivided into subledgers to include additional details of such accounts as cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc.

The extraction of account balances is called a trial balance. The purpose of the trial balance is, at a preliminary stage of the financial statement preparation process, to ensure the equality of the total debits and credits. [5]

Process

Posting is the process of recording amounts as credits (right side), and amounts as debits (left side), in the pages of the general ledger. Additional columns to the right hold a running activity total (similar to a chequebook). [6]

The general ledger should include the date, description and balance or total amount for each account.

Because each bookkeeping entry debits one account and credits another account in an equal amount, the double-entry bookkeeping system helps ensure that the general ledger is always in balance, thus maintaining the accounting equation:

. [7] [3]

The accounting equation is the mathematical structure of the balance sheet. Although a general ledger appears to be fairly simple, in large or complex organizations or organizations with various subsidiaries, the general ledger can grow to be quite large and take several hours or days to audit or balance. [8] [ citation needed ]

In a manual or non-computerized system, the general ledger may be a large book. Organizations may instead employ one or more spreadsheets for their ledgers, including the general ledger, or may utilize specialized software to automate ledger entry and handling. When a business uses enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, a financial-features module produces subledgers and the general ledger, with entries drawn from a database that is shared with other processes managed through the ERP.

Related Research Articles

Bookkeeping Recording of financial transactions

Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting in business and other organisations. It involves preparing source documents for all transactions, operations, and other events of a business. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts and payments by an individual person or an organization/corporation. There are several standard methods of bookkeeping, including the single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping systems. While these may be viewed as "real" bookkeeping, any process for recording financial transactions is a bookkeeping process.

Balance sheet

In financial accounting, a balance sheet is a summary of the financial balances of an individual or organization, whether it be a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation, private limited company or other organization such as government or not-for-profit entity. Assets, liabilities and ownership equity are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its financial year. A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition". Of the four basic financial statements, the balance sheet is the only statement which applies to a single point in time of a business' calendar year.

Double-entry bookkeeping, in accounting, is a system of book keeping where every entry to an account requires a corresponding and opposite entry to a different account. The double-entry has two equal and corresponding sides known as debit and credit. The left-hand side is debit and right-hand side is credit. In a normally debited account, such as an asset account or an expense account, a debit increases the total quantity of money or financial value, and a credit decreases the amount or value. On the other hand, for an account that is normally credited, such as a liability account or a revenue account, it is credits that increase the account's value and debits that decrease it. In double-entry bookkeeping, a transaction always affects at least two accounts, always includes at least one debit and one credit, and always has total debits and total credits that are equal. This is to keep the accounting equation (below) in balance. For example, if a business takes out a bank loan for $10,000, recording the transaction would require a debit of $10,000 to an asset account called "Cash", as well as a credit of $10,000 to a liability account called "Notes Payable".

This page is an index of accounting topics.

In accounting, book value is the value of an asset according to its balance sheet account balance. For assets, the value is based on the original cost of the asset less any depreciation, amortization or impairment costs made against the asset. Traditionally, a company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities. However, in practice, depending on the source of the calculation, book value may variably include goodwill, intangible assets, or both. The value inherent in its workforce, part of the intellectual capital of a company, is always ignored. When intangible assets and goodwill are explicitly excluded, the metric is often specified to be "tangible book value".

Debits and credits

In double entry bookkeeping, debits and credits are entries made in account ledgers to record changes in value resulting from business transactions. A debit entry in an account represents a transfer of value to that account, and a credit entry represents a transfer from the account. Each transaction transfers value from credited accounts to debited accounts. For example, a tenant who writes a rent cheque to a landlord would enter a credit for the bank account on which the cheque is drawn, and a debit in a rent expense account. Similarly, the landlord would enter a credit in the receivable account associated with the tenant and a debit for the bank account where the cheque is deposited.

Accounts receivable Claims for payment held by a business

Accounts receivable are legally enforceable claims for payment held by a business for goods supplied or services rendered that customers have ordered but not paid for. These are generally in the form of invoices raised by a business and delivered to the customer for payment within an agreed time frame. Accounts receivable is shown in a balance sheet as an asset. It is one of a series of accounting transactions dealing with the billing of a customer for goods and services that the customer has ordered. These may be distinguished from notes receivable, which are debts created through formal legal instruments called promissory notes.

Financial accounting

Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.

Account (bookkeeping)

In bookkeeping, an account refers to assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and equity, as represented by individual ledger pages, to which changes in value are chronologically recorded with debit and credit entries. These entries, referred to as postings, become part of a book of final entry or ledger. Examples of common financial accounts are sales, accounts receivable, mortgages, loans, PP&E, common stock, sales, services, wages and payroll.

Chart of accounts

A chart of accounts (COA) is a list of the names of the financial accounts set up, usually by an accountant, for an organization, and available for use by the bookkeeper for recording transactions in the organization's general ledger. Accounts may be added to the chart of accounts as needed; they would not generally be removed, especially if any transaction had been posted to the account or if there is a non-zero balance. Accounts are usually grouped into categories to classify and distinguish financial assets, liabilities and transactions. It is used to organize the entity’s finances and segregate expenditures, revenue, assets and liabilities in order to give interested parties a better understanding of the entity’s financial health.

The fundamental accounting equation, also called the balance sheet equation, represents the relationship between the assets, liabilities, and owner's equity of a person or business. It is the foundation for the double-entry bookkeeping system. For each transaction, the total debits equal the total credits. It can be expressed as furthermore:

In banking and accounting, the balance is the amount of money owed on an account.

Ledger

A ledger is a book or collection of accounts in which account transactions are recorded. Each account has an opening or carry-forward balance, would record transactions as either a debit or credit in separate columns and the ending or closing balance.

Single-entry bookkeeping or single-entry accounting is a method of bookkeeping that relies on a one sided accounting entry to maintain financial information. The primary bookkeeping record in single-entry bookkeeping is the cash book, which is similar to a checking account register, except all entries are allocated among several categories of income and expense accounts. Separate account records are maintained for petty cash, accounts payable and receivable, and other relevant transactions such as inventory and travel expenses. To save time and avoid the errors of manual calculations, single-entry bookkeeping can be done today with do-it-yourself bookkeeping software.

In accounting, finance and economics, an accounting identity is an equality that must be true regardless of the value of its variables, or a statement that by definition must be true. Where an accounting identity applies, any deviation from numerical equality signifies an error in formulation, calculation or measurement.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to accounting:

AME Accounting Software is a business accounting software application developed by AME Software Products, Inc. AME Accounting Software includes Payroll, General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, 1099 Vendor Management, MICR check printing, and Direct Deposit. The software is mostly used by small and medium size businesses, as well as accounting practices that process payroll and do bookkeeping for other businesses.

Net operating assets (NOA) are a business's operating assets minus its operating liabilities. NOA is calculated by reformatting the balance sheet so that operating activities are separated from financing activities. This is done so that the operating performance of the business can be isolated and valued independently of the financing performance. Management is usually not responsible for creating value through financing activities unless the company is in the finance industry, therefore reformatting the balance sheet allows investors to value just the operating activities and hence get a more accurate valuation of the company. One school of thought is that there is no such security as an operating liability. All liabilities are a form of invested capital, and are discretionary, so the concept of net operating assets has no basis because operating assets are not discretionary.

Liability (financial accounting)

In financial accounting, a liability is defined as the future sacrifices of economic benefits that the entity is obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions or other past events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.

Financial ratio

A financial ratio or accounting ratio is a relative magnitude of two selected numerical values taken from an enterprise's financial statements. Often used in accounting, there are many standard ratios used to try to evaluate the overall financial condition of a corporation or other organization. Financial ratios may be used by managers within a firm, by current and potential shareholders (owners) of a firm, and by a firm's creditors. Financial analysts use financial ratios to compare the strengths and weaknesses in various companies. If shares in a company are traded in a financial market, the market price of the shares is used in certain financial ratios.

References

  1. "Accounting Term Concepts" (PDF). Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  2. "National Curriculum Statement Accounting Guide Grade 10" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  3. 1 2 "Chapter 9.3 - General Ledger and Charts of Accounts". Accounting Scholar. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  4. "Inputs to Accounting".
  5. "What is a Trial Balance?" . Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  6. "Posting to general ledger accounts" (PDF). Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  7. Meigs and Meigs. Financial Accounting, Fourth Edition. McGraw-Hill, 1983. pp.19-20.
  8. Whiteley, John. "Mr". Moncton Accountant John Whiteley CPA. Moncton Accountant John Whiteley CPA. Retrieved 3 July 2017.[ permanent dead link ]