Control Accounts A Level Study

general ledger control account

For example, all payables entered during one day will be aggregated from the subsidiary ledger and posted as a single summary-level number into the accounts payable control account. Posting into all control accounts must be completed before the books can be closed at the end of a reporting period; otherwise, transactions may be stranded in a subsidiary ledger and not be reflected in the financial statements. The balance of every stock item in the ledger account should equal the total list of stock items.

  • He also assesses whether the total amount in the control account equates with the amount in the individual supplier account to balance the transaction within the subsidiary ledger.
  • That part of the ledger which deals with credit sales and debtors/receivables is known as the Sales
    ledger or debtors’ ledger.
  • However, if Taylor or anyone else wants to find out the amount that a specific customer still owes for their credit purchases, or when they bought the item, that won’t be shown in the control account.
  • A general ledger represents the record-keeping system for a company’s financial data, with debit and credit account records validated by a trial balance.

The trial balance is checked for errors and adjusted by posting additional necessary entries, and then the adjusted trial balance is used to generate the financial statements. The company maintains a
memorandum debtors and creditors ledger in which the individual account of customers and suppliers
are maintained. Administratively, organizations normally create divisions or sections in their accounting/finance department commonly referred to as accounts receivable and payable sections. A control account is a general ledger account designed for the purpose of documenting and summarizing bulk transactions of the same kind. This account holds totals for transactions that are maintained separately in subsidiary-level ledger accounts.

Locate errors

These transactions are recorded in the debtors’ control account to avoid voluminous handling of these documents within the accounting period. The transactions recorded in this account are categorized using identity numbers or alphabetic letters to distinguish the individual debtors. Control accounts are an important component of double-entry accounting and make up the foundation of the general ledger. They control account serve as a summary report of the total balances for each subledger, and allow for a streamlined analysis of a company’s balance sheet without all of the clunky details contained in each subledger. If anyone wants to see detailed transactional information for accounts payable or accounts receivable, they can review the detail located in the subsidiary ledger, since it is not located in the general ledger.

The control ledger is a summary account that keeps track of the individual accounts in the ledger and ensures that they are clarified and re-verified. Following this method assists management in establishing a control over ledger posting, therefore reducing the risk of misrepresentation and fraud. They must also ensure that the amount listed in the control account is the total of each of the amounts owed by a business to each supplier. For example, if the sales account balance is transferred, the sales account will be debited, and the sales control account will be credited. If you’re interested in finding out more about control accounts, then get in touch with the financial experts at GoCardless.

Control Account Definition

Doing this allows you to produce a trial balance and balance sheet without all of the transactions displayed. The types of control accounts include debtors control accounts, creditors control accounts, and stock control accounts. These forms of control accounts are used to summarize the business within the general ledger. The transaction details contained in the general ledger are compiled and summarized at various levels to produce a trial balance, income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, and many other financial reports.

What is a general ledger control account?

A control account is a summary-level account in the general ledger. This account contains aggregated totals for transactions that are individually stored in subsidiary-level ledger accounts.

The balance of the control account should always be equal to the balance in the subsidiary ledger accounts. Accounts payable and accounts receivable control accounts are the most frequently used control accounts, although inventory and fixed asset control accounts can also be used. This account is created to record the summarized balance of the individual ledgers maintained for different parties in accounting for the transactions. E.g., it may be a separate account designed for vendors and maintained, which summarizes the personal accounts. Hence, generally, the individual account balancesAccount BalancesAccount Balance is the amount of money in a person’s financial account, such as a savings or checking account, at any given time.

Definition and Examples of Control Account

A company that sells products on credit may have many transactions in the accounts receivable subledger. The details of those transactions live in the subledger and the balance is reported to the control account. The control account for accounts receivable will only show the total amount that is owed to the company at a point in time without all the details of each customer’s transaction.

  • They are especially important for reconciliation in large companies with a high volume of transactions when only the balance of the account is needed.
  • Control accounts are most commonly used to summarize accounts payable and accounts receivable as these tend to contain a lot of transactions.
  • Companies use a general ledger reconciliation process to find and correct such errors in the accounting records.
  • The general ledger can have hundreds of accounts from asset and liability accounts to income and expense accounts.
  • In Debitoor accounting & invoicing software, the double-entry bookkeeping method is built-in, meaning that when you enter an expense, you can also enter payments on the expense for specific suppliers.

Following this procedure helps the management create a control on the ledger posting, which safeguards against the possible chances of misrepresentation and fraud. The ending balance in a control account should always match the ending total for its subsidiary ledger. If it doesn’t, then there could have been a mistake made during the calculations. Control accounts are most commonly used by large organizations, since their transaction volume is very high.

What Is an Example of a General Ledger Entry?

Secondly, then you will make a control account in which you put the summary amount- total sales with its invoice price, total collections, or total payout. Simply put, as you know in large organizations there are numbers of customers as well as suppliers. So, if you record each transaction (account payable and account receivable) in the general ledger, it will become too difficult to manage your records easily. Thus, in order to keep a proper record, you have to maintain control accounts and subsidiary accounts. Remember that transactions related to debtors take place on daily basis and at the end of every month, for a financial period, several of them take place affecting all the affiliated debtors. An accounts receivable control account will aid the keeping of such transactions.

A different person can maintain the control account as a preventive measure against fraud. She is a Business Content writer and Management contributor at, where she contributes a business article weekly. She has over 2 years of experience in writing about accounting, finance, and business. About the Author – Dr Geoffrey Mbuva(PhD-Finance) is a lecturer of Finance and Accountancy at Kenyatta University, Kenya.

Listing each debtor account individual account would clutter a general ledger, so those accounts could be listed in a subledger and consolidated in a control account. In accounting, the terms debit and credit differ from their commonplace meanings. Whether each adds to or subtracts from an account’s total depends on the type of account. For example, debiting an income account causes it to increase, while the same action on an expense account results in a decrease. Goods-receipt/invoice-receipt accounts can have either a credit or debit balance.

general ledger control account

During her career, she has published business and technology-based articles and texts. Nordmeyer holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting, a Master of Arts in international management and a Master of Business Administration in finance. Mary Girsch-Bock is the expert on accounting software and payroll software for The Ascent. Control accounts could also be used for accounts payable, equipment, and inventory. It’s easy to track your expenses from anywhere with online invoicing software like Debitoor. For example, Jim’s hardware store invoiced two customers for a total of $700.

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