Accounting is the process of recording economic activity and organizing this information in a format to inform owners about financial results. It all begins with the journals and ledgers. The initial entry is recorded in one of many journals and then transferred to the respective ledgers where the data is summed and reported to the management team. This article explains how journals and ledgers relate to each other and how the end results are organized.
Each account in the chart of accounts has a list of debits and credits. This transaction list is called a ledger of activity. For accountants, we refer to this as the account ledger. For more of in-depth understanding, read: Ledgers & Journals
Up to this point in this series about bookkeeping I’ve only mentioned accounts (ledgers) by name. To speed up the process of entering information accountants converted names to numbers. This made it easier to enter information in the original journals. Instead of long hand written words for the particular ledger, you simply enter a number.
Debits and credits are two words that are the most recognized terms synonymous to bookkeeping and accounting. I have read over 30 different articles as to how other authors define debits and credits with bookkeeping. Several authors try to get the reader to visualize the terms as the left side and the right side of the ‘T’-Account (I also describe this in Lesson 2).
The trial balance is an accountant’s report used to identify issues with the respective ledger accounts. In general, the trial balance sums all the debits and credits in the footer section and the accountant verifies that the total debits equal total credits. This confirms proper entry in the dual entry accounting system.
The bank reconciliation is a daily accounting function for every small business. In order to fully appreciate its value, the small business owner needs to understand the fundamentals of how bank reconciliations are performed. In addition, there are some higher level types of transactions that affect the cash position.