Chapter 9.3® - General Ledger & Chart of Accounts
Actual recording of accounting transactions depends on the type of system being used. Computerized systems store accounts on the computer database while manual systems record accounts on separate pages in a special accounting booklet. The chart of accounts is a list of all accounts used by a company and includes the following type of identification of each class of account:
A T-Account is a very useful tool for accountants to figure out the balancing of debits & credits to each account. The T-Account gets its name from its shape because it looks like the letter T.
The format of the T-account includes i) the account title on the top, ii) debit on the left side, iii) and credit on the right side. For instance, take a look at a hypothetical T-account for Cash for a company known as News Corp.
Balance of an Account
An account balance is the difference between debits (increases) and credits (decreases) recorded to an account. To determine the balance, follow these steps:
i) Compute the total increases shown on the left side (including the beginning balance).
ii) Compute the total decreases shown on the right side.
iii) Subtract the decreases from the increases to arrive at ending balance.
This above Cash account shows total increases of $158,100 and total decreases of $27,500. When the difference between the two is calculated, this leaves us with an ending balance of $130,600 in the Cash account.
Debits and Credits & Double Entry Accounting
The left side of a T-account is called the debit side and is abbreviated as Dr. The right side of a T-account is called the credit side and abbreviated as Cr. Any amounts posted on the left side of the account are debits, while any amounts posted on the right side of an account are credits. The difference between total debits and total credits is the ending account balance. Here are a few more points to learn:
i) When the sum of debits exceeds the sum of credits, the account has a debit balance.
ii) When the sum of credits exceeds the sum of debits, the account has a credit balance.
iii) When the sum of debits equals the sum of credits,
the account has a $0 balance.
Double entry accounting means every transaction must be recorded in at least 2 different accounts and the total amount debited must equal the total amount credited. Also, the sum of debit account balances must match with the sum of all credit account balances. The only reason that they would not balance is when there is an error in the journal entry, either the amounts posted are wrong or an account code is missing. Double entry accounting helps to prevent errors by assuring the debits & credits for each transaction equal otherwise the entry would be wrong.
From the above basic accounting equation, it says Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder’s Equity. Assets are on the left side of this equation and liabilities & equity are on right side. Just like any mathematical equation, increases or decreases on one side must have effects on the other side, and consequently must balance the other side. In the below diagram, we show the debit & credit effects for each classes of accounts namely the assets, liabilities & shareholders’ equity.