General Ledger Accounting

04.07.2023 | Verschiedenes

what is a general ledger in accounting

Only the final three columns debit, credit, and balance include monetary amounts. For this reason the format shown is referred to as a 3 column general ledger. For this reason the ledger is sometimes known as the book of final entry or the book of secondary entry. Revenue is the business’ income that is derived from the sales of its products and/or services. Revenue can include sales, interest, royalties, or any other fees the business collects from other individuals or businesses.

In accounting, a general ledger is used to record a company’s ongoing transactions. Within a general ledger, transactional data is organized into assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses, and owner’s equity. After each sub-ledger has been closed out, the accountant prepares the trial balance. This data from the trial balance is then used to create the company’s financial statements, such as its balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and other financial reports. The general ledger is comprised of all the individual accounts needed to record the assets, liabilities, equity, revenue, expense, gain, and loss transactions of a business. In most cases, detailed transactions are recorded directly in these general ledger accounts.

Income Statement

Then, the balance of each of the General Ledger Accounts is posted in your Trial Balance Sheet. Once you complete the Trial Balance, the account balance is finally entered in the income statement and the balance sheet. For instance, if your business applied for a PPP loan in 2020, you probably used the information in your general ledger to create financial statements for your bank. A general ledger also creates a comprehensive audit trail, which will be helpful if you ever get audited. To get started, create a journal and record each business transaction as it occurs. Once your journal is completed, you’ll transfer this information to the general ledger.

what is a general ledger in accounting

Thus, you get an understanding of your company’s position with regards to debtors, creditors, expenses, revenues, incomes, etc. For example, the outstanding Nonprofit Bookkeeper vs Accountant Who Should You Hire? payments against suppliers, payments to be collected from customers, etc. Furthermore, at the end of the accounting period, you close these Ledger Accounts.

Reasons Businesses Need a General Ledger

The general ledger also helps you compile a trial balance, spot unusual transactions, and create financial statements. An accounting ledger, also commonly called a general ledger, is the main record of your business’s financial standing. It functions as the repository of all financial transactions and is used to prepare a number of reports, including balance sheets and income statements.

The customer usually has a set amount of time to pay the invoice, such as 30 days. A debit increases asset and expense accounts and decreases liability, revenue, and equity accounts. Alternatively, credits increase liability, revenue, and equity accounts and reduce asset and expense accounts. For each account, the general ledger shows the account balance at the beginning of the period, all credits and debits that hit the account during the period, and the ending balance. If you run a general ledger report from January 1, 2020 through February 29th, 2020, you will have beginning and ending balances readily displayed for both January and February. For example, you need to record the rent expense every month if you take computers on rent and decide to prepay the rent in January for the next twelve months.


Thus, you can easily find information like a sales transaction, purchase transaction, etc. in a General Ledger. Further, these are the obligations that you have to fulfill for the amounts you have borrowed and which have not yet been paid for. As you can see in this example, the inventory purchased affects both the debit and the credit columns. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. These articles and related content is the property of The Sage Group plc or its contractors or its licensors (“Sage”).

  • The critical thing to remember about double-entry bookkeeping is that every transaction affects at least two accounts.
  • Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Forbes, and The New York Times, and on LendingTree, Credit Karma, and Discover, among others.
  • A general ledger account is an account or record used to sort, store and summarize a company’s transactions.
  • This includes debits (money leaving your business) and credits (money coming into your business).
  • When a company borrows funds, the cash balance increases, and the debt (liability) balance increases by the same amount.
  • These accounts help you in organizing the General Ledger Accounts properly and recording transactions quickly.