General Ledger Definition, Importance, Account Types

General Ledger Definition, Importance, Account Types

Providing a uniform chart of accounts & technical guidance for standardizing federal agency accounting. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. In fact, if you want to see how much money your current bank account holds, or why your printing expense account is so high, you would turn to your general ledger first.

These sources help you to verify that the amounts recorded in the Ledger accounts are accurate. However, reconciling individual account balances becomes extremely easy with online accounting software like QuickBooks. A general ledger account, or GL account, is one of the basic elements of financial accounting. It indicates specific groups of financial activity, including assets, liabilities, and revenue/expenses.

A subsidiary ledger (sub-ledger) is a sub-account related to a GL account that traces the transactions corresponding to a specific company, purchase, property, etc. If a GL account includes sub-ledgers, they are called controlling accounts. You record the financial transactions under separate account heads in your company’s General Ledger. Now, each of your transactions follows a procedure before they are represented in the final books of accounts. First, the transactions are recorded in the Original Book of Entry, known as Journal.

Moreover, as your business begins to grow, the general ledger services you need will expand as well. JS Morlu can work alongside you as your business grows, making us your trusted expert to turn to. Pricing for FreshBooks Lite is $15 general ledger accounting services per month, with Plus running $25, and Premium $50. All plans include invoicing, online payment capability, project budgets, and solid reporting options. FreshBooks offers smaller businesses a great way to manage their general ledger.

This helps accountants, company management, analysts, investors, and other stakeholders assess the company’s performance on an ongoing basis. A general ledger is an accounting record of all financial transactions in your business. This includes debits (money leaving your business) and credits (money coming into your business). These transactions can occur across areas such as revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities. One of the greatest benefits businesses realize from frequent general ledger accounting is access to real-time data and accurate reports. The ability to open your accounting software and see how much cash you have in the bank leads to more informed business decisions.

  1. Furthermore, most accounting software programs come with report creation features to track accounts receivable.
  2. You need to record various business transactions in your books of accounts based on the dual aspect of accounting.
  3. Thus, the shareholder’s equity appears on the liability side of your company’s balance sheet after current and non-current liabilities.
  4. If you already have a Debitoor account, you’ve probably discovered that it doesn’t have a typical layout for numbered accounts.
  5. This financial information becomes critical to your business decision-making.
  6. These accounts provide information that helps you in preparing your business’ financial statements.

A double-entry system ensures the balance sheet stays balanced every time and that each debit has a corresponding credit. This principle requires accountants to use the same reporting method procedures across all the financial statements prepared. Though it is similar to the second principle, it narrows in specifically on financial reports—ensuring any report prepared by one company can be easily compared to one another. Accountants are responsible for using the same standards and practices for all accounting periods.

After you find the right accounting system, we will set up your chart of accounts based on your business needs. A general ledger summarizes all the transactions entered through the double-entry bookkeeping method. Under this method, each transaction affects at least two accounts; one account is debited, while another is credited. In accounting, a General Ledger (GL) is a record of all past transactions of a company, organized by accounts. General Ledger (GL) accounts contain all debit and credit transactions affecting them.


The accounts are designed to allow a company to record all transactions that occur. Closely connected to the general ledger is the chart of accounts, the size of which can vary depending on the size of the company (a larger company will have more accounts, a smaller one fewer). If you’re looking for a better way to track general ledger activity, be sure to check out the applications above, or check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews to view even more options. GnuCash includes excellent reporting options, with detailed asset and liability reports as well as a complete general ledger report.

Principle of Permanence of Methods

It is comparable to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) that many non-U.S. While U.S. companies only need to follow GAAP domestically, if internationally traded or operating with a significant international presence, they often must adhere to the IFRS as well. Besides the ten principles listed above, GAAP also describes four constraints that must be recognized and followed when preparing financial statements. Note that in some instances, they may also be called the four principles, but they are different from the more specific ten principles above. Any person or party involved in, or responsible for, the financial side of a business must be honest in all reports and transactions.

Besides this, you can refer back to the purchase details in case you need to so in the future. As per this principle, there are at least two accounts involved when a particular transaction takes place. Further, the Duality Principle is expressed in terms of the below accounting equation. Therefore, a General Ledger helps you to know the ultimate result of all the transactions that take place with regards to specific accounts on a given date. Accurate and timely accounting and bookkeeping to maximize ROI and spur growth. As we said earlier, GL is the foundation of an organization’s financial reporting system.

What is General Ledger?

This is because General Ledger Accounts records transactions under various account heads. So, preparing such financial statements becomes challenging if you do not prepare General Ledger. Thus, you as a business owner cannot evaluate your company’s liquidity, profitability, and overall financial position.

Chart of Accounts Categories

If you look at the information that’s recorded in an accounting journal and an accounting ledger, a lot of it would look the same. One way to avoid errors is to use a POS system like Lightspeed Retail, which connects with accounting software to automatically sync data. To learn more about what Lightspeed Retail can do for your business, talk to an expert today. Reconciliation is the most comprehensive method of catching the errors and misclassifications that are possible when recording transactions in the general ledger. It will help a company resolve discrepancies, prevent fraud, and avoid issues with regulatory and tax compliance.

GAAP acts as the framework to prepare financial statements that are primarily reliable and comparable across different organizations. Adhering to it ensures that the general ledger reflects the company’s financial standing properly, as per the accepted accounting principles. Using a general ledger software over manual processes keep you more organized and have your information more readily accessible.

It will also transform the way you may record information into your general ledger. One example is the use of electronic data interchange (EDI), which can help update inventory general ledger records in conjunction with sales order transactions as they occur. In fact, automatic updates in your general ledger work best when your general ledger is connected to other functions in your accounting software, such as accounts payable or accounts receivable. Beyond these essential documents, the general ledger is used to create a host of financial statements for the company, such as the annual report.