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Trial Balance: Definition, How It Works, Purpose, and Requirements

The purpose of preparing a trial balance is to ascertain the accuracy of the books of accounts. The purpose of preparing a balance sheet is to show the financial position of a business. In this method, the process of totalling the ledger accounts on both sides is followed by balancing the accounts. Account open an ira and make a contribution before tax day balancing is a process where both sides are tallied by placing the balance on the side where the amount falls short. It is a statement that entails the details about a company’s total liabilities as against its total assets, along with the total capital that is put in by the shareholders in the company.

This article looks at meaning of and differences between two steps of this accounting cycle – trial balance and balance sheet. A unique aspect of a trial balance is that the law does not require a company to mandatorily prepare it. Therefore, there is no set arrangement of ledger balances to be followed while preparing a trial balance.

Reconciliation of Balance Sheet Accounts

Trial balance acts as the source while working on a balance sheet. Ask a question about your financial situation providing as much detail as possible. Your information is kept secure and not shared unless you specify. Our mission is to empower readers with the most factual and reliable financial information possible to help them make informed decisions for their individual needs. This team of experts helps Finance Strategists maintain the highest level of accuracy and professionalism possible. Every business – from the solo freelance graphic artist to the Fortune 500 global company – relies on the same basics for tracking their finances.

  • The report lists the balances of a company at a certain point in time of all the general ledger accounts.
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An adjusted trial balance example might be where a company received some products from a vendor but the invoice was not processed as of the end of the accounting period. One can prepare a trial balance by arranging all ledger account balances, by categorizing them into debits and credits to test the correctness of the accounts. A trial balance is a statement which lists all the balances of the Real, Personal and Nominal Accounts irrespective of the Capital or Revenue nature of the accounts.

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A balance sheet is prepared at the end of financial year to ascertain the financial position of an organization. A trial balance is so called because it provides a test of a fundamental aspect of a set of books, but is not a full audit of them. Trial balance is prepared to ensure the accuracy of the books of accounts.

Why is balance sheet important?

For example, if there is a mismatch between the debit and credit account totals at any point, it indicates an error. However, since most companies use software tools, their system may not allow new entries to be added if there is a mismatch between the values, leaving no room for error. Trial balance is a complete listing of all ledger account balances at the end of a specified period.

Balance Sheet

A trial balance sheet is divided into the ‘debit’ and ‘credit’ columns to record the same on certain dates. To efficiently record the complex and increasing transactions with other countries, the double-entry bookkeeping system came into being. In the modern-day world, a trial balance and a balance sheet are two types of double-entry bookkeeping procedures. It assists in the rectification of errors and makes due adjustments. Such adjustments are relevant only for the particular accounting year. Trial balance also helps in the comparative analysis with a previous year’s balances and the current one.


A trial balance can be defined as a statement of debit as well as credit balances whereas a balance sheet can be defined as a statement of assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity. Trial balance ignores opening stock and includes closing stock whereas balance sheet includes opening stock but excludes closing stock. Trial balances are neither a part of final accounts nor a part of financial statements whereas a balance sheet is a part of both financial statements and final accounts. Preparing a trial balance for a company serves to detect any mathematical errors that have occurred in the double entry accounting system. If the total debits equal the total credits, the trial balance is considered to be balanced, and there should be no mathematical errors in the ledgers. However, this does not mean that there are no errors in a company’s accounting system.

Requirements for a Trial Balance

With the trial balance, companies gather general ledger accounts into one location. They can then use the information to prepare financial statements. On the other hand, a balance sheet can be defined as a financial statement that is used for the purpose of reporting an entity’s total liabilities, stockholders’ equity, and assets at a particular date. It’s a list of all the ledger accounts with their respective debit and credit balances.

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