Explain the meaning and objective of Trial Balance?
If you recall the steps in the accounting procedure you find that at first the transactions are entered in the Journal and Special Purpose Books like Cash Book, Purchases Book, Sales Book, etc. From these books items are posted in the ledger in their respective accounts. Finally, at the end of the accounting year these accounts are balanced. To check the accuracy of posting in the ledger a statement is prepared with two columns i.e. debit column and credit column which contains debit balances of accounts and credit balances of accounts respectively. Total of the two columns are if equal, it means the ledger posting is arithmetically correct. This statement is called Trial Balance.
Trial Balance may be defined as a statement which contains balances of all ledger accounts on a particular date
Trial Balance consists of a debit column with all debit balances of accounts and credit column with all credit balances of accounts. The totals of these columns if tally it is presumed that ledger has been maintained correctly. However, Trial Balance proves only the arithmetical accuracy of posting in the ledger.
Objectives of Preparing a Trial Balance
Following are the objectives of preparing Trial Balance
(i) To Check Arithmetical Accuracy : Arithmetical accuracy in ledger posting means writing correct amount, in the correct account and on its correct side while posting transactions from various original books of accounts, such as Cash Book, Purchases Book, Sales Book, etc. It also means not only the correct balance of ledger account but also the totals of the special purpose Books.
(ii) To Help in Preparing Financial Statements : The ultimate objective of the accounting is to prepare financial statements i.e. Trading and Profit and Loss Account, and Balance sheet of a business enterprise at the end of an accounting year. These statements contain balances of various ledger accounts. As Trial Balance contains balances of all ledger accounts, in financial statements the balances of ledger accounts are carried from the Trial balance for proper analysis.
(iii) Helps in Locating Errors : If total of two columns of the trial balance agrees it is a proof of arithmetical accuracy in the ledger posting. However, if the totals of the two columns do not tally it indicates that there are some mistake in the ledger accounts. This prompts the accountant to find out the errors.
(iv) Helps in Comparison : Comparison of ledger account balances of one year with the corresponding balances with the previous year helps the management taking some important decisions. This is possible by using the Trial Balances of the two years.
(v) Helps in Making Adjustments : While making financial statements adjustments regarding closing stock, prepaid expenses, outstanding expenses etc are to be made. Trial balance helps in identifying the items requiring adjustments in preparing the financial statements