trial balance

Dictionary of Accounting Terms for: trial balance
trial balance
  1. listing of the account balances from the general ledger, prepared at the end of the accounting period. All accounts are listed in the order in which they appear in the ledger. Total debits must equal total credits; otherwise, an error has been made. Even though the trial balance furnishes arithmetical proof that debits equal credits, it does not detect all errors. For example, a posting to the wrong account may have occurred. The trial balance is a work sheet and not a formal financial statement. It serves as a convenient basis for the preparation of the balance sheet and income statement. post-closing trial balance
  2. listing of the account balances of a subsidiary ledger (i.e., customer accounts) that must agree with the total of the control account (i.e., accounts receivable) in the general ledger.
Dictionary of Business Terms for: trial balance
trial balance

in accounting, one of the first steps in closing the books at year-end. All accounts are listed; debits and credits are totaled and should balance.

Copyright (c) by Barron's Educational Series. Reprinted by arrangement with the publisher of this site.