A trial balance sheet is a statement created by a company that lists all of the accounts in its general ledger along with the balances of each account. Creating a trial balance sheet is a procedure that is typically done at the end of each month and year. The trial balance sheet is used to prepare the balance sheet and income statement at the end of each period.
A trial balance sheet is made on a general ledger containing three columns. (The general ledger is the company’s book that records all accounts and current balances at all times.) The first column, on the left side of the document, is for listing the accounts. All of the accounts containing a balance in the company’s general ledger are written in by account name. The accounts are listed in a particular order beginning with assets. After assets are liabilities, equity, revenue and expense accounts. In accounting, accounts are always listed in this specific order. If an account in the ledger has a zero balance, it is omitted from the trial balance sheet.
Debits and Credits
The final two columns in the trial balance sheet are designated for the balances in each account. The debit column is first and the credit column is second. In accounting, debits are always on the left and credits on the right. The balance from each account is transferred from the balances in the general ledger. It is important that account amounts are transferred correctly. As a rule of thumb, assets and expense accounts have debit balances. Liabilities, equities and revenue accounts have credit balances.
Under the debit and credit columns, totals are calculated. All amounts in the debit column are added up and the total is placed at the bottom of the list. All amounts in the credit column are added up and the total amount of credits is placed also at the bottom of the sheet. These two amounts must match. If they don’t, an error has been made somewhere along the way. After these two amounts are verified, a set of double lines is placed under them signifying that the trial balance sheet is complete.
Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.