Advantages Objectives of Trial Balance, Trial Balance Limitations – Shortcomings of Trial Balance

Advantages (Objectives of Trial Balance)

1. It ensures that the transactions recorded in the books of accounts have identical debit and credit amount.

2. Balance of each ledger account has been computed correctly.

3. Balance of each and every ledger account has been transferred accurately and on the correct side of the sheet on which trial balance has been prepared.

4. The debit and the credit columns of trial balance have been added up correctly.

5. Preparation of final accounts is not possible without preparing trial balance first.

6. Agreed trial balance is a prima facie evidence of the arithmetical accuracy of the accounting books maintained.

7. Errors which are revealed by preparing trial balance (listed below) are rectified even before the preparation of final accounts.

Errors revealed by (the preparation of) trial balance

If trial balance does not agree, the disagreement may be due to :

(1) Omission to post an amount into ledger: If an item is not posted from journal or subsidiary book to ledger, two sides of trial balance shall not agree, e.g., if goods sold on credit to A are recorded properly in sales book but not debited to A’s account’ in ledger, the debit side of trial balance shall fall short.

(2) Omission to post an amount in trial balance: It is natural if balance ‘of an account is not recorded in trial balance the two sides of trial balance shall not agree which is an indication of error in accounts.

(3) Wrong totaling or balancing of ledger account: If any account in the ledger is wrongly totaled or balanced, then also the trial balance shall not agree.

(4) Wrong totaling of subsidiary books: If the total of any subsidiary book is wrongly cast, it would cause a disagreement in the trial balance, e.g., if purchase book totaled Rs. 2,500 instead of 2,050, the debit side of the trial balance shall exceed the credit side by Rs. 450.

(5) Posting on the wrong side: When an item is by mistake posted on the wrong side of the ledger account it would cause disagreement in the trial balance, e.g., if Rs. 200 have been allowed as discount and while posting into discount account the amount has been credited to discount account. It will result in a difference of Rs. 400 in two sides of trial balance.

(6) Posting of wrong amount: If wrong amount is posted in one of the two accounts while posting, it would immediately cause disagreement of trial balance e.g. goods worth Rs. 690 have been sold to ‘X’ but ‘X’s account has been debited with Rs. 960. It will increase the debit side of trial balance by Rs. 270.

Trial Balance Limitations – Shortcomings of trial balance

An agreed trial balance does not prove by itself that :

1. All transactions have been correctly analyzed and recorded in proper accounts. For example wages paid for installation of fixed asset might have wrongly been debited to wages account.

2. All the transactions have been recorded and nothing has been omitted.

3. Certain types of .errors (listed below) remain undetected even after the preparation – of trial balance.

Thus it is quite well known and said that “agreement of trial balance is not the conclusive proof of the accuracy of the books maintained.”

Errors not revealed by (the preparation of) trial balance

Normally four types of errors are not revealed by mal balance. So two sides of trial balance will although agree, even then our accounts may not be free from errors. Such errors are :

(1) Errors of omission

If a transaction is not recorded in books of original entry then both debit and credit effects of the transaction will be omitted and trial balance shall not be effected, e.g. goods sold to John worth Rs. 1,000. The entry is not recorded in the books at all, it means neither John’s account is debited nor sales account has been credited. As both sides have been effected by equal amount so the mal balance shall agree.

(2) Errors of commission

These errors are the result of carelessness of accounting staff and in some of the cases such errors do not effect the totals of mal balance, e.g. wrong recording in the books of original entry or posting to wrong account with correct amount and correct side e.g. goods sold for cash worth Rs. 1,000 but Cash Nc debited with Rs. 100 and sales credited with identical amount.

(3) Compensating errors

Such errors neutralize the effect of the errors committed earlier. When one error is committed which affects the total of mal balance but in the mean time another error of opposite effect is committed which neutralizes the effect of earlier error, e.g. forgetting to post Rs. 500 on the debit side of a certain account may be compensated by under posting of Rs. 500 on the credit side of some other account or by over posting of Rs. 500 in debit side of some other account.

(4) Errors of Principle

Whenever any income or expenditure is not properly allocated between capital and revenue, the mistake so made is called a mistake of principle, e.g. if furniture purchased is debited to purchases account, building sold is credited to sales account, wages paid for installation of machinery debited to wages account, then the error of principle is committed; the trial balance shall remain unaffected by such errors.

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