Post-closing trial balance definition

trial balances

The order that will follow will be assets first, then liabilities and finally ending off with equity. The expense accounts have debit balances so to get rid of their balances we will do the opposite or credit the accounts. Just like in step 1, we will use Income Summary as the offset account but this time we will debit income summary.

  • Now that you know the RED accounts are those that need to be closed, let’s see how this is being carried out.
  • Finally, the accountant prepares the post-closing trial balance by listing all accounts with their updated balances after the closing entries have been made.
  • All account with a debit balance will be listed on the debit side of the trial balance and all accounts with a credit balance will be listed on the credit side of the trial balance.
  • It is certainly one of the important accounting tools as it reveals the final position of all accounts.

The post-closing trial balance verifies the debits equal the credits and that all beginning balances for permanent accounts are in place. Closing temporary accounts is an important step in the accounting cycle, and running the post-closing trial balance helps to make sure that the process has been completed accurately. Additionally, the post-closing trial balance will have a retained earnings account which contains the balances of all temporary accounts that have been closed out. The post-closing trial balance will reflect the final balances for the company accounts at the end of the financial reporting period. These ending balances will become opening balances for the next accounting period.

Examples of post-closing trial balance in the following topics:

Since only balance sheet accounts are listed on this trial balance, they are presented in balance sheet order starting with assets, liabilities, and ending with equity. A post-closing trial balance proves that the books are in balance at the start of the new accounting period. The process of preparing the financial statements begins with the adjusted trial balance.

revenue and expense

Preparing the adjusted trial balance requires “closing” the book and making the necessary adjusting entries to align the financial records with the true financial activity of the business. Permanent – balance sheet accounts including assets, liabilities, and most equity accounts. So, the ending balance of this period will be the beginning balance for next period.


Students often ask why they need to do all of these steps by hand in their introductory class, particularly if they are never going to be an accountant. If you have never followed the full process from beginning to end, you will never understand how one of your decisions can impact the final numbers that appear on your financial statements. You will not understand how your decisions can affect the outcome of your company. The purpose of closing entries is to close all temporary accounts and adjust the balances of real accounts such as owner’s capital. Like all of your trial balances, the post-closing balance of debits and credits must match.

All ledger accounts with balances, none of which can be permanent accounts. All ledger accounts with balances, none of which can be temporary accounts. Working trial balance summarizes all the accounts and their respective balances. It serves as a tool to help check if the accounting entries are accurate and, if not, to determine the committed errors.

What is the Post Closing Trial Balance?

For example, your accounts payable account may contain multiple smaller entries, which you’ll need to total before transferring this data to your trial balance. When you prepare your trial balance, include as much detail as possible, such as the date of the accounting period. This information will help you stay organized if you need to refer to your previous trial balances. While a post-closing trial balance and an adjusted trial balance both serve as important financial reports for a company, their purpose and content differ.

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When a worksheet is completed for one accounting cycle, the accounts will be place in the right order, ready for the worksheet for the next month. Save the document itself, which can be helpful if you need to perform the process again for a longer period. Again, this is simply a sum of all the debits of your accounts for that period.

However, there still could be mistakes or errors in the accounting systems. A trial balance can be used to assess the financial position of a company between full annual audits. The key difference between a trial balance and a balance sheet is one of scope. A balance sheet records not only the closing balances of accounts within a company but also the assets, liabilities, and equity of the company. It is usually released to the public, rather than just being used internally, and requires the signature of an auditor to be regarded as trustworthy.


This accounting process helps to ensure accuracy in bookkeeping by providing a snapshot of all ledger accounts up to date in real time. A company’s transactions are recorded in a general ledger and later summed to be included in a trial balance. Debits and credits of a trial balance must tally to ensure that there are no mathematical errors, but there could still be mistakes or errors in the accounting systems. D. By using a work sheet to prepare adjusting entries you need not post these entries to the ledger accounts. All account balances, including the balances for the Cumulative Translation Adjustment and Retained Earnings accounts, represent actual posted period end transactions in this report. Using the trial balance, the company then prepares the four financial statements.

Many companies produce a WTB trade discountically to verify their accurate and complete financial records. By ensuring the accuracy of your WTB, you make sure that any adjustments will also lead to accurate financial statements at the end of an accounting period. Preparing a trial balance for a company serves to detect any mathematical errors that have occurred in the double entry accounting system.

You should try to create a trial balance at least once every reporting period. This ensures that your books are correct and that you can withstand a financial audit. A balance sheet should be prepared annually and distributed to investors or relevant financial institutions. And while a trial balance is prepared purely for your internal controls, a balance sheet is required to manage your company’s finances. Temporary accounts are used to record transactions for a specific accounting period, such as revenue, expense, and dividend accounts. In conclusion, the Working Trial Balance is a critical tool for business owners and accountants.

  • A working trial balance provides accountants with a listing of all accounts and their corresponding balances during a specific period.
  • A post-closing trial balance is a trial balance taken after the closing entries have been posted.
  • The total debit to income summary should match total expenses from the income statement.
  • The post-closing trial balance verifies the debits equal the credits and that all beginning balances for permanent accounts are in place.
  • If accounting and finance aren’t your areas of expertise, we recommend using independent bookkeeping services to help with your trial balance sheets and other financial statements.
  • For example, if you pay your rent, you enter the amount you owed ($1,000) as a debit, then the amount you paid as a credit ($1,000).

This process can be done manually or with an accounting software program. Until computers became available in business, the only way to check the accuracy of the books was manually prepare a trial balance which involved listing all ledger accounts and their balances. This manual process was slow and tedious and prone to errors due to human fatigue or miscalculations. It also required accountants to keep meticulous records, as any changes would involve going through every entry again. The WTB also shows account numbers, account titles, and balance amounts. It is a valuable tool for double-checking to ensure an organization’s financial records are accurate before producing summary financial statements.

After completing the cycle and posting all journal entries to the ledger, a trial balance report is generated. It does not reflect adjustments necessary for accruals, deferrals etc. This type of trial balance prepared once you complete the adjustment entries.

If the books are properly closed, that property will not be included on the balance sheet that is being prepared for the period on December 31st. From the trial balance, a company can prepare their financial statements. The trial balance proves that the books are in balance or that the debits equal the credits. A post-closing trial balance is a trial balance taken after the closing entries have been posted.

Once you discover your error, repeat steps three through five to see whether your numbers now match. The Working Trial Balance is now part of most accounting systems businesses use today, providing efficiency and accuracy in managing their finances. It is an invaluable tool that enables better decision-making regarding organizational finances, which helps ensure financial health in any organization or business. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

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Adjusted Trial BalanceAdjusted Trial Balance is a statement which incorporates all the relevant adjustments. Although it is not a part of financial statements, the adjusted balances are carried forward in the different reports that form part of financial statements. We have completed the first two columns and now we have the final column which represents the closing process. Notice that the balances in interest revenue and service revenue are now zero and are ready to accumulate revenues in the next period. Account is an intermediary between revenues and expenses, and the Retained Earnings account.

revenue and expense

The post-closing trial balance is the last step in the accounting cycle. It is prepared after all of that period’s business transactions have been posted to the General Ledger via journal entries. The post-closing trial balance can only be prepared after each closing entry has been posted to the General Ledger. The purpose of closing entries is to transfer the balances of the temporary accounts (expenses, revenues, gains, etc.) to the retained earnings account. After the closing entries are posted, these temporary accounts will have a zero balance. The permanent balance sheet accounts will appear on the post-closing trial balance with their balances.

If these columns aren’t equal, the trial balance was prepared incorrectly or the closing entries weren’t transferred to the ledger accounts accurately. We can observe the difference between the adjusted trial balance and the post-closing trial balance. This balance sheet is prepared by taking a general ledger containing all transactions for an accounting period and extracting each account’s debit and credit balances. The total debits must equal the total credits for the trial balance to be “in balance.” If not, then discrepancies need to be identified and corrected. At the end of an accounting period, the accounts of asset, expense, or loss should each have a debit balance, and the accounts of liability, equity, revenue, or gain should each have a credit balance.

Thus, the post-closing trial balance is only useful if the accountant is manually preparing accounting information. For this reason, most procedures for closing the books do not include a step for printing and reviewing the post-closing trial balance. Another peculiar thing about Bob’s post-closing trial balance is that normally a retained earnings account will have a credit balance, but in Bob’s books it has a debit balance. The reason is that Bob did not make a profit in the first month of his operations. These account balances do not roll over into the next period after closing. The closing process reduces revenue, expense, and dividends account balances to zero so they are ready to receive data for the next accounting period.

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