It is important for an analyst to understand the flow of information through a financial reporting system.
1. Journal entries and adjusting entries
Journalizing is the process of chronologically recording transactions.
- General journal is the simplest and most flexible.
- A separate journal entry records each transaction.
- Useful for obtaining detailed information regarding a particular transaction.
2. General ledger and T-accounts
The items entered in a general journal must be transferred to the general ledger. This procedure, posting
, is part of the summarizing and classifying process. The general ledger contains all the same entries as those posted to the general journal; the only difference is that the data are sorted by date in the journal and by account in the ledger.
There is a separate T-account for each item in the ledger. A T-account appears as follows:
3. Trial balance and adjusted trial balance
A trial balance is a list of all open accounts in the general ledger and their balances.
- For every amount debited, an equal amount must be credited.
- The total of debits and credits for all the T-accounts must be equal.
- A trial balance is prepared to test this. It proves whether or not the ledger is in balance.
- It is usually prepared at the end of a month or accounting period.
Since certain accounts may not be accurately stated, adjusting entries may be required to prepare an adjusted trial balance.
4. Finance statements
The financial statements can be prepared from the adjusted trial balance.