A helpful tool for demonstrating certain transactions and actions is the "t-account." Significantly, one will not only use t-accounts for actually maintaining the accounts of a business. Instead of that they are just a quick and easy way to make out how a small number of transactions and events will effect a company. T-accounts would rapidly become unwieldy in an enlarged business situation. In essence, t- accounts are only "scratch pad" for account investigation. They are useful communication tools to discuss, illustrate, and think about the effect of transactions. The physical shape of a t-account is a "T," and debits are on the left and credits on the right. The "balance" is the quantity by which debits exceed credits (or vice versa). Below we see is the t-account for Cash for the transactions and events of Xao Company. Cautiously compare this t-account to the actual running balance ledger account which is also shown (notice that the debits in black total to $33,800, the credits in red total to $7,500, and the surplus of debits over credits is $26,300 -- which is the resulting account balance shown in blue).
Chart of Account
A listing of all accounts in use by a particular company is known as the chart of accounts. Individual accounts are frequently given a specific reference number. The numbering system helps keep up with the accounts in use, and helps in the categorization of accounts. For example, all assets may start with ''1'' (e.g., 101 for Cash, 102 for Accounts Receivable, etc.), liability with "2," and so forth. A straightforward chart of accounts for Xao Corporation might appear as shown below:
No. 101: Cash
No. 102: Accounts Receivable
No. 103: Land
No. 201: Accounts Payable
No. 202: Notes Payable
No. 301: Capital Stock
No. 401: Service Revenue
No. 501: Advertising Expense
No. 502: Utilities Expense
The assignment of a numerical account number to each account assists in information management, in much the same way as zip codes help move mail more resourcefully. Many computerized systems allow quick entry of accounts by reference number rather than by entering a full account explanation.
Control and Subsidiary Accounts
Some of the general ledger accounts are made of many sub-components. For instance, a company may have entire accounts receivable of $19,000, comprising of amounts due from Compton, Moore and Fisher. The accounting system should be sufficient to reveal the total receivables, as well as quantity due from each client. Hence, sub-accounts are used.
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