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What is a General Ledger?

Definition: The main accounting record of a business which uses double-entry bookkeeping.
Each ledger is divided into two sections; the right hand side lists credit transactions and the left hand side lists debit transactions.

Accounts that are usually included in the ledger are: current assets, fixed assets, liabilities, revenue and expense items, gains and losses.

In practice, the general ledger is a collection of accounts that support the value items that appear in all the major financial statements. Often, it is supported by numerous subsidiary ledgers that provide details for accounts in the general ledger.

i.e; an accounts receivable subsidiary ledger would contain a separate account for each credit customer, tracking each customer’s balance individually. The control account would be the total Accounts Receivable account.

An example of a general ledger

general ledger

Control accounts are made up of “T” accounts that look like:

T Account
Control account in a general ledger


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