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A general ledger report is a document containing a detailed account of every transaction made by a business for a specific period of time. In the past, this ledger was often written by hand, though these ledgers have largely been replaced by computerized reports which process all of the disparate information much more concisely and conveniently. It is important for a general ledger report to contain all of the pertinent financial information that a business has amassed, such as revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity holdings. Most ledger pages or sheets are divided down the middle to show how balance is struck between positive and negative additions to the business account.
For a large business, keeping an account of all of the dealings made over a long period of time can be extremely difficult. Yet this must be done to provide the company with accurate bookkeeping and to ensure that its accounting is kept up to date. Since this is the case, business bookkeepers use computer programs that take everything that a company does in the course of its business dealings and turn it into a general ledger report.
It is important for a general ledger report to have access to every transaction made by a business. This means that records of various bills or invoices should be included somewhere in the report. From these base transactions, larger groupings like balance sheets and statement of profit and loss can be derived. These larger sub-groupings will then coalesce into a single report that shows the most pertinent aspect of a company's business dealings.
Such detail allows for a company to consult the general ledger report if there is any inconsistency or confusion in terms of finances. By simply going to the necessary area of the ledger and tracking down the pertinent account, bookkeepers can get all the information necessary to explain the discrepancy. For this reason, it is crucial that the report leave no information uncovered.
Each of the components of the general ledger report must be split down the middle to show debits and credits to that particular account. For example, the balance sheet would have assets listed as credits and liabilities listed as debits. Revenues and expenses would be divided in the same way in the profit-and-loss statement. This allows for all of the information to be balanced, which is a necessary step in the accounting process. In addition to its utility for accounting, the ledger report may also be employed as an analytical tool by managers looking for ways in which their business can be improved.