Definition of a Trial Balance
A trial balance consists of the following information:
- The title of each general ledger account that has a balance
- To the right of the account titles are two columns for entering each account's balance. One column is headed Debit and the other column is headed Credit
- Each account's balance is listed in the appropriate column
- After all of the account balances are entered, each column is summed
- The total of the debit column should be equal to the total of the credit column
Example of a Trial Balance
Today's accounting software can print a trial balance at the click of a mouse. Further, a computerized accounting system has eliminated the many math and clerical errors that had occurred with a manual accounting system.
Of course, a trial balance that has the total debits equal to the total credits does not mean that the general ledger is free of errors. For instance, recording a debit entry into the Equipment account instead of recording the debit in the Equipment Repairs Account will not be uncovered by the trial balance.