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What are balance sheet accounts?

Balance sheet accounts are one of two types of general ledger accounts. (Income statement accounts make up the other type.) Balance sheet accounts are used to sort and store transactions involving assets, liabilities, and owner's or stockholders' equity. Examples of a corporation's balance sheet accounts include Cash, Accounts Receivable, Investments, Buildings, Equipment, Accumulated Depreciation, Notes Payable, Accounts Payable, Payroll Taxes Payable, Paid-in Capital, Retained Earnings, etc.

Balance sheet accounts are described as permanent or real accounts because at the end of the accounting year the balances in these accounts are not closed. Instead, the end-of-the-accounting-year balances will be carried forward to become the beginning balances in the next accounting year. (This is different from the income statement accounts, which begin each accounting year with zero balances.)

The balances in the balance sheet accounts are presented in a company's balance sheet, which is one of the main financial statements.

It will be helpful to keep in mind that every adjusting entry will require at least one balance sheet account and one income statement account.