General And Subsidiary Ledger Discussion

There are numerous financial transactions carried out by a company or organization during the particular financial period. These transactions must be categorized and reported separately according to their account type and in compliance with the guiding accounting principles. All these transactions are documented appropriately in the general and the subsidiary ledgers. Financial reports are recorded for the particular financial period like quarterly or annual reports. These are very cumbersome and meticulous and a time consuming processes.

The duty of a corporate accountant is to document all the operating transactions in an accounting document which is a ledger. Account specific transactions are recorded in a subsidiary ledger. These details are then entered into the general ledger at the end of the financial period like quarterly or annually. These ledgers provide accounting strategies for the accountants and other financial executives.

General Ledger
A general ledger is the primary or the general account. This is a whole collection of all core accounts which records all the financial transactions carried out during a particular financial period. The initial inputs of the general ledger are taken from the general journal which is the initial accounting book that records the transactions. A general ledger is separately categorized according to the account type. This includes both debit and credit entries.

The General Journal is divided into the following categories:

Assets: These include long- and short-term details of asset accounts like cash, inventory, accounts receivable and other capitals which yields economic value to the company or organization.

Liabilities: These include long- and short-term details of financial obligations like debts, prepayments, deposits etc. which are the liability accounts.

Equity: These details financial accounts like stocks, retained earnings, accumulated income, treasury stock, etc. funded by the shareholders and owners of the company in the interest of the company.

Income: Represents the various funds obtained from various business transactions of the company or the organization.

Expenditures: These are the financial expenses that the company bears in order to run the business like the sales cost, publicity costs, administrative costs etc.

Sub Ledger
Sub Ledger, also referred to as ‘subsidiary ledger,’ is a comprehensive subset of accounts containing transaction information. The subsidiary ledger stores the data of the general ledger Control Account. A subsidiary ledger can be set up for practically every general ledger account. Organizations establish subsidiary ledgers if they need to track the individual components of the general ledger account.

Large-scale companies where there are many transactions, it may not be feasible to include all transactions in the general ledger due to the high number of transactions. In these situations, individual transactions are reported in ‘subsidiary ledgers.’ When the information has been documented in the subsidiary ledger, it is regularly compiled and posted to the control account in the general ledger, which, in effect, is used to create the company’s financial statements. This account is referred to as the ‘Control account’ and the types of accounts that typically have a high level of activity are reported here.

The total balance of all the entries of a subsidiary ledger should equate with that of the control account of the general ledger. Subsidiary accounts are supplementary accounts that detail the balance of the control accounts.

That arrangement helps the organization to retain accounting records at the concise level (General Ledger) and the comprehensive level (Sub Ledgers). Documentation at all levels is essential in the decision-making process; therefore, the documents should be correct and complete. To acquire financial information by using a subsidiary ledger, you need to dive down from the general ledger to the appropriate subsidiary ledger where the specific information is stored.

Difference between General Ledger (GL) and Sub Ledger (SL)
GL is a set of master accounts where transactions are registered, while Sub-ledger is an intermediate collection of accounts linked to the SL.

The groups of transactions have different characteristics in the general ledger, while the groups of transactions in the subsidiary ledger have similar characteristics.

There can be just one Ledger account in the GL, so there can be several sub-ledger accounts.

GL contains a small amount of data, while sub-ledger contains a significant amount of data.

GL has a chart of accounts, while the sub-ledger does not have charts of accounts.

The GL monitor sub-ledger, while the Sub-ledger is part of the general ledger.

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