Post Closing Trial Balance Definition

post closing trial balance definition

The fourth entry requires Dividends to close to the Retained Earnings account. Remember from your past studies that dividends are not expenses, such as salaries paid to your employees or staff. Instead, declaring and paying dividends is a method utilized by corporations to return part of the profits generated by the company to the owners of the company—in this case, its shareholders. Let’s explore each entry in more detail using Printing Plus’s information from Analyzing and Recording Transactions and The Adjustment Process as our example. The Printing Plus adjusted trial balance for January 31, 2019, is presented inFigure 5.4. Companies are required to close their books at the end of each fiscal year so that they can prepare their annual financial statements and tax returns. The business has been operating for several years but does not have the resources for accounting software.

  • In this stage, the accountant might need to know the nature of transactions so that they could classify whether it is expenses, revenues, assets, or liabilities.
  • There are three types of trial balance – Post-closing, Unadjusted, and Adjusted Trial Balance.
  • The debits and credits include all business transactions for a company over a certain period, including the sum of such accounts as assets, expenses, liabilities, and revenues.
  • Given that most general ledger systems are automated, these types of trial balances are not as prevalent in accounting departments, as they once were.
  • When a new accounting period opens, these accounts are used again and will accrue balances until the accounting period comes to an end.

You see that you earned $120,000 this year in revenue and had expenses for rent, electricity, cable, internet, gas, and food that totaled $70,000. However, if the company also wanted to keep year-to-date information from month to month, a separate set of records could be kept as the company progresses through the remaining months in the year. For our purposes, assume that we are closing the books at the end of each month unless otherwise noted. The post-closing trial balance for Printing Plus is shown in Figure 5.8. Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. The following infographic and explanation will help you to have a better understanding of this Post-closing trial balance. Disbursement is the act of paying out or disbursing money, which can include money paid out for a loan, to run a business, or as dividend payments.

Why Is Reconciliation Important In Accounting?

If they do not, this could mean that there has been an error in journalizing the closing entries or while posting them to the ledger. The post-closing trial balance will reflect the final balances for the company accounts at the end of the financial reporting period. Many students who enroll in an introductory accounting course do not plan to become accountants.

post closing trial balance definition

In essence, the company’s business is always in operation, while the accounting cycle utilizes the cutoff of month-end to provide financial information to assist and review the operations. Adjusted Trial BalanceAdjusted Trial Balance is a statement which incorporates all the relevant adjustments. Although it is not a part of financial statements, the adjusted balances are carried forward in the different reports that form part of financial statements. “Accounts payable” refers to an account within the general ledger representing a company’s obligation to pay off a short-term debt to its creditors or suppliers. Reconciliation is an accounting process that compares two sets of records to check that figures are correct, and can be used for personal or business reconciliations.

To get a zero balance in the Income Summary account, there are guidelines to consider. Closing the Dividends account—transferring the debit balance of the Dividends account to the Retained Earnings account. We have completed the first two columns and now we have the final column which represents the closing process. A trial balance helps in understanding and verifying arithmetical accuracy. As soon as the numbers of records are transferred across accounts, checking the figures becomes extremely important.

Purpose Of The Post

The purpose of the post-closing trial balance is to ensure the total of all debits and credits equal each other to result in a net of zero. A net zero post-closing trial balance indicates that all temporary accounts are closed, the beginning balances are back at zero and the next accounting period can begin. Post-closing trial balance – This is prepared after closing entries are made. Its purpose is to test the equality between debits and credits after closing entries are prepared and posted.

What is the purpose of the post closing trial balance and what does it evidences?

Purpose of the Post-Closing Trial Balance

The post-closing trial balance helps you verify that these accounts have zero balances. It also verifies that debits still equal credit amounts after the closing entries, which ensures that you start the next accounting period with the correct amounts.

A net loss would decrease retained earnings so we would do the opposite in this journal entry by debiting Retained Earnings and crediting Income Summary. Closing the expense accounts—transferring the debit balances in the expense accounts to a clearing account called Income Summary. Since there are several types of errors that trial balances fail to uncover, each closing entry must be journalized and posted carefully.

Once the post-closing trial balance is run, and the verification is made that the sum of all the debits is equal to the sum of all the credits, then and only then is the accounting cycle complete. A simple difference between adjusted and unadjusted trial balance is the amounts in the adjusting entries. Once the income statement accounts have been closed, net income is determined and dividends for the period are subtracted from net income. The resulting amount is considered retained earnings, or the amount of funds still on hand after paying for all expenses.

Accounting Topics

The second part is the date of record that determines who receives the dividends, and the third part is the date of payment, which post closing trial balance is the date that payments are made. Printing Plus has $100 of dividends with a debit balance on the adjusted trial balance.

What are posting transactions?

What is a Posting? Posting in accounting is the procedure of making entries from trial documents to a relevant general ledger, which contains a record of the vast volume of transaction activity.

Therefore, any new transaction must be for the next accounting period. The preparation of post-closing trial balance is the last step of the accounting cycle and its purpose is to be sure that sum of debits equal the sum of credits before the start of new accounting period. It provides the openings balances for the ledger accounts of the new accounting period. The balances of the nominal accounts have been absorbed by the capital account – Mr. Gray, Capital. Hence, you will not see any nominal account in the post-closing trial balance.

Your debit amounts always have to equal your credit amounts, which is one of the reasons to prepare a post-closing — or after-closing — trial balance. Accounting software requires that all journal entries balance before it allows them to be posted to the general ledger, so it is essentially impossible to have an unbalanced trial balance. Thus, the post-closing trial balance is only useful if the accountant is manually preparing accounting information. For this reason, most procedures for closing the books do not include a step for printing and reviewing the post-closing trial balance. Permanent accounts are accounts that transfer balances to the next period and include balance sheet accounts, such as assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity. These accounts will not be set back to zero at the beginning of the next period; they will keep their balances.

At the end of an accounting period, the accounts of asset, expense or loss should each have a debit balance, and the accounts of liability, equity, revenue or gain should each have a credit balance. On a trial balance worksheet, all the debit balances form the left column, and all the credit balances form the right column, with the account titles placed to the far left of the two columns.


A post-closing trial balance is a list of balances of ledger accounts prepared after closing entries have been passed and posted to the ledger accounts. However, all the other accounts having non-negative balances are listed including the retained earnings account.

post closing trial balance definition

After an adjusted trial balance is prepared, a post closing trial balance is used to verify the accuracy of the closing process. This type of trial balance is helpful when ensuring the completeness offinancial statementsderived from all of the accounting transactions. The process of preparing the post-closing trial balance is the same as you have done when preparing the unadjusted trial balance and adjusted trial balance.

The revenue and expense accounts should start at zero each period, because we are measuring how much revenue is earned and expenses incurred during the period. However, the cash balances, as well as the other balance sheet accounts, are carried over from the end of a current period to the beginning of the next period. Lesson Summary The purpose of the post-closing trial balance is just that. It ensures that at the end of an accounting period, the sum of the total debits is equal to the sum of the total credits. The post-closing trial balance gives a listing of each permanent account that a company has and its balance. Adjusted trial balance – This is prepared after adjusting entries are made and posted. Its purpose is to test the equality between debits and credits after adjusting entries are prepared.

Closing Entries

The word “post” in this instance means “after.” You are preparing a trial balance after the closing entries are complete. The last step of the accounting cycle is the post-closing trial balance. This trial balance is prepared at the end of each accounting period and forward to the opening balance of the next period. Once we get the adjusted trial balance, we then prepare the financial statements and all the suspend account need to be closed.

post closing trial balance definition

This will reduce revenue and expense accounts to zero for the next accounting period. A post-closing trial balance is a listing of all balance sheet accounts containing non-zero balances at the end of a reporting period. The post-closing trial balance is used to verify that the total of all debit balances equals the total of all credit balances, which should net to zero. A post closing trial balance is comprised ofpermanent accountsand is produced afteradjusting entriesare posted, and the adjusted trial balance is prepared. A trial balance is a listing of accounts from thegeneral ledgerand is typically displayed with two columns – one fordebits and one for credits. The trial balance should have a net balance of zero, and the debits should equal the credits. The post closing trial balance is part of the bookkeeping process involving financial transactions and is reviewed when manually preparing financial statements.

These account balances do not roll over into the next period after closing. The closing process reduces revenue, expense, and dividends account balances to zero so they are ready to receive data for the next accounting period. In the last step of the accounting cycle, the accountant requires to prepare the post-closing trial balance. This statement is prepared after the accountant makes all necessary adjustments to the general ledger and the adjusted trial balance, and all the suspended accounts are closed. Nominal accounts are those that are found in the income statement, and withdrawals.

A company can choose to keep those funds for future use, pay back investors or pay towards the principal of notes or accounts payable. The adjusted trial balance also includes expenses for the current period, which are transferred to the income summary account and income statement. Expenses for the period are included in the adjusted trial balance before being transferred to the income statement.

We could do this, but by having the Income Summary account, you get a balance for net income a second time. This gives you the balance to compare to the income statement, and allows you to double check that all income statement accounts are closed and have correct amounts. If you put the revenues and expenses directly into retained earnings, you will not see that check figure. No matter which way you choose to close, the same final balance is in retained earnings. To further clarify this concept, balances are closed to assure all revenues and expenses are recorded in the proper period and then start over the following period.

What Is The Purpose Of The Post

Run the trial balance reports in order to make sure all transactions are accurately and completely accounted for. Once they are, you’re ready for the new accounting period to begin. Preparing a trial balance for a company serves to detect any mathematical errors that have occurred in the double-entry accounting system.