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Trail Balance: Not A Conclusive Proof of Accuracy

The agreement of the two sides of the trail balances, though of prima facie test of arithmetical accuracy, is not a conclusive or absolute proof of the accuracy of the entries in the books of original entry and their postings to the ledger. In other words, the trial balance may agree without disclosing certain errors. The following classes of errors are not disclosed by the trial balance:

1.    Errors of omission: When a transaction is not recorded at all or partially recorded in the book of original entry, both its debit and credit aspects would be omitted. The trail balance, therefore, is not affected. Similar results follow when one or more transactions are recorded twice in the subsidiary books.

2.    Errors in the book(s) of original entry: The trial balance would not be affected it an entry is in a wrong book of original entry or entered in the proper subsidiary book but with a wrong amount. In both these cases, the debit and credit accounts are affected equally and thus will not disturb the agreement of the trail balance.

Examples: (a) An item of credit sales wrongly entered in the purchases book. The item will have wrong debit and a corresponding wrong credit. (b) An items of credit purchases for Rs. 115 wrongly entered in the purchases book as Rs. 151. In this case both the purchases account and the account of the supplier are affected to the same extent.

3.    Errors of commissions: Such errors consist of entries of the transactions in a wrong account of the same class. It means the posting of an item is made to the correct side (debit or credit) but of wrong account. e.g., debiting or crediting R.N. Tiwari’s Account instead of A.N. Tiwari’s Account.

4.    Errors of Principle: An item of nominal account entered into a real account or vice versa. In such a case the amount received or spent is wrongly recorded in a wrong class of account. For example a sum of Rs.50 paid on the repairs of furniture is debited to furniture account and not repairs account The errors of principle do not affect the agreement of the trial balance because they are correctly recorded so far as the debit or credit of the wrong class of account is concerned. It would be noticed that such an error arises. Through lack of knowledge of principle of accountancy.

5.    Compensatory errors: These errors, also called self-balancing or equalizing errors, do not affect the agreement of the trail balance because errors on one side of the ledger account are compensated by errors of the same amounts on the other side e.g., Praveen’s account debited with Rs. 150 instead of Rs. 120 and Bindiya’s account with Rs. 200 instead of Rs. 230.
Compensating errors also arise when under-postings on one side are counter balanced by over-postings on the same side. e.g. Amitab’s account credited with Rs. 500 instead of Rs. 600; Sanjeev’s account credited with Rs. 60 instead of Rs.100 and Nirmal’s account credited with Rs. 150 instead of Rs.110. Here the first error of under-credit of Rs. 100 is covered by second and third errors of over-credit of Rs. 60 and Rs. 40 respectively.

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