Definitions

Controlling account

Controlling account

In accounting, the controlling account is an account in the general ledger to which a corresponding subsidiary ledger has been created. The subsidiary ledger allows for tracking transactions within the controlling account in more detail. Individual transactions are posted both to the controlling account and the corresponding subsidiary ledger, and the totals for both are compared when preparing a trial balance to ensure accuracy.

For example, Accounts Receivable is the controlling account for the Accounts Receivable Subsidiary Ledger. In this subsidiary ledger, each credit customer has their own account with their own balance. Thus, while the Accounts Receivable balance can report how much the company is owed, the Accounts Receivable subsidiary ledger can report how much is owed from each credit customer.

Other examples of controlling accounts and their subsidiary ledgers include Accounts Payable (accounts payable subsidiary ledger), Notes Payable (notes payable subsidiary ledger), Notes Receivable (notes receivable subsidiary ledger), and Equipment (equipment subsidiary ledger).

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