Your goals for this “information processing” chapter are to learn about:
- Accounts, debits, and credits.
- The journal.
- The general ledger.
- The trial balance.
- Computerized processing systems.
Chapter 2 reveals the fundamental tools that are central to virtually every accounting system. These tools allow for the accumulation and processing of business information. They consist of accounts, debits and credits, journals, and ledgers. Without these tools the preparation of financial statements would prove difficult, whether in a manual or computerized environment. The chapter concludes with a glimpse into the nature of computerized processing, as well as simple tools of analysis known as “T-accounts.”
Included in this chapter are the basic “debit/credit” rules. Gaining a full grasp of them will enable the study of accounting to proceed more effectively. Debits and credits are used to describe the effect of transactions on accounts (e.g., asset accounts are increased with debits). Each transaction is analyzed to determine its debit/credit effect and these effects are recorded into a book of original entry known as a journal. Periodically, the information in the journal is posted to ledger accounts, which can then be summarized into a trial balance. The trial balance is a useful compilation from which financial statements might be prepared.