Accounting Control: Definition, Types, Examples

control account

We work collaboratively – as an extension of your own business, displaying the same commitment that you would expect from your own team. We don’t believe in a one size fits all and use a toolbox of techniques to offer a bespoke solution to a business’ needs. Please see our full range of services from customer facing activities, back office business support services and IT services and software solutions. Cost accounts are also used to tie back assignment accountability to the performing or catering team and can be used to assess and improve their performance. Preventive controls are simply the controls that have been put in place by an organization to avoid any inaccuracies or incorrect practices.

  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable control accounts are the most frequently used control accounts, although inventory and fixed asset control accounts can also be used.
  • In other words, control account enables us to reconcile the aggregated balance of the subsidiary ledger with the total balance to be used in trial balance.
  • Those subledgers are then totalled up for each period and the totals are recorded in the accounts receivable control account.
  • If the account is being debited, the amount is entered into the debit column.

Example of sales ledger control account

Keeping track of the balance column is essential to determine the financial position represented by the control account. For example, a creditor control account’s balance would represent the total amount payable to the company’s suppliers. Opposite to the Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable represents the amount a company owes for purchasing goods or services on credit from its suppliers or vendors.

Example of Control Accounts

Imagine you shop monthly for groceries at a hypermarket, and even before you get there, you plan a specific category of items and allocate a budget according to your needs. A in PMP fulfills this very purpose, i.e., planning and managing expense categories, tracking variances, and implementing the required reconciliations to rectify accounts for errors. Take up courses on Project Management to build a foundational understanding of the PMP certification and project management practices. The control account keeps the general ledger free of details, but still has the correct balance for preparing the company’s financial statements. Thus, control accounts act as a safeguard against human error and deliberate fraud, enhancing the robustness of internal auditing.

benefits of using control accounts

control account

The structure of a – an aggregate of several similar transactions – naturally acts as a deterrent against fraudulent activities. Given that fraud often involves manipulations of individual transactions, control accounts can bring attention to these illicit activities at an early stage. With each subsidiary ledger scrutinized against the corresponding control account, fraud becomes more difficult to execute and easier to spot.

control account

Since all of this decomposition of tasks to formulate the WBS happens in the “Create WBS” process of project management, the control accounts are also defined as a part of this process. Hence, the creator of the WBS, i.e., the project manager, the sponsor, and the project team, defines the control accounts in the project. This section will look at the transactions for Fooz Ball Town and how to post to subsidiary ledgers for accounts receivable and accounts payable. In accounting, control accounts are summary accounts in the general ledger. They reflect the balance of transactions noted in the corresponding subsidiary account.

Control Account in Project Management: Example & How to Measure

control account

Imagine your trial balance or balance sheet with hundreds of transactions appearing on it. A control account can keep a general ledger from becoming choked with transactional detail. As the name suggests, corrective controls are put in place to fix any issues found through detective controls. These can also include remedying any issues made on accounting books after the audit process has been completed by an accountant.

It is also called a controlling account because it enables us to perform reconciliation control on the ending balance. Unintentional errors or intentional fraud can lead to substantial financial losses, which are undeniably detrimental to any organization’s sustainability. Control accounts act as a safeguard against this risk by providing a built-in system for cross-verification. By comparing the balance of the control account with the total of individual customer or supplier accounts, discrepancies can be swiftly detected and rectified. This function not only prevents financial loss, but also enhances accountability and transparency, which are key to sustainable business operations. From a risk management perspective, control accounts act as an additional checkpoint to detect fraudulent transactions or irregularities.

When reviewing the control ledgers, it’s easy to identify errors that exist in subsidiary ledgers. Because the control account only reviews the end balance, there is less risk of miscalculation. If your accounts don’t match, it’s likely that the subsidiary ledger has the error. This can happen easily in things like the accounts receivable subsidiary ledger. Control accounts help identify discrepancies in financial data quickly and accurately. When the balances in the subsidiary ledgers do not match the balance in the respective control account, it points to an error that needs investigating.

Control accounts are most commonly used to summarize accounts payable and accounts receivable as these tend to contain a lot of transactions. Therefore they are separated into subsidiary ledgers rather than clutter up the general ledger with too much detailed information. The process would be completed for the accounts payable control account, which would record transactions from the purchases journal as well as the cash account. Because control accounts summarize information in subsidiary ledgers, they should always remain in balance. If at any time the control account and the subsidiary ledger are not in balance, the subsidiary ledger will need to be reconciled to locate and correct the error. Used primarily in larger businesses that are still using manual ledger systems, general ledger control accounts are also used in accounting software applications and are created during the chart of accounts setup process.

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