Getting Started > Other Decisions > G/L beginning balances

Beginning Balances for General Ledger Accounts

You need to gather beginning balances as of the conversion date you decide on. General ledger beginning balances are entered through the Maintain Chart of Accounts option, using the Beginning Balances button. In this way, financial statements, such as your Balance Sheet and Income Statement (P & L), will be accurate.

After you post a transaction to any general ledger account, you cannot enter G/L beginning balances in the current fiscal year. You can only enter beginning balances for the prior year.

When you enter beginning balances in your general ledger, you will want to make sure that your customer, vendor, item, and employee beginning balances total the amount shown in general ledger. (In other words, if you are using the Accrual accounting method, the accounts receivable total in your general ledger must match the total of outstanding invoices in customer beginning balances; likewise, the accounts payable total in general ledger must equal all outstanding bills.) The beginning balances for customers and vendors are not connected to the general ledger beginning balances, so you must check to make sure they match.

Click Beginning Balances on the General tab of the Maintain Chart of Accounts window to enter beginning balances for general ledger accounts. You use this to enter the beginning balance for the account or to adjust the balance for an account in a previous period.

Although you enter beginning balances on the Chart of Accounts Beginning Balances window and prior period adjustments on the Chart of Accounts Prior Year Adjustments window, the fields on the two windows are the same. The columns where you enter amounts for accounts on these two windows are set up to give you a better feel for how the different accounts in your chart of accounts affect the balance of your finances. When you finish entering balances for all of your accounts, the total of the amounts in the Assets, Expenses column must equal the total of the amounts in the Liabilities, Equity, and Income column.

Notice that the Trial Balance keeps a running total, or trial balance, of your entries. In addition, totals for your income and expenses are calculated.

Account ID: This is an alphanumeric code that identifies the account. To enter a new account, select the New button.

Description: This is the description of the account entered in the Maintain Chart of Accounts window. You can edit this description by selecting the New button, entering the ID of the account whose description you want to edit, and then making any changes you want to the description.

Account Type: This is the type of the account entered in the Maintain Chart of Accounts window.

Assets, Expenses or Liabilities, Equity, Income: Depending on the Account Type specified for this account in Maintain Chart of Accounts, you will either have to enter an amount in the Assets, Expenses column or in the Liabilities, Equity, Income column. Sage 50 tells you the column where you enter the amount by graying out the other column. Enter a positive amount in the column, unless circumstances warrant a negative amount.

For example, if you enter $5,000 as a beginning balance for your checking account in the Assets, Expenses column, to offset this entry, you might enter $5,000 in the Liabilities, Equity, Income column for a capital account such as retained earnings. For normal balances, you will just enter positive numbers.