Unit Trust Association

Control Account: Understanding its Role in Financial Management

control account

Besides this, control accounts help confirm reconciliation mechanisms for differences in the account balances as per periods. Simply put, as you know in large organizations there are numbers of customers as well as suppliers. So, if you record each transaction (account payable and account receivable) in the general ledger, it will become too difficult to manage your records easily. Thus, in order to keep a proper record, you have to maintain control accounts and subsidiary accounts.

control account

Maintaining Accountability with Control Accounts

They help reconcile gaps or loopholes at the intersection points to minimize variances and enable strategic alignment. It is very important to note that a control account can have multiple work packages under it, while a work package will be under one and only one control account. This helps create a structure where items are monitored from the bottom of the project, building activity and assignment-based control processes. One of the central ways in which control accounts support sustainability is through promoting efficient use of resources.

Control Accounts and the Accounting System

control account

Its structure is central to maintaining accurate financial records and ensuring fiscal accuracy. The control account keeps the general ledger free of details, but still has the correct balance for preparing the company’s financial statements. With accounting software, the process of creating control accounts and subledgers can be simplified.


Take up courses on Project Management to build a foundational understanding of the PMP certification and project management practices. If you’re running a business, it’s important to understand accounting concepts well. These special accounts are used to track and report the financial status of specific areas or divisions within a company. Edgewater CPA Group discusses this and why you need https://www.bookstime.com/s to manage business finances effectively.

control account

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s Impact on Accounting Controls

Control accounts are meant to keep a company’s general ledger clean of details. They still need to have the correct financial information needed to prepare the company’s financial statements. Control accounts are clean entries that match overall amounts in more detailed ledgers. A control account is a general ledger account created to record the bulk transaction of the same nature and then summarize the balance. The main account needs to be shown in the financials (the parties have maintained, i.e., an individual account for the same nature of transactions, and the summarized balance is shown).

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  • Each of these control accounts serves a unique function and helps in efficient and effective management of a company’s finances.
  • Control accounts provide a résumé of all the individual accounts in the sales and purchases ledger.
  • The subsidiary ledgers are now part of the double entry system, and to extract a trial balance it would be necessary to collect information on the balances from each of the ledgers.

Mitigating Losses from Errors and Fraud

Instead, further information will be stored in the Accounts Receivable subsidiary ledger. Imagine your trial balance or balance sheet with hundreds of transactions appearing on it. This column will usually contain a brief description or reference of the transaction. It might include the supplier or customer name, an invoice number, or a brief narration of the transaction that helps to provide context around the transaction. For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) hasworked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. Control accounts could also be used for accounts payable, equipment, and inventory.

Unit 8: Accounting Information Systems

However, if Taylor or anyone else wants to find out the amount that a specific customer still owes for their credit purchases, or when they bought the item, that won’t be shown in the control account. A control account can keep a general ledger from becoming choked with transactional detail. Following several high profile corporate accounting scandals at Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom, from 2000 to 2002, regulators wanted to usher in a new era of heightened financial and operational protocols. To restore investor trust, it was widely accepted that a new culture was required.

Journal Entries

For example, Accounts Receivable accounts are used to track customer invoices that have not yet been paid. Inventory accounts are used to track the quantity and value of inventory on hand. And Fixed Asset accounts are used to track the acquisition cost, depreciation expense, and remaining life of major property and equipment items. These two columns in the control account record the value of the transaction. If the account is being debited, the amount is entered into the debit column.

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  • Hence, the creator of the WBS, i.e., the project manager, the sponsor, and the project team, defines the control accounts in the project.
  • It records the sales and the cash when received and the amount owed to the business.read more & debtor ledger control account summarizes the transactions entered with the individual accounts in the ledger.
  • For example, Accounts Receivable could be a control account in the general ledger.
  • So, if you record each transaction (account payable and account receivable) in the general ledger, it will become too difficult to manage your records easily.

He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.


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