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Run and analyse the Trial Balance

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How to run and analyse the Trial Balance in Sage Accounting.


The Trial Balance report opens when you select Trial Balance from the Reports page.

When to run it

Businesses often run the Trial Balance report at set times in their business cycle or financial year. For example, monthly or quarterly.

You can run it any time you want to see or analyse all your ledger account balances.


How to run it

  1. From Reporting then click Trial Balance.
  2. Choose your report criteria.

Report criteria

As of date

Select As of in the Period field and then enter a date in the field next to it to see the ledger account balances up to the selected date. Instead of showing activity in a period, the report will show account balances from the start of the accounts through the selected date.

For example, you started using Sage Accounting on 15 January 2018. Today is 29 June 2020 and you want to see your ledger account balances. There is no specific period; you simply want to see where you stand as of today. To do this, you select As of in the Period field and then enter 29/06/2020 in the Date field, the balances on the report will be from 15 January 2018 through 29 June 2020.

With the As of option, the report data is displayed in a standard, four column format.

Analysis options, focused on in and out balances

To run an analysis report, select one of these options in the Period field:

  • This year, Last year, This financial year, or Last financial year. Select This year or Last year to see balances from 1 January - 31 December for the current or the last calendar year. Select This financial year or Last financial year to see balances for the current or last financial year. Financial year periods are only applicable if you've entered a financial year end in Financial settings
  • This month, Last month, This quarter, or Last quarter. Select This month or Last month to see balances for the current or the last month. Select This quarter or Last quarter to see balances for the current quarter (three months) or last quarter
  • Custom. Select this option if you want to enter your own date range in the From and To fields

Opening and closing balances

You may also want to add these adjustment options to the criteria:

This period only or Show opening & closing balances. Select This period only to see only movement in the selected period without the opening and closing balances. To include them, select Show opening & closing balances.

  • When you select Show opening & closing balances, the report includes all entries made before the selected period, including entries from the previous financial year. By default, these show in the balances for the ledger accounts where the entries were posted in the Opening Balance column
  • When Show opening & closing balances is selected, you can also tick the Summarise profit and loss values option. If you tick this option, a summarised Profit and Loss line is added to the Trial Balance report. This option summarises Profit and Loss balances for all previous years on one line with the current year’s Profit and Loss activity listed below by each account

 NOTE: The Summarise profit and loss values option is also available if you select As of in the Period field. 

About summarised profit and loss values

If you tick the Summarise profit and loss values box, the summarised balance includes all the previous year’s transactions posted to Profit and Loss ledger accounts plus any journal entries posted directly to the Profit and Loss account.

If you run the report specifically for a previous year, the Profit and Loss accounts are reported in detail for each ledger account. They are not summarised on the Profit and Loss line for the reporting period (shown in the middle column).

For example, your financial year ends on 31 December. You entered three sales invoices during the year: one in the current month for £500, one in the previous month for £200, and one in the previous financial year for £100. All the sales invoices were posted to the Sales Income ledger account. You select This Month (in the Period field) and select Show opening & closing balances before running the Trial Balance report. If you:

  • Leave Summarise profit and loss values unticked, the report shows the Sales Income ledger account balance of £500 for the current month and £300 in the Opening Balance column. The Closing Balance column shows £800.
  • Tick Summarise profit and loss values, the report shows the Sales Income ledger account balance of £500 for the current month, £200 in the Opening Balance column, and £700 in the Closing Balance column. A total of £100 shows on the Profit and Loss line. If you expand the line, you can see that the transaction lines show zero balances in the month column and £100 shows in the Opening Balance and Closing Balance columns.

 NOTE: If you posted a journal entry directly to Profit and Loss, you can split it out from the summarised (system calculated) totals. Drilling down on the manual entry will open the Nominal Activity report and drilling down from the summarised totals will open the Profit and Loss report. Where you have collapsed them into one amount, the drill down ability is disabled. 

Other criteria

Hide zero balance accounts. By default, this box is ticked, which excludes ledger accounts with a zero balance on the report. If you untick this box, ledger accounts with activity in the period, where the net balance is zero, are included on the report. Ledger accounts that have no posting activity are excluded.

 NOTE: Ledger accounts that have never been posted to are always hidden on the Trial Balance report. 

Drill it down for analysis

In review, you can easily spot account balances that look wrong, where the balance may be too high or too low. This helps you to find problems and fix them before running other financial reports such as the Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet.

Select an underlined total to open the Nominal Activity report for the same period for the account. This report will show you more detail.

To return to the Profit and Loss report, close the Nominal Activity report or select Back in your browser.

Export it

After running the report, you can export it in PDF or CSV format. The CSV format allows you to import the data to another program such as Microsoft Excel for further analysis.