4 Types of Accounting Worksheets for Financial Preparation

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 18, 2021

Financial professionals use a variety of tools to help them track important information. One helpful document accountants and bookkeepers use is an accounting worksheet or spreadsheet that details different stages of the accounting cycle. If you're interested in developing your skills and advancing within your accounting career, it may be helpful to learn how to use accounting worksheets to create accurate financial statements. In this article, we explore what accounting worksheets are, list some different types of accounting worksheets and provide steps for how to effectively prepare one.

What are accounting worksheets?

Accounting worksheets are spreadsheets accountants or bookkeepers use to prepare a company's financial statements. Financial professionals use these tools to determine the accuracy of an organization's financial statements at the end of an accounting period. Also known as trial balance worksheets, these are helpful during the accounting cycle process when accountants adjust journal entries and trial balances.

Accounting worksheets typically have multiple columns that include different accounts, such as revenue and assets. Each column represents a different stage in the accounting cycle. However, since companies use these forms for internal purposes, the format can be customizable for each organization. Professionals can write these by hand or create them online through particular software.

Related: What Is the Accounting Cycle? (With Steps and Examples)

Types of accounting worksheets

Companies can use a variety of accounting worksheets depending on their needs. Here are some types of accounting worksheets that businesses commonly use:

General worksheet

A general worksheet is a spreadsheet that accountants use to analyze the balances in different accounts. These typically contain four to six columns, depending on a particular company's needs. The names of different columns may include:

  • Unadjusted trial balance

  • Adjustment

  • Adjusted trial balance

  • Income statement

  • Balance sheet

Related: 80 Common Accounting Terms

Detailed worksheet

Detailed worksheets often contain more information than a general worksheet. These also may include a supporting page to explain certain items, such as the following:

  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable list

  • Production expenditure list

  • Insurance premium list

Audit worksheet

An audit worksheet, also known as an audit spreadsheet review, is a tool for preparing a company's financial statements to verify the accuracy of accounting information. The number of columns varies depending on the demands of each organization.

Related: Audit: Definition, Types and Benefits

12-column worksheets

The 12-column worksheet, or extended trial balance, is helpful if you have information related to your retained earnings or profit and loss appropriation account. Typically, joint stock companies, which is a company whose shareholders jointly own stock, use this type of accounting worksheet.

Why are accounting worksheets important?

Accounting worksheets are important for organizing a company's financial details and determining whether that business is financially healthy. Professionals who use these spreadsheets can simplify their process by preparing a company's financial statement for each accounting period. Some benefits of using accounting worksheets include:

  • Improving the transferal of t-accounts into the adjusted trial balance

  • Reducing the potential for errors when preparing financial statements

  • Highlighting the effect journal entry adjustments have on a company's overall financial statements

  • Helping track a company's accounting cycle steps

  • Identifying why financial statements may not be balancing properly

  • Tracking changes in an account between one financial period and another

  • Ensuring accurate documentation of all details from an accounting period

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Financial Accounting

8 steps for preparing an accounting worksheet

The following are some steps you can take to effectively prepare an accounting worksheet:

1. Write your company's name

The first step toward completing an accounting worksheet is writing the name of the organization about which you're gathering information. This often appears in bold font at the top of the spreadsheet. Also, consider including the date you're completing the worksheet.

2. Create column titles

Next, consider selecting how many columns you require and writing titles for each of your columns. Place the names for each category at the top of your worksheet, starting with "account" and ending with "balance sheet." Under the account column, try to include different types of statements, such as inventory and cash. All other columns include a debit and credit section with the appropriate amount. This helps you determine whether the debit and credit match and ensures accuracy.

3. Place the unadjusted trial balance

Once you organize your accounting worksheet, identify your company's unadjusted trial balance for your second column. Record the appropriate amount under the credit and debit sections. The trial balance includes the following elements:

  • Assets

  • Expenses

  • Liabilities

  • Revenue accounts

Related: What Is a Trial Balance? How To Prepare a Trial Balance (With Examples)

4. Enter your adjustments

In the third column, total and record your adjustments. Adjustments are pieces of data for additional transactions that are external to the trial balance. The adjustment column often includes the following:

  • Closing stock

  • Outstanding expenses

  • Prepaid expenses

  • Expired expenses

  • Income earned

  • Depreciation

  • Appreciation

5. Identify your adjusted trial balance

The next column in an effective accounting worksheet is the adjusted trial balance, which is the record of your company's balances for separate accounts. To find this, combine the values from the adjustment and unadjusted trial balance. Some types of adjustment trial balances include:

  • Deferrals

  • Accruals

  • Tax adjustments

  • Missing transactions

Related: What Is an Adjusted Trial Balance? Definition and Example

6. Record the income statement

The next step when preparing an accounting worksheet is placing your income statement in the fifth column of your accounting worksheet. This summarizes values related to your company's expenses and revenue accounts. If the total revenue exceeds the total expenses, the company may likely generate a net income. However, when the total expenses exceed the total revenue, the company may experience a net loss. The income statement includes:

  • Sales-related accounts

  • Operating expenses

  • Cost of sales

Related: What To Know About Income Statements

7. Complete the balance sheet

In the final column, record your balance sheet. Similar to other columns, check to determine whether the total of the credit and debit columns balance and equal the same amount. The balance sheet typically includes:

  • Assets

  • Liabilities

  • Owner's capital

8. Write your closing entries

After completing your accounting worksheet, you can prepare your closing entries using this spreadsheet. Closing entries entail companies transferring their balance to their clearing account, known as the income summary. They eventually move this balance to their permanent account.

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