A trial balance is a financial accounting report that details the debit or credit balance in each general ledger account. Typically used during month-end close or during the preparation of the financial statements, a trial balance can also contain columns to reflect adjusting journal entries. This lets you track changes from an original trial balance to an adjusted trial balance.
The main purpose of a trial balance is to assist in detecting errors. The summation of all debits must equal all credits – otherwise, a posting error has occurred. In addition, a trial balance can help detect abnormal account balances. For example, a trial balance can reveal a negative balance in an expense account that needs to be rectified.