What Is a Worksheet in Accounting?

A worksheet in accounting is one of the financial tools used to ensure accurate documentation in business accounting processes. The company maintains and creates this sheet. Therefore, it is essential for a business owner or whoever handles the company finances to clearly understand what a worksheet in accounting is.
Gaining this knowledge requires answering a few questions. To begin, how do you make a worksheet? It doesn’t need anything more than a simple spreadsheet program on your computer to create one.

Next, what does a worksheet include? The answer to this is information about all the money flow within the business. You will have to keep track of every cent going in or out.

Finally, how do you use a worksheet? It is for internal and accounting use only. This gives you some leeway for how you create it, but it is best if you stick to the traditional methods. Doing that will help ensure it is easy to read and use by you, anyone else in the company, and any financial professionals who will see it.

Advantages of Accounting Worksheets

Using a worksheet in your business accounting can make it much easier to create all your other financial statements. It gives you a clear picture of what is happening with your finances while also making it simple to compare to other documents, which can be helpful if you are having problems balancing them.

The worksheet also is quite useful when you need to look into spending or cash flow. It can tell you in simple detail where your money is going and how it is coming in. You can more easily spot problems and do so quickly before things get out of hand.

Overall, it becomes a picture of your company’s financial health. You can rely on it to help guide your money decisions.

Disadvantages of Accounting Worksheets

The main issue with a worksheet is the possibility of introducing errors that impact your other documents and your decisions. If you use a spreadsheet software program, you should use the built-in formulas. This can help reduce mathematical errors.

However, it is still essential to input the correct numbers. You should always double-check the numbers you add to the sheet to avoid introducing errors.

However, the bottom line is maintaining the worksheet is a manual process where human error is always a possibility. Just be aware the worksheet is not without its potential for mistakes.

Accounting Worksheets Limitations

Besides the potential for human error, a worksheet is only as good of a tool as you make it. If you do not keep up with it, then it loses its value.

To avoid the limitations of this tool, you have to stay on top of it. Someone should work with it regularly to ensure it contains all the up-to-date information and every figure entered is accurate.

You also will need some accounting knowledge. You may need to find an accountant to assist you with setting up the worksheet and managing it initially.

Examples of Accounting Worksheets

You may be thinking, “What is a worksheet in accounting with examples?” It does help to get a mental image of what this tool is to make it easier to understand how it works. However, giving exact examples can be challenging.

Remember, this tool is for internal use and very customizable to your company’s needs. So, an example that works for another company may not work for you. It will probably be more helpful for you to get a general example of how to create one.

So, what does a worksheet include? It starts with a simple blank worksheet in a spreadsheet program on your computer. At the very top, create a header. It should consist of the following information:

  • Company name
  • Worksheet title
  • Dates for the information (usually one month)

You can also add a line for the name of whoever is creating the sheet and maintaining it.

Next, you will create five columns, each with two separate columns within them. These two columns inside represent credits and debits.

Now you will want to label each of the five large columns:

  • Unadjusted trial balance
  • Adjustments
  • Adjusted trial balance
  • Income statement
  • Balance sheet

These five columns represent the steps in the accounting process. They allow you to have all the information at your fingertips in one document.

Components of an Accounting Worksheet

To help you better understand how to use each column, here is a rundown of what each represents and what information will go in that column.

Unadjusted Trial Balance

The unadjusted trial balance includes all the account balances from your general ledger. This includes revenue, expenses, and assets. You will label each on the right-hand side in the very first column, which should not have a header.

Make sure the debit and credit columns are equal. If they are not, something is incorrect. You may have entered a wrong number, or there is a math issue.


The adjustment column represents the changes you make throughout the period. For example, if the worksheet is for May, you would enter all credits and debits made to each account throughout the month.

Keep in mind, every time you make a credit, you must debit another account. For example, if you pay a bill, you must take that amount from your cash account because you used the cash account to pay for the bill. Because of this, the credit and debit columns must always have the same totals.

Adjusted Trial Balance

You will not put anything in this column until the end of the period. At that time, you will adjust the numbers from the unadjusted trial balance by the adjustments made to get the totals for the adjusted trial balance. Again, the columns should be equal for credits and debits.

Income Statement

The income statement column records your revenue and expenses. The totals in the credit and debit columns do not have to be the same. They usually are not.

If the credit column is higher, then you have a net income. If the debit column is higher, then you have a net loss. This column gives you a quick look at the state of your cash flow.

Balance Sheet

The balance sheet column is for assets, equity, and liabilities. The credit and debit columns must match.

Wrapping Up

To create and use a worksheet for your business, you do need some basic accounting knowledge. It will be challenging to make it work if you have no idea about simple terminology and procedures.

However, this information is relatively easy to learn, and using the worksheet can help you stay on top of your business finances. It also enables you to react quickly to potential issues, which means you can better manage your company’s financial health.

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