Types of Errors in Accounting: A Guide for Small Businesses
We normally debit the receivables and credit the sales account. An error of reversal happens when the debit is given to accounts payable instead of accounts receivables. Certain books in each company will record all of the transactions. These primary books provide a good way to check transactions and their amounts to find any potential errors. Though checking for errors this way might prove tedious in the long run, reviewing all transactions for possible errors provides a holistic overview of the accounts.
The two financial statements serve different purposes and “should” be reviewed separately. Similar to Number 6, this error occurs mostly in companies that use bank feeds for data entry purposes. And, as with overstated revenue, this error can be avoided with proper workflows. When there are undeposited funds on the books, it means the payment has been posted into the bookkeeping software, but the deposit hasn’t been posted. Changes to a closed accounting period can throw off your financial statements, causing you to make business decisions based on faulty information. If you change the information in a period for which a tax return has been filed, you might also have to file an amended tax return.
Errors of Omission
You may not even realize you have made this error but it could understate your income, overstate your income, or affect your balance sheet. When an error of omission occurs in the accounting process, accounting errors it can affect the trial balance, which is the report of all the accounts in the general ledger that have balances. You will be able to detect many errors by reviewing your company’s trial balance.
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By having a separate set of eyes review another person’s work product, errors can often be flagged at the front end of the accounting process. Since this can be challenging for companies with a small staff or where the owner does it all, consider using an outside accountant to review accounts periodically. Invest in staff by training them properly, providing adequate resources and ensuring manageable workloads.
Transposition and Commission Errors
Partial omission will lead to the difference in trial balance since partial omission affects only one of the accounts in the entry. This type of error will not happen in computer-based accounting. The bank account is credited by the amount but the creditor account is not debited. This way the bank shows an accurate balance and the creditor account is still showing a payable balance. Accounting errors can be prevented in several ways, but one priority for your business should be to maintain solid internal controls. Be sure whoever is inputting your data is an accurate typist.
An accounting error is an error in an accounting entry that was not intentional. When spotted, the error or mistake is often immediately fixed. If there is no immediate resolution, an investigation into the error is conducted. An accounting error should not be confused with fraud, which is an intentional act to hide or alter entries for the benefit of the firm.
Don’t overload your employees
In the digital age, digitizing documents sounds like a no-brainer step in securing and storing data. However, while records and file exchanges commonly take place online now, a good chunk continues to rely on paper.
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