Accounting Errors

Accounting Errors Definition

Accounting Errors refer to the common mistakes made while recording or posting accounting entries. These discrepancies are not fraudulent and generally unintentional in nature.

Types of Accounting Errors with Examples


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#1 – Error of Omission

Error of Omission is a business transaction or event not recorded in the books of accounts by mistake. Further classifications of Error is Omission are:

a) Error of Full Omission

Where a transaction is not recorded in Journal or not at all posted in the respective ledger accountsLedger AccountsLedger in Accounting, also called the Second Book of Entry, is a book that summarizes all the journal entries in the form of debits & credits to use for future reference & create financial statements. read more.

For example, ABC Inc. bought a new software worth the US $ 3000.00 from Z Tech Inc. for business purposes, but accidental forgets to enter it in the books of accounts.

Or, ABC Inc. posted the following entry to record the above transaction in Journal

Error of Full Omission Example

However, the company forgot to post the recorded amount in respective ledgers i.e., Software A/c and Z Tech Inc. A/c by US $ 3000.00 is classified as an error of complete omission.

b) Error of Partial Omission

A transaction recorded in the primary book or Journal, however, omitted to post in either one of the ledgers is called Partial Omission.

In the above example, Partial Omission happens if the purchase of software from Z Tech Inc. is posted in Software Ledger A/c but forgotten to post in Z Tech Ledger A/c.

#2 – Error of Principle

Error of Principles happens when a fundamental accounting principleAccounting PrincipleAccounting principles are the set guidelines and rules issued by accounting standards like GAAP and IFRS for the companies to follow while recording and presenting the financial information in the books of more is violated while recording the financial transactions. This error occurs when:

For instance, ABC Inc. is in the business of trading Furniture. The company bought new furniture for the US $ 5000.00 to resell. However, the accounts executive at ABC Inc. accidentally debited the Furniture A/c (as an asset – capital expenditure) instead of Purchases A/c (as an inventory – Revenue Expenditure).

As the company is in the business of trading furniture, the purchase of furniture is a revenue expenditure for the company. It should be debited in the Purchase A/c instead of the Furniture account.

#3 – Error of Commission

This error refers to the recording of the transaction with the wrong amount or in a wrong account. The following examples are the occurrence of the error of commission:

  • Recording the wrong amount in the correct books of accounts

Rent of US $ 100.00 paid to John gets recorded as

Recording Wrong Amount
  • Posting the wrong amount in the correct ledger account

Rent of US $ 100.00 paid to John gets recorded in the credit side of cash A/c as

Posting Wrong Amount
  • Posting the correct amount in the wrong account

Say Rent of US $ 100.00 paid to John gets recorded as:

Posting Correct Amnt in Wrong Acc
  • Posting the correct amount on the wrong side
    Salary paid of US $ 1,000 gets recorded in the credit side of salary account for the US $1,000.
  • Posting the same amount twice in the Ledger
    Commission of US $ 200 received from Tony gets recorded twice in the commission account.
  • The wrong casting of the subsidiary books accounts
    This accounting error happens in the totaling of the subsidiary books.
    Example: The total of the debit side of the Machine Account which is the US $ 5,050.00 gets recorded as the US $ 5,005.00
  • Wrong balancing of the ledger accounts
    This error may cause the short or excess balance in ledger accounts

#4 – Compensating Errors

These errors occur where the effect of one transaction offsets the effect of another and nullifies the final effect on the Trial Balance.

For instance, ABC Inc. received the US $ 10,000 from Mark and paid the US $ 1,000 to Jim. Now, if Mark A/c got credit by the US $1000 and Jim’s A/c got debit by the US $ 10,000 in such case excess debit of US $ 9,000 will gets nullify by short debitDebitDebit is an entry in the books of accounts, which either increases the assets or decreases the liabilities. According to the double-entry system, the total debits should always be equal to the total more by the US $ 9,000. In this case, the trial balance will agree. 

Impact of Accounting Errors on Trial Balance

In book-keeping, if the total of debit and credit side of the trial does not agree, there might be an occurrence of some accounting error, which led to the disagreement. However, there are some errors that do not affect the agreement of trial balance yet may have incurred. Thus it is important to understand the impact of accounting errors on Trial Balance.

Accounting ErrorsImpact on Trial Balance (Total will Agree or not)
Error of PrincipleAgree, as both debit and credit side gets recorded in the books of accounts however the nature of transaction has altered
An error of Complete OmissionAgree, as both the debit and credit balancesCredit BalancesCredit Balance is the capital amount that a company owes to its customers & it is reflected on the right side of the General Ledger Account. Usually, Liability accounts, Revenue accounts, Equity Accounts, Contra-Expense & Contra-Asset accounts tend to have the credit balance. read more are not recorded
An error of Partial OmissionDisagree, as either debit or credit transaction is omitted
Compensating ErrorsAgree, as the effect gets nullifies
Error of Commission
Recording the wrong amount in the correct books of accountsAgree, as the same wrong amount is entered both sides
Posting the correct amount in the wrong accountAgree, as the correct amount is recorded on the correct side (debit/credit) but in the wrong Ledger a/c
Posting the wrong amount in the correct ledger accountDisagree, due to mismatch of the amount in either of the Ledger
Posting the same amount twice in the Ledger Disagree, due to dual reporting
The wrong casting of the subsidiary books Disagree, due to mismatch in totaling and balancing
Wrong balancing of the ledger accounts

This has been a guide to Accounting Errors and its definition. Here we discuss the types of accounting errors along with the examples and their impact on the trial balance. You can learn about accounting from the following articles –

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