What is an error account? (with photo)

Error accounts can save the accountant a lot of time.

An error account is a type of class or account often used in accounting situations to temporarily store transactions related to errors in business activity. The idea behind the error account is to keep track of the transaction until the source of the error is identified and resolved. At that point, the error is moved from the account and sent to the correct account within the general ledger records. This approach is considered to be in line with generally accepted accounting principles and serves as an efficient means of tracking situations that require close scrutiny before making a final posting.

One of the main benefits of the error account is that using this strategy helps to minimize the possibility of trading errors that can create additional accounting difficulties later on. By isolating the questionable transaction on the account, the chances of forgetting about the issue until a later day are avoided, and the post does not have the opportunity to create an imbalance between the other accounts. This can save accountants a lot of time, as failing to use an error account in the event of any inconsistency can mean having to go back through a series of entries that occur from the original date of the transaction to the date the discrepancy was finally resolved.

The use of an error account can also help in the process of auditing the ledgers at any time. Since the entries held in the account are somewhat questionable for some reason, the presence of the transactions helps explain why they haven’t been posted elsewhere. This effectively lets the auditor know that inconsistencies have already been identified and that the investigation is ongoing. From there, the auditor can make allowances for those specific transactions and may even find something later in the audit that helps clarify these investigations.

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It is important to note that placing a transaction in an error account is not an indication that someone is trying to cheat the books or attempt some sort of financial fraud. Most of the time, transactions that are posted to the account do not exist for any reason other than human error that occurs at some point during the transaction. For example, a transaction may be temporarily posted to an account in error due to a transposition in the numerical series of a bank routing number. Once the transaction is investigated and the transposition is discovered, actions can be taken to complete the transaction using the correct routing number and the line item can be removed from the error account. Since many companies make it a point to monitor account activity for errors at least once a week, most issues are resolved in a relatively short period of time.

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