A guide to the Trial Balance

Here we explain what a Trial Balance is and where you can find it in FreeAgent.

A Trial Balance (or TB for short) is a list of all the balances in all your business's accounts at any given time. A TB will look something like this:


Accounts in this case doesn't just mean bank accounts. It means all the categories that you put bills, expenses, and income into. All these categories are accounts and they will all show separately on the TB.

Why is it called a Trial 'Balance'?

Because of the way double entry bookkeeping works, the TB should always balance.

FreeAgent will handle all the double-entry bookkeeping of the transactions you enter during the year, such as the creation of bills, invoices, bank receipts and payments, and journals, so that your TB should always balance.

It also makes sure the opening balance entries balance.

Where can I find the Trial Balance?

To look at your business's TB, navigate to the ‘Accounting’ tab at the top of your screen and select ‘Reports’ from the drop-down menu.


In the ‘Detailed’ section, select ‘Trial Balance'.


You can filter the TB by date using the drop-down menu at the top of the page.


To select a specific date range for the TB, choose ‘Custom range’ from the drop-down menu, select ‘from’ and ‘to’ dates, and choose ‘Show this range’.


The TB will show the correct figures for that date range, and if you choose to view any individual items on the report, the date range filter will continue to apply. If the date range you want to select overlaps with the end of your company’s accounting year, you will need to generate two TB reports: one from the desired start date of the report to the end of your company’s accounting year, and another from the start of the following accounting year to the desired end date of the report.

You can check the figures for the year so far by selecting ‘Now’ from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can see the balances as at a previous year end by selecting 'As at [choose the date]' from the drop-down menu.

You can choose the option ‘Opening Balances’ to see your opening balances.

If you want to see any of the figures for a particular account in detail (e.g. 001 Sales), simply select the account on the TB. This will display all the individual transactions that are included in the total figure for that account.

Do these figures include VAT?

If you're registered for VAT and are not using the VAT Flat Rate Scheme, then all the figures on the top section of your TB, where your profit and loss account codes are, will be exclusive of VAT.

If you're using the Flat Rate Scheme, your expenses will be inclusive of VAT, your sales net of standard VAT and the difference between the flat rate and standard rate from your sales will show in the Flat Rate Scheme Surplus account.

If you're not registered for VAT, all the costs on your profit and loss account will include VAT, you won't have charged VAT on your sales, and you won't see any VAT accounts in the TB.

Can I export my Trial Balance from FreeAgent?

If you need to, you can also export the TB as a .csv file. This might be useful if you need to create your own reports from the information you've put into FreeAgent. Choose from the following TB exports, which you can see here:

  • Summary CSV - gives you just a list of the balances in each account
  • Transactions CSV - gives you a breakdown of these balances
  • Chart of accounts CSV - lists the codes only, but doesn't say what the amount in each code is
  • Summary PDF - gives you just a list of the balances in each account in PDF format


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