Difference Between Accounts Payable and General Ledger (With Table)

Businesses and organisations keep track of all obligations and debts owed to lenders and suppliers in the accounts payable ledger, part of the general ledger. Accountants and auditors often keep track of these financial accounts to monitor their businesses’ entering and existing income streams.

There are a few things to bear in mind if you understand how organisations use the accounts payable sheet.

We answer numerous common concerns about accounts payable ledgers in this post, including what these data are used for and how you can use the accounts payable ledger to understand this critical financial data better.

Accounts Payable vs General Ledger

The main difference between accounts payable and general ledger is that the accounts payable is a part of the general ledger, which gives detail about the company’s debt that needed to be paid and on the other hand the general ledger keeps the record of companies’ financial data verified by a trial balance. 

Accounts payable means an account is present within the general ledger, which includes all the details of companies duty to settle down the debts to the lenders. In the business sector, it means to clear up the due payments by the company to the creditors. 

On the other hand, the general ledger exemplifies the keeper of records of the company’s financial information, including all the debts and credit records that are examined by trials. It holds all the records of the financial transactions that occurred during the life of the operating company.

Comparison Table Between Accounts Payable and General Ledger

Parameters of comparisonAccounts payableGeneral ledger
DefinitionThe accounts payable keeps the track of the companies’ debt and the amount to be paid to the vendors.General ledger keeps the record of all the transactions in the working life of the company.
IndicatesIt settles down the debts of the company and keeps the check on every outgoing transaction.It maintains the details about all the cash flow within the company.
TypesSubsidiary ledgerIt is a head ledger of accounts payable.
PurposeThe purpose of accounts payable is to keep record of cash outflows of the company.It keeps track of every transaction including all debit and credit.
 SystemIt is a part of single and double entry system. It is part of double entry system.

What are Accounts Payable?

The overall accounts payable balance of a corporation at a given moment in time will reflect in the total debit column of its balance sheet. Accounts payable include debts that must be cleared in a certain amount of time to avoid failure. 

Accounts payable relates to the short-term debt payments payable to vendors at the business level. The payable is effectively a short-term IOU between two businesses or entities. The opposing side would keep the information as a corresponding increase in its receivable accounts.

In such a company’s balance sheet, accounts payable is a critical figure. If accounts payable rises in comparison to the previous period, it suggests the corporation is purchasing more products or services on loan instead of paying cash.

When a company’s accounts payable drops, it suggests it is paying off previous period loans quicker than buying new things on credit. Accounts payable management is crucial to a company’s financial management.

What is a General Ledger? 

A general ledger is the cornerstone of an accounting system that stores and organises financial information necessary to prepare a company’s financial statements. As specified by the company’s accounting system, individual sub-ledger account holders are credited with transactions.

The transactions are subsequently closed off or summarised in the general ledger. The accountant creates a financial report, which summarises the balances of each ledger account.

The financial statement is verified for inaccuracies and changed as required by adding more entries, and the modified trial balance is then utilised to construct the financial information.

The double-entry accounting technique is used by organisations where each money transfer impacts at least two sub-ledgers, and each one should have a minimum of one debit and credit trade. 

Journal entries are double-entry transactions written in two columns, featuring debit balances on the left and credit data on the right, and the sum of all receivable and payable entries must be equal. 

This format is followed by the balance sheet, which displays information at the transaction level. Mainly in the short-term liabilities portion of the accounting records, many asset accounts, such as cash and receivables, are listed.

Main Differences Between the Accounts Payable and General Ledger

  1. The accounts payable ledger is part of a company’s general ledger, which keeps track of all monetary operations in the receivables and payables ledger accounts. Still, the general ledger keeps track of all incoming and exiting cash flow.
  2. Many auxiliary ledgers can be added to the accounts payable ledger to maintain track of each obligation or debt that a corporation controls.
  3. The general ledger does not include information about every debit or credit transaction. In contrast, the accounts payable ledger gives a detailed picture of a company’s debts, credit card transactions, and cash flow outflow.
  4. Accounts payable are observed on a company’s financial statement, and because they portray money obligated to pay to others, people are entered as a current liability. At the same time, the business that operates a double-entry record-keeping method uses the general ledger procedure of stockpiling business financial information.
  5. The general ledger is where an organisation’s financial and non-financial information is kept. The general ledger has one or even more pages for each account. In contrast, the primary purpose of an accounts payable section is to organise and monitor transactions between a firm and suppliers, as well as to ensure that all unpaid balances from vendors are accepted, processed, and settled.

Conclusion

There are specific system-generated inputs alongside manual data entry with account automated processes. As a result, a comprehensive ERP system’s ledgers will include entries from numerous subsystems linked to one ledger. 

With the development of technology, the notion of accounts payable and primary general ledger has also become critical. All data entering takes place on a separate system, with only a statement sent to the financial statements.