Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting https://www.bookstime.com/articles/control-accounts instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.
Let's revisit the two main controls accounts: the sales ledger control account and the purchase ledger control account.
Control accounts are an element of the double-entry bookkeeping method and are used to check the totals found in a company’s balance sheet. For purchase orders for which intercompany settlement
transactions are generated, no sales type and purchase type are used and the
corresponding field is disabled. While this process is advantageous for customers, it can put a strain on a company’s cash flow.
Debtors control accounts are also termed receivable control accounts or sales ledger control accounts because transactions among debtors are conducted daily, monthly, or within a specified financial period. The types of control accounts include debtors control accounts, creditors control accounts, and stock control accounts. These forms of control accounts are used to summarize the business within the general ledger.
The main use of a control account is to help identify errors that appear in the subsidiary ledgers. But they also give a business other advantages, such as permitting a single trial balance to be extracted from the general ledger. If the trial balance does not actually balance, only the accounts whose control account does not reconcile need to be checked for errors.
A general ledger refers to a master accounting document that provides a comprehensive record of all of the financial transactions in the business. A subsidiary ledger is the custodian of the details for the general ledger control account. A control account is mainly used in larger corporations that have hundreds of transactions, and it is also part of double-entry accounting. However, it is an account that consists of the total amount of transactions that are stored individually within the subsidiary accounts. This account contains aggregated totals for transactions that are individually stored in subsidiary-level ledger accounts.