January 26, 2022


Accounting + Finance Blog

Subledger (SL) Meaning, Explanations, Examples

Subledger (SL) Meaning, Explanations, Examples

Subledger is a special kind of ledger. It helps explain the balance of an account in the general ledger. It will interest you to know that the cash book is an example.

Definition of Subledger

Subledger is a subsidiary ledger that contains details of a particular account in the general ledger. It can also be defined as part of the principal book of account that is a subset of the general ledger of an entity.

Key Explanations

Subledger is a subsidiary ledger. That’s its complete name. It acts as a subsidiary account to the main account in the general ledger. More so, it shows details of an account in the GL. For example, the cash book is a combination of cash and bank account. This account shows more details of transactions that are contained in the general ledger. And each item in the cash book can be traced to the GL.

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Examples of sub-ledger are the sales ledger, purchases ledger, accounts payable and receivable, cash book, inventory account, vendor, and customer account. The subsidiary ledger can be traced and reconciled with the account in the GL. This occurs when the total balance in the SL is different from that in the account of the GL.

How does it work? A good example to explain the sub-ledger is the sales ledger. The sales ledger contains individual accounts for all debtors. While the general ledger shows the total value for debtors (accounts receivable), the SL shows the individual accounts. It is the sum of this account that gives the total value of the account in the GL. When there is a discrepancy in both accounts. There will be a need to reconcile them so that they will have an equal balance.

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The subsidiary ledger is different from subsidiary books. Although a cash book is also seen as a subsidiary book. The main difference between both books is that one contains books of account but the other (subsidiary book) doesn’t. Also, the subsidiary book (SB) is the book where transactions are recorded first before they are posted to the ledger. All SB are entered in the ledger. For example, the sales day book is entered in the sales ledger and the sales account in the general ledger.


Sub ledger is a subset of the general ledger. It tells you more about an account in the GL. When there are differences in the SL and the account in GL, reconciliation is done to correct them.