ZIMSEC O Level Principles of Accounts Notes: Purchases Control Accounts

  • Purchases Control Accounts contain a summary view of the purchases ledger
  • Below is a typical purchases control account:
Purchases Ledger
31 DecCash/Bankxxx1 JanBalance b/dxxx
31 DecDiscount Receivedxx31 DecPurchasesxxx
31 DecReturns Outwardsxx31 DecBalance c/dxxxxx
31 DecSet Offxx



  • Naturally the exact entries depend on transactions that occur in the business in the period under review or the question in an exam

Sources of information when preparing

Purchases ControlSource
Opening creditorsList of creditors’ balances drawn up at the end of the
previous period
Purchases for the periodTotal from Purchases Day Book/Purchases Journal
Purchases ReturnsTotal of Returns Outwards Day Book
Cheques Paid/Bank PaymentsCash Book: bank column on payments side/ Bank Statement etc
Cash PaidCash Book: cash column on payments side
Discount ReceivedTotal of discounts received column in the Cash Book
Closing creditor's balanceList of creditors’ balances drawn up at the end of the period


  • It is possible that some of our creditors are also our debtors
  • These creditors may agree with the business to write off outstanding balances
  • For example we bought goods worth $1000 from J Moyo during the year
  • This is shown in J Moyo’s purchases account in the Purchases Ledger
  • We also sold goods worth $300 during the year to the same J Moyo
  • This is shown as a sale in J Moyo’s Account in the Sales Ledger
  • Instead of the business paying J Moyo $1000 and receiving $300 we can just pay the difference $700
  • A Contra entry/Set Off is used to show that part of the debt has been written/knocked off
  • Contrasting entries will be shown in the Purchases Control Account (Debit Side) and Sales Control Account (Credit)
  • These are often described as Contra (short for contrasting) entries/ Set Off entries
  • Also the Purchases Control Account should not be confused with the Purchases Account
  • The two have opposite balances, the Purchases account records total purchases for the period and has a debit balance
  • The Purchases control account is a summarized version of transactions relating to credit purchases

To access more topics go to the Principles of Accounting Notes.