Reviewed by Oct 05, 2020| Updated on
A footing is a total balance when all the debits and credits are summed up in accounting. The debits are first tallied, followed by the credits, and they are netted to calculate the account balance. Footings are calculated to be put on the financial statements.
Irrespective of being a small business owner or having an accountant to take care of the accounts, footing becomes an important part of accounting. It is essential to keep the value of footings accurate.
Footing can also be described as the process of adding all the numbers in a single column. The resulting sum appears at the bottom (foot) of the column. The numbers can be summed up using a calculator or on spreadsheet software, such as Excel.
There are three footing techniques in use:
1. Cross-Footing: As specified above, it is essential that the footing is accurate. Even when the software is used for footing, it is good to verify the numbers again. It is recommended to cross-foot with both columns and rows to double-check the figures. That is, add together all column foots and then compare the result with the sum of all rows in the table. The values must match.
2. Pencil Footing: The traditional practice of entering transaction details in ledgers, balance sheets, and income statements gave rise to pencil footing. This means adding the figures in a column and writing the result at the bottom of the column in small pencil figures.
The pencil footings are then carried over to another page or to the general ledger—the pages that display the company's overall debit and credit balances.
3. Balancing and Footing: In the case of double-entry bookkeeping, every account type, such as accounts payable, cash, and wages payable, has a debit and credit side. An entry on one side will be balanced by another corresponding entry on the other side.
Footing acts as the essential step to achieve an accountant's ultimate goal, i.e. balancing accounts. Footing the columns on one side must match the footing on the columns on the other side. Lack of matching is termed as "don't foot", meaning that the math or entries have an error.