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The Complete Idiot's Guide® To Accounting by Lita Epstein, Shellie L. Moore

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Using Subledgers

Few businesses record each individual expense payment or each individual sale in the general ledger. Instead businesses have subledgers for key accounts, known as control accounts, including the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable accounts.
Working with control accounts has a number of advantages:
• The general ledger reflects a summary of transactions between the business and debtors and creditors rather than being bogged down in detail, making it a better tool for decisions concerning issues that impact all company operations.
• Control accounts can serve as an accuracy test for the calculations and postings to the individual ledger accounts.
• Control accounts help to limit the number of accounts in the general ledger. ...

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