Create Chart of Accounts

Create Chart of Accounts

A Sales Tax Collected account has already been added, and you can add more as needed. It can be valuable to use accounting software to set up your chart of accounts right when you are starting your business. If you are changing software, it might take some time to set up and properly categorize your transactions. The process will vary depending on the accounting software you use, so take a look at tutorials and demos that can help you get set up quickly. Double-entry allows you to create other accounts to track money not yet received (accounts receivable) or paid (accounts payable), and goods held for sale (inventory).

It’s a filing system where you can see all of your transactions in one place, each stored under a relevant term. Most charts of accounts cover assets, liabilities, equity, income, and expenses to give you a full picture of your business’s financial health. The balance sheet accounts comprise assets, liabilities, and shareholders equity, and the accounts are broken down further into various subcategories. The accounts in the income statement comprise revenues and expenses, and these accounts are also broken down further into sub-categories. A balance sheet is a financial statement that reports a company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity at a specific point in time. It provides a snapshot of an organization’s financial health and worth.

What Is a Chart of Accounts and Why Is It Important?

Everyone agrees that direct labor and direct materials are always direct costs. Below are a few examples, including how you may use sub-accounts to show additional detail. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. We provide third-party links as a convenience and for informational purposes only. Intuit does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals.

  • “I don’t think I’ve ever looked at that,” he told me as we looked over his accounts.
  • Within each of these top level accounts, create sub-accounts (Level 2) that belong there, and then do the same for Level 3 and Level 4.
  • Each of the accounts in the chart of accounts corresponds to the two main financial statements, i.e., the balance sheet and income statement.
  • The only complication is breaking COGS out into materials and labor, so that you can track what you spend on raw material inputs versus people inputs.
  • The new goal is financial reports that provide the metrics you need to run your operation throughout the year.
  • Asset, liability and equity accounts are generally listed first in a COA.
  • The Chart of Accounts is a list of accounts that your company needs for recording transactions.

The income statement (or profit and loss statement) shows a company’s performance over a reporting period. These accounts track how much money has been gained or lost during the period of time in question. Each of the accounts in the chart of accounts corresponds to the two main financial statements, i.e., the balance sheet and income statement. To better understand the balance sheet and other relevant financial statements, you need to first understand the components that make up a chart of accounts. Knowing how to keep your company’s chart organized can make it easier for you to access financial information.

How is a COA grouped for reporting purposes?

A COA is a listing of all the financial accounts in a company’s general ledger (GL). They are grouped into categories that correspond to the structure of an organization’s financial statements. Each account in the chart of accounts is assigned a unique account number or code, making it how to set up a chart of accounts easier to identify and track transactions. The chart of accounts provides the name of each account listed, a brief description, and identification codes that are specific to each account. The balance sheet accounts are listed first, followed by the accounts in the income statement.

Traditionally, each account in the COA is numbered, and accountants can quickly identify its type by the first digit. For example, asset accounts for larger businesses are generally numbered 1000 to 1999 (or 100 to 199), and liabilities are generally numbered 2000 to 2999 (or 200 to 299). Small businesses with fewer than 250 accounts might have a different numbering system. The table below reflects how a COA typically orders these main account types.


Carefully proofread your model chart of accounts to ensure that the descriptions, spelling, level of detail assignments, and posting edit codes are accurate. Making duplicate categories or accidentally filing an expense in the wrong category are common bookkeeping mistakes. You’ll want to keep your chart of accounts as straightforward and organized as possible.

What are the 5 steps of posting to a ledger?

  • Enter the account information.
  • Create unique journal entries.
  • Enter the debits and credits.
  • Move entries to a general ledger.
  • Calculate account balances.
  • Check for and correct errors.

This represents a more specific
drill-down of the Account Type,
for a supplementary and highly
detailed view of the entry across
a broader category, such as Fixed
Assets. In this case, it identifies
the exact type of Fixed Asset
being referenced. FloQast’s suite of easy-to-use and quick-to-deploy solutions enhance the way accounting teams already work. Learn how a FloQast partnership will further enhance the value you provide to your clients.

Using accounting software can simplify this by encouraging you to file individual accounts by account type. You might, for example, have an account labeled “Credit card operating expenses” filed under liabilities. You can structure your chart of accounts in a way that best suits you. For example, you can categorize your revenue and expenses depending on what you sell, who you sell to, and what level of business you’re at.

how to set up a chart of accounts

Think of it as a filing cabinet for your business’s accounting system. Ultimately, it helps you make sense of a large pool of data and understand your business’s financial history. An equity account is a representation of anything that remains after accounting for all operating expenses and revenue accounts. Because current assets never quite match current liabilities, accountants often use other account types that serve as the “missing Jenga blocks” to ensure an accurate general ledger. The chart of accounts is also the basis for all your accounting reports, so it will help you (or your accountant) create your financial statements and file your tax returns.

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