Chart of Accounts: Definition, Setup & Examples

example of chart of accounts

No matter if you’re an entrepreneur starting a business or an owner looking to streamline your practices, accounting software can help you get the job done. 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. Each time you add or remove an account from your business, it’s important to record it into the correct account. Read on to learn how to create and utilize the chart to keep better track of your business’s accounts.

example of chart of accounts

You have been credited with $20 cash for these products, which means you also have $20 in the income account. At clients, we often see management and statutory reporting performed in silos, making combined financial and managerial reporting a challenge. Companies tend to expand their CoA over time by defining accounts that represent product, region, location, and other managerial dimensions, resulting in an unwieldy CoA structure. Within the past decade, companies have trended toward streamlining their large CoAs to a minimal account set, which results in increased flexibility, reduced processing times, and eased burden of reporting. Although most accounting software packages like Quickbooks come with a standard or default list of accounts, bookkeepers can set up and customize their account structure to fit their business and industry. Liability accounts usually have the word “payable” in their name—accounts payable, wages payable, invoices payable.

International aspects and accounting information interchange – Charts of accounts and tax harmonisation issues

If you don’t leave gaps in between each number, you won’t be able to add new accounts in the right order. For example, assume your cash account is and your accounts receivable account is 1-002, now you want to add a petty cash account. Well, this should be listed between the cash and accounts receivable in the chart, but there isn’t a number in between them. They represent what’s left of the business after you subtract all your company’s liabilities from its assets.

example of chart of accounts

This template can customize the account titles and categories to suit your needs. In addition, it allows you to compare the beginning and ending balances of each of your financial accounts during a given period. Earlier, we talked about how you can organize your chart of accounts however you’d like. The truth is, you can organize your chart of accounts however you’d like. Below, we’ll take you through 3 basic steps and provide multiple examples and templates that will give you a better idea of how to put together your own chart of accounts. For example, if you’re a property manager, investor, or landlord, you can download our free property management chart of accounts template.

What Is a Chart of Accounts (COA)?

For example, if the first digit is a “1” it is an asset, if the first digit is a “3” it is a revenue account, etc. The company decided to include a column to indicate whether a debit or credit will increase the amount in the account. This sample chart of accounts also includes a column containing a description of each account in order to assist in the selection of the most appropriate account. Yes, it is a good idea to customize your chart of accounts to suit your unique business. A chart of accounts gives you great insight into your business’s revenue beyond just telling you how much money you earn. It shows peaks and valleys in your income, how much cash flow is at your disposal, and how long it should last you given your average monthly business expenses.

And with the help of accounting software, managing accounts becomes easier. 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 chart of accounts is a document that numbers and lists all the financial transactions that a company conducts in an accounting period. The information is usually arranged in categories that match those on the balance sheet and income statement.

How to Use the Chart of Accounts

Without this standardized approach, you’re essentially performing the same effort twice, routing transactions across different accounts between the entities. Suffice it to say, repetitive work is slower, more inefficient, and less reliable, all traits working directly against what your chart of accounts is supposed to accomplish in the first place. For example, additional Accounting vs Law: Whats the Difference? information like company and cost center lists flesh out simple transactional data, providing more nuanced insights that your leadership will undoubtedly benefit from. We’ll go into greater detail in a bit but, for the time being, just remember that you have a large degree of flexibility when it comes to building your COA and tailoring it to your specific needs.

  • A chart of accounts should keep your business accounting error-free and straightforward.
  • In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates.
  • The general rule for adding or removing accounts is to add accounts as they come in, but wait until the end of the year or quarter to remove any old accounts.
  • As you will see, the first digit might signify if the account is an asset, liability, etc.
  • A chart of accounts gives you a clear picture of how much money you owe in terms of short- and long-term debts.