Chart of Accounts Example Format Structured Template Definition

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By doing so, you can easily understand what products or services are generating the most revenue in your business. If you create too many categories in your chart of account, you can make your entire financial reports what does it take to become a cfo difficult to read and analyze. The first three are assets, liabilities, and equity, which flow into the balance sheet. The remaining two are income or revenue and expenses, which flow into the income statement.

Give Some Love to COA

  1. 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.
  2. Those could then be broken down further into, e.g., current assets ( ) and current liabilities ( ).
  3. These sub-accounts include operating revenues, operating expenses, non-operating revenues, and non-operating losses.
  4. Similarly, if you use an online program that helps you manage all your accounts in one place, like Mint or Personal Capital, you’re looking at basically the same thing as a company’s COA.
  5. A chart of accounts, or COA, is a complete list of all the accounts involved in your business’s day-to-day operations.

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. Intuit accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content on these sites. For bigger companies, the accounts may be divided into several sub-accounts.


Doing this periodically keeps the number of accounts down to a manageable level. A chart of accounts gives you a clear picture of how much money you owe in terms of short- and long-term debts. Your COA can help you determine how much of your monthly income you can afford to put toward your debts and help you develop longer-term debt repayment plans. Maintaining consistency in your COA from year to year is the most important thing when dealing with charts of accounts. This consistency ensures that accurate comparisons of the company’s finances can be made over time. For the sake of accuracy in period-to-period comparisons, it’s crucial to maintain the same chart of account format over time.

How accounting software can help manage your chart of accounts

After almost a decade of experience in public accounting, he created to help people learn accounting & finance, pass the CPA exam, and start their career. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence. He frequently speaks at continuing education events.Charles consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.

Examples of expense accounts include the cost of goods sold (COGS), depreciation expense, utility expense, and wages expense. A chart of accounts is a vital financial tool that organizes numerous financial transactions in a manner that is easy to access. Because transactions are displayed as line items, they can be quickly found and assessed. Furthermore, big companies can have thousands of line items so a chart of accounts allows them to easily be broken down into different hierarchies and categories. With online accounting software, you can organize and track your balance sheet 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.

When allocating account codes (chart of accounts numbers) don’t forget to leave space for additional accounts and codes to be inserted in a group at a later stage. For example the inventory codes run from 400 to 499 so there is plenty of room to incorporate new categories of inventory if needed. Charts of accounts are an index, or list, of the various financial accounts that can be found in your company’s general ledger. These accounts are separated into different categories, including revenue, liabilities, assets, and expenditures. Many organizations structure their COAs so that expense information is separately compiled by department. Thus, the sales department, engineering department, and accounting department all have the same set of expense accounts.

To do this, she would first add the new account—”Plaster”—to the chart of accounts. The financial world is filled with terms that can seem intimidating to someone without a strong finance background. The chart of accounts is full of details and can contain a huge amount of data entries and rows in Excel. Take note, however, that the chart of accounts vary from company to company. The contents depend upon the needs and preferences of the company using it.

It’s not always fun seeing a straightforward list of everything you spend your hard-earned money on, but the chart of accounts can give you an important view of your spending habits. You can get a handle on your necessary recurring expenses, like rent, utilities, and internet. You can also examine your other expenses and see where you may be able to cut down on costs if needed. A business transaction will fall into one of these categories, providing an easily understood breakdown of all financial transactions conducted during a specific accounting period. A chart of accounts is an important organizational tool in the form of a list of all the names of the accounts a company has included in its general ledger. This list will usually also include a short description of each account and a unique identification code number.

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