example of chart of accounts

Small businesses may record hundreds or even thousands of transactions each year. A chart of accounts (COA) is a comprehensive catalog of accounts you can use to categorize those transactions. 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. You’ll notice that each account in the chart of accounts for Doris Orthodontics also has a five-digit reference number preceding it. The first digit in the account number refers to which of the five major account categories an individual account belongs to—“1” for asset accounts, “2” for liability accounts, “3” for equity accounts, etc.

example of chart of accounts

The more accounts are added to the chart and the more complex the numbering system is, the more difficult it will be to keep track of them and actually use the accounting system. 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. A chart of accounts design is only as good as an organization’s capability to govern and maintain it over the long term. To leverage an optimally designed CoA to the fullest extent, it needs to be supported by a strong governance structure. Governance enables the maintenance and creation of accounting segments, policies, and processes.

‍Free Chart of Accounts Template

Double Entry Bookkeeping is here to provide you with free online information to help you learn and understand bookkeeping and introductory accounting. Some of the sub-categories that may be included under the revenue account include sales discounts account, sales returns account, interest income New Business Accounting Checklist for Startups account, etc. The trial balance is helpful to see all the accounts on one report and is used mainly at the financial year-end. The trial balance lists all the accounts and the debits and credits related to them. Of crucial importance is that COAs are kept the same from year to year.

A big change will make it difficult to compare accounting record between these years. This way you can compare the performance of different accounts over time, providing valuable insight into how you are managing your business’s finances. In the interest of not messing up your books, it’s best to wait until the end of the year to delete old accounts.

Operating Revenue Accounts

Typically, when listing accounts in the chart of accounts, you should use a numbering system for easy identification. Small businesses commonly use three-digit numbers, while large businesses use four-digit numbers to allow room for additional numbers as the business grows. As time goes by, you may find yourself wanting to create a new line item for each transaction. However, doing so could litter your company’s chart and make it confusing to navigate. Instead, take advantage of your accounting software’s sub-accounts.

For example, a company may decide to code assets from 100 to 199, liabilities from 200 to 299, equity from 300 to 399, and so forth. Those could then be broken down further into, e.g., current assets ( ) and current liabilities ( ). The number of figures used depends on the size and complexity of a company and its transactions.

The balance sheet accounts

‍Decide on the account categories you want to include in your chart of accounts. Typically, businesses use a standard set of categories, such as assets, liabilities, equity, income, and expenses. A chart of accounts is a list of all your company’s “accounts,” together in one place. It provides you with a birds eye view of every area of your business that spends or makes money. The main account types include Revenue, Expenses, Assets, Liabilities, and Equity.

Most new owners start with one or two broad categories, like “sales” and “services.” While some types of income are easy and cheap to generate, others require considerable effort, time, and expense. It may make sense to create separate line items in your chart of accounts for different types of income. Each account https://personal-accounting.org/different-types-of-revenue-and-profits-for-startup/ in the chart of accounts is typically assigned a name. Accounts may also be assigned a unique account number by which the account can be identified. Account numbers may be structured to suit the needs of an organization, such as digit/s representing a division of the company, a department, the type of account, etc.

A breakdown of the main account types

In this sample chart of accounts template the sub-group column divides each group into the categories shown in the listings below. The purpose of the sub-group is to categorize each account into classifications that you might need to present the balance sheet and income statement in accounting reports. It is a simple set but will give an idea of how they are formatted.

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