How To Develop a Chart of Accounts for Your Small Business

chart of accounts for bookkeeping business

Kashoo uses a basic chart of accounts structure which allows new users to choose their business type during product setup. Kashoo then creates the appropriate chart of accounts during the setup process. The chart of accounts lists all the accounts found in your general ledger, including both temporary and permanent accounts. It’s necessary to properly manage the financial transactions that your business makes. When you first establish a new QuickBooks online company file, you are prompted to select an industry.

  • A Chart of Accounts (COA) is a complete listing of every account in a business’s accounting system.
  • You can add departments or segments in your chart of accounts for better tracking.
  • Having a Chart of Accounts gives you a place to record the payments you receive.
  • Develop a separate chart of accounts for all expenses listed in the form and any other expenses specific to your firm.
  • There is a chart of accounts for a current liabilities section and a long-term liabilities section.

Assets in your Chart of Accounts refer to items that you own that contain some type of value such as equipment, buildings, inventory or vehicles. This list may also include other accounts such as accounts receivable and notes receivable. Assets should appear on your balance sheet in order of liquidity (i.e. the time it would take to convert those assets to cash). A chart of accounts is an important component of bookkeeping that allows a business owner to index and keep track of all monetary transactions in which the business engages. The list is part of a business’s general ledger that breaks down and classifies financial activity into categories.

Why do small businesses need a chart of accounts?

The chart of accounts lists the accounts that are available for recording transactions. In keeping with the double-entry system of accounting, a minimum of two accounts is needed for every transaction—at least one account is debited and at least one account is credited. A chart of accounts is arranged with a numbering system to help keep the recordkeeping process more organized. Below, we’ll delve into the different types of accounts and how to number them. For instance, all of your asset accounts will use the number 1, followed by four numbers (1-XXXX), while all of your liability accounts would start with the number 2 (2-XXXX).

chart of accounts for bookkeeping business

Reporting options in AccountEdge Pro are excellent, with customizable financial statements available. It also offers the option to upload an existing chart of accounts if you wish. All of your accounts will work together to balance each other out once you know how each account affects your business transactions and financial reports. If you are a small business owner, then you know there’s a lot to keep track of. Start by assigning names to your business accounts—descriptions such as “Equipment,” “Accounts Payable,” and “Utilities.” This will be the middle column of your chart. We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.


By tracking your expenses in this why you can start to see whether particular expenses are necessary or not. For instance, offering free shipping may help you to generate more sales, but not necessarily more profit. The accounts chart must be formatted similarly to your balance sheet format so that it is easy to interpret. This account will list all of your company’s assets, starting from current assets and moving on to the fixed ones. The asset account is generally given the number 1000, which moves on in a sequence for other accounts. Your current asset account would include all the cash and receivables that are owned by you.

As the saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” You just don’t want to spend more that you can earn. Your operating expenses include rent, wages, advertising and the like that you need to incur to run your business. Non-operating expenses are costs that can’t be traced back to a particular revenue line item such as interest expense. The best way to input your expenses is by adhering to the internal revenue service tax form, which can be found online.

Chart of Accounts Outline

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping. To learn more about the role of bookkeepers and accountants, visit our topic Accounting Careers.

Collecting on receivables from customers is highly important to your list of assets. Inventory and fixed assets do have liquidity; however, it could take much longer to convert them to cash compared to collecting payments from customers. Following these guidelines will ensure that your chart of accounts is ready for interpretation and is in correlation with both your balance sheet and income statement. Think of any possible scenarios that could happen five years down the road. As you go along, you will have to add new accounts to the chart because the number of employees and your business scale eventually increases.

Outsourced CFO’s Save You Money

Completing these steps is imperative especially around tax time, when running a profit and loss report, or analyzing transactions. This is a great structure for businesses that manufacture or sell products, and it’s a good fit for those looking for more flexibility in their chart of accounts structure. In addition, you can add sub-accounts for more in-depth tracking capability. QuickBooks Online is well suited to a variety of small businesses, from the one-person operation to the growing business. QuickBooks Online offers a customizable chart of accounts structure and online banking, expense management, sales, and invoicing.

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. We hope this tutorial answered your questions on how to create a Chart of Accounts to organize your business finances. Outsourcing your bookkeeping needs is also another great way to help you save time and money so you can focus on your core operations.

As your business grows you will need a fast, accurate and complete reporting system. And your Chart of Accounts functions like a map of past and present transactions. Keep it clean and organized so it can make sense to you, specifically if you plan on doing your accounting yourself. If you buy business supplies, that transaction will be recorded in an expense account. The cost of goods sold is another important item in the chart of accounts for revenue. Your bookkeeping needs require you to cater to all of the sales costs, supplier discounts, and other costs related to shipping.

Leave a Reply