What is a Chart of Accounts? How to Set a Chart of Accounts?

As an essential tool for organizing and categorizing financial transactions, the chart of accounts plays a pivotal role in maintaining accurate and reliable financial records for businesses. Whether you are a small business owner, an aspiring accountant, or someone interested in learning more about accounting principles, understanding the chart of accounts is crucial. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of a chart of accounts, its significance, and how it is used in financial accounting. So, let's dive in and unravel the mysteries of the chart of accounts!

A chart of accounts is an index of all the financial accounts in the general ledger of a company.

A chart of accounts is an organizational tool to break down the transaction into understandable categories and subcategories based on the five main types of classification.

A chart of accounts enables you to see transactions with descriptions, Numbers, and names.  As explained earlier in the definition section the chart of accounts makes it understandable and you can sort transactions or accounts (similar transaction category) in the general ledger. The main categories you’ll find within a chart of accounts are:



                 Shareholder’s equity



Why is a Chart of Accounts Important?

A chart of accounts is necessary because you can track the financial figures and records of transactions through a general ledger, which is possible through the chart of accounts.

A chart of accounts is tailored according to company operational requirements. The investors can go through charts of accounts and account balances for the investment option. Also, investors use financial statements whether to invest in a business or not that line appearing on the balance sheet is also the chart of accounts.

A chart of accounts will include the following categories:



                 Owner’s equity




Assets are the items that the company owns from past activities and have future economic benefits in terms of cash inflows. You can set the number along with the name and description for assets its starts with 1000. You can apply this for setting up your charts of accounts in accounting software such as QuickBooks Online.

There are two main categories of assets dependent on the time that are current and non-current assets.

Current assets are the assets that the company will benefit from for 12 months. current assets include:

                 Accounts receivable



                 Prepaid expenses

Non-current assets are assets that are useful for more than 12 months. Non-current assets include:

                 Property plant and equipment


                 Furniture and fixtures

                 Lease right of use



Liabilities are what your company owes. While setting the chart of accounts the liabilities number starts from 2000.

The chart of accounts will include the following items for current liability but is not limited to:

                 Unearned income

                 Accrued expenses

                 Account payable

                 Payroll taxes payable

                 Sales taxes payable

                 Loans and mortgages payable

Non-current liabilities accounts include:


                 Mortgages payable


For a chart of accounts, the equity no starts with 3000 and refers to shareholder equity. Some of the equity most commonly found in a chart of accounts are:

                 Share capital

                 Common stock

                 Preferred stock

                 Retained earnings

                 Owner draws


Revenue is the sales of the business. Operating income is the income your business earns from primary business activity.

Non-operating revenue is revenue that your company makes from other than the principal activity. This form of revenue can come from:

                 Sales revenue

                 Interest income

                 Dividend income

                 Foreign exchange gains or losses

                 Profits or losses from investments

                 Rental income from property

The revenue section starts with the 4000 number along with the name and description.


Expenses may be related to operating activities called operating expenses and other non-operating expenses.

Operating expenses are expenses that occur to run a business or operational activity. You may have expenses from the following:

                 Salaries and wages




                 Legal and professional

Non-operating expenses are expenses not related to business operations. These include:



                 Interest charges

How to Set up a Chart of Accounts

The process involves creating a structured framework that organizes and categorizes financial transactions in a systematic and consistent manner. To set up a chart of accounts, begin by identifying the specific accounts that are relevant to your business operations.

These accounts typically include assets, liabilities, equity, revenue, and expense accounts. Next, determine the appropriate account numbering system and naming conventions that align with your business needs and industry standards.

It's essential to consider factors such as the size and complexity of your business, reporting requirements, and future scalability when designing your chart of accounts. Once the accounts are established, input them into your accounting software or ledger system, ensuring that each account is properly categorized and assigned a unique account number.

If you want to set a chart of accounts here are the three things you can look at while setting a chart of accounts.

Account Name

The first and most important is the name of the account which will be a specific and valid name such as salary and wages, marketing, Inventory, and so on.

Type of Account

The second thing to add is the type of account. This is the broad category in which various accounts fall. That may be the cost of goods sold, assets, liabilities, equity, assets, and expense.


The description is short text added to understand what is the account type about what transaction it will.

Professional at Bookkeeping Pro Services helps you set a chart of accounts as per your business requirement no matter what accounting and ERP software is used. Professional at Bookkeeping Pro Services has helped thousands of small and mid-sized businesses to set up their chart of accounts and manage their bookkeeping and accounting.

Useful Resources

A Guide to Small Business Expense Tracking

Bookkeeping Terminology: 35 Common Bookkeeping Terms

10 Foolproof Bookkeeping Tips