A chart of accounts is a list of all accounts used by a company in its accounting system. It makes the bookkeeper's work easier.
The accounts included in the chart of accounts must be used consistently to prevent clerical or technical errors in the accounting system.
Nevertheless, take note that chart of accounts vary from company to company. The contents depend upon the needs and preferences of the company using it.
Accounts are classified into assets, liabilities, capital, income, and expenses; and each is given a unique account number. A coding system is used to organize the accounts. Here's a sample chart of accounts for a small sole proprietorship business:
Chart of Accounts Example
|Gray Electronic Repair Services|
|Chart of Accounts|
|1011||Allowance for Doubtful Accounts|
|1520||Furniture and Fixtures|
|1521||Accumulated Depreciation – Furniture and Fixtures|
|1531||Accumulated Depreciation – Service Equipment|
|OWNER'S EQUITY (3000-3999)|
|3000||Mr. Gray, Capital|
|3010||Mr. Gray, Drawing|
|4020||Gain on Sale of Equipment|
|5050||Taxes and Licenses|
|5070||Doubtful Accounts Expense|
Additional accounts can be added as the need arises. For bigger companies, the accounts may be divided into several sub-accounts.
For example, employee salaries may have various accounts for different departments and be included in the chart of accounts as:
5011 Salaries Expense – Administrative,
5012 Salaries Expense – Servicing,
5013 Salaries Expense – Marketing, etc.
Again, take note that the chart of accounts of one company may not be suitable for another company. It all depends upon the company's needs. In any case, the chart of accounts is a useful tool for bookkeepers in recording business transactions.