Standard Chart of Accounts

See Also:
Chart of Accounts (COA)
Problems in Chart of Accounts Design
Complex Number for SGA Expenses

Standard Chart of Accounts

In accounting, a standard chart of accounts is a numbered list of the accounts that comprise a company’s general ledger. The company chart of accounts is basically a filing system for categorizing all of a company’s accounts and classifying all transactions according to the accounts they affect. The chart of accounts list of categories may include assets, liabilities, owners’ equity, revenues, cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and other relevant accounts. (See chart of accounts example below). The standard chart of accounts is sometimes also called the uniform chart of accounts. A chart of accounts template is used to prepare the basic chart of accounts for any subsidiary companies or related entities in order to make consolidation easier.

A standard chart of accounts is organized according to a numerical system. Each major category will begin with a certain number, and then the sub-categories within that major category will all begin with the same number. For example, if assets are classified by numbers starting with the digit 1, then cash accounts might be labeled 101, accounts receivable might be labeled 102, inventory might be labeled 103, and so on. And if liabilities accounts are classified by numbers starting with the digit 2, then accounts payable might be labeled 201, short-term debt might be labeled 202, and so on.

Depending on the size of the company, the chart of accounts may include a few dozen accounts or it may include a few thousand accounts. Depending on the sophistication of the company, the chart of accounts can be paper-based or computer-based. The chart of account is useful for analyzing past transactions and using historic data to forecast future trends.

Below is an example of chart of accounts that may be used to set up the general ledger of most companies. You may customize your COA to your industry by adding to the Inventory, Revenue and Cost of Goods Sold sections to the sample chart of accounts.

SAMPLE CHART OF ACCOUNTS

1000 ASSETS

1010 CASH Operating Account
1020 CASH Debitors
1030 CASH Petty Cash

1200 RECEIVABLES

1210 A/REC Trade
1220 A/REC Trade Notes Receivable
1230 A/REC Installment Receivables
1240 A/REC Retainage Withheld
1290 A/REC Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts

1300 INVENTORIES

1310 INV – Reserved
1320 INV – Work-in-Progress
1330 INV – Finished Goods
1340 INV – Reservesd
1350 INV – Unbilled Cost & Fees
1390 INV – Reserve for Obsolescence

1400 PREPAID EXPENSES & OTHER CURRENT ASSETS

1410 PREPAID – Insurance
1420 PREPAID – Real Estate Taxes
1430 PREPAID – Repairs & Maintenance
1440 PREPAID – Rent
1450 PREPAID – Deposits

1500 PROPERTY PLANT & EQUIPMENT

1510 PPE – Buildings
1520 PPE – Machinery & Equipment
1530 PPE – Vehicles
1540 PPE – Computer Equipment
1550 PPE – Furniture & Fixtures
1560 PPE – Leasehold Improvements

1600 ACCUMULATED DEPRECIATION & AMORTIZATION

1610 ACCUM DEPR Buildings
1620 ACCUM DEPR Machinery & Equipment
1630 ACCUM DEPR Vehicles
1640 ACCUM DEPR Computer Equipment
1650 ACCUM DEPR Furniture & Fixtures
1660 ACCUM DEPR Leasehold Improvements

1700 NON – CURRENT RECEIVABLES

1710 NCA – Notes Receivable
1720 NCA – Installment Receivables
1730 NCA – Retainage Withheld

1800 INTERCOMPANY RECEIVABLES

 

1900 OTHER NON-CURRENT ASSETS

1910 Organization Costs
1920 Patents & Licenses
1930 Intangible Assets – Capitalized Software Costs

2000 LIABILITIES

 

2100 PAYABLES

2110 A/P Trade
2120 A/P Accrued Accounts Payable
2130 A/P Retainage Withheld
2150 Current Maturities of Long-Term Debt
2160 Bank Notes Payable
2170 Construction Loans Payable

2200 ACCRUED COMPENSATION & RELATED ITEMS

2210 Accrued – Payroll
2220 Accrued – Commissions
2230 Accrued – FICA
2240 Accrued – Unemployment Taxes
2250 Accrued – Workmen’s Comp
2260 Accrued – Medical Benefits
2270 Accrued – 401 K Company Match
2275 W/H – FICA
2280 W/H – Medical Benefits
2285 W/H – 401 K Employee Contribution

2300 OTHER ACCRUED EXPENSES

2310 Accrued – Rent
2320 Accrued – Interest
2330 Accrued – Property Taxes
2340 Accrued – Warranty Expense

2500 ACCRUED TAXES

2510 Accrued – Federal Income Taxes
2520 Accrued – State Income Taxes
2530 Accrued – Franchise Taxes
2540 Deferred – FIT Current
2550 Deferred – State Income Taxes

2600 DEFERRED TAXES

2610 D/T – FIT – NON CURRENT
2620 D/T – SIT – NON CURRENT

2700 LONG-TERM DEBT

2710 LTD – Notes Payable
2720 LTD – Mortgages Payable
2730 LTD – Installment Notes Payable

2800 INTERCOMPANY PAYABLES

 

2900 OTHER NON CURRENT LIABILITIES

3000 OWNERS EQUITIES

3100 Common Stock
3200 Preferred Stock
3300 Paid in Capital
3400 Partners Capital
3500 Member Contributions
3900 Retained Earnings

4000 REVENUE

4010 REVENUE – PRODUCT 1
4020 REVENUE – PRODUCT 2
4030 REVENUE – PRODUCT 3
4040 REVENUE – PRODUCT 4
4600 Interest Income
4700 Other Income
4800 Finance Charge Income
4900 Sales Returns and Allowances
4950 Sales Discounts

5000 COST OF GOODS SOLD

5010 COGS – PRODUCT 1
5020 COGS – PRODUCT 2
5030 COGS – PRODUCT 3
5040 COGS – PRODUCT 4
5700 Freight
5800 Inventory Adjustments
5900 Purchase Returns and Allowances
5950 Reserved

6000 – 7000 OPERATING EXPENSES

6010 Advertising Expense
6050 Amortization Expense
6100 Auto Expense
6150 Bad Debt Expense
6200 Bank Charges
6250 Cash Over and Short
6300 Commission Expense
6350 Depreciation Expense
6400 Employee Benefit Program
6550 Freight Expense
6600 Gifts Expense
6650 Insurance – General
6700 Interest Expense
6750 Professional Fees
6800 License Expense
6850 Maintenance Expense
6900 Meals and Entertainment
6950 Office Expense
7000 Payroll Taxes
7050 Printing
7150 Postage
7200 Rent
7250 Repairs Expense
7300 Salaries Expense
7350 Supplies Expense
7400 Taxes – FIT Expense
7500 Utilities Expense
7900 Gain/Loss on Sale of Assets

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25 Responses to Standard Chart of Accounts

  1. Lana March 21, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Hi Jim,

    Do you have any workshops in New York? I am a Bookkeeper and I am very interested in advancing in my career.

    • Jim Wilkinson April 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      Not at this time, but thanks for letting us know of your interest. If we get enough interest in your area we might start giving workshops there. Jim

  2. Everett July 7, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people for this topic,
    however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

    • Olivia Durr July 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

      It’s our pleasure, Everett!

  3. Gina G August 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this information. How do the major categories change for a not-for-profit, or a business with no inventory or cost of goods sold, like a service?

    • Olivia Durr August 22, 2014 at 10:06 am #

      Hey Gina, there shouldn’t be much difference between the two when setting up the chart of accounts. You will see differences on the income statement with a service-based business. A business with little cost of goods sold will simply have higher margins than an inventory-intensive business. Does this answer your question?

  4. M C Winters August 18, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Please note the typo in your numbering. “1500” Inventories should be 1300.
    Otherwise, great resource.
    Thank you

    • Olivia Durr August 22, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Great catch, M C. We appreciate it. Fixing it now…

  5. Indra Sak September 1, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    Hi Oivia, i wonder if there’s any different chart especially on Operating Expense for a company that running a business in making a movie. Maybe we can say like universal studios. If you have any sample COA of those kind of company could you please send me or maybe any suggestion from you? It would be very helpfull for me.

    Thank you very much.

  6. Amara March 10, 2015 at 3:28 am #

    Hi Olivia, thank you so much for this Information. I am doing ERP with SAP implementation. its really help me in accounting module.

    Thank you so much

  7. Yvonne May 13, 2015 at 2:47 am #

    Dear Olivia;

    We really appreciate your information and thank you for sharing.

    I work with an early established mutual collective fund company and really need guidance on how to design a chart of account for a collective investment scheme.
    kindly advise!

  8. Nick Roche September 23, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    NOTE: website under construction.

    I have a question for you which is in regards to the CPA of one of my clients. Is it normal for one to number equity accounts in the same range as your bank accounts (1000 – 1999) and some non COGS expense accounts in the same range as Income accounts (4000 – 4999)?

    I ask this before it just seems very alien to me to see this. This CPA is out of NY and my client and I are on the West Coast. The CPA is requesting that I renumber the accounts to match his and when doing so, I ran into this strange numbering. This CPA will remain nameless.

    Your opinion and reply is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    Nick in PDX

    • Olivia Durr September 24, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      Nick, I agree and think this is odd. Typically each section of the balance sheet is sectioned off to its own number range, as well as income, etc.

  9. shabeeb October 16, 2015 at 11:57 pm #

    Please help me out ! Get me a sample chart of accounts for group as well as subsidiaries which inlcude retail supermarkets restaurants , catering , real estate, hospitality, distributions … just for reference.. we are into sap implementation!

  10. ashish October 29, 2015 at 6:00 am #

    Hi

    I wanted to use one account head for all employee incentive and gifts/rewards expenses.
    Please me on this

  11. jane November 30, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    our professor in accounting asked us to submit
    chart of accounts, balance sheet and income statement,
    I do not know what should I submit, our course is accounting fo non-accountants,hope you could help me find what should I write, we were asked to write in on a yellowpad, handwritten

  12. antoine mac February 5, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Elirob ltd company is a new established company with a startup capital of 1.5mil.for the first two years the company will deal with the plantation of cashew nuts at its acquired land which is about 100 acres.the area is capable of planting 3000 cashew nuts trees.for the third year ,the company will start purchasing cashew nuts from neighbouring farmers at cape town and use low technology in processing and packaging.create the chart of account Elirob ltd that can be used up to fifth year accommodating all possible expansion

  13. Fe dela cruz March 28, 2016 at 6:39 am #

    Hell0,im a bookkeepee from Philippines,is there a great job opportunity there?tnx!

  14. Ryan April 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    What about the INCOME SUMMARY account? Is this account needed/entered with computerized accounting?

  15. George May 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    Is it possible to have leaves (Data-recording entries) at different levels in the Chart of Accounts, ex:
    – 1030 CASH Petty
    – 141020 PREPAID – Insurance (Insurance Provider X)
    – 63001050 Commission Expense – Sales Agents (Agent XYZ)

    • Nik July 14, 2016 at 10:21 am #

      George,
      You should attempt to utilize other features of your accounting software (in general) to get this sort of data. This typically happens in other fields, like vendor, customer, class, etc. That way you can run a report of your general “Commission Expense” account, and cross-section the data by your Employee field. Your reporting will be much more powerful if you can do it outside of the general ledger accounts.

  16. Lisanne Decker July 6, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    Hi, my husband and I are setting up a small marketing and consulting company. I’m working on setting up our books and I can’t seem to find an answer to a question…. Where should you list Merchant Service Fees? If we provide a service, that seems like a Cost of Good Sold to me. I can also see that it should be listed under Accounts Payable. I know this may sound like a strange question. I appreciate your assistance.

    • Nik July 14, 2016 at 10:17 am #

      Lisanna,
      Most call this an operating expense (similar to bank charges), not a cost of goods sold. Therefore it would not be listed under Accounts Payable.

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