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.



1010 CASH Operating Account
1020 CASH Debitors
1030 CASH Petty Cash


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


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


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


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


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


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




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




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


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


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


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




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





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


4600 Interest Income
4700 Other Income
4800 Finance Charge Income
4900 Sales Returns and Allowances
4950 Sales Discounts


5700 Freight
5800 Inventory Adjustments
5900 Purchase Returns and Allowances
5950 Reserved


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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40 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

    • Ahmed January 23, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      u have 2 study CMA. I started study it … Perfect

  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!

    • 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 #


    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 #

      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.

      • Divine Dumalag January 7, 2017 at 5:57 am #

        Hi Sir Nik… You explained it very well..Thank you

  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 #

      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.

  17. Nary Hum August 17, 2016 at 2:43 am #

    Sorry strange for me, Could anyone recommend for me? Software development company, would like to have inventory & WIP but my company make software a group programmer and its cost is too low. Produced Software sold with high price. How to design chart of account “inventory, WIP” and capital account as well. thanks.

  18. Kenneth E Daniel Sr. October 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    Good job you are doing here. I am looking for a logical location for the grouping of a MAC Tool distributor that I have just picked up as a client using Quickbooks online. They have not been using account numbers and I am doing the assignment.

    It is amazing how many accountants nowadays cannot see any reason for numbers and I cannot see doing it without the numbers. As a previous poster said ‘these numberless setups sure look funny’ when you do not structure the accounts properly. How would you find where you want to go if there were no numbers on the buildings?

  19. Yasir November 1, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I enjoyed the way of explanation this subject very well.
    Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  20. Sue November 6, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    You have a typo here:

    1340 INV – Reservesd

  21. Abdurakhim December 13, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    Hi is anyone here who can give me job-offer in Canada Im from Tajikistan.
    I really want to live in Canada I would very thankfull. Please mail me

  22. Tom January 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Any thoughts on natural account numbers containing “meanings” for example using 3rd and 4th digit to represent a product, so “xx40” always means some expense for product 40, and so on.

  23. Divine Dumalag January 7, 2017 at 5:43 am #

    Hi…I am looking for a sample of chart of accounts suited for a convention and recreation center business as well for a real estate broker. Is there somebody to help me suggest what is the most appropriate account title for its revenues? I appreciate a reply on this matter.

    • Tim January 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

      Hi Divine,
      If you have a CPA or accountant who audits your books, request from them a chart of accounts suitable for your business.

  24. shopping April 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

    Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after checking through some of
    the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking
    back often!

  25. Nina April 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you for making this chart of account available … best, most complete one I’ve run across!

  26. Haruna M. Yusufu May 16, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    Thank you for assisting in making it available. Any person who want more elaboration may have it in the WEB.

  27. German June 23, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    I have a question: Who o what determined the numbering system used in a company’s chart of accounts?

  28. Ida Wright August 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    I am a non-accountant but I’ve been drafted into preparing financial reports to our funders (we are an NGO). I get financial reports from our Fiscal Agents every month with all our expenses detailed. Mostly it seems logical; the reports I get have our expenses in order by account, and then in order by date paid. But several categories have subcategories that look like they should not be there, based on the number. For example, 7200 Consultants and Service Providers has 7300, IT and website nested into the 7200 expenses. It looks like an error, but I don’t know enough to say. For example, it will read:

    7200 Consultants and Service Providers
    7250 Media providers
    Total 7250 Media providers
    7270 Web design and hosting
    7272 Web design
    Total 7272 Web design
    Total 7270 Web design and hosting
    7310 Web hosting
    Total 7310 Web hosting
    Total 7200 Consultants and service provider

    Perhaps this is fine? It seems counterintuitive to me. It happens in several places in the reports I get

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