written by | April 27, 2022

What Is a Chart of Accounts?

The chart of accounts is an instrument that summarises all of the accounting records that appear in a company's financial statements. It allows a corporation to categorise its monetary operations throughout a certain accounting cycle. Organisations frequently utilise the chart of accounts to manage their information by giving a thorough overview of all the company's general ledger accounts. The graphic makes it simple to prepare data for assessing the firm's financial position at any given period.

The chart of accounts includes the name of each account listed, a short outline, and account-specific identifying codes. The accounts on the balance sheet appear initially, then the accounts on the financial statements. Resources, obligations, and stakeholders' equity make up the balance sheet accounts, further subdivided into several subcategories. Income and expenses are the accounts in the financial statements, and these accounts are further divided into smaller categories.

Did you know?

Luca Pacioli established the notion of the chart of accounts in his 500-year-old publication.

Also Read: Real Accounts - Overview, Types & Examples

Chart of Accounts

COAs for smaller companies might have the following segmented accounts under the capital account:

  • Savings account with cash
  • Balance of petty cash
  • Receivables (accounts receivable)
  • Funds that have not been deposited
  • Resources in inventory
  • Insurance that has been paid for in advance
  • Automobiles
  • Properties

Sub-accounts of the liabilities account may exist, such as:

  • The corporate credit card
  • Liabilities accumulated
  • Accounts receivable
  • Liabilities related to payroll
  • Notes to be pai

The accounts that make up a shareholder's equity are as follows:

  • Stocks that are traded regularly
  • Stock with a higher dividend yield
  • Profits retained

Every chart of accounts usually includes a title, a short outline, and an identifier code to help users find individual accounts. Every chart in the table is given a multi-digit code; for example, all asset accounts begin with code 1.

Organising the Chart of Accounts

  • The shape of the firm often influences the accounts that are displayed in a chart of accounts. In addition to the normal assets that all companies have, the taxi industry will have some accounts that are unique to the taxi industry. For example, because the taxi industry is a service sector that does not keep stock, it will contain a gasoline expense report that is not typical for all companies. Still, it will take out an inventory account.
  • When displaying entities in the chart of accounts, you would usually utilise a numbered system to make it easier to identify them. It's also easier to keep track of transactions when they're numbered. Small businesses typically utilise three-digit numbers, whereas major businesses typically use four-digit numbers to enable future expansion.
  • Each of the five primary groups is allocated a group of numbers, with blank numbers left at the end to enable future additions of accounts. Also, its identification should be uniform so that management can easily roll up to corporate data from one quarter to the next.

Accounts on the Balance Sheet

  • These accounts are referred to as "balance sheet" accounts since they are required to construct a balance sheet for your company, which is among the most regularly used accounting records. Balance sheet accounts are divided into three categories:
  • Asset accounts are used to track your firm's resources and add value to them. Hard resources such as property, machinery, currency, and intangibles like copyrights, trademarks, and technology are examples.
  • Liability accounts keep track of all the debts owed by your organisation. Payables, salaries payable, and bills payable are examples of liability accounts with the word "payable" in their names. Another type of liability account is "unearned revenues," which are frequently monetary transactions collected when services are provided.
  • The concept of equity accounts is somewhat vague. They indicate what's left of your firm after you've deducted all of its obligations from its resources. They essentially assess the company's worth to its founder or stakeholders.

Accounts on the Financial Statements

  • The financial statement accounts are used to create the income statement, which is the other major financial statement form.
  • Revenue accounts record any income generated by your company from the trade of products, operations, or leases.
  • All the funds and effort you expend in earning revenues, such as energy, salaries, and lease, go into expense accounts.
  • The interaction of the income statement and balance sheet accounts is complicated, but one general principle is that earnings raise your firm's assets account while expenditures lower them.

Significance of the Chart of Accounts

  • Unless you know the identity of each account in your books by heart, you should have a map of them all set out in front of you.
  • The chart of accounts is intended to serve as a representation of your company's financial components.
  • A well-designed chart of accounts must divide all of the company's most essential accounts and make it simple to determine which transactions go into which account.
  • It should help you make smarter decisions, provide an accurate picture of your company's financial performance, and make economic reporting rules easier to comply with.

Also Read: Accounting Ratios – Meaning, Types, Formulas

How to Make a Chart of Accounts Changes?

The guidelines for changing your chart of accounts are easy: you can create accounts at any time during the year, but you must wait until the end of the year to eliminate existing ones. It's possible that deleting a profile during the year will cause problems with your accounting.

Let's pretend Ramesh discovers in the middle of the year that his cement mixing practice is wasting a lot more money on cement because her inept intern keeps mixing it incorrectly.

Ramesh may elect to open a new account for the cement instead of entering it in the "Lab Supplies" costs account.

Chart of Accounts Example

  • Example No.1

You spent ₹300 on a ladder for your roofing firm. You'd put ₹300 in the company's savings account (part of its cash assets) and ₹300 in the gear account. Your company is losing money, but you're obtaining new gear.

  • Example No. 2

Assume you're paying your monthly lease in cash. Since cash is getting removed from your organisation, you'd enter the currency asset account and reduce the cost account for rent. If you're using an accounting information system, it'll automatically figure out which funds to credit and debit.

Citation Numbers

You'll note that every account in Ramesh cement mixers' chart of accounts has a five-digit citation number before it. The account number's initial digit indicates which of the five main account types a particular account belongs to—1 for asset accounts, 2 for liability accounts, 3 for equity accounts, and so on.

You had to select and organise these figures manually earlier when we did everything on paper. You don't even bother to choose identification numbers anymore since most accounting applications will do it for you instantly.

The Most Effective Methods

Wait a while before deleting old accounts. It's preferable to sit out the rest of the year to deactivate old accounts so you don't muck up your books. When it comes to tax season, combining or restructuring accounts can be a pain, and you can generate new accounts at any time.

Don't overextend yourself with your accounts. Make a chart of accounts that includes key information. That doesn't imply you have to keep track of every exchange. You don't need a second account for each thing you trade, and you don't require one for each service you use. Some items can be grouped collectively. Consistency is the goal. Generate a chart of accounts that is consistent from season to season. This makes it possible to compare the effectiveness of several accounts over time, giving you vital insight into just how your company's funds are managed.

Reduce the number of accounts you have. Examine all of the company accounts at the end of the year to determine if there are any to consolidate. It will be easier to handle your accounts as a result of this.

How Can You Make Your Chart of Accounts Better?

Consistency is crucial when creating a chart of accounts in India. Make a chart of accounts that won't change for a few years so you can compare results more effortlessly. Comparing your economic data over time will get progressively challenging if you continue to add additional accounts. You should also evaluate the chart of accounts daily and see if any accounts include unnecessary information. If they do, disable these accounts to protect the chart from becoming too large.


A chart of accounts (COA) is an economic organising instrument that lists all of the accounts in a company's general ledger, split down into segments. It is used to manage money and provide relevant parties with a better understanding of a company's financial performance, such as investors and other stakeholders. Each chart of accounts usually includes a name, a short outline, and an identifier number to help users identify individual accounts. COAs must remain consistent from season to season, which guarantees that reliable financial analyses of the business may be performed throughout the period. Every company can customise its chart of accounts to fit its needs. A well-designed chart of accounts must fulfil the administration demands while also assisting the company in meeting financial reporting requirements.
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Q: What are revenue accounts in the chart of accounts?


Revenue accounts record any income generated by your company from the trade of products, operations, or leases.

Q: What are liability accounts in the chart of accounts?


Liability accounts keep track of all the debts owed by your organisation. Payables, salaries payable, and bills payable are examples of liability accounts with the word "payable" in their names.

Q: What are asset accounts in the chart of accounts?


Asset accounts are used to track your firm's resources and add value to them. Hard resources such as property, machinery, currency, and intangibles like copyrights, trademarks, and technology are examples.

Q: What are the most crucial factors to consider when constructing a chart of accounts?


The representation of every account in an accounting system is referred to as a chart of accounts (COA). It arranges the list for each record type, such as resources, debts, ownership, revenue, cost of goods sold, and expenditures. This is then integrated into the accounting system, allowing transactions to be recorded in the general ledger.

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