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Chart Of Accounts
by Bean Counter's Dave Marshall

Lesson 4
Show Me !

Introduction Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5
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I'm From Missouri - Show Me !!!
Note: For those not located in the USA, our state, Missouri, is nicknamed the Show Me State. The saying "I'm from Missouri - Show Me" is often used anytime someone wants proof or to see an example.

Now that we're hopefully somewhat familiar with the chart of accounts, let's review and take a look at some of the common accounts that are included in a Chart Of Accounts and how they are normally grouped and organized.

I've grouped the accounts into Balance Sheet and Income Statement accounts and provided the following links to pages that provide examples and definitions of the accounts, and explanations and illustrations of how a typical chart of accounts is organized and presented.

Chart of Accounts to use as a guide for creating your own:

Balance Sheet Accounts
Income Statement Accounts

No, I didn't assign numbers or attributes to the accounts. We did that in earlier lessons. Here, I left that part for you to do. What I did do is provide a framework or outline that can be used to build upon. Why ? The simplicity or complexity of your chart of accounts depends upon your needs.

Chart of Accounts used with Accounting & Bookkeeping Software

Some of the current accounting software programs are even designed without using account numbers (numeric digits) at all and use the account name to set up the chart of accounts and identify the accounts and further define the accounts by assigning additional identifiers such as a division code, department code, type of account code (asset, liability, equity, revenue, expense), account group (current asset, current liability, etc.) sequence code (order the account appears in financial reports), etc. that are used to group and report on different segments or activities of the business and provide information for formatting reports. Others make it optional for using account numbers (numeric digits). Many still strictly adhere to a number grouping system using numeric digits.

Some Useful Features provided with Good Accounting Software

  • Includes sample charts of accounts for different types of businesses (retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer, or service type) and organizational types (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, etc.).
  • Flexible methods of structuring the hierarchy and assigning account numbers.
  • User-defined and user-controlled chart of accounts.
  • Allows unlimited number of user-defined accounts.
  • Flexibility to handle user-defined account number lengths.
  • Flexibility to create an organization's hierarchical structure to use for Management Reports.
  • Flexibility to define an unlimited number of summary reporting paths for report writing and inquiry purposes.
  • Support of control and subsidiary accounts.
  • Support of alphanumeric accounts.

Where to find Samples and Additional Guidance

  • Many Accounting and Bookkeeping Software Programs have a number of "canned" charts of accounts for different types of businesses and industries that can be used as guides or samples when setting up your Chart Of Accounts.
  • Many trade or industry associations provide recommended sample charts of accounts for their type of industry.
  • Accounting Textbooks
  • Your friendly accountant.
  • Internet Searches ?????
    My searches didn't produce much (that's one of the reasons for this tutorial), but you might be luckier than me.
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