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Chart of Accounts and Bookkeeping for a Consulting Business

July 18, 2023
Bill Kimball

Before you decide to set up another account, ask yourself whether you can track this item another way. For example, a service industry might have a lot of different projects for the same customer. Instead of creating another account you may want to construct subaccounts or a separate job for each project. As your business grows you will need a fast, accurate and complete reporting system.

A Chart of Accounts (COA) is a complete listing of every account in a business’s accounting system. Accounts come in various types to reflect money spent or earned in addition to assets owned or amounts owed to a creditor. The Chart of Accounts is an excellent a way to record all of these transactions for income, expenses, or liabilities.

At the same time, it happens to be the most underused account as well. A chart of accounts is arranged with a numbering system to help keep the recordkeeping process more organized. Below, we’ll delve into the different types of accounts and how to number them. Below, we’ll discuss why a chart of accounts is so important for your small business; how to make a chart of accounts, and some common account types. A business can create as many sub-accounts as it needs to categorize its transactions. However there are some standard accounts that are typically used across most businesses.

The Add New account window lists the most common kinds of accounts. If you don’t see the account type you want, then select the Other Account Types option and then choose from the drop-down menu shown below. Compare these accounts to the pre-populated list of accounts designed by QuickBooks Online.

What is the purpose of a chart of accounts?

Therefore, always consult with accounting and tax professionals for assistance with your specific circumstances. The chart of accounts lists the accounts that are available for recording transactions. In keeping with the double-entry system of accounting, a minimum of two accounts is needed for every transaction—at least one account is debited and at least one account is credited. Following these guidelines will ensure that your chart of accounts is ready for interpretation and is in correlation with both your balance sheet and income statement. The cost of goods sold is another important item in the chart of accounts for revenue.

chart of accounts for bookkeeping business

Add or delete accounts you feel don’t meet your business transaction needs. Again, more isn’t always better when establishing a Chart of Accounts. Start by assigning names to your business accounts—descriptions such as “Equipment,” “Accounts Payable,” and “Utilities.” This will be the middle column of your chart. Learn about the eight core bookkeeping jobs, from data entry to reporting and tax prep. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the content provided.

How to do bookkeeping

They help with business strategy, identifying barriers hindering development or effectiveness, analyzing a company’s financial budget, and finding partners and suppliers to help achieve goals. Bookkeeping and chart of accounts are essential for consulting businesses as they aid in financial planning and budgeting. Bookkeeping is in charge of preserving accurate and up-to-date records of a company’s financial position. Bookkeepers and accountants perform some of the same tasks, such as providing a record of all financial transactions and end-of-year income reports or tax returns. A bookkeeper is generally in charge of producing charts of accounts, which is crucial for preparing financial statements in consulting firms. In conclusion, bookkeeping and a chart of accounts are essential for consulting businesses to understand their financial budgeting and planning.

  • A chart of accounts helps small business owners keep their financial transactions organized, and it provides a snapshot of the company’s financial standing.
  • The first digit of the number signifies if it is an asset, liability, etc.
  • When you enter a transaction into your software, it may ask you where to record the opposing credit or debit.

The list is part of a business’s general ledger that breaks down and classifies financial activity into categories. A chart of accounts is a way to keep track of, organize, and record all your business’s finances. It’s a list in your company’s general ledger of your business’s accounts, divided into the categories of Asset Accounts, Liability Accounts, Equity Accounts, Revenue Accounts, and Expense Accounts.

Chart of Accounts and Bookkeeping for a Consulting Business

Short-term debt accounts are included in the current liabilities section. Accrual accounts are also included in the liabilities that contain payroll taxes and accrued wages. Long-term debts such as mortgages are also recorded in the liabilities.

We also provide a meticulously prepared chart of accounts for consulting businesses. Note that each account is assigned a three-digit number followed by the account name. The first digit of the number signifies if it is an asset, liability, etc. For example, if the first digit is a “1” it is an asset, if the first digit is a “3” it is a revenue account, etc. The company decided to include a column to indicate whether a debit or credit will increase the amount in the account. This sample chart of accounts also includes a column containing a description of each account in order to assist in the selection of the most appropriate account.

If you want an more detailed system, subaccounts can be created to track certain items such as specific fees for construction supply expenses like fencing, concrete blocks or pavers. These subaccounts will still allow you to keep your online bookkeeping Chart of Accounts simple and error free while still tracking all transactions at the simplest level. As the saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” You just don’t want to spend more that you can earn. Your operating expenses include rent, wages, advertising and the like that you need to incur to run your business.

Fixed asset accounts are adjusted similarly and, after that is done, you need to account for depreciation. Your fixed assets will always go through accumulated depreciation, and it will always be shown as negative. Buildings, vehicles, and machinery all go through depreciation for which they must be accounted for.

You can hide accounts to maintain a tidy list of accounts or delete an account made in error. There’s also a feature that merges accounts if you made too many similar accounts that can be converted into one. When you first establish a new QuickBooks online company file, you are prompted to select an industry. This allows the program to automatically set up a sample Chart of Accounts. For example, if you choose a service-related industry, you will see an income account for service and labor. This Chart of Accounts should include every account you might need for your service-related business.

The consulting profession provides excellent opportunities for individuals to specialize in areas that interest them. Management, strategy, finance, business, and marketing consulting are the five basic types of consulting roles. Think of any possible scenarios that could happen five years down the road. As you go along, you will have to add new accounts to the chart because the number of employees and your business scale eventually increases.

Your bookkeeping needs require you to cater to all of the sales costs, supplier discounts, and other costs related to shipping. The revenue account would be on the same pattern as the income statement. You will have to account for sales revenue, which is the main income source for your business.

chart of accounts for bookkeeping business

Setting up a chart should be the number one priority for a new business setting up its bookkeeping system. Depending on the scale of your business, items are included in the chart of accounts. Within the five general types of categories of accounts, assets, liabilities, and equity comprise the balance sheet, or statement of financial position. The other two, revenue and expenses, together amount to the income statement, or statement of financial activity.

Accounting software

For example, the chart of accounts for a small business may include 15 accounts, while a large corporation could have hundreds of different accounts listed. A chart of accounts groups together transactions of a certain type. This allows you to produce detailed reports into specific areas of the business and its finances.

They also identify the adjustments somebody must make to assist in their implementation and help obtain employees with any required training or resources. Consulting firms bring innovative ideas to re-energize a company, help with business strategy and startup companies, and introduce new initiatives in a company. They analyze a company’s financial budget, make suggestions for changes, and assist with being practical to those changes. Consulting firms find partners and suppliers to help achieve goals. The last column in your chart of accounts should assign a category type to each of the business accounts you listed in the middle column. For example, your business account titled “Equipment” would be labeled as an asset account, and the “Utilities” account would be labeled as an expense account.

Non-operating expenses are costs that can’t be traced back to a particular revenue line item such as interest expense. They require you to give up cash, assets, etc. to settle past transactions. Some business liabilities include bank loans, personal loans, income tax payments due, payroll taxes and accounts payable. On the balance sheet, liabilities can be found opposite the assets section. Liabilities will be listed in order of payment terms, from shortest to longest.

It’s important to note that holding more assets on your balance sheet doesn’t always translate to business growth. The Chart of Accounts is one of the first things you will need to create after you set up a company file in your online bookkeeping system. Having a Chart of Accounts gives you a place to record the payments you receive. Completing these steps is imperative especially around tax time, when running a profit and loss report, or analyzing transactions. Ceptrum is a consulting firm that provides quality services to businesses in various industries to improve their performance. If you are looking for an all-around business consultant, Ceptrum is your best bet.

The asset account is generally given the number 1000, which moves on in a sequence for other accounts. Your current asset account would include all the cash and receivables that are owned by you. Also, if you have an inventory, that would be included in an inventory chart of accounts. As with income, you should also keep separate expense accounts that are simple to understand.

Setting up the Chart of Accounts for your online bookkeeping system is pretty straightforward. However, there are modifications that can be made when working with accounts. From time to time you might need to modify your accounts to change the name, add subaccounts or delete an unused account.

Sales allowances and discounts should also be included along with sales revenue to have a clear picture in front of you, and all the discrepancies can be accounted for easily. If you buy business supplies, that transaction will be recorded in an expense account. There’s even an account for liabilities such as mortgages or loans. Making duplicate categories or accidentally filing an expense in the wrong category are common bookkeeping mistakes. You’ll want to keep your chart of accounts as straightforward and organized as possible. The number of accounts listed in your chart of accounts will correlate with your company’s size.

Consulting firms provide expert assistance to corporations and organizations to solve challenges using in-house and external specialists. Charts of accounts use a numbering system to aid with recordkeeping, and are divided into asset, liability, equity, revenue, and expense accounts. A chart of accounts for a small business is an index of all accounts where its financial information is kept. Account names and numbers where a company’s financial transactions are recorded, so it is imperative to set it up before you start composing the general ledger.

Asset Accounts

Develop a separate chart of accounts for all expenses listed in the form and any other expenses specific to your firm. Blank spaces should always be left for currently unaccounted expenses. Your company’s liabilities show your debt obligations and what you owe or may owe in the future. Just like assets, follow the same pattern for liabilities as it is followed in the balance sheet. There is a chart of accounts for a current liabilities section and a long-term liabilities section.