Accounting 101: Setting Up Your Books (Part 2)

And now for Part Two. Miss Part One?

Now that you have an understanding of the information you need to track. How do you track it?

Developing Your Chart of Accounts: Your chart of accounts is a listing of accounts that are used to prepare financial reports. They are typically structured as follows:

1000-1999 Assets

2000-2999 Liabilities

3000-3999 Equity

4000-4999 Sales

5000-5999 Costs of Goods Sold

6000-6999 Operating Expenses (General and Administrative)

7000-7999 Other Income and Expense

8000-8999 Income Tax Expense

The accounts 1000-3999 are used to prepare the balance sheet and 4000-8999 are used to prepare the income statement (profit and loss). The number of individual accounts within each category will depend on the needs of your business.

Rule of thumb: use the least number of accounts to achieve the financial information you need and structure it for growth. What do I mean by growth? Let’s look a little closer at a condensed assets section:

1000 Petty Cash

1005 Checking

1010 Savings

1100 Accounts Receivable

1200 Inventory

1300 Prepaid Expenses

1400 Fixed Assets

1450 Accumulated Depreciation

Note: the account numbers are not in sequential order. This will allow room for growth in the business.

The chart of accounts can also be used to track jobs, departments, divisions etc. Let’s say you have a location in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot and you want to be able to view the profitability for each location. You are able to track by each location by assigning a division number, 01-Fargo, 02-Bismarck, 03-Minot, and attaching it to each of the accounts as such:

4000-01 Sales

4000-02 Sales

4000-03 Sales

5000-01 Costs of Goods Sold

5000-02 Costs of Goods Sold

5000-03 Costs of Goods Sold

Certain software will allow to track these profit centers outside of the chart of accounts. For example in QuickBooks, you are able to have just one sales and one costs of sales account by using classes and subclasses.

Selecting an Accounting System: Tracking your information can be accomplished in two ways: manually or computerized (desktop or cloud-based). There is no right or wrong way, however computerized accounting software is more efficient which is why manual accounting is almost non-existent in today’s accounting. Cloud-based also give you the freedom to access your financial data from just about anywhere, on any device.

There are several effective accounting software solutions out there such as (just to name a few; not all inclusive)

QuickBooks (Online or Desktop)





Again, it is important to understand your needs prior to purchasing to make sure you get a solution that fits your needs.

Overwhelmed? Need More Direction? Eide Bailly has the resources to help you design your accounting system or help you selected a solution that best fits your needs.

Accounting System Setup 101

One comment on “Accounting 101: Setting Up Your Books (Part 2)

  1. […] Need some more help with setting up your books?? We’ve written two blogs on this for you: Part 1 and Part 2. […]


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