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Set up chart of accounts using the QuickBooks Online template

by Intuit Updated 7 months ago

Your chart of accounts is a complete list of your company's accounts and balances. You can set up your chart of accounts just the way you like it using our Excel template. When you're done, save the file and import it back into QuickBooks Online so you can use and share it with any client.

Before you start

This article will run through the following steps and topics:

Step 1: Downloading our Excel template

Step 2: Exploring the template

Step 3: Customising the chart of accounts

Step 4: Setting the account hierarchy

Troubleshooting and resolving import errors

Sample accounts for your new chart of accounts

1. Download the QuickBooks Online template

First, download our Excel template. You can also download this from within the chart of accounts import section in QuickBooks.

  1. Go to Bookkeeping and select Chart of accounts.
  2. Using the dropdown arrow next to New, select Import.
  3. Select Download a sample file. 

2. Explore the template

Our template is designed to help reduce errors, improve accuracy and save you time setting up your chart of accounts. We recommend sticking to the existing formatting to make sure your data can be read and imported back into QuickBooks accurately.

Don't worry, we've added tooltips and notes to help you find your way around the template. The dropdown menus offer a range of options and the options available under Detail type depend on the Account type you choose.

3. Customise the account

Next, it's time to customise your chart of accounts! Here are some tips to keep in mind during set-up.


  • Add new accounts
  • Rename the template
  • Keep the file type as .xlsx or .csv


  • Change the template's format or file settings
  • Change the headers in row 1
  • Forget to fill in the required columns marked in green

4. Setting the account hierarchy

Finally, keep your accounts in order by arranging them into header and sub accounts. To do this:

  1. Name the new account — this will be your header.
  2. In the row below, copy the header name and add a colon (:) at the end.
  3. In the same row, add the sub account name after the colon.
  4. Use the same Account type for both accounts.

Ready to import your chart of accounts? Take me there.

Troubleshooting and resolving import errors

Import errors are marked in red at step 3 of the import process. Check the column header and refer to our list of possible errors and how to fix them. Try importing again once you’ve found and fixed the errors.

ErrorHow to fix
Account numberUse a unique number for this account.
Account nameUse a unique name for this account.
Account typeChoose an option from the preset list to ensure this account is set up correctly.
Detail typeChoose an option from the preset list to ensure this account is set up correctly.
Tax rateChoose an option from the preset list to ensure this account is set up correctly.
CurrencyChoose an option from the preset list to ensure this account is set up correctly.
Opening balanceUse a number value for this field, or leave blank if no balance is needed.
DateWe don’t recognise that date format. Double-check the details and try again.

Sample accounts for your new chart of accounts

We’ve added our most commonly used accounts to get you started.

Account nameAccount typeDetail type
Accounting and bookkeepingExpensesLegal and professional fees
Advertising and marketingExpensesAdvertising/Promotional
Bank charges and feesExpensesBank charges
BAS Roundoff Gain or LossOther ExpenseBAS roundoff gain or loss
Billable Expense IncomeIncomeService/Fee income
Contractor Expenses (non salary)ExpensesExternal services
FBT LiabilitiesCurrent liabilitiesBAS payable
Freight & Delivery - COSCost of SalesShipping, Freight and Delivery - COS
Fuel & oilsExpensesAuto
Gas and electricityExpensesUtilities
Gifts and donationsExpensesCharitable contributions
GST Liabilities PayableCurrent liabilitiesBAS payable
Interest expenseExpensesInterest paid
Interest incomeOther incomeInterest earned
InventoryCurrent assetsInventory
LoanNon-current liabilitiesLong term borrowings
Luxury Car Tax LiabilitiesCurrent liabilitiesBAS payable
Meals and entertainmentExpensesMeals and entertainment
Motor vehicle expensesExpensesAuto
Motor vehicles at costFixed assetsVehicles
Office expensesExpensesOffice/General administrative expenses
Office furniture and equipment at costFixed assetsOther fixed assets
Opening balance equityOwner's equityOpening balance equity
Owners drawingsOwner's equityOwner's equity
PAYG Instalment LiabilitiesCurrent liabilitiesBAS payable
PAYG instalments payableCurrent liabilitiesCurrent liabilities
PAYG Withholdings PayableCurrent liabilitiesPayroll liabilities
Payroll clearingCurrent liabilitiesPayroll liabilities
Postage & shippingExpensesOffice/General administrative expenses
Printing, stationery & suppliesExpensesOffice/General administrative expenses
Registration and insuranceExpensesAuto
Repairs and maintenanceExpensesRepair and maintenance
Retained earningsOwner's equityRetained earnings
Salary and wages - staffExpensesPayroll Expenses
ServicesIncomeService/Fee income
Shipping, Freight, and Delivery Postage & HandlingExpensesShipping, Freight and Delivery - COS
Staff amenitiesExpensesOffice/General Administrative Expenses
SubscriptionsExpensesDues and Subscriptions
Superannuation - staffCurrent liabilitiesPayroll liabilities
Superannuation payableCurrent liabilitiesPayroll liabilities
Telephone & internet expensesExpensesUtilities
Travel expensesExpensesTravel
Uncategorised AssetCurrent assetsOther current assets
Uncategorised ExpenseExpensesOther miscellaneous service cost
Uncategorised IncomeIncomeService/Fee income
Undeposited fundsCurrent assetsUndeposited funds
WET LiabilitiesCurrent liabilitiesBAS payable
Workcover expensesExpensesPayroll Expenses
QuickBooks Online EssentialsQuickBooks Online PlusQuickBooks Online Simple Start

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