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Work with the chart of accounts in QuickBooks Desktop

SOLVEDby QuickBooks1610Updated September 27, 2023

Learn how the chart of accounts works in QuickBooks Desktop. 

The chart of accounts lists all your company's accounts and their balances. QuickBooks uses this list to track funds, debts, money coming in, and money going out. 

Each account has a transaction history that you can view in the register. You can also run a quick report for details.

Note: If you have QuickBooks Online, learn more about the chart of accounts in QuickBooks Online.

Account types on the chart of accounts

Your chart of accounts gives you different account types to categorize transactions:

  • Assets:  Purchases for things like vehicles, equipment, and buildings used for your business.
  • Liabilities: Funds you owe but haven't paid yet.
  • Income:  Sales transactions for products or services sold.
  • Expenses: Costs for business operations, like advertising and promotion, office supplies, and rent.

Open your chart of accounts

Select CompanyLists, or Accountant and then Chart of accounts.

Everyone gets the same set of standards accounts. QuickBooks adds accounts based on your industry. If you don't see the account you need, add it manually. You can also edit, delete, or hide an account.

AccountWhat it isAutomatically added by QuickBooks when you...
Accounts Payable (A/P)Tracks bills and bill payments for your business. If your business uses multiple A/P accounts, QuickBooks lets you choose one when you enter and pay bills.Create a bill for the first time.
Accounts Receivable (A/R)Tracks invoices and payments from customers. If you use more than one A/R account, QuickBooks lets you choose one when you invoice or receive payment.Create an invoice for the first time.
Opening Balance EquityOffsets opening balance transactions to make sure the Balance Sheet remains balanced.Enter the opening balance for a balance sheet account.
Payroll ExpenseTracks payroll items (expense) for the company, including salaries, wages, bonuses, and commissions. This includes company contributions like company paid health plans and company paid portions of taxes like Social Security and Medicare.Turn on payroll for the first time.
Payroll LiabilitiesTracks taxes and deductions from your employees' salaries until you turn them over to the government. This includes federal and state income withholding, local and employee paid taxes like Medicare and Social Security.Turn on payroll for the first time.
Retained EarningsAt the beginning of a new fiscal year, QuickBooks transfers net income into your retained earnings account.Set up a new company file.
Sales Tax PayableTracks all sales tax you collect and pay. Amounts not yet paid are a liability payable to the sales tax jurisdictions.Turn on sales tax.
Uncategorized ExpenseExpenses not categorized to a specific expense account like an opening vendor balance.Enter an opening balance for a vendor.
Uncategorized IncomeIncome not categorized to a specific income account like an opening customer balance.Enter an opening balance for a customer.
Undeposited FundsTracks customer payments you collect until you deposit them.
Inventory AssetTracks the value of your inventory.Add an inventory part or assembly for the first time.
Reconciliation DiscrepancyTracks previously reconciled transactions changed since the last account reconciliation.Enter an adjustment to reconcile discrepancies.

Account numbers are optional, but your accountant may ask for them. QuickBooks adds account numbers before account names in the chart of accounts. You can change the default account number at any time. Here’s how to set up account numbers in QuickBooks Desktop for Windows or Mac.

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