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Numbering Your Chart of Accounts

QuickBooks doesn't assign numbers to your accounts when you set them up through the EasyStep interview. You can assign account numbers yourself in one of two ways:

  • Let QuickBooks assign a numbering system for you.

  • Choose your own numbering/lettering system.

Assigning Account Numbers with QuickBooks

The easiest way to assign numbers to your Chart of Accounts is to allow QuickBooks to do the work for you. QuickBooks assigns account numbers using the following numbering scheme, and you are welcome to accept these numbers. If you want to change the account numbers to your own numbering scheme, see the following section, "Assigning Account Numbers Yourself."

  1. On a spreadsheet or a piece of paper, create all the accounts you think you might want to use.

  2. Choose Edit, Preferences.

  3. Click the Accounting icon at the left side of the Preferences window.

  4. Click the Company Preferences tab at the top of the window, and then click Use Account Numbers. Click OK to save your choice.

QuickBooks assigns numbers to each existing account, based on a standard system of numbering as follows:

1000s: Numbers in the 1000s are assets
2000s: Liabilities
3000s: Equity
4000s: Income
5000s: Cost of Sales
6000s, 7000s: Other operating expenses
8000s: Other income
9000s: Other expenses

Assigning Account Numbers Yourself

It's harder, but perhaps ultimately more useful to your business, to choose your own numbering/lettering system for account numbers rather than letting QuickBooks choose account numbers for you. Whether you select all your own account numbers or let QuickBooks number the accounts, you need to open the Preferences window and turn on account numbering. In addition to numbering all your existing accounts automatically, QuickBooks places a new field in your New Account window: the Account Number field. Use the following steps to number your accounts:

  1. For all new accounts, refer to your spreadsheet or paper list of account numbers, and enter your own account number in the Number field when setting up the account.

  2. For existing accounts, go to the Edit Account window and change the assigned account number to the one that you prefer.

When choosing account numbers, keep in mind that any financial statements or reports that you want organized by account name are now going to be organized by account number. This is because QuickBooks makes your account number part of the account name (almost like the first word in the name). If you want to have your accounts appear alphabetically on your financial statements, assign account numbers to the accounts in alphabetical order.

You can use up to seven characters for your account numbering system, and you can choose any combination of letters (upper- and lowercase) and numbers to form your account numbers.

No provision exists for assigning account numbers during the EasyStep interview. This is something you must do after the interview has been completed.

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Last Update: November 17, 2020