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How many chart(s) of accounts do you manage?

A) 1-2

B) 3-5

C) 5 or more


Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

A) 1-2, Any more than this means you are doing something wrong or you have multiple business units that require some differentiation. Even then, one would question why account numbers don't fall into a range of accounts for creating financial statements.

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Consulting CFO and Business Operations A..
Company: Growth Accelerator
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor, Growth Accelerator) |

One master: it can be helpful to use subsets so there is less noise at the department / subsidiary level from extraneous accounts. However assuming you've got one parent entity, it helps to have one account set to consolidate to.

Caveat: if you're international, you may need regional account systems due to legislation on how accounts are set up. So, for my last company, it was 3: one master and two foreign subsidiaries that had a COA legal requirement to meet.

Dean Collura
Title: Director of Sales
Company: Vertical Edge Consulting Group
(Director of Sales, Vertical Edge Consulting Group) |


How are you accomplishing the mapping back to the master?


D. Hill Rose
Title: independent consultant
(independent consultant, ) |

Back when I was an A.T., we made what proved to be a major improvement. We went from posting to potentially 700 G/L accounts from Treasury's "cash desk" to posting to under 50 G/L accounts. The "trick" (not uncommon) was to simply use departmental "Suspense" G/L accounts to get Treasury out of trying to post too much detail. For example, Treasury would post all investment related cash transactions to "Investment Suspense". The investment department would be responsible for posting the off-setting detail.

david waltz
Title: Assistant Treasurer
Company: Integrys Energy Group
(Assistant Treasurer, Integrys Energy Group) |

I ran across a similar set-up once, but there were a lot of items that remained opened (thousands!) for long periods of time, since there was no natural owner because so many departments went into the mix.

Martin van Wunnik
Title: I realize financial projects for my cust..
Company: ARSIMA Projects
(I realize financial projects for my customers, ARSIMA Projects) |

An alternative sometimes is to use additional analytical coding on the individual P&L accounts.

Philip Russell
Title: CFO
Company: FCB Homes
(CFO, FCB Homes) |

1 chart of accounts is much easier to manage. There is something to be said for simplicity.

Donald Kindl
Title: CFO
Company: Troika Entertainment
(CFO, Troika Entertainment) |

1 chart of accounts that is common to all companies we manage we makes it easy to remember accounts when posting entry and consolidation is a breeze.

Topic Expert
Lee Andrews
Title: P/T CFO, Business Consultant
Company: Pacific Bag, Inc./Other Clients
(P/T CFO, Business Consultant, Pacific Bag, Inc./Other Clients) |

Several clients, each of which only has one chart of accounts. Even if I had one with affiliates/foreign entities, etc. I would plan that over time they all converge to a single chart with entity identifier sub-codes.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

When I have managed multi-unit companies, each would have their own COA, however:

1. I'd tried to make them as similar in both structure and numbering as possible
2. The consolidation would have an internal map, thus roll-up would be automatic (this was software specific)

Keeping the numbering as close as possible kept mis-postings down to a minimum, and the mapping made consolidated reporting a no-brainer.

Topic Expert
Aaron Codak
Title: Client Services Finance manager, North A..
Company: Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service ..
LinkedIn Profile
(Client Services Finance manager, North Americ, Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service Center)) |

C - currently 9 - Chart of accounts is the same but we have different entities we manage that each have their own chart of accounts - but the full account number has a field that allows us to differentiate between the different entities.

Jeff Langston
Title: CFO
Company: Baxter Franchise Group
(CFO, Baxter Franchise Group) |

1. And even that can get challenging at times.

Richard Casinelli
Title: CFO
Company: Equity Search, Inc.
(CFO, Equity Search, Inc.) |

Its best to get all the enterprises using a single version- this minimizes consolidation issues. set a standard and stick with it. use sub accounts
for divisions that need additional detail.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

We use two in order to manage three businesses. Of course, these are mapped to our consolidation system.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

In a part of my career I managed the financial and accounting functions of 30 joint venture companies. If the businesses are comparable in activities, one chart of accounts is all you need. Multiple charts of accounts will create a complexity which will increase the probability of error.


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