What is the Chart of Accounts?

The Chart of Accounts (CoA) is a customizable and unique list of all the accounts in FreshBooks in which transactions are recorded. The accounts that appear in the CoA will also appear in the General Ledger report, where you can review transactions in more detail. Where the CoA provides a great overview of your business’ accounts, the General Ledger shows you the details of transaction movement in and out of those accounts.
Advanced Accounting and customizable Chart of Accounts are only available on Plus, Premium, and Select plans.

Access the Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts can be accessed by either going to: 
  • Select the Accounting section, then select the Chart of Accounts sub-section
    Chart of Accounts under Accounting in the navigation menu.
  • Select the Accounting section, then under Chart of Accounts, select the View Your Accounts button
    View your accounts button in Accounting section.
To adjust your view of the CoA, you can either:
  • Select the Filters button to adjust your view
    Filters on the chart of accounts.
    • Date Range - Choose from This Year, This Quarter, Last Quarter, or Custom to enter a date range instead (Jan 1, 2018 is the earliest date we can retrieve data from currently) - if you’ve changed your fiscal year end date, you can also choose from the extra options
    • Currency - Toggle between multiple currencies, only one currency can be viewed at a time

  • Toggle between All Accounts, or by Account Type with the Asset, Liability, Equity, Income or Expense tabs
    Tabs above the main chart of accounts showing each section of the chart of accounts.
If you need to review transactions closely, in the top right corner, select More Actions, and then select General Ledger to be taken to the General Ledger report.

Default Chart of Accounts 

The CoA is organized by the industry standard, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and is sorted by Account Type and Account Sub-Type first, with parent accounts and sub accounts underneath.

Account Types
  • Asset - A resource that your business owns, like cash in hand, prepaid expenses or office equipment
  • Liability - What your business owes to others
  • Equity - The value of your business, including investments into and withdrawals from your business; what remains after liabilities are deducted from assets
  • Income - Revenue your business earns
  • Expense - Costs incurred by your business
Account TypeAccount Sub TypeParent AccountAccount / Sub Account
AssetCash and BankCash*Petty Cash*
Bank Account (if added)*
Current AssetAccounts Receivable* 
Customer Deposits 
Deferred Discounts* 
Payroll Receivable*Taxes Receivable*
Prepaid Expenses 
Property, Plant and EquipmentProperty, Plant and EquipmentFurniture
Furniture - Accumulated Depreciation
Office Equipment
Office Equipment - Accumulated Depreciation
LiabilityCurrent LiabilityAccounts Payable* 
AccrualsAccrued Payroll
Accrued Rent
Credit Cards*Credit Card (if added)*
Customer Credit* 
Payroll Liability*Benefits*
Deductions and Garnishments*
Taxes Payable*
Taxes PayableIncome Tax Payable*
Property Tax Payable*
Custom Taxes Payable Account (if added)*
Sales Tax Name (if added)*
Unearned Revenue* 
EquityEquityCommon Stock 
Opening BalanceOpening Balance Adjustments*
Owner's Equity* 
Retained Earnings*Dividends
IncomeIncomeRevenueBilled Expenses*
Sales Credits
Uncategorized Income*
ExpenseCosts of Goods SoldCosts of Goods SoldCosts of Goods Sold (general)
Cost of Billed Expenses
Cost of Shipping and Handling
Operating ExpenseAdvertising 
Cars and Truck ExpensesCar and Truck Expenses (general)
Vehicle Insurance
Vehicle Licensing
Education and Training 
Employee BenefitsEmployee Benefits (general)
Accident Insurance
Health Insurance
Life Insurance
Meals and EntertainmentMeals and Entertainment (general)
Restaurants and Dining
Office Expenses and PostageOffice Expenses and Postage (general)
Office Supplies
Shipping and Couriers
Other ExpensesOther Expenses (general)
Bank Fees
Business Insurance
Interest - Mortgage
Interest - Other
Online Services
Reference Materials
Repairs and Maintenance
Taxes and Licenses
Payroll Expense*
Employer Taxes*
Professional ServicesProfessional Services (general)
Legal Fees
Rent or LeaseRent or Lease (general)
Office Space
TravelTravel (general)
Taxi and Parking
Uncategorized Expenses* 
UtilitiesUtilities (general)
Gas and Electrical
Sales Taxes Paid*Sales Tax Name (if added)*
*System Account or Automatically Created Account which are required for recording automated transactions in FreshBooks, and have additional restrictions covered below.

Parent Accounts

An example of two Parent Account called Cash and Accounts Receivable.
  • Each parent account has an icon and has accompanying sub accounts underneath
  • A default unique multi-digit account number is automatically assigned based on the account type
  • All the FreshBooks Balances listed in each account underneath makes up the net movement of the parent account for the selected date range
  • Transactions posted directly to the parent account will appear in the [Parent Account] (general) sub account (e.g., posting to Revenue parent account will create a new Revenue (general) sub account)
  • Creating a sales tax will automatically create Sales Tax Name accounts under:
    • Taxes Payable parent account - When the sales tax is applied to a service or item on an invoice, other income, or on applicable credits
    • Sales Taxes Paid parent account - When the sales tax is applied to an expense or bill
  • For more information on the Retained Earnings account, use the Balance Sheet report instead

Sub Accounts

An example of a Sub Account, called Petty Cash.
  • Appear underneath each parent account
  • A default unique multi-digit account number is automatically assigned based on the account type
  • Transactions are recorded in every sub account where applicable, common actions like creating an invoice and applying a payment will automatically post transactions to sub accounts in your CoA
  • Setting a starting balance in bank reconciliation will automatically create these default sub accounts:
    • A Bank account is created under the Cash parent account
    • A Credit Card account is created under the Credit Cards parent account

Restricted Accounts

The below two types of accounts are required to record automated transactions in FreshBooks. These accounts can only have their account number and description edited, and have restrictions to minimize errors in your financial reporting:
 System AccountsAutomatically Created Accounts
Accounts Impacted
  • Cash
  • Petty Cash
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Deferred Discounts
  • Payroll Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Credit Cards
  • Customer Credit
  • Payroll Liability
  • Benefits
  • Deductions and Garnishments
  • Unearned Revenue
  • Opening Balance Adjustments
  • Owner’s Equity
  • Retained Earnings
  • Billed Expenses
  • Sales
  • Discounts
  • Uncategorized Income
  • Payroll Expense
  • Wages
  • Employer Taxes
  • Benefits
  • Reimbursements
  • Uncategorized Expenses
  • Bank accounts added via Bank Connections
  • Credit Card accounts added via Bank Connections
  • Tax Payable + associated sub accounts
  • Sales Tax Paid + associated sub accounts
  • Archive or delete
  • Change Account Type or Account Sub-Type
  • Create sub accounts with the same name as its parent system account
  • Merge into another account
  • Move to different parent accounts
  • Rename accounts (sales tax names can be updated in invoices, expenses, other income, etc., but CoA will reflect original sales tax name)

Manage Accounts

Add Accounts

Once an account is added, journal entries can be posted to it. Create an account with these steps:
  1. With Advanced Accounting activated, or as an accountant, select the Accounting section
  2. Then select the Chart of Accounts sub-tab underneath Accounting
  3. Select More Actions
  4. Then select Add New Account
    Add new account with fields to fill out.
  5. Under Account Type, choose between Asset, Liability, Equity, Income or Expense
  6. Next, under Account Sub Type, choose from the available options based on your Account Type as needed
  7. Then choose between Parent Account or Sub Account
    1. If Sub Account is chosen, in the Group Under Parent Account dropdown, select the Parent Account you want this new sub account to be organized under
  8. Next, enter an Account Name
  9. Then enter the unique Account Number, which is automatically populated for you but can be overwritten
  10. If needed, add in details in the Description field
  11. Select Save to create the new account. 

Edit Accounts

Before making any edits to accounts, we recommend consulting with an accountant and reviewing the restrictions for certain accounts first. Making changes will impact reports.
Edit any custom accounts as well as some default accounts in order to do any of the following:
  • Move to a different parent account
  • Change the account name or the account number
  • Turn a sub account into a parent account
  • Update the description
After checking with your accountant and reviewing the restrictions for certain accounts, edit accounts with these steps:
  1. With Advanced Accounting activated, or as an accountant, select the Accounting section
  2. Then select the Chart of Accounts sub-tab underneath Accounting
  3. Next, either:
    1. Hover over any account and select the pencil icon to edit it
      Edit button next to the account.
    2. Or select any account, then select the More Actions button and select Edit.
  • Parent Accounts - Parent accounts must not have any sub accounts underneath it before becoming a sub account; otherwise all sub accounts underneath must also be removed (either to another parent account or become parent accounts of their own)
  • Sub Accounts - To remove a sub account from a parent account, edit the sub account and turn it into a parent account or move it to a different parent account instead

Archive and Unarchive Accounts

Archive accounts that you no longer use to keep your Chart of Accounts organized. This will not change your reports, and can be done with the below steps:
  1. With Advanced Accounting activated, or as an accountant, select the Accounting section
  2. Then select the Chart of Accounts sub-tab underneath Accounting
  3. Next, either:
    1. Hover over any Account and select the box icon to archive it
      Archive button next to the account.
    2. Or select any account, then select the More Actions button and select Archive
  4. Confirm the action by checking off the boxes and selecting Archive to finish.
Once an account is archived:
  • The archived account no longer appears in the Chart of Accounts, in dropdowns while adding or editing an account, or while creating a new journal entry
  • All transactions will remain in the archived account and your reporting will not change
  • Archived sub accounts will remain connected to the parent account
  • Archived parent accounts with sub accounts underneath will be archived as well
  • Archived Income accounts that items and services were assigned to will be reassigned to the Sales account under the Revenue parent account instead
Unarchiving an account can be done by:
  1. With Advanced Accounting activated, or as an accountant, select the Accounting section
  2. Then select the Chart of Accounts sub-tab underneath Accounting
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Chart of Accounts and select the View All Archived Accounts button
  4. Next, either:
    1. Hover over any account and select the arrow icon to unarchive it
    2. Or select any account, select the More Actions button and select Unarchive
  5. Select Unarchive to confirm and select All Accounts to go back to your Chart of Accounts. The unarchived account will now appear in your Chart of Accounts.


Can I change the account that is affected when I enter an expense or apply a payment in FreshBooks?
When you enter common transactions like expenses or payments, FreshBooks automatically posts accounting entries to specific default accounts in your CoA.
The process of completing bank reconciliation (bank rec) will assign transactions to the correct account in the CoA. Your accountant can also reassign any transaction entered to other accounts in the CoA with journal entries.

Why is there a large balance in my Petty Cash account?
FreshBooks uses Petty Cash as a clearing account, with many transactions flowing through it before they are reconciled in bank reconciliation (bank rec). If not using bank rec, the Petty Cash account is used as a catch-all for transactions instead of a Bank account or Credit Card account.

Can I import an existing Chart of Accounts?
While you cannot import an existing Chart of Accounts from another source, you (through Advanced Accounting), or your invited accountant can customize your Chart of Accounts by adding new accounts as needed.

Where do I enter the beginning balances in my Chart of Accounts if I’m moving my finances from a different accounting system?
Account Balances can be added to your CoA by having your accountant create journal entries to the specific default accounts. In the notes of the journal entries, include the cut-off date of when you made the transition from the old system to FreshBooks.