Every Business Finance Assistant account comes with a functional Chart of Accounts. However when you move to Business Finance Assistant from a prior accounting solution, you may wish to carry over your existing Chart of Accounts, especially if you plan to import accounting transactions.
You can edit each account one-by-one to change account numbers, move accounts from one family to another, or rename them. If you have changes to make to a large number of accounts, we recommend uploading a Chart of Accounts.
Please note: uploading a chart of has a big impact and potential negative consequences. Uploading chart of accounts cannot be undone, so we recommend working with a Charted Accountant during this process to avoid making unwanted changes to your account.
The Chart of Accounts importer accepts a very simple format for uploading:
Download the Chart of Accounts from your prior solution and prepare a CSV (comma-separated-value) with these two columns.
Options available during import:
Number length option
Sets the default account number length used when setting account numbers. To know which selection to make you must determine which numbering convention you are using. There are two main types of numbering conventions: flat numbering and hierarchical numbering.
What is Flat Numbering?
Flat numbering is common for GAAP accounting in the United Kingdom, and most other countries in the world using accounting systems based on these. In a flat numbering system, the majority of the account numbers have the same length, including top-most (family) accounts and bottom level (actual) accounts.
In most cases account numbers will all have the same length, however it is still possible to add more accounts of even further detail with longer account numbers, if the chart of accounts grows outside of the range you intended to use. For example: You have one family account Widgets 61100 and another one Services 61110. You are creating sub-accounts 61101-61109 for widgets and you run out. It is possible to have accounts 611010, 611011, 611012, etc. that will still be sub-accounts of 61100.
40000 - INCOME
40100 - SALES
40110 - SALES:PRODUCTS
40120 - SALES:ASSEMBLIES
40130 - SALES:MANUFACTURING
For the flat numbering in this example, you would choose a length of '5' since that is the length of the account numbers for the design of the top-level of the chart of accounts.
What is Hierarchical Numbering?
Hierarchical numbering is specific to France, Belgium, Spain and many french-speaking countries. In a hierarchical numbering system, the top-most family accounts have the shortest length (often only one number long, such as the account '4 - THIRD PARTY ACCOUNTS' below. Sub-account families and accounts have progressively longer account numbers, and the bottom level (actual) accounts have the longest length.
4 - THIRD PARTY ACCOUNTS
40 - SUPPLIERS AND RELATED ACCOUNTS
401 - SUPPLIERS
4010000 - OTHER SUPPLIERS
For the Hierarchical numbering in this example, you would choose a length of '7' since that is the length of the account numbers for bottom level accounts.
Clean Chart of Account option
The 'Cleaning' option is for either simply adding additional accounts to the existing Chart of Accounts or for those who wish to start afresh.
When you simply want to add more accounts to the Chart of Accounts, such as additional expense accounts you should leave the existing chart of accounts intact and set Clean CoA to the OFF position (the default setting) during import.
When you want to upload a fresh Chart of Accounts and remove the existing Chart of Accounts as much as possible during importing, you should have Clean CoA set to the ON position (in Advanced section).
When will an account not be cleaned?
- If the account is referenced by an existing accounting transaction
- If the account is a 'Core account' used by in-built Business Finance Assistant business rules
- If the account is assigned to an entity like Customers, Suppliers, Products, Banks, etc.
- If the account is a Family account with one or more children
- If the account exists in the uploaded file
How the file is imported
The account number in the file is used to compare the uploaded file to the existing Chart of Accounts, and to determine where in the list it should be added. Below are some things to keep in mind about how the file is processed:
The account numbers in the file must be exactly the 'Number Length' selected or longer.
Lines with bad data/format will be skipped (account number is not a number, name is blank, etc.)
Existing account numbers
When the account number is the same as an existing account, the existing account will be overwritten. For Hierarchical account numbering, you cannot rename family accounts unless they have the same length as the 'Number Length'.
When an existing account is not included in the uploaded file, it will be left alone (not deleted) unless you chose 'Clean CoA' option.
Account numbers must be unique
When the importer encounters two or more lines with the same account number, it will use the last one encountered in the list (furthest from the top).
When there is not a top-level account to be parent to an account, it will be skipped. For example: If you try to import an account ‘9000000’ to a bank account but there is no parent account ‘9’.
Account number length
If possible, existing account numbers will be shortened to match the “Number Length” selected.
Position in Chart of Accounts
If the account number is not present in the existing chart of accounts, Business Finance Assistant will search for the best possible parent for this new account (see rules below)
Details of how accounts are positioned
When uploading a file, Business Finance Assistant uses the account number to decide where to place the account in the chart of accounts. It does so by identifying the family that has the most numbers in common at the beginning of the account number.
So for example in this section of an existing Chart of Accounts:
50000 - Cost of Sales
51000 - Product Cost
51001 - Product Cost - Items
51002 - Product Cost - Services
57000 - Expenses
57500 - Freight
EXAMPLE 1 - IMPORTING ACCOUNT 50010
50010 would have a parent account of 50000 - Cost of Sales, because it shares the starting digit ‘5’.
EXAMPLE 2 - IMPORTING ACCOUNT 51001
51001 would have a parent account of 51000 - Product Cost since the ‘5’ and ‘1’ match this family account.
EXAMPLE 3 - IMPORTING ACCOUNT 52001
52001 would have a parent account of 50000- Cost of Sales, because it matches the ‘5’. Since there is no family account 52000, 50000 is the nearest family account.
Certain models of Chart of Account track entities like customers and suppliers with auxiliary accounts under a collective account.
For example, if you are importing a vendor ‘FOU-015’. This vendor belongs to the collective account ‘4110000’.
Many solutions will export the chart of accounts with ‘FOU-015’ as the account number for this auxiliary account. But in order to be properly positioned in the chart of accounts, the 'Collective account' (which is 4110000 in this case) has to be mentioned in the number column.
So, to properly get this auxiliary account to import, the number has to be '[Collective account number] [auxiliary number]' -> ‘4110000 FOU-015’
Accessing the import tool
Proceed with caution!