What Is An Account?

Oracle Applications Fusion Cloud - Manufacturing

Oracle Cloud/Fusion Manufacturing Cloud training will help you develop the fundamental skills required to set up and use the Manufacturing module. This training covers all the tasks, setups, forms and reports used in Manufacturing and related modules

To keep a company's financial data organized, accountants developed a system that sorts transactions into records called accounts. When a company's accounting system is set up, the accounts most likely to be affected by the company's transactions are identified and listed out. This list is referred to as the company's chart of accounts. Depending on the size of a company and the complexity of its business operations, the chart of accounts may list as few as thirty accounts or as many as thousands. A company has the flexibility of tailoring its chart of accounts to best meet its needs.

Within the chart of accounts the balance sheet accounts are listed first, followed by the income statement accounts. In other words, the accounts are organized in the chart of accounts as follows:

    * Assets
    * Liabilities
    * Owner's (Stockholders') Equity
    * Revenues or Income
    * Expenses
    * Gains
    * Losses

chart of accounts

A chart of accounts is a listing of the names of the accounts that a company has identified and made available for recording transactions in its general ledger. A company has the flexibility to tailor its chart of accounts to best suit its needs, including adding accounts as needed.

Within the chart of accounts you will find that the accounts are typically listed in the following order:
    Balance sheet accounts    
    * Assets
    * Liabilities
    * Owner's (Stockholders') Equity

    Income statement accounts    
    * Operating Revenues
    * Operating Expenses
    * Non-operating Revenues and Gains
    * Non-operating Expenses and Losses

Within the categories of operating revenues and operating expenses, accounts might be further organized by business function (such as producing, selling, administrative, financing) and/or by company divisions, product lines, etc.

A company's organization chart can serve as the outline for its accounting chart of accounts. For example, if a company divides its business into ten departments (production, marketing, human resources, etc.), each department will likely be accountable for its own expenses (salaries, supplies, phone, etc.). Each department will have its own phone expense account, its own salaries expense, etc.

A chart of accounts will likely be as large and as complex as the company itself. An international corporation with several divisions may need thousands of accounts, whereas a small local retailer may need as few as one hundred accounts.

Each account in the chart of accounts is typically assigned a name and a unique number by which it can be identified. (Software for some small businesses may not require account numbers.) Account numbers are often five or more digits in length with each digit representing a division of the company, the department, the type of account, etc.

As you will see, the first digit might signify if the account is an asset, liability, etc. For example, if the first digit is a "1" it is an asset. If the first digit is a "5" it is an operating expense.

A gap between account numbers allows for adding accounts in the future. The following is a partial listing of a sample chart of accounts.

Property, Plant, and Equipment (account numbers 17000 - 18999)
    17000   Land
    17100   Buildings
    17300   Equipment
    17800   Vehicles
    18100   Accumulated Depreciation - Buildings
    18300   Accumulated Depreciation - Equipment
    18800   Accumulated Depreciation - Vehicles

Current Liabilities (account numbers 20000 - 24999)
    20100   Notes Payable - Credit Line #1
    20200   Notes Payable - Credit Line #2
    21000   Accounts Payable
    22100   Wages Payable
    23100   Interest Payable
    24500   Unearned Revenues

Double Entry Accounting

Because every business transaction affects at least two accounts, our accounting system is known as a double entry system. (You can refer to the company's chart of accounts to select the proper accounts. Accounts may be added to the chart of accounts when an appropriate account cannot be found.)

For example, when a company borrows $1,000 from a bank, the transaction will affect the company's Cash account and the company's Notes Payable account. When the company repays the bank loan, the Cash account and the Notes Payable account are also involved.

If a company buys supplies for cash, its Supplies account and its Cash account will be affected. If the company buys supplies on credit, the accounts involved are Supplies and Accounts Payable.

If a company pays the rent for the current month, Rent Expense and Cash are the two accounts involved. If a company provides a service and gives the client 30 days in which to pay, the company's Service Revenues account and Accounts Receivable are affected.

Although the system is referred to as double entry, a transaction may involve more than two accounts. An example of a transaction that involves three accounts is a company's loan payment to its bank of $300. This transaction will involve the following accounts: Cash, Notes Payable, and Interest Expense.

Journal Entries

Another way to visualize business transactions is to write a general journal entry. Each general journal entry lists the date, the account title(s) to be debited and the corresponding amount(s) followed by the account title(s) to be credited and the corresponding amount(s). The accounts to be credited are indented. Let's illustrate the general journal entries for the two transactions that were shown in the T-accounts above.

Date                Account Name     Debit          Credit
June 1, 2008        Cash             5,000   
                  Notes Payable              5,000

Date                  Account Name       Debit     Credit
June 2, 2008         Notes Payable       2,000   
                         Cash                 2,000

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