Import a chart of accounts file

To import a chart of accounts file, you must:

  • Have a new Accounting business with no transactions or records.
  • Have your chart of accounts file saved in comma separated value (CSV) format.
  • Use the same column headings and formatting as in the chart of accounts CSV template file.

How it works

During the import process, the accounts in your CSV file overwrite the standard ledger accounts in Accounting.

You can update the code and name of control accounts if you include them in your import file. If you don’t include them, Accounting creates them automatically, as they are mandatory accounts.

If you'd like to learn more, you can watch a video about the chart of accounts.

Step 1: Download the CSV template file

Each CSV file contains a standard list of ledger accounts and the required columns for Nominal Code, Ledger name, Control account, Category and Tax rate.

A CSV file is a special kind of excel spreadsheet.

Download the CSV file that is suitable for your business type.

Step 2: Prepare your import file the chart of accounts file

If you already have a list of ledger accounts exported from another system,

  1. Change the column headings to match the format used in the template file.
  2. Remove any columns in your CSV file that are not used in the template file.
  3. Make sure the data format used in each column matches the format used in the template file.
  4. Category - Each ledger account must belong to a one of the categories already set up in Sage Accounting. You cannot used your own categories.
  5. Tax rate - Each ledger account must have a Tax Rate associated with it.

If you don't have your ledger accounts in CSV file already, simple amend the template file with required ledger account names and nominal codes. Make sure you use the correct Category and Tax Rate for each one.

The maximum file size you can import is 0.5MB.

Control accounts

These are ledger accounts that are required as they are used by default for certain transactions must be present in every ledger account list. These accounts cannot be removed but you can change the Nominal Code or Display Name.

Column headings and required formats

When preparing your file, use the table below to ensure that your file format is correct. Remember that the header row in your CSV file must use the same headings as shown below.

Column Column Heading Notes
A NOMINAL CODE Can contain up to 8 numbers and each code must be unique.
B LEDGER NAME Max length 200 characters.
C CONTROL ACCOUNT If populated must contain a valid control account name, these ledger accounts can be updated with different numbers/names but should not be removed.
If you select the control accounts of either BANK_CURRENT or BANK_CASH with the category as BANK you will create a bank account found in the Banking section.
D CATEGORY Use one of the following categories

  • SALES
  • OTHER_INCOME
  • DIRECT_EXPENSES
  • OVERHEADS
  • DEPRECIATION
  • CURRENT_ASSETS
  • FIXED_ASSETS
  • BANK
  • CURRENT_LIABILITY
  • FUTURE_LIABILITY
  • EQUITY
E TAX RATE

Use one of the following tax rates:

  • Standard,
  • Lower,
  • Zero,
  • Exempt,
  • No VAT

Step 3: Import the chart of accounts file

  1. From Settings, select Chart of Accounts.
  2. From the New Ledger Account drop-down arrow, select Import Accounts.
  3. Click the Upload Data File link.
  4. Browse to your CSV file and then click Open.
  5. Click OK.

Common errors

If your file cannot be imported, we'll tell you what the problems are and which rows are affected.

Not a valid column heading

This indicates that row 1 of the CSV file contains an invalid column heading.

The column headings must be in the following format:
Column A = NOMINAL CODE
Column B = LEDGER NAME
Column C = CONTROL ACCOUNT
Column D = CATEGORY
Column E = TAX RATE

To resolve this, you must ensure the column headings are correct and try the import again.

NOMINAL CODE must be unique

This indicates there is a duplicated a nominal code within the CSV file.

To resolve this, you must check for duplicates in the CSV file and change the code in the indicated cell to a unique nominal code then try the import again.

Not a number

This indicates the information is in another format when it should be a number. For example, if you enter text when it should be a number.

To resolve this, you must change the format in the indicated cell and try the import again.

Must be a valid category

This indicates the CSV file contains an invalid category.

The categories must be one of the following:

  • SALES
  • OTHER_INCOME
  • DIRECT_EXPENSES
  • OVERHEADS
  • DEPRECIATION
  • CURRENT_ASSETS
  • FIXED_ASSETS
  • BANK
  • CURRENT_LIABILITY
  • FUTURE_LIABILITY
  • EQUITY

The category you choose determines where the ledger account appears in your management reports.

To resolve this, you must use a valid category in the indicated cell and try the import again.

Nominal code used

This indicates you have replaced a control account nominal code but have not added the control account indicator to an alternative code.

For example, nominal code 1000 for Stock – Raw Materials identified with control account indicator STOCK_RAW. If I use nominal code 1000 for Stock and don’t add the control account indicator STOCK_RAW it will receive the error.

You receive this error because the program adds all control accounts not found in the import, as the default code is used it can’t be used again.

To resolve this, we recommend you include all control account indicators listed below:

STOCK_RAW TAX_LIABILITY
COS_GOODS STATUTORY_MATERNITY_PAY
TRADE_DEBTORS TAX_ALLOCATIONS_AND_ADJUSTMENTS
PURCHASE_DISCOUNTS STATUTORY_PATERNITY_PAY
BANK_CURRENT TAX_ON_SALES_HOLDING
EMPLOYEE_COSTS STATUTORY_ADOPTION_PAY
BANK_CASH TAX_ON_PURCHASES_HOLDING
EMPLOYERS_NIC BANK_CHARGES_AND_INTEREST
TRADE_CREDITORS PAYE
EMPLOYERS_PENSION EX_RATE_GAIN_LOSS
TAX_ON_SALES NI
OTHER_DEDUCTIONS OPENING_BALANCES
TAX_ON_PURCHASES STUDENT_LOAN
STATUTORY_SICK_PAY SUSPENSE_CORRECTIONS
ATTACHMENTS CARRIAGE_ON_SALES
SALES_SERVICES PROFIT_AND_LOSS
NET_WAGES OTHER_INCOME
SALES_DISCOUNTS SALES_PRODUCTS
PENSION