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What is a sample chart of accounts for SaaS companies?

Vanessa Kruze, CPA, is a leading expert in startup taxes and tax compliance. Her team at Kruze Consulting has filed thousands of tax returns for companies that have raised billions in VC funding, and her work has been diligenced by leading VCs, attorneys, and M&A teams at the largest technology companies.
Vanessa Kruze, a highly-experienced CPA, brings valuable tax expertise to startups, drawing from her rich background at Deloitte Tax and as a financial controller for a $20 million startup. As the leader of Kruze Consulting, recognized multiple times in the Inc 5000 list, she specializes in navigating the complex tax landscape for startups. Her firm is known for delivering precise and strategic tax solutions, delivering tax credits utilizing advanced tools to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits for startups throughout the United States.

Table of contents

We’ve helped SaaS companies (and other startups) raise billions of dollars in venture capital funding and grow to hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue - and having clean, accrual-based financial statements is a critical part of VC due diligence and running a metric driven organization. The goal of the Chart of Accounts is to make recording financial transactions, such as revenue, expenses, investments, etc. as fool-proof and logical as possible.

This template SaaS Chart of Accounts should help you organize your financial statements, and we suggest setting it up from the get-go. While it is possible to add to or update a Chart of Accounts as you build your company, it can become pretty expensive and time consuming if you make changes after you’ve collected a lot of revenue or spend a lot developing a product.

We are including an example of a typical SaaS business’ Income Statement, and then have a standard Chart of Accounts structure, and then a table with an example Chart of Accounts for a SaaS company below. Hopefully this is helpful! And if you are looking for an experienced SaaS accountant, reach out to us.

Sample SaaS Income Statement

  Jan 2021 Feb 2021 Mar 2021
Income      
400000 Revenue      
401000 Subscription $ 17,708 $ 26,875 $ 37,188
Total 400000 Revenue $ 17,708 $ 26,875 $ 37,188
Total Income $ 17,708 $ 26,875 $ 37,188
Gross Profit $ 17,708 $ 26,875 $ 37,188
Expenses      
600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses      
604000 Professional Fees      
604400 Contractors & Consultants $ 13,197 $ 18,954 $ 28,493
604200 Accounting $ 450 $ 450 $ 500
604100 Legal $ 100 $ 250 $ 250
Total 604000 Professional Fees $ 13,747 $ 19,654 $ 29,243
602000 Payroll Expense      
602001 Wages $ 16,617 $ 20,771 $ 41,542
602007 Payroll Processing Fees $ 2,243 $ 2,804 $ 5,607
602004 Payroll Taxes $ 1,334 $ 1,667 $ 3,335
602006 Workers’ Compensation $ 15 $ 20 $ 38
Total 602000 Payroll Expense $ 20,209 $ 25,262 $ 50,521
603000 Software & Web Services $ 1,824 $ 2,502 $ 3,153
601000 Sales & Marketing      
601001 Paid Ads $ 3,790 $ 4,316 $ 9,248
Total 601000 Sales & Marketing $ 3,790 $ 4,316 $ 9,248
610000 Office Supplies & General Expense $ 180 $ 250 $ 450
609000 Office Furniture / Equipment $ 101 $ 204 $ 252
613000 Bank Charges $ 47 $ 105 $ 118
616000 Postage & Shipping $ 0 $ 1 $ 1
Total 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses $ 39,898 $ 52,294 $ 92,985
Total Expenses $ 39,898 $ 52,294 $ 92,985
Net Operating Income $ (22,190) $ (25,419) $ (55,797)
Net Income $ (22,190) $ (25,419) $ (55,797)

High Level SaaS Chart of Accounts Map

This is the highest level map of how the accounting groups will be organized. All other accounts will be sub accounts based off of this list. The numbers will help you quickly identify where any particular child is grouped - i.e. 301000 is Common Stock, which is grouped under the 300000 Equity group.

Numbering System Account Type
Number Grouping Classification
100000 Asset
200000 Liability
300000 Equity
400000 Revenue
500000 COGS
600000 Sales, General & Administrative Expense
700000 Research & Development Expense
900000 Other (Income) / Expenses

Example SaaS Chart of Accounts Template

This is a sample Chart of Accounts that we have used with hundreds of VC backed SaaS startups.

Account Number Account / Subaccount Name Parent Account # Parent Account Name Detail Type
400000 Sales N/A N/A Sales of Product Income
401000 Product SKU 1 400000 Sales Sales of Product Income
402000 Product SKU 2 400000 Sales Sales of Product Income
403000 Product SKU 3 400000 Sales Sales of Product Income
404000 Discounts 400000 Sales Discounts/Refunds Given
405000 Refunds 400000 Sales Discounts/Refunds Given
500000 Cost of Goods Sold N/A N/A Other Costs of Services - COS
501000 Direct Labor 500000 Cost of Goods Sold Cost of Labor - COS
504000 Overhead Allocation 500000 Cost of Goods Sold Other Costs of Services - COS
505000 Hosting Fees 500000 Cost of Goods Sold Other Costs of Services - COS
600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses N/A N/A Advertising/Promotional
601000 Sales & Marketing 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Advertising/Promotional
601001 Paid Ads 601000 Sales & Marketing Advertising/Promotional
601002 Promotional Items 601000 Sales & Marketing Advertising/Promotional
601003 Conferences 601000 Sales & Marketing Advertising/Promotional
601004 Sales Commission 601000 Sales & Marketing Advertising/Promotional
602000 Payroll Expense 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Advertising/Promotional
602001 Wages 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602002 Bonuses 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602003 Vacation Expense 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602004 Payroll Taxes 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602005 Employee Benefits 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602006 Workers’ Compensation 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
602007 Payroll Processing Fees 602000 Payroll Expense Payroll Expenses
603000 Software & Web Services 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Office/General Administrative Expenses
604000 Professional Fees 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Legal & Professional Fees
604001 Legal 604000 Professional Fees Legal & Professional Fees
604002 Accounting 604000 Professional Fees Legal & Professional Fees
604003 Recruiting 604000 Professional Fees Legal & Professional Fees
604004 Contractors & Consultants 604000 Professional Fees Legal & Professional Fees
605000 Travel Expenses 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Travel
606000 Meals 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Travel
607000 Entertainment / Team Events 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Other Business Expenses
608000 Insurance Expense 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Insurance
609000 Office Furniture / Equipment 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Office/General Administrative Expenses
610000 Office Supplies 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Office/General Administrative Expenses
611000 Telephone / Internet Expense 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Office/General Administrative Expenses
612000 Utilities Expense 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Office/General Administrative Expenses
613000 Bank Charges 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Bank Charges
614000 Rent Expense 600000 Sales, General, and Administrative Expenses Rent or Lease of Buildings
700000 Research & Development Expenses N/A N/A Other Business Expenses
900000 Other (Income) / Expenses N/A N/A Other Miscellaneous Expense
901000 Interest (Income) / Expense 900000 Other (Income) / Expenses Other Miscellaneous Expense
902000 Taxes & Licenses 900000 Other (Income) / Expenses Other Miscellaneous Expense
903000 Depreciation Expense 900000 Other (Income) / Expenses Depreciation
904000 Amortization Expense 900000 Other (Income) / Expenses Amortization
905000 Bad Debt Expense 900000 Other (Income) / Expenses Other Miscellaneous Expense
100000 Current Assets N/A N/A Checking
101000 Bank 1 100000 Current Assets Checking
102000 Bank 2 100000 Current Assets Checking
103000 Bank 3 100000 Current Assets Checking
104000 Bank 4 100000 Current Assets Checking
105000 Bank 5 100000 Current Assets Checking
106000 Bank 6 100000 Current Assets Checking
107000 Bank 7 100000 Current Assets Checking
108000 Bank 8 100000 Current Assets Checking
109000 Bank 9 100000 Current Assets Checking
110000 Bank 10 100000 Current Assets Checking
111000 Bill.com Money Out Clearing 100000 Current Assets Checking
112000 Bill.com Money In Clearing 100000 Current Assets Checking
120000 Accounts Receivable N/A N/A Accounts Receivable (A/R)
130000 Other Current Assets N/A N/A Other Current Assets
131000 Prepaids 130000 Other Current Assets Prepaid Expenses
131100 Prepaid Expenses 131000 Other Current Assets Prepaid Expenses
131200 Prepaid Rent 131000 Other Current Assets Prepaid Expenses
131300 Prepaid Benefits 131000 Other Current Assets Prepaid Expenses
132000 Payroll Receivable 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
133000 Clearing Account 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
133100 Stripe Clearing 133000 Clearing Account Other Current Assets
133200 Paypal Clearing 133000 Clearing Account Other Current Assets
133300 Other Clearing 133000 Clearing Account Other Current Assets
134000 Deferred Cost of Revenue 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
135000 Deferred Refunds 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
136000 Accrued Revenue 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
137000 Loan to Shareholder 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
138000 Undeposited Funds 130000 Other Current Assets Other Current Assets
150000 Fixed Assets N/A N/A Depletable Assets
151000 Furniture & Fixtures 150000 Fixed Assets Fixed Asset Furniture
152000 Computers 150000 Fixed Assets Fixed Asset Computers
153000 Office Equipment 150000 Fixed Assets Fixed Asset Copiers
154000 Machinery & Equipment 150000 Fixed Assets Machinery & Equipment
155000 Autos & Trucks 150000 Fixed Assets Vehicles
156000 Building 150000 Fixed Assets Buildings
157000 Land 150000 Fixed Assets Land
158000 Leasehold Improvements 150000 Fixed Assets Leasehold Improvements
159000 Accumulated Depreciation 150000 Fixed Assets Accumulated Depreciation
160000 Intangible Assets N/A N/A Intangible Assets
161000 Domain 160000 Intangible Assets Intangible Assets
162000 Trademarks 160000 Intangible Assets Intangible Assets
163000 Patents 160000 Intangible Assets Intangible Assets
164000 Intangible Asset 1 160000 Intangible Assets Intangible Assets
165000 Intangible Asset 2 160000 Intangible Assets Intangible Assets
169000 Accumulated Amortization 160000 Intangible Assets Accumulated Amortization
170000 Other Assets N/A N/A Other Long-term Assets
171000 Security Deposit 170000 Other Assets Security Deposits
172000 Interest Receivable 170000 Other Assets Other Long-term Assets
210000 Accounts Payable N/A N/A Accounts Payable (A/P)
220000 Credit Cards N/A N/A Credit Card
220001 Credit Card 1 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220002 Credit Card 2 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220003 Credit Card 3 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220004 Credit Card 4 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220005 Credit Card 5 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220006 Credit Card 6 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220007 Credit Card 7 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220008 Credit Card 8 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220009 Credit Card 9 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
220010 Credit Card 10 220000 Credit Cards Credit Card
230000 Other Current LIabilities N/A N/A Other Current Liabilities
231000 401(k) Payable 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
232000 Loan from Shareholder 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
233000 Payroll Liabilities 230000 Other Current Liabilities Payroll Clearing
234000 Payroll Tax Liabilities 230000 Other Current Liabilities Payroll Tax Payable
235000 Accruals 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
235100 Accrued Expenses 235000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
235200 Accrued Rent 235000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
235300 Accrued Vacation 235000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
236000 Taxes Payable 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
236100 Sales Tax Payable 236000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
236200 Use Tax Payable 236000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
236300 SF Tax Payable 236000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
237000 Deferred Revenue 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
238000 Sublease Deposit & Prepaid Rent 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
239000 Employee Reimbursement Liability 230000 Other Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities
240000 Long Term Liabilities N/A N/A Other Long Term Liabilities
241000 Notes / Bonds Payable 240000 Long Term Liabilities Notes Payable
242000 Accrued Interest 240000 Long Term Liabilities Notes Payable
300000 Equity N/A N/A Preferred Stock
301000 Common Stock 300000 Equity Common Stock
302000 SAFE Notes 300000 Long Term Liabilities Preferred Stock
302001 SAFE Investor 1 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302002 SAFE Investor 2 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302003 SAFE Investor 3 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302004 SAFE Investor 4 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302005 SAFE Investor 5 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302006 SAFE Investor 6 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302007 SAFE Investor 7 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302008 SAFE Investor 8 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
302009 SAFE Investor 9 302000 SAFE Notes Preferred Stock
303000 Preferred Stock 300000 Equity Preferred Stock
303100 Series Seed 303000 Preferred Stock Preferred Stock
303200 Series A 303000 Preferred Stock Preferred Stock
303300 Series B 303000 Preferred Stock Preferred Stock
303400 Series C 303000 Preferred Stock Preferred Stock
303900 Financing Costs 303000 Preferred Stock Accumulated Adjustment
304000 Paid-In Capital 300000 Equity Paid-In Capital or Surplus
305000 Treasury Stock 300000 Equity Treasury Stock
308000 Opening Balance Equity 300000 Equity Opening Balance Equity

SaaS Company Chart of Accounts FAQ

What is a Chart of Accounts?

A Chart of Accounts is a legend/index/map of all of the “accounts” where financial transactions can be recorded in your company’s general ledger and accounting system. Each possible location, i.e. account, where a transaction can be listed is recorded in the Chart of Accounts.

Why does a Chart of Accounts matter?

A well designed Chart of Accounts should make it easy to know where to record a company’s transactions. Correctly recorded transactions help business owners and startup founders get better understanding into their company’s performance, and makes following GAAP and accounting standards much, much easier.

Where can you access your company’s Chart of Accounts?

QuickBooks Online is the defacto standard accounting software for venture capital backed startups in the United States, and you find your Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks by hovering over “Accounting” in the navigation column on the left, then clicking “Chart of Accounts.”

Chart of Accounts

Can you change your startup’s Chart of Accounts?

Yes, the COA is not set in stone! If you are using a modern accounting software, it is not too hard to add to your chart of accounts. However, adding in a new item to the chart can make you have to do some extra work. For example, you may have to go back and recategorize transactions that now fit into the new item - although you probably should not change closed tax periods.

Major changes to the COA are also possible, but can be quite a bit of work. We’d recommend working with an experienced startup accountant (like Kruze) if you are going to make serious changes. Additionally, making changes to prior years is not a good idea - those books should be closed when you file your taxes.

What is special about a SaaS company’s Chart of Accounts?

A financial analyst should be able to guess the industry your company is in by looking at your Chart of Accounts - and SaaS businesses are no exception. SaaS businesses are more likely than the average business to have Deferred Revenue, Accrued Revenue and Deferred Costs of Revenue on the balance sheet. SaaS businesses are less likely to have Inventory on the Balance Sheet, and are also less likely to need Direct Parts & Materials, Electrical and Freight & Delivery/Shipping on the Income Statement. This hints at part of the reason why investors love SaaS companies so much - those accounts correspond to cash-intensive activities, while traditional SaaS businesses are generally asset light and have easy to deliver software services!

Where should a SaaS company book non-recurring revenue?

Not all revenue will be recurring. VC’s like to know what recurring revenue is to calculate ARR - so it’s helpful to break it out into a separate account number in your SaaS company chart of accounts. In the template above, we’d suggest using number 401000 for recurring revenue and 402000 for non-recurring revenue. 

Examples of non-recurring revenue - all of which could have their own account number in the COA - might be implementation revenue, overage charges, custom development work, one time access charges, one time support fees and more.

How does Deferred Revenue work at a SaaS company?

One of the most important elements of a SaaS company’s financial statements and Chart of Accounts is the interplay between Deferred Revenue, Cash and Recognized Revenue. MRR is generally calculated as the monthly recognized revenue (although different VCs do look at MRR differently; MRR is not an accounting defined term, so the actual definition can vary based on the business!) So how Deferred Revenue converts into Recognized Revenue matters quite a bit.

When a SaaS company is paid up front for a service that will be delivered over time (often over 12 months with standard SaaS company contracts), the company can not recognize all of that revenue at once. Instead, it recognizes the revenue over the 12 month period. The cash that is received goes onto the balance sheet, and the offsetting liability is Deferred Revenue. Each month, typically ratably, the Recognized Revenue goes onto the Income Statement, and the liability account of Deferred Revenue decreases. You can read more about deferred revenue on our financial modeling template page, as projecting and modeling deferred revenue can be tricky.

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