A chart of accounts is a tool that categorizes financial transactions. Account types include income, expenses, liabilities, equity, and assets. In this article you will find detailed information on the following: 

Account Types

Click here to learn about the categories for cash flow classification.

For example:

  • By default, Buildium's chart of accounts includes such accounts as accounts payable, application fee income, and owner draw.
  • I added "Pet Deposit Liability" to my chart of accounts, and it was so easy!

Every financial transaction that you record in Buildium will be coded to one or more accounts. By choosing an account, you'll tell the software what the transaction is for and how it should be used in reports.

Account type Examples

Assets

Assets are things a property owns

  • Bank accounts
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Property and equipment
  • Prepaid expenses
  • Accumulated Depreciation

Liabilities

Liabilities are amounts a property owes

  • Loans
  • Security Deposits
  • Prepaid amounts
  • Pet Deposits
  • Credit Cards

Equity

Equity is amounts that belong to a property's owner after subtracting what's owed to other people

  • Owner contribution
  • Owner draws

Income

Income is amounts that a property earns

  • Rent
  • Association Fees
  • Utility Income
  • Laundry Income
  • Late Fees

Expenses

Expenses are amounts that a property spends

  • Management Fees
  • Repairs
  • Supplies
  • Insurance
  • Advertising

 

A contra account is an account on your chart of accounts that usually has a negative balance on reports.

For example:

  • Owner draw equity is a contra equity account. When you look at it on a balance sheet, you'll see a negative number because the owner has taken equity out of the property.
  • Some accountants show sales discounts as a contra income (or contra revenue) account to they can track how much income they "lost" through the promotion.

    Let's say a widget sells for $100 and it's on sale for $80. You sell one widget for that discounted price. Most accountants will show $80 of "widget sales" on a cash basis income statement.

    Widget sales income $80
    Total income $80

    Some accountants will want to track the cost of the promotion. Their income statement looks like this.

    Widget sales income $100
    Promotions (contra income) ($20)
    Total income $80

    Both methods are correct. If you're not sure which to use, check with your accountant.

Add a contra account to your chart of accounts like any other account. For example, add a contra revenue account as an income account. As you use Buildium, your transactions will cause the number to appear with negative totals on your reports.

Buildium's budget feature can support negative numbers in budgeted amounts. When the actual amounts are calculated, they'll appear as negative numbers on the report.

Cash Flow Classification

Operating activities include activities related to net income. These are your company’s core business activities. Most financial transactions fall into this category.

  • Examples for your company include:
    • earning a management fee
    • marketing your business
    • paying the electric bill
  • Examples for properties include:
    • receiving a rent payment
    • having repairs done on the property

Investing activities include activities related to long-term investments or assets.

  • Examples for your company include:
    • buying a company car or another piece of capital equipment
  • Examples for properties include:
    • making a long-term improvement to a building

Financing activities include activities related to non-current liabilities and owners’ equity.

  • Examples for your company include:
    • taking out a loan from the bank
    • raising cash from investors
    • issuing a dividend
  • Examples for properties include:
    • taking out a mortgage
    • paying an owner draw

Account numbers in the chart of accounts 

When creating or editing GL accounts within the Chart of Accounts, you can now add a GL Account Number. Once your GL accounts are assigned an account number, you can search and sort by the account number and choose to show or hide these numbers throughout the application, including various financial reports. This is controlled by a toggle on the Chart of Accounts page under the Accounting menu.



This toggle is an account level setting so if Account Numbers are enabled, all users with appropriate access will be able to see and search by these account numbers. If the account numbers are disabled, you will no longer be able to search for GL accounts via the account number. If you have GL accounts with account numbers and you disable the account numbers setting, the numbers are not removed from the account, they are just hidden until the setting is re-enabled. 

Every financial transaction that you record in Buildium will be coded to one or more accounts. By choosing an account, you'll tell the software what the transaction is for and how it should be used in reports.

Buildium provides a default list of accounts for you, but you can add new accounts at any time.

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To add a new account:

  1. Navigate to Accounting > Chart of Accounts.
  2. Click Add Account.
  3. Enter the account name
  4. Choose the account type.
  5. You can opt to have the new account be a subaccount of something else.
    • As an example, if you have an account called Repairs Expense, you could add Electrical Repairs Expense as its subaccount.
  6. Enter in the account number 
  7. Optional: select if this is a Contra account and select the cash flow classification.
  8. Enter a note if you think the account needs further explanation, then click Save account.

Default Accounts

Some GL accounts on the Chart of Accounts are considered Default Accounts—these are special GL accounts that are connected to automated workflows throughout Buildium. To view Default Accounts, navigate to Accounting > Chart of accounts. The column titled "Default Account For" will show you which Buildium workflow this account is connected to. When you click to edit a GL account that is classified as a Default Account, you'll see this banner:

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  • Note: Because Default Accounts are deeply tied to their workflows, your ability to edit them is limited. Default Accounts can be renamed, given an account number, and/or made a subaccount of another GL account. They can NOT be deleted or have their account type changed, and no advanced options can be changed.

As an example: Rent Income is a Default Account that Buildium looks to for all operations involving tenant rent. Similarly, the option to automatically apply prepayments relies on the Prepayments Default Account.

How to Import Chart of Accounts 

The best way to create, update, and edit the accounts listed in your chart of accounts in bulk is to use our Chart of Accounts import template. 

  1. Navigate to Accounting > Chart of accounts.
  2. On the top right-side of the page, select Import accounts.
    • Alternatively, you can also get here by navigating to Settings > Import data.
      • On the top right-side of the page, select Upload data file and choose Chart of Accounts from the drop-down list in the Accounting section.

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In order to import account records,  you will need to use our Excel template. Uploads will fail if the template was changed from the default format and layout or if any required information is missing. We have two types of Chart of Account import templates; Import New Accounts (to create new GL accounts) or Update Existing Accounts (to make edits to the existing GL accounts in your Buildium Chart of Accounts).   

Note: You can use the Import New Accounts import to create any kind of GL account, ie 

  • Asset (Current or Fixed)
  • Liability (Current or Long Term)
  • Equity
  • Income (Operating or Non-operating)
  • Expense (Operating or Non-operating)

You cannot use the Import New Accounts template to create a Bank Account in the system. You can create a Current Asset account that is also a Cash Asset, which is what all Bank Accounts are, but doing this will not add a Bank Account that can be found under the Banking menu. Bank Accounts can only be created from the Banking page under the Accounting menu, but once they are created, they will display like any other GL account in the Chart of Accounts. You can then use the Update Existing Accounts import template to edit the GL account name or GL account number.

In Step 1 of the Upload Chart of Accounts page, click the Download Excel Templates link and choose if you would like to update existing account records or import new accounts, then download the excel template. 

Import New Accounts:

Input the following information: 

  • Account Type (select from drop-down)
  • Cash Asset (Yes/No, only applicable for Current Asset accounts)
  • Parent Account (if applicable)
  • Account Number (optional) 
  • Account Name
  • Contra account (Yes/No, only applicable for non-Cash Asset accounts)
  • Cash Flow Classification (select from drop-down, only applicable for non-Cash Asset accounts)
  • Notes (optional)

Note: If you need help understanding what information should be included within the template, click each column header in the Excel file to reveal a helpful tooltip. 

Once your file is updated and saved, in Step 2 of the Upload Chart of Accounts page, use the radio buttons to select which template you are about to upload and add the file in Step 3. Then click the Upload Data button at the bottom of the page. 

The system will analyze the import file and if there are any issues with the records in the template, we will provide you with an Error Report that tells you which line items and cells are problematic, and what the specific issue(s) are so you can adjust your file and try again.

Once your import file is error free, you can Import the data and shortly afterwards, your updated GL account records will be reflected in the Chart of Accounts under the Accounting menu.

Note: Even if there are invalid records in your import file, as long as there is at least one valid record in the template, you will be able to select the Import Data button. If you select this button, the system will ignore any invalid records in the file and only import those records that are valid.

 

Update Existing Accounts

After downloading the Update Existing Accounts import template, you will see, upon opening the file, that all the GL accounts currently in your Chart of Accounts will be pre-populated in the template. This is so you can pick and choose which existing accounts you would like to edit information about.

Note: The only information that can be changed with the Update Existing Accounts template is the GL account name or GL account number of GL accounts. To edit any of the other fields of a GL, you must do so from the Chart of Accounts page in-app.    

Once your file is updated and saved, in Step 2 of the Upload Chart of Accounts page, use the radio buttons to select which template you are about to upload and add the file in Step 3. Then click the Upload Data button at the bottom of the page. 

The system will analyze the import file and if there are any issues with the records in the template, we will provide you with an Error Report that tells you which line items and cells are problematic, and what the specific issue(s) are so you can adjust your file and try again.

Once your import file is error free, you can Import the data and shortly afterwards, your updated GL account records will be reflected in the Chart of Accounts under the Accounting menu.

Note: Even if there are invalid records in your import file, as long as there is at least one valid record in the template, you will be able to select the Import Data button. If you select this button, the system will ignore any invalid records in the file and only import those records that are valid. In the case of the Update Existing Accounts template, the system will only import valid line items of the template that have changes made to them. Any line items that have no changes made will be ignored during the import process.

To edit an existing general ledger account

  1. Navigate to Accounting > Chart of Accounts.
  2. Click the name of the account you want to edit. 
  3. Update the relevant fields including the name, account level, account number, contra account selection, cash flow classification and notes section.
    • Note: When editing accounts, you are not able to change to a different account type. If the account was originally added as income and you want to change it to an expense account, you'll need to delete the old income account and add a brand new expense account.
  4. When you're done making your changes, click Save account to add the account and return to the Chart of accounts page.

Moving transactions on your chart of accounts

  1. Navigate to Accounting > Chart of accounts.
  2. Open the quick menu and then click Move transactions.
  3. In the pop-up window, select the account that you'd like to move the transactions to.
  4. Click Save to begin the process.
  5. The form will close. You'll have see a message that indicates a move is pending.
  6. The process will complete within two hours. You can cancel the transfer at any time by clicking the Move or Delete link.

Some accounts on your chart of accounts are used by Buildium as default accounts for certain functions. These accounts cannot have their data transferred into another account.

 

How to delete an item from the Chart of Accounts 

If you need to remove an item from your chart of accounts, you have two options.

  1. If the account has no transactions tied to it, you can delete the account right away.
  2. If the account has been used to help categorize financial transactions, you will need to move the transactions to a different account type before you can delete anything.

Click here to learn how to move financial transactions on your chart of accounts in bulk.

Delete an account on your chart of accounts

  1. Navigate to Accounting > Chart of accounts. A list of common accounts already available is displayed.
  2. The small box with an arrow to the far right of each account name is called a quick menu - click the quick menu next to the account you want to remove, and then click Delete account.

    Some accounts on your chart of accounts are used by Buildium as default accounts for certain functions. These accounts cannot be deleted and can only be renamed.

  3. If the account is unused, you'll see a window that asks if you're sure you want to proceed. Select the check box to confirm the deletion, and click Delete at the top of the window.

    Another confirmation pop-up window appears, prompting you to delete the account. Click OK to delete the account.

Removing account numbers from the name field

With the addition of the new dedicated GL account number field, you no longer need to use our workaround for GL account numbers (including the account number as part of the account name field). If you had previously added numbers to your GL account names, you can use the Update Existing Accounts template to easily edit the name of an account and move the number to the dedicated GL account number field.

For more information about using the Update Existing Accounts import template, click here.

 

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