The core of NetSuite is its robust accounting features. And at the heart of NetSuite’s accounting features is the NetSuite Chart of Accounts, or COA. Let’s take a look at how you would set up and use the Chart of Accounts.

Setting Up the NetSuite Chart of Accounts

To gain access to the Chart of Accounts, you’ll need to enable the Accounting feature, which is located under the Basic Features section of the Accounting tab in Enable Features. This is the first step in setting up accounting in NetSuite. Before you get into transactions or your Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable processes, the COA should be set up correctly.

Creating Accounts

Once you have access to the Chart of Accounts, you’ll need to set up all your accounts. There are a couple ways you can do that.

Manually Creating Accounts

First, you could manually create each of your accounts. To do that, navigate to Setup > Accounting > Chart of Accounts > New.

On this page, you’ll be able to name the account, select what type of account this is, the currency that will be used to record this account’s balance, and the subsidiary this account belongs to. On the new Account page, you’ll also have the option of restricting this account by department, class, or location.

You may want to have a number associated with this account, in addition to the name. NetSuite recommends establishing number ranges for different types of accounts. For example, you might use any number in the 2,000s for expense accounts, any number in the 3,000s for sales accounts, etc. You can also use alphanumeric numbers for your accounts. If you plan to use account numbers, then you will need to select the checkbox Use Account Numbers, which is located in the General Ledger section of the General tab in Accounting Preferences. When this box has been checked, you will be able to view both account names and numbers in the Chart of Accounts and on financial reports. 

Creating Accounts Via CSV Import

The second way you could create new accounts is via a CSV import. This method is especially useful when you are needing to move a large amount of accounts from a legacy system into NetSuite. To do the CSV import, you would navigate to Setup > Import/Export > Import Tasks > Import CSV Records. On the first page of the Import Assistant, select Accounting as the Import Type and Chart of Accounts as the Record Type.

What information is essential for you to include on your CSV import file for the Chart of Accounts? On your CSV file, you will need to include data on the fields that are required for creating new NetSuite accounts. For example, this would include things like the account name and number, the account type, the currency, and the subsidiary. You can also include any classification restrictions on the import file and set up parent/child relationships between accounts.

Entering Opening Balances

Once you’ve created the list of accounts that will show up in your Chart of Accounts, you need to enter the opening balances for these accounts. To do this, navigate as the Administrator to Setup > Accounting > Setup Tasks > Enter Opening Balances. On this page, you’ll see all the accounts that do not yet have opening balances assigned to them. To set the opening balance for any of your accounts, select the correct posting period, subsidiary, and date. NetSuite will automatically populate the Date field with the current day’s date, but you can change it if you need a different day to be recorded alongside the opening balance for the account. Then, in the list of accounts that are associated with your selected subsidiary, you’ll be able to enter either a debit or credit amount next to each account.

Using the NetSuite Chart of Accounts

Now that the Chart of Accounts has been set up, how do you use these accounts? 

Viewing the Chart of Accounts

First, you need to determine who in the company should have access to the information in your accounts and/or be able to edit accounts. Obviously, not every user should be able to access your financial accounts! You can set access levels for editing and working with accounts on role records. Under the Lists section of the Permissions tab, you’ll need to ensure that the Accounts permission has been added. This permission comes with View, Create, Edit, and Full permissions.

Reporting on Accounts

How do you view reports on accounts? The Chart of Accounts page in NetSuite is, itself, a report. You can access it by navigating to Reports > Financial > Chart of Accounts. One important reporting metric you can view on the Chart of Accounts is the balance of the account. The listed balance of each account, however, is not the current balance of the account but rather the historic cumulative balance of that account. From the Chart of Accounts report, you can view the report on each account by selecting any of the account titles in the COA. 

In addition to the Chart of Accounts page, these financial accounts permeate NetSuite’s reports. The revenue, sales, financial, and banking NetSuite reports, to name a few, all draw their information from transactions that involve your accounts. You can even create summary accounts whose sole purpose is to provide reporting data on other accounts. These summary accounts are non-posting, inactive parent accounts that would be connected to active, posting child accounts.


The NetSuite Chart of Accounts is the foundation of the NetSuite accounting system. With these accounts, you can track and report on your company’s financial data. I trust this blog has been helpful for you! Before you leave, don’t forget to drop your name and email below to join our newsletter. We send out a single email each week with our most recent NetSuite blog, which is a simple way for you to keep growing in your knowledge of all things NetSuite. Joining the SuiteRep newsletter is the best way to ensure you never miss any of our NetSuite posts. See you there!