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Chart of Accounts for a Construction Company: Detailed guide

Managing the finances of a construction company can be complex, with numerous transactions and expenses to track. A well-organized chart of accounts is essential for keeping your books in order and ensuring accurate financial reporting.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to set up a chart of accounts specifically tailored to the needs of a construction company. Whether you’re a business owner or an accountant, understanding the chart of accounts will help you categorize transactions correctly, track expenses efficiently, and make informed financial decisions.

Table of Content 

Understanding Chart of Accounts

The chart of accounts is a foundational element of accounting that provides a systematic way to categorize and organize financial transactions within a business. It serves as a framework for recording and tracking financial activities, including revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, and equity. A well-structured chart of accounts is crucial for maintaining accurate financial records for construction companies, which often deal with complex projects, materials procurement, labor costs, and equipment expenses.

Components of Chart of Accounts:

Account Categories: The chart of accounts typically consists of several main categories, including assets, liabilities, equity, revenue, and expenses. Each category is divided into subaccounts to provide more detailed information about specific transactions.

  • Account Numbers: Accounts are assigned unique numbers for easy reference and organization. These numbers follow a hierarchical structure, with larger categories assigned broader numbers and subaccounts assigned more specific numbers.
  • Account Names: Each account is assigned a descriptive name that reflects the type of transaction it represents. For example, “Materials Expense” or “Equipment Purchase” are common account names for construction companies.
  • Normal Balances: Accounts are classified as either debit or credit accounts based on their normal balance. Assets and expenses have debit balances, while liabilities, equity, and revenue have credit balances.

Chart of Accounts for a Construction Company:

Construction companies often have unique accounting needs due to the nature of their business operations. Therefore, it’s essential to customize the chart of accounts to reflect these specific requirements. This may include:

Asset Accounts:

Account NumberAccount NameDescription
1010Cash on HandOperating cash on hand
1011Cash – Bank of AmericaMoney in checking account
1012Undeposited fundsEarned revenue but not deposited into your account
1020Accounts ReceivableAmounts owed to the business
1030InventoryConstruction materials and supplies on hand.
1040Prepaid ExpensesAdvance payments for future expenses
1050EquipmentMachinery and tools used for construction projects.

BuildingsPhysical structures used in the construction business (e.g., office building).
1070LandUndeveloped real estate owned by the company.
1080VehiclesCars, trucks, and other vehicles used for business purposes.

Liability Accounts:

Account NumberAccount NameDescription
201Accounts PayableAmounts owed by the business
202Loans PayableOutstanding loans and debts
203Accrued LiabilitiesExpenses incurred but not yet paid (e.g., accrued interest).
204Credit Card PayableOutstanding credit card balances

Equity Accounts:

Account NumberAccount NameDescription
301Owner’s EquityOwner’s investment in the business
302Retained EarningsAccumulated profits or losses
303Common StockShares of common stock issued

Revenue Accounts:

Account NumberAccount NameDescription
401Project RevenueRevenue from construction projects
402Service FeesIncome from service fees
403Subcontractor RevenueIncome from subcontractor services
404Change OrdersAdditional revenue from project changes
405Retainage ReceivableAmounts retained by clients pending completion of work

Expense Accounts:

Account NumberAccount NameDescription
501Labor CostsCosts associated with labor, including wages and benefits
502Materials CostsCosts of materials used in construction projects
503Overhead ExpensesIndirect costs such as utilities, rent, and administrative expenses
504Equipment RentalExpenses related to renting equipment for construction projects
505Subcontractor CostsCosts incurred from hiring subcontractors for construction work

Examples of Journal Entry for a Construction Company

To demonstrate how to record journal entries, we will use three examples 

  • Recording revenue from a completed project.
  • Paying subcontractors for work.
  • Purchasing materials for a project.

1. Recording Revenue from a Completed Project:

Example: A construction company completes a project for a client and invoices them for the work done, totaling $10,000.

Journal Entry:

  • Debit: Accounts Receivable ($10,000)
  • Credit: Construction Revenue ($10,000)

In the chart of accounts, 

  • Accounts Receivable” is an asset account used to record amounts owed to the company by customers.
  • “Construction Revenue” is a revenue account that tracks income generated from construction projects.

When a project is completed, revenue is recognized and recorded in the “Construction Revenue” account, while the corresponding amount is removed from the “Accounts Receivable” account.

2. Paying Subcontractors for Work:

Example: The construction company pays a subcontractor $5,000 for their services on a project.

Journal Entry:

  • Debit: Subcontractor Expenses ($5,000)
  • Credit: Cash/Bank ($5,000)

In the chart of accounts, 

  • “Subcontractor Expenses” is an expense account to track payments made to subcontractors for their services.
  • “Accounts Payable” is a liability account that tracks amounts owed to vendors and subcontractors.

When paying subcontractors, the amount is recorded as an expense in the “Subcontractor Expenses” account and as a decrease in the “Accounts Payable” account.

3. Purchasing Materials for a Project:

Example: The construction company purchases materials for a project, totaling $2,000, on credit from a supplier.

Journal Entry:

  • Debit: Materials Inventory ($2,000)
  • Credit: Accounts Payable ($2,000)

In the chart of accounts, 

  • “Inventory (or Materials) Expense” is an expense account to track the cost of materials purchased for construction projects.
  • When materials are purchased, the cost is recorded as an expense in the “Inventory (or Materials) Expense” account, and the corresponding amount is recorded as an increase in the “Accounts Payable” account.

Related Read: Debits And Credits In Accounting: Guide With Journal Entry Examples

Purpose of Chart of Accounts

  • Organization: The chart of accounts provides a systematic framework for organizing financial transactions, which makes it easier to track and analyze business activities.
  • Financial Reporting: The chart of accounts facilitates the preparation of financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement by categorizing transactions into different accounts.
  • Analysis: A well-designed chart of accounts enables businesses to analyze their financial performance, identify trends, and make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Compliance: Maintaining a properly structured chart of accounts ensures compliance with accounting standards and regulations, making audits and financial reporting processes smoother and more transparent.

Using Vencru for Construction Accounting

Managing the financial aspects of a construction company can be complex, but with Vencru’s robust features, you can streamline your accounting processes and stay on top of your finances. Here are some key benefits of using Vencru for managing the chart of accounts of a construction company and overall accounting tasks:

  • Efficient Invoicing: Create and send professional invoices to your clients directly from Vencru. Track outstanding payments and manage your accounts receivable effortlessly.
  • Inventory Management: Monitor your inventory levels and ensure you have the right materials for your projects. Vencru’s inventory management features help you avoid stockouts and maintain optimal inventory levels.
  • Purchase Orders: Create and send purchase orders to your suppliers with ease. Track your purchases and manage your accounts payable efficiently.
  • Vendor/Supplier Management: Keep track of your vendors and suppliers in one place. Manage vendor bills and expenses quickly and stay organized with all your vendor information at your fingertips.
  • Expense Tracking: Track all expenses, from materials and labor costs to equipment rentals and overhead expenses. Categorize expenses and stay on top of your spending.
  • Financial Reporting: Generate detailed financial reports to gain insights into your company’s performance. Track your revenue, expenses, and profitability to make informed business decisions.
  • Accounting Made Easy: With Vencru, you can automate your accounting tasks and simplify your chart of accounts management. Vencru integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software like QuickBooks, making it easy to sync your financial data.

Related Read: The 5 Best Construction Inventory Management Software


A well-organized chart of accounts is essential for managing the finances of a construction company. With Vencru, you can streamline your accounting processes, track expenses, and stay on top of your finances.

Ready to explore Vencru? Get started here or book a demo

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for personalized guidance.

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