Chart of Accounts for Design, Architecture, and Engineering Companies

Learn how to set up a chart of accounts for your company to easily track income and expenses within QuickBooks

Architects are the artists of the construction industry; of course, this means that architectural, design, and engineering firms handle the design of buildings and structures rather than the actual process of building them. This means, obviously, that your chart of accounts centers around the services that you offer, such as CAD (Computer-Aided Drawing), floor planning, 3D rendering, archival drawings, as-built drawings, and architectural detailing.

It can be difficult to keep track of the different services and expenses that you deal with on a day-to-day basis, and that is why we crafted a QuickBooks chart of accounts for design, architecture, and engineering companies, equipped with all of the accounts you might need to record transactions. Complete the form below and click “Download Now!” to get your free PDF of an industry-specific COA.

For companies like yours, the income section of the chart of accounts is typically separated into two accounts: consulting income and design income. When it comes to filing tax returns, these two accounts are great, but if you want a more detailed explanation of where your money comes from, you can add in as many accounts as you want to cover all the specific services you offer.

(It is also important to keep a Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) account for the cost of creating blueprints; if you use subcontractors, make sure that you have a COGS account for them as well.)

Most of the expenses for design firms are similar, typically centering around permits, inspections, plan review, impact charges, and design review, so make sure that you have expense accounts for each of these as well.

Keep in mind that if you are in the architecture industry, you should consider implementing job costing into your accounting routine. Job costing is a beneficial practice since it can help you determine whether or not a project is profitable for your business. If you do not use job costing, you could be losing money without even knowing, and nobody wants that.

Do your accounting the right way. Start by downloading the chart of accounts for design, architecture, and engineering, and go from there. And if you’re unsure of where to go? We would be glad to help. We offer several services to help you optimize your financial practices and boost your company’s productivity and profitability.

We recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our team members to discuss the best course of action for your company! What are you waiting for? Start building a better business today.

Gita Faust

About the Author

Gita Faust has over 30 years of accounting experience in the real estate and property management industry, Gita Faust is more than just a real estate investor; she is also popular for her work as an accountant, consultant, mentor, speaker, QuickBooks Top ProAdvisor, QuickBooks Solution Provider, member of Intuit’s Trainer/Writer Network, and, of course, author. Gita is well-known for her exemplary leadership and advisory skills. In fact, she even helped pioneer the adaptation of QuickBooks to suit the needs of professionals in real estate and property management. To share her knowledge she has written a series of courses titled Simplified Accounting Solution, which provides step-by-step guidance for those working with QuickBooks.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello,

    My name is Tom and I am the most senior accountant for a smaller (about 25 full-time employees) engineering firm. We are growing (opening a second office) and this necessitates revamping our chart of accounts to not only reflect our growth but also to take into account a second profit center. I am a Chartered Accountant and therefore I have a good idea of what needs to be done, and to a lesser extent, how to do it. I am only reaching out to you so that I can do my due diligence and investigate best practices for similar type organizations as well as to get your opinion on specific accounting treatments. Our organization currently uses QuickBooks desktop for our accounting and payroll. We use BQE Core for our time keeping and project tracking. We hope to integrate the two some time this year. Knowing this, is it possible to discuss the above with someone on your end?

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