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Import your chart of accounts

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How to import ledger accounts into Accounting Start.


You can only import your ledger accounts once and you must do this before you create any transactions, such as invoices or expenses, or any records, such as customers or suppliers.

Use this when you already have a set of ledger accounts that you want to use, rather than the default ledger accounts we create for you.

How it works

To import your ledger accounts, you must:

  • Have a new Accounting Start business with no transactions or records
  • Save your ledger accounts in a spreadsheet as a comma separated value (CSV) format
  • Use the template file we provide to make sure your file has the correct column headings and cell formats

Ledger accounts can also be known as nominal accounts or codes or your chart of accounts.

The ledger accounts imported from the CSV file will replace all the standard ledger accounts created in Sage Accounting by default.

Make sure you import all the ledger accounts you require. Additional individual ledger accounts can be created manually later, but you cannot import them again.

If you'd like to learn more, you can watch a video about the chart of accounts.

Column headings and required formats

The information in your CSV file must be in the correct format and the file must have the correct headings.

When preparing your spreadsheet, use the table below to ensure that your file format is correct.

Remember that the header row in your CSV file must use the same headings as shown below.

Column Column Heading Notes
A NOMINAL CODE Can contain up to 8 numbers and each code must be unique.
B LEDGER NAME Max length 200 characters.
C CONTROL ACCOUNT If populated must contain a valid control account name, these ledger accounts can be updated with different numbers/names but should not be removed.

 TIP: If you select the control accounts of either BANK_CURRENT or BANK_CASH with the category as BANK you will create a bank account found in the Banking section. 

D CATEGORY Use one of the following categories:

  • BANK

Use one of the following tax rates:

  • Standard
  • Lower
  • Zero
  • Exempt
  • No VAT

Control accounts

These are special ledger accounts that we use by default for certain transactions. For example, when you create a sales invoice, we automatically update the ledger accounts for Trade Debtors and VAT.

You must include all the control accounts in your list of ledger accounts. The control accounts are indicated by special text in the CONTROL ACCOUNT column, for example, 2100 Trade Creditors TRADE_CREDITORS.


There are three ways you can do this:

  1. Let us create them for you using a default Nominal Code and Name. Just leave the control accounts out of your import file, and we'll create the ledger accounts for you, using the codes and names shown below.

  2. Use your own control accounts. Make sure you add the required text in the Control Account column to show which of your ledger accounts should be used as control accounts.

  3. A mixture of the above. Add the required text in the Control Account column to show which of your ledger accounts should be used as control accounts and leave out any that you don't currently use. As long as the nominal codes are not duplicated, we'll create the remaining control accounts.

If you do have an equivalent to a control account but you use a different code or ledger name, just change these in your file, but make sure you add the appropriate text in the control account column. For example, you use 2000 Creditors Control, instead of 2100 Trade Creditors.

Step 1: Download the CSV template file

Each CSV file contains a standard list of ledger accounts and the required columns for Nominal Code, Ledger name, Control account, Category and Tax rate.

A CSV file is a special kind of Excel spreadsheet.

Download the CSV file that is suitable for your business type.

  1. From Settings, then Business Settings, select Chart of Accounts.
  2. From the New Ledger Account drop-down arrow, select Import Accounts.
  3. Select the Templates link and then choose the template that matches for your business type.


Step 2: Prepare the CSV file

Add your ledger accounts to the template file you have downloaded or amend an existing file to match the template.

  1. Make sure the column headings match the format used in the template file.
  2. Remove any columns in your CSV file that are not used in the template file.
  3. Make sure the data format used in each column matches the format used in the template file.
  4. Category - Each ledger account must belong to one of the categories already set up in Sage Accounting. You cannot use your own categories.
  5. Tax rate - Each ledger account must have a VAT rate associated with it. This sets the VAT rate used by default when the ledger account is selected on a transaction.

The maximum file size you can import is 0.5MB.

Step 3: Import the file

  1. From Settings, then Business Settings, select Chart of Accounts.
  2. From the New Ledger Account drop-down arrow, select Import Accounts.
  3. Choose the Upload Data File link.
  4. Browse to your CSV file and then click Open.
  5. Click OK.


Can't find the Import Accounts option

The Import Accounts option does not show once you have created a record or transaction in Sage Accounting.

To create new ledger accounts, use the New Ledger Account option.

To amend an existing ledger account, select the account from the list and make the required changes.

Create or edit a ledger account

Common errors

If your file cannot be imported, we'll tell you what the problems are and which rows are affected.

Related Solutions

´╗┐Chart of Accounts introduction

Review the chart of accounts

Create or edit a ledger account