Plan of Accounts
Plan of Accounts
(also account plan), a system of bookkeeping that stipulates the number, grouping, and numerical designation of acccounts depending on the subjects and aims of recordkeeping. The plan of accounts incudes synthetic, or first-order, accounts and analytic accounts (subaccounts or second-order accounts) that are related to the synthetic accounts. Each account is given a brief designation that exactly corresponds to the subject of the account. The plan of accounts is constructed by grouping subjects according to their economic characteristics. There are, for example, accounts to keep track of fixed assets, objects of labor, and production costs. Records are also kept for products, goods, and sales and for financial assets, funds, and results.
The accounts are arranged in a sequence that permits the bookkeeping to reflect the interrelationships between economic resources and their sources. The sequential arrangement also shows just how these resources participate in the circulation of enterprise and organization capital during production, distribution, and use of the social product. In order that entries may be simplified and made more quickly, synthetic accounts are given code numbers, while analytic accounts are assigned ordinal numbers within the limits of each synthetic account. Instructions on the use of account plans contain a brief description of the subjects to be recorded in each account, the purpose of the account, and an overall diagram of the correspondences between accounts. This diagram shows typical bookkeeping entries for accounts that are interrelated because they involve the same economic processes and transactions.
Unified plans of accounts, with due regard for the special characteristics of individual sectors of the national economy, are used only in the socialist countries. In the capitalist countries there is great diversity in bookkeeping nomenclature, with the choice of nomenclature left to the owners of enterprises. In the USSR, in order to ensure uniformity and completeness in bookkeeping records for all national economic sectors, model plans of accounts for individual sectors are ratified by the Ministry of Finance of the USSR in concert with the Central Statistical Administration (CSA) of the USSR. The account plans for bookkeeping at kolkhozes are set by the CSA and the Ministry of Agriculture of the USSR.
The account plans of budget organizations and financial and credit institutions have their own special characteristics that result from specific features of the activity of these organizations.