Introduction to the Chart of Accounts (COA) Canada 2006


This version of the Chart of Accounts was approved at Methods and Standards Committee in October 2005. It replaces the previous version, approved in April 2001.

The Chart of Accounts comprises a balance sheet, an income statement and selected other accounts. The balance sheet and income statement are referred to as the core accounts. The other accounts are referred to as supplementary accounts. The higher levels of the core accounts most classes up to and including the 4-digit level of detail, as well as selected classes at greater levels of detail constitute a Departmental Standard. The classes that are part of the Departmental Standard are referred to as summary accounts. All other classes within the core accounts and all classes within the supplementary accounts comprise the Recommended Standard.

Financial Position and Performance of a Business

The financial position and performance of a business is reported through accounting statements prepared by a business to communicate this information to a wide range of users in making economic decisions. The balance sheet provides information on the financial position of a business. The income statement provides information on the performance of a business. The elements of the balance sheet are assets, liabilities and equity. The elements of the income statement are revenues; expenses; gains/losses, corporate taxes and other items; and extraordinary gains/losses, non-recurring items and adjustments.


Each element of the balance sheet and income statement is considered a variable. The variables are:

1. Assets
2. Liabilities
3. Equity
4. Revenue
5. Expenses
6. Gains/losses, corporate taxes and other items
7. Extraordinary gains/losses, non-recurring items and adjustments

Standard Classification

Variables used to measure financial position and performance are classified according to the Statistics Canada Chart of Accounts (COA). The classification is hierarchical and the classes are mutually exclusive and exhaustive of the variables as a whole. An example of the coding system follows:

Example of coding system

1 Assets
1.1 Financial assets
1.1.1 Cash, Deposits and Official International Reserves Cash in Canadian Currency Demand Deposits / Notice Deposits in Deposit Accepting Institutions Term Deposits - under 90 days Other Cash Equivalents Other Current Cash Accounts (including Restricted Cash)

For details, see the Statistics Canada Chart of Accounts. The conceptual basis of the COA is correspondence with generally-accepted business accounting practices.

Other Classifications

No other classifications are defined in this standard.


The Statistics Canada Chart of Accounts will be linked to several other widely-used accounting taxonomies. These include the taxonomy of the International Accounting Standards Board (IAS), the General Index of Financial Information (GIFI), the US GAAP and the proposed Canadian GAAP.

Statistical Units

Information on financial position is compiled for companies and enterprises. Information on financial performance is compiled for establishments, companies and enterprises.


Information on financial position and performance is compiled for groupings of the above statistical units as appropriate.

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