Sage 50 nominal codes are numeric and can be up to 8 digits long, and there are relatively few restrictions on how they are used.
In practice though, most Sage 50 (now known as Sage 50cloud) nominal codes are to a significant extent based on one of the templates that Sage provide. This means that very commonly:
- Sage nominal account codes are 4 digits long
- Balance sheet codes come first and are 0000 to 3999 (and fixed assets are 0000 to 0999, current assets 1000 to 1999 etc)
- Profit and loss codes are 4000 to 9999 (and sales 4000 to 4999, overheads 7000 to 7999 etc)
It’s perfectly possible to use one of the Sage supplied templates, at least if you are a smaller and simpler business or charity. Even if you do use one of the Sage template “chart of accounts”, though, you are likely to want to make some changes – if only to change nominal account names such as “Sales Type A” to something meaningful to you.
In general though it’s better to make choices about nominal codes from scratch, because:
- Once Sage 50 nominal account codes are in use they can’t be changed (although they can be made inactive, and nominal account descriptions can be changed)
- In particular several of the “control accounts” (sales ledger control, purchase ledger control and VAT related nominal accounts) can’t be changed at all once they are in use
- Most importantly the right choices will support the reporting that you need now and if and when your business or charity grows
If you are working with an existing set of Sage 50 nominal accounts, and they don’t match your current organisation or its reporting needs, then you are probably faced with re-building your Sage 50 data from scratch. We can advise on and help with this process. While this can largely be automated / done via bulk imports, there will normally be some loss of historic data (such as sales orders or invoices).
Some more detailed comments and guidance:
- Unless you have a specific reason for not following the basic shape of the Sage 50 templates (nominal account codes starting 0 are fixed assets, 1 are current assets etc) then falling in line will at least mean staff with prior experience of Sage 50 will have the comfort of familiarity
- Consider increasing the length of nominal account numbers by 1 compared to what you think is necessary. This is the simplest way of ensuring that you have sufficient space if you need to add nominal codes in future.
- The built in Sage 50cloud balance sheet and profit and loss layouts require that accounts you want to group are all in the same range. This usually happens naturally, but it does mean that you need spare codes in every range.
- Sage 50 will allow nominal codes to be of different length, so in principle you can start with say 4 digit nominal account codes and increase to 6 later if you need to. Keep yours all the same length!
- If you have an accountant (or a Sage consultant likely Protronics) they are likely to (arguably should) find things they don’t like in the Sage 50 nominal code templates. This is normal – far better that your nominal accounts are chosen to meet the specific reporting needs of your business.