Developing a perfect chart of accounts combines art and science.
Science because it is expected to follow GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and Art because there must be a good balance between sufficient detail and elegant simple presentation.
So I suggest using the sub-set ability in QBP to produce both. So, for example, in the profit/loss which is the area of the Chart of Accounts most burdensome, I suggest the following:
Main heading: COST OF GOODS
Gross field wages
Insurances – WC and General Liability
Main Heading: OVERHEAD
1 – Indirect Allocation: this account holds detail of ALL expenses which relate to field labor but are difficult to attach directly to individual jobs:
Field small tools and supplies
Field vehicle expenses
Field cell phones;
2 – Marketing and Sales: this account holds detail of expense relating to marketing and sales;
3 – General and Administrative: this account hold detail of expense relating to running and maintaining and office whether in your house or out;
4 – Overhead Payroll: this account holds detail of expense related to office payroll including the owner;
5 – Education & Training: this account holds detail of expense related to all education and training not field related.
In this way you get good detail (imagine that all the standard accounts for overhead are truly sub-sets of these 5 headings) and when you hit collapse the report shows only the summary information as follows together with a % of income.
Marketing & Sales
Education & Training
Education and training is shown as a separate heading because this is a very big expense for companies trying to grow to a successful stage. You need to know what % of income you’re spending on education and set some expectation regarding payoff down the line.
So build your chart of accounts for the profit/loss in this way and reap the rewards of both sufficient detail (using the expanded version of the Profit/Loss report) and simplicity (using the collapsed).