Chart of Accounts & Taxes

Hello everyone,

I’ve downloaded the xml files for the chart of accounts and taxes for the UK that are currently in review. As the business operates as a sole trader and is based in Northern Ireland I will have to adapt them. With that in mind I did take the patchset 9 version as that had EU references still in there. It appears only the latest version that had those removed. My question is if I can directly import the chart of accounts xml and chart of taxes xml directly into Tryton using the client. I don’t wish to put the effort into changing the xml if the import format should instead be some other format. Without having to create my module is this best approach to getting the charts imported?



You should consider helping this effort to get a unique chart of account for UK.

Thanks Cedric for the quick response. So it’s no possible to import a chart of accounts or taxes therefore I have to start with either a module or with the minimal chart of accounts, which doesn’t include taxes, and build them out from within the interface. Is that correct?

Unfortunately I am not a developer. I do however have a degree in Accountancy from 25 years ago so my skills there are a little rusty however I intend to look closely at the current chart of accounts for the UK to see. If I see that feels problematic to me I’ll certainly raise it so it can at least be discussed.

I note the Chart of Taxes has removed all EU related references which are still required for Northern Ireland (NI) so as to reduce bloat. I agree with that and the bloat extends in both directions as the all Great Britain (GB) related Tax codes for goods are not relevant in NI just as all the EU related goods Tax codes are not relevant to GB businesses. Looking at the demo site I can see that a tax can have an end date. I do wonder if the module could be developed so that a full set of taxes covering the whole of the UK could be created and then based on a user choice GB, NI or GB+NI the script would set the end date on taxes that are not required in a particular region. Of course that could be done by the user themselves but given the desire not include NI because it is not desired to have user intervention this is just a thought that might allow something that suits everyone of course that’s if it’s even feasible.

The module can be developed in a way that the user can choose between two diferent chart options and each one have the required configuration.

Your opinion is very valuable here! You can colablrate with the current UK chart developer (he is @dave) to have a better solution.

@mps how much is the post-Brexit NI VAT similar to the tax codes in the Republic of Ireland? Would an all-Ireland Chart of Accounts be a more practical solution?

Did Isle of Man stay in the EU VAT or did they follow the UK mainland?

I’m both Irish and Australian, I lived in the UK from many years and I’m happy to support an effort that creates a Chart of Accounts useful throughout Ireland, the UK and other countries in close proximity.

My recent comments about using XSL could be helpful for building up different permutations of the module from some templates. There are other strategies that could be relevant too.

Hi Paul,

I think @pokoli suggestion of changing the module to provide two different chart options (one for mainland UK and one for NI) would probably be a good solution. On the technical side it could be done, as @pocock suggested, using XSL transforms to generate them from one set of data that contains all the accounts, taxes, etc…

As you are someone with accountancy knowledge your help getting the UK account module right would be very welcome. I would then be able to change / fix things as needed.

If there is anything that I can do to help let me know.


Many thanks everyone for the replies. @pocock The rules for NI really just follow the pre Brexit rules for goods so at the minute I just complete VAT exactly the same way as I always did. Where the differences occur is in services and they just follow the same rules as the rest of the UK as NI Protocol only extends goods not services.

Here’s how Sage 50 categorises VAT for ROI:

And here’s the UK version:

As you can see because it’s VAT there is a level of commonality but enough difference to mean two separate charts are needed.

I’m not wholly sure on the Isle of Man. They are their own country but they were not like the Channel Islands where they were outside of VAT pre Brexit. As it is the Northern Ireland Protocol and therefore no mention of the Isle of Man in that name my guess is that much of rules for GB will apply to the Isle of Man but don’t hold me to that.

@dave I think you’ve done a great job in putting that mammoth chart of accounts together and I can see it is based on the sample charts from Companies Law then I think it is about as good as you will get as a standard because no standard really exists. You really only have to provide a true and fair view in the required financial statements following accepted accounting standards. For me personally a chart of accounts for a business should reflect management desires for information that is relevant to them rather than what is required for financial reporting. The Financial Accountant will adjust the reports to comply with financial reporting requirements in any case. Having said that in the absence of any standards other than financial reporting standards it seems as reasonable a choice as any.

XSL transforms sounds very interesting. If they were fairly simple to set then I can see it being used in all sorts of useful ways to provide accounts more relevant to specific business types (sole trader, partnership, limited liability partnership or limited liability company) and business sector based structures (online retail, manufacturer, etc). The reason that is useful is that for the like of my own business costs that would generally be in overheads are actually direct costs ie post & packing, website fees, eBay fees, PayPal & card payment fees, etc therefore they will fall within cost of sales or cost of goods sold rather than outside Gross Profits and I don’t need things like raw material, work in progress, finished materials, etc that a manufacturer would need. I realise you can set particular accounts to ended to deactivate them but can you move an account easily once it has been imported ie moving all those overhead accounts under direct expenses?

I’m not proposing we get bogged down in any of that now but if we set a structure that would support that then I could see that providing a way to make accounts more relevant over time.

Is there a way to view the chart of accounts like a nested a list of accounts so I can easily see them because reading the XML and understanding that structure is not easy. If I know what to do I can probably get there. I could just import the module into Tryton and view it in there but not sure if there is a better way to do that.

Apologies for the length of that.

Hi Paul,

They are quite easy to setup, but the problem with them is that at the moment they are used during the build stage before the module is packaged for distribution. This means that they are good for creating different charts of account from a single source, as is done for the charts in multiple languages (or could be done for UK / NI charts and taxes) but wouldn’t really work for multiple combinations such as UK / Sole Trader / Online Retailer, NI / Partnership / Manufacturer, … as all the variants would need to be created before the module is distributed and each would have its own separate set of templates.

Yes, it is not too hard to move accounts once they have been created, especially if you are moving a subtree, as you just have to move the root account of the subtree.

However, if you need to move where the money from an set of accounts appears on the balance sheet / income statement then this is more time consuming as you need to change the account type for each account in turn.

Yes, it’s hard to look at the XML and see the structure. The easiest way is to view it in Tryton, which involves installing and activating the module, and how you do that will depend on how you are running Tryton.

From my perspective, the XSL transforms and templating will be useful for two purposes:

  • entity type: company limited by Shares, company limited by Guarantee (Irish and GB non-profits), LL partnership, sole proprietor each have slightly different equity accounts as discussed in another topic. This problem exists anyway, not just NI/UK/Commonwealth countries.
  • VAT regulations: there are many permutations of VAT. Your last email about this was really helpful for me, you have EU VAT rules for goods but not services. We can use XSL templates to mix-and-match the VAT rules. For example, for Republic of Ireland, we would select the same rules as France for both Goods and also for Services. For NI, we would use the EU rules for goods but UK rules for services perhaps. The UK rules may end up like the Swiss rules, both the UK and CH being outside the EU. If XSL can help us mix-and-match the right combinations for each country, it will save us effort.

Bizarre but true: I ran a 3000m race against a HMRC VAT inspector. Don’t mess with these guys.

Thanks @dave that really does help clarify things a lot especially in respect of XSL transforms. As long as I can move things round that’s good. I’m using pip and virtualenv. I’ve pulled your module out based on patchset 9 or at least I think it’s patchset 9 I have as that had all the EU stuff as well as the GB Brexit codes.

I’m not sure that a specific chart of accounts for NI is needed as I can see Input VAT, Output VAT and VAT liability account which I presume is just the balance account in which case whether NI EU codes exist in the taxes won’t make any difference to the accounts needed in the chart of accounts.

So as it stands I see just on chart of accounts for the UK. Chart of Taxes for UK-GB and Chart of Taxes UK-NI and possibly UK-All which would cover those business that have GB & NI operations and therefore have to follow GB or NI rules based on the place of supply. In this scenario I can see the XSL transform probably makes things easier as it really is just one big set of tax codes that cover the UK-All scenario with both GB & NI version just a subset of that.

@pocock I haven’t had the pleasure of a HMRC inspection yet. My brother did in his last business and they picked over every detail of the VAT invoices and their not doing checks to make sure the VAT numbers were valid. I hope never to meet one :smile: