Cloud Apps

Import Chart of Accounts to NetSuite – ParentRef

How do you import a chart of accounts successfully into NetSuite? In this post I detail the basic structure needed to import your accounts.

One of the challenges when importing the chart of accounts into NetSuite is trying to understand how a parent reference is to be configured.

Unfortunately an example template I’ve come across doesn’t differentiate what is what as per the following:

6010ExpenseTravel & Entertainment6000 Expenses
6020ExpenseMeals6010 Expense : Travel & Entertainment

What is most confusing with this example is the final row where you don’t really know which reference Expense is referring too? Is it the accountTypeRef? Is it the name of the uppermost parent?

What is to happen when you need to go down another sub-level in your accounting structure – what exactly is the pattern, is it:

Uppermost level's account name : next sub-level's account name : next sub-level's account name...

Unfortunately after testing a few different varieties which weren’t working for our nested account structure I eventually found the successful import, in a pattern it would look like this:

AAAA HLName : SLName : ... : LSLName


  • AAAA is the nearest sub-level’s account number
  • HLName is the name of the account starting at the highest level
  • SLName is the name of the account at the next sub-level
  • ... is the name of additional sub-level account names
  • LSLName is the name of the account that represents the nearest sub-level’s name (if this account has a number it is that which is written in at AAAA above).

As an example, if I have the following structure:

+ 6000 - Expenses
    + 6100 - Operational Expenses
        + 6110 - Local Expenses
            + 6111 - Printing

Where 6000 is a main header account, 6100 the next sub-level account header, 6110 an additional sub-level account header and 6111 being a posting account. Our import structure for just this data using the above table as our basic template would look as follows:

6100ExpenseOperational Expenses6000 Expenses
6110ExpenseLocal Expenses6100 Expenses : Operational Expenses
6111ExpensePrinting6110 Expenses : Operational Expenses : Local Expenses

This portion of the import will work successfully and when done you should receive 100% success status.

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