Double-entry accounting for separately managed investment accounts

How To Record Your Investments In Your Corporate Books

How To Record Your Investments In Your Corporate Books

We have several separately managed investment accounts, some of which are RRSPs and some are not. The firm that manages those accounts provides monthly statements and the requisite tax slips at the end of the year, but they do not provide detailed capital gain/loss information for the non-RRSP accounts and they provide none whatsoever for the RRSP accounts.

The fact is that there is too much activity inside those accounts for us to want to include such detail in our books, but we do want to include those accounts at a higher level. What are our options for handling such accounts in double-entry books?

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Following is a quick way to put your investments on your books, HOWEVER I would also suggest you track your investments in detail in Quicken or a similar type program so you have your Adjusted Cost Base (ACB) and can easily capture your gain/loss on sale. If you don't do this, how do you plan to report properly on a tax return when an investment os sold? It becomes a particularly troublesome task to track down the ACB information when investments are held for years. Records often get lost.

Many brokerages now provide a column showing your cost base in addition to the market value. When your reports have this feature, they also usually let you call in / write asking them to adjust the cost of an investment if their value doesn't match yours. This is often necessary after a switch between brokerage houses. IF your broker isn't providing this information, you may be able to call and have them look it up for you. They often have access to that type of data even if you don't. Another option is to change to a brokerage house that provides that type of information on your monthly statement.

Also, all RRSP income is not taxable as it is sheltered. The income is taxed upon withdrawal. At that time, taxes are also withheld. I'm guessing your RRSPs are not in the company name, so you would not include these in your business records.

If all of your investment accounts are personally held (i.e. even the non-registered accounts) they should NOT be on your books at all. Do not confuse / mix keeping track of your personal finances with those of your business.

Assuming that the investment accounts are related to an incorporated company and not a sole proprietorship, and that the investments are in the company's name, not yours personally, this is what I would do in QuickBooks:

1. Create a bank type of account for each of the investment accounts you want to track. You may want to have these as sub accounts under a parent account called "Investment Accounts".

2. Create an other asset account called "Investments at Cost" or "Marketable Investments".

3. Create sub-accounts under "Investments at Cost" or "Marketable Investments" for each of the investment accounts you setup bank type
accounts for.

4. Setup revenue accounts according to how the income will be reported on your T2 S125 GIFI Statement. For example Foreign Interest, Foreign Dividends, Canadian Interest, Canadian Dividends, Capital Gains Distribution, Return of Capital, etc. I would put all these under a parent account called "Investment Revenue".

5. If you have foreign investments, create an expense called "Taxes Withheld" and make it a sub account of your Income Taxes account. Also setup an other income type AND other expense type accounts called "Gain on Investments" and "Loss on Investments" respectively.

6. Each month do a general journal entry similar to this to record your income:

CREDIT Investment Revenue:Canadian Dividends $250
CREDIT Investment Revenue:Foreign Dividends $400
CREDIT Investment Revenue:Canadian Interest $350
DEBIT Income Taxes: Taxes Withheld $60
DEBIT Investment Accounts: XYZ (your cash account setup as a bank type in QuickBooks) $940

If you have investments where dividends are reinvested, add this to your entry or make a separate general journal entry:

DEBIT Investment Accounts: XYZ $10 (to record shares/units at costs)
CREDIT Investment Revenue:Canadian Interest (or the appropriate revenue stream) $10

7. When you purchase an investment, record a general journal entry similar to this:

DEBIT Marketable Investments: XYZ $4000 (to record investment AT COST)
CREDIT Investment Accounts: XYZ $4000 (to record your cash withdrawal)

8. When you sell an investment, record a general journal entry similar to this:

DEBIT Investment Accounts: XYZ (to record your cash deposit) $8000
CREDIT Marketable Investments: XYZ $5000 (to remove investment AT COST)
CREDIT Gain on Investments $3000

The example above assumed a loss. Adjust the entry/accounts if there was a loss.

Each year you will also have make adjusting entries for return of capital and capital gains as per your Tslips.

I hope this helps you. I want to stress this is how I would handle it. I'm not sure if certified accountants would agree or not as I'm not up-to-date on ASPE or IFRS requirements for investments.

It is important to note that this just captures the value of your investment. It is not tracking your individual investments within each account. I can't stress enough that you need to track your individual investments, even it is a pain, as that is the only way you will be able to correctly account for the sale of any investment on your tax return accurately. Why is this important? Because your original cost is not the whole story. The cost of your investment changes if you have reinvested dividends, return of capital, capital gains distributions, etc. The value after these adjustments is called your ACB.

P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this post or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using this site content for any reason whatsoever.

Comments for Double-entry accounting for separately managed investment accounts

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May 31, 2014
Cap gains or losses
by: Annette D.

Dealers are required to send clients yearend statements. If the account is not registered (not an RRSP/RRIF etc.) there will be capital gains or losses listed along with proceeds and acb's, right on those year-end statements. They should always be given to your tax preparer, every year, at tax time!


Jun 05, 2014
Capital Gains and Losses
by: Lake

Very true Annette but you can't always rely on the cost amounts if you have moved your investments between brokerage houses since the original purchase ... which is why I recommend tracking the ACB yourself and requesting your records be updated when there is a difference and you can't determine what is causing the difference. The best time to do this is right after you have switched.

Aug 16, 2016
How to book Return of Capital (ROC)?
by: Cathy

You commentary on recording double entry for corporately owned investments is excellent. However I needed to go one step farther.

How to record a Return of Capital in the same investment account?

Aug 16, 2016
by: Lake

Your ROC gets booked to your Original Cost Investment account because it reduces the amount of the cost of the investment as a portion of your capital investment has been returned. In other words, it reduces your ACB.

Aug 24, 2016
Foriegn Taxes Withheld.
by: Steve

Quick question. I've setup my accounts similar to the above, but have a question on year end clearing.

Assume I receive a Dividend from a US company as follows:
- Total Dividend is 364 US (including Foreign Dividend Tax Paid)

- Foreign Dividend Tax Paid (withheld): $54.60

My entry to record this is (in US funds):
US Cash Acct: CR 309.4
Foreign Taxes Withheld: CR 54.60
Foreign Dividends Received: DR 364

That all works good and converts to CDN funds fine, but I'm drawing a blank on how to clear the "Foreign Taxes Withheld" account later at year end when I pay taxes?

The "Foreign Taxes" were withheld and I basically never saw them in any of my accounts. In and Out.

Aug 24, 2016
Foreign Taxes Withheld
by: Steve

Oh wait. It's an expense account! Duh! Just clear it with all the other expense accounts. Never mind.

Aug 28, 2016
by: Lake

Foreign taxes withheld should be reclassified to Income Tax Payable at year-end as it reduces the amount of tax owing.

Yes tax withheld is an expense therefore you need to look at your proposed entry. Expenses are debits and you are proposing a credit.

Also a bank deposit for cash received would be a debit as the cash received increases your assets.

The dividends received is income to you ... and income is a credit.

Review your proposed bookkeeping entry Steve.

Oct 01, 2016
Asset Sub Account
by: Thera

This posting is extremely helpful.

Just a verification item #3. Sub-account under Investment at Cost. Would this be the individual stock investment i.e. IBM Shares, Microsoft Shares etc recorded at costs?

Also, If the client has US stocks holdings, I assume it is advisable to turn on the Multi-Currency.

Any up-dates on this post? There is now a requirement to complete T1135.


Oct 02, 2016
by: Lake

No the sub-accounts do not refer to shares. They refer to the account(s) the shares are held in. For example some companies that people might have accounts with are TD Direct Investing or Investors Group or ScotiaMcLeod.

I certainly wouldn't turn on multi-currency in QuickBooks just for US Investment stocks. As I said, QuickBooks should only be reporting the financial totals. Individual stock need to be tracked in Quicken or another similar software as you need to track your ACB.

US accounts can be adjusted to CAD at year-end then reversed. I personally like to setup a sub-account to track just the year-end valuation of the cash and the stock account.

T1135 information is a tax form and separate from book i.e. recording the investment information summary in QuickBooks.

Feb 02, 2018
by: Siobhan

This is a great article. Really clarified some questions for me however, I am still having problems with ROC.

I understand that it adjusts ACB and is not taxable when received but how does it get recorded on the F/S?

If the investments are reduced by ROC what is the Credit account on F/S to balance investments to book value? If this is not taxable what is the treatment on the T2 ?


Mar 07, 2018
Setting up QB accounts
by: Theds

How can you create and Asset Type account called Investment at Cost and have Sub account Bank Type for example TD Investments.

I tried to do this but QB wont let me set up a Bank Type account as a sub account of an Asset Type account.

Please clarify. Thanks.

Apr 07, 2018
by: Lake

If the ROC was originally recorded as a dividend ... because there was no information to tell you differently, reclassify that "ROC" dividend income to the Investment at Cost account on the balance sheet.

Apr 07, 2018
by: Lake

You want the TD Investments to be an asset account as well as this is where the value of the investment portfolio is recorded ... excluding cash.

However if you only have one investment account, there is no need to make it a sub-account. The sub-accounts are necessary if you have more than one investment account.

You will also want a TD Investments "bank" type account to handle the cash in and out for buys, sells, transfers, contributions, withdrawals, etc.

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