Purpose– This paper seeks to develop an ontological approach, in order to make it possible to share a common understanding of accounting theory, in this case, the specific structure of the profit and loss account among people or software agents. Design/methodology/approach– This paper presents an ontology methodology (the Net technique) which represents a semi‐structured element in the domain knowledge of accounting. More specifically, ontology will be used to explain the profit and loss account as a representation of the potential use of this methodology. Findings– To support ontology effectively, a strong accounting information support system in the organization is necessary. The ontology may be used by employees to navigate the information repository of an organization for the effective coordination. In addition, it might be possible for the WWW to be used to generate data, information and knowledge in the accounting domain. Practical implications– Software agents could extract and aggregate accounting information from numerous web sites, which in turn might answer research questions or be used as input data for other applications. Originality/value– The development of ontology expands the researcher's ability to generate information by using search methods beyond simple keywords. If only keywords are used in internet searches, then information that is retrieved will often lack the precision necessary for generating quality information. Therefore, in order to retrieve quality information more quickly and accurately, a broader and more extensive ontology development is required.