Acetylation of alcohols, phenols, amines, thiols and aldehydes is performed using acetic anhydride as acylating agent and M(ClO4)2·6H2O as catalyst where M is Mn, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn at room temperature under solvent free conditions. Transition metal perchlorates used here are found to be more efficient than the already reported metal triflates and s, p-block perchlorates. Substrates containing acid sensitive protecting groups are acylated successfully without any cleavage of the protection. Remarkably, less nucleophlic thiols (e.g. 2-mercaptobenzothiazole) are acylated with reasonable yields using transition metal perchlorates as catalyst whereas otherwise active acylation catalyst Mg(ClO4)2 was found to be inefficient. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.