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Chart of Accounts Overview and Definitions


The Chart of Accounts (COA) is the backbone of the financial system. It provides the organizing framework for both financial and management reporting within the financial system. The COA structure is a string of informational fields that identifies, segregates, and categorizes transactional and budget data.  The COA is comprised of individual chart fields or segments that, when linked together, provide special identification characteristics.

ChartFields are individual valid values (e.g. Fund) used in unique combinations called Chart Strings (e.g. Fund + Department , Fund + Department + Project ID + Activity ID) to capture data for management and financial accounting.


  • Fund: The Fund code is the first three (3) digits of a chart string and indicates the type of funding for a transaction or budget. Example fund types include: unrestricted (e.g. 110, 171, 172), gift (e.g. 320), grant (e.g. 610), and others (e.g. 450, 710).
  • Department ID: The Department ID (seven (7) digits) identifies the financial entity or management unit that is responsible for the activity. Also called DeptID, the first two digits identify the grouping of units within which DeptIDs belong. This is different than the 6-digit HR Department ID.
  • Project ID: The Project ID (eight (8) digits) is used to identify financial activity for a distinct unrestricted or restricted purpose. The first digit of the Project ID is generally particular to the fund; for example, Project IDs used with fund 100s starts with a 1, Project IDs used with fund 300s starts with a 3; there are exceptions such as Project IDs start with 6 for cost share funds 191, 192 or 193.  
  • Activity ID: The Activity ID (two (2) digits) is required when a Project ID is used. Generally, 01 is used; certain grant and plant funds Project IDs may use other activity ids to represent the grant year or phase of construction.
  • Program Code: The Program Code (four (4) digits) can be used to unite collaborative activities across units (e.g. conference hosted by two schools and Office of Research); it provides multiple user access and reporting. For example, Program Code 1087 – Basic Sciences Seminar.
  • ChartField1: The ChartField1 value is for the activity within the unit (e.g. it provides the granularity for reporting or analysis). For example, CF1 value 1134 – Faculty #1.
  • Account Code: The Account Code (five (5) digits) classifies a transaction as revenue, expense or balance sheet. Most commonly used account groupings:
    • 40000's  Revenues (from external entities)
    • 50000's  Internal revenues (intra-university sales)
    • 60000’s  Personnel Expenses (e.g. salary and benefits)
    • 70000's  Non-personnel expenses (e.g. services and supplies)
    • 80000's  Transfers (intra-university movement of funds)