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What is the chart of accounts?

The chart of accounts is the collective name that we give to all our General Ledger account codes. It includes the way the account codes are structured as well as the individual codes themselves.

Why is it important?

The General Ledger (also known as the GL or the Nominal Ledger) is at the heart of any accounting system. The GL collates information from the rest of the system for all transactions that have been processed. This information can then be summarised for management and financial reporting purposes.The chart of accounts enables information to be processed uniformly throughout the University, which means:

  • Comparable reports can be produced at Department, School, Faculty, and University levels.
  • Financial information can be categorised correctly to produce the statutory financial statements and returns required.

Overview of the structure

General Ledger account codes are made up of six segments.

Segment

Characters

Purpose

Entity

1

Identifies the organisation

Department

2

Identifies the Department / operational area within an Entity

Cost Centre

4

Identifies a specific activity or section within a Department

Source of Funds

4

Identifies the type of funding, and in some cases the specific funding provider

Transaction

4

Identifies the nature of an item

Spare

4

Always 0000

They are normally written in a string format eg U.AG.AGAA.AAAA.ESBC.0000, with or without the final 0000.

Initially transactions processed via the Grants module have a different format of codes to record the type of specific information that is required for grant claims and for monitoring spend against individual project budgets over the life of the grant.

However, when the information is transferred into the General Ledger it is automatically summarised and converted into the above standard format.

Currently (at July 2015) the number of active General Ledger code combinations is 181,300.  Care is vital when entering an account code to avoid creating an incorrect combination.

General guidelines

  • Source of Funds and Transaction codes are generic across all Departments.
  • Cost Centre codes are, in the main, specific to a Department.
  • Make sure each part of the code is correct.
  • An up-to-date listing of the available values for any segment can be produced by running the Chart of Accounts - Segment Value Listing (UFS) report in the GL module of UFS.
  • Each Department should look at the codes they use most often, agree a uniform selection and prepare a crib sheet.

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