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What are Cost Centres?

Cost Centres allow departments to organise and group their accounts to reflect their own departmental activities and set up. For example, a department may have Cost Centres for administration, laboratory managers, conferences, canteens, or specific courses. Expenditure (and income) is then allocated to the appropriate cost centre. This enables departments to manually set budgets for each activity and monitor its performance.

In April 2023, there were over 21,000 Cost Centres enabled on the system.

A UFS standard report can be run to provide a list of all your departmental Cost Centres (see 1.1.5 General Guidelines). 


The Cost Centre code is comprised of four characters: the first two are normally the department code and the next two identify the particular activity or budget holder.
Each department has automatically been set up with a standard set of Cost Centres covering core activities, (?? = the department code):

  • Administration (??AA)
  • Workshop (??AB)
  • Maintenance (??AC)
  • Library (??AD)
  • Catering (??AE)
  • Research grants (??AG)

Other Cost Centres specific to the department can be added at the request of the department.

Cost Centres for trust funds

If your Department has any trust funds then you also use two specific Cost Centres:

  • ZZYA        permanent trust fund capital
  • ZZYB        spendable trust fund capital

For more information on Trust Funds, refer to FPM Chapter 13

Requesting a new Cost Centre

When a new Cost Centre is required, the departmental Secretary or Administrator should email the helpdesk at and give the following information:

  • The code and name of the required Cost Centre
  • Its purpose
  • The Source of Funds code it is most likely to be used in conjunction with

The latter is required so that the Taxation team can be advised and, if necessary, investigate any likely VAT issues and set up any VAT reclaim.

Some Schools have local arrangements to request Cost Centre codes via the Schools Office rather than directly. Check with your Finance Adviser before making your first request.

Closing existing Cost Centres

Cost Centre codes can be closed when they are no longer required. This prevents further expenditure or income being posted to them. To close a Cost Centre code:

Whilst it is possible to temporarily deactivate a Cost Centre during the financial year, for example to stop any more expenditure being coded against it, it will have to be re-opened by the Finance Division before the roll forward process can be undertaken.

Latest version 01 May 2024


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