COA - Managing Your Chart of Accounts

ChartField Maintenance Requests

ChartField maintenance is requested through the appropriate form (refer to Forms Cabinet). Please note the following:

  • All ChartField requests require SFO approval.
    • If the SFO is taking an extended absence such as vacation, it is preferable for all ChartField requests to be held until the SFO returns. If, however, the SFO anticipates ChartField requests will be urgent, the SFO may authorize an alternate staff member to approve requests related to programs, projects and SpeedCodes by notifying FS in advance and provide the start- and end-date of the alternate approver’s authorization to submit requests.
    • An SFO can permanently delegate some ChartField approval to a senior financial staff member within the faculty by advising FS (who will retain this name on file). However, the SFO cannot delegate the request for a new deptID (or subsequent deptID maintenance requests) or for a new account.
  • If requesting a high volume (50 or more) of new ChartFields or changes, the SFO should contact FS to discuss other options for a more expedient means of processing these requests. Note: For high volume requests, FS will open a helpdesk ticket to process the request and will notify the unit when the request has been processed.
  • In certain cases, ChartFields can be set up in advance (i.e. set up in February for use April 1). Please contact FS for further information.
  • Before requesting new ChartFields or changes to ChartFields, the unit should review current ChartFields available; the following queries can assist:



View list of accounts
(Users may also refer to General Ledger (GL) Accounts – Complete List)


View faculty’s deptIDs and deptID budget owners


View programs and program managers


View projects and project budget owners


Find all SpeedCodes associated with one or more ChartFields and identify the entire ChartField string for a SpeedCode


Determine project SpeedCode processing status


View classes


In some cases it may not be necessary to request a new ChartField. Making changes to an existing ChartField is encouraged where possible. For example, a project may be reused by updating the project name each year or by reactivating a previously used project number and changing the project name.

  • When inactivating a ChartField, it is the SFO’s responsibility to ensure that there are no outstanding transactions that have not yet been processed and that there are no future commitments. To review activity associated with the ChartField, the SFO should:
    • Run the AAA_CF_ACTIVITY query to identify active contracts, active purchase orders, active requisitions, expense claims, open AR items, employee profiles, and salary/benefit commitments; and
    • Review reports from the prior 6 months to identify any other transactions that are regularly occurring in the ChartField in question.
  • ChartField strings within SpeedCodes cannot be changed. A new SpeedCode must be set up for the new ChartField string.
  • For any ChartField maintenance requests where transactions need to be reclassified (i.e. move from old ChartField string to new ChartField string), please note the following:
    • In the operating fund it is recommended that this occur effective April 1 to reduce unnecessary workload, and for ease of reporting. 
    • If balances and/or current year revenue and expense transactions are required to be moved from the existing ChartField string to the new ChartField string, please contact FS to determine the best option to process this accounting entry. Note: generally FS processes this via an FS interface (current year revenue and expense are processed at a summary level (i.e. account totals), or one lump sum transfer using transfer (TD/TC) accounts).
  • For assistance in determining other actions that may be required as a result of ChartField maintenance refer to the COA Structure Change – Transition Checklist.

Changes to ChartFields can have significant workload impacts to the faculty, FS and other central services business process owners.  Areas that may be impacted are: Trees (rollups, one-over-one), nVision report requests, budget, user interfaces, unit coding practices, transaction reclassifications at module level, changes to restricted funds (e.g. research project or endowment must now be changed to new deptID) changes to commitments (e.g. payroll, purchase requisitions). 

Review of Faculty’s COA Structure

At a two year minimum, the COA structure for operating funds should be reviewed to ensure it meets the unit’s reporting requirements. This review would include:

  • Review use of all deptIDs, programs, classes and projects
  • Inactivate ChartFields with low dollar activity or which are no longer required
  • Ensure all ChartField attributes are up-to-date (e.g. deptID name, deptID budget owner, program manager, operating project end date)

Users can view their existing ChartFields and ChartField activity by:

  1. Running the queries listed in ChartField Maintenance Requests above.
  2. The following Tableau reports show dollar activity for current and prior fiscal years by ChartField:
    • Department Statement
    • Program Statement
    • Project Statement
    • Class Statement

These statements only include ChartFields (program, class, and project) which have had activity throughout the year. Programs, projects and classes which are not available for selection in the drop down filters in these reports have not had any activity in the current or previous fiscal year.

Changes to COA and the impact to Central Services Units (CSUs) and Transaction Processing

Changes made to COA may have an impact and in some cases a significant impact on Central Services Units (CSU) or transaction processing. 

For changes that will impact a CSU, it is important that the SFO contact the impacted CSUs during the planning stages of the COA change. The SFO and the CSU can then determine an appropriate timeline, taking into account other CSU priorities and peak processing periods.

Some examples of COA changes that may result in system maintenance or other work effort are:

  • Changes to ChartField (e.g. deptID) used in multiple research projects
  • Changes to ChartField (e.g. deptID) used in multiple endowments
  • Changes to ChartField (e.g., deptID, program, class) used in department third party systems that interface transactions (e.g., indent journal entries, external customer billing) into PeopleSoft
  • Reorganization of deptID (new departments, inactivation of old departments)
  • Restructuring of COA (e.g. new programs, new classes)

Some examples of areas that may require additional work effort are:

  • nVision reports
  • PeopleSoft trees (used for security access, reporting and approval workflow)
  • SupplyNet (e.g. changes to ChartFields on existing transactions will require change orders for all open orders, which will also retrigger the approval chain in SupplyNet)
  • uPlan (e.g. changes to tree roll-ups may require uPlan security changes)
  • Research (e.g. award contracts and projects may need to change over to new deptID, project general ledger balances need to be adjusted)
  • Endowments (e.g. endowments may need to change over to new deptID)
  • HCM (e.g. Combo Codes for each employee on the Department Budget Table need to be identified and changed when a ChartField changes)

Note: some changes to COA may cause transactions in progress to fail. For example, a purchase order (PO) may have been created in SupplyNet under a specific ChartField string. Changes to this ChartField string can cause transactions to be charged to a different ChartField string than the PO commitment if a change order is not processed before inactivating a ChartField; this means that the PO commitment will not be cleared when the expense occurs, and will remain outstanding. For HCM Salary & Benefit Expenditure reporting, when ChartFields are changed, the mapping to a SpeedCode will no longer be valid so the SpeedCode field will be blank.

The examples above demonstrate why it is important that the SFO discuss COA changes in advance with the impacted CSUs (e.g. FS, SMS, Resource Planning, Human Resource Services, RSO). If the SFO is not certain as to the impact of the change, contact FS. Note: this does not include regular operational maintenance for nVision reports and Trees.

For more day to day operational maintenance (e.g. inactivating a program), refer to COA Structure Change – Transition Checklist for the steps to take to ensure transactions continue to be processed.

Last Update: July 2017