Chart of Accounts
Welcome to the University of Minnesota’s online Chart of Accounts Manual. The conversion from a large PDF to the current HTML format was done in part at the request of those who use the COA information most frequently, and to ensure the community could more quickly access the most "fresh out of the oven" information available. If you have comments or questions about the Chart of Accounts, please contact the University Financial Helpline. The staff there will either provide an immediate response or find the appropriate person to respond to your inquiry. Enjoy!
Note: If you are searching for a specific value, for example, an Account code, go to the page for the type of value using the navigation above. Some pages have an Excel file you can download and some pages have the values listed right on the web page. To search the web page, press the Control key and the F key at the same time (Ctrl+F) to use the web browser's Find feature. Type the value or key word for which you are looking into the box that appears (for some browsers it is at the top of the screen, for others it is near the bottom). For assistance using your web browser's Find feature, contact your local desktop support person. Keep in mind that the Find feature on a web browser will only find things on the page being viewed. To look for things on any web page, the Search box at the top of the page must be used. The Search box will Search more than just the Chart of Accounts pages--it will also search all Controller's Office content, and all content on the umn.edu domain, so you will get more results than you probably need or intend to use.
A printable version of the chart below, suitable for posting in a conspicuous place, is available from Training Services: click here (pdf).
Depending on the transaction type, specific ChartFields must be populated for a ChartField string. Three transaction types are listed below. The required ChartFields for each transaction type are indicated with an X in each field. Conditional/optional ChartFields CF1, CF2, and Fin EmplID can be used separately or in combination with any of the transaction types.
This picture shows how information flows from one area of the financial system to the next. It is a complex hive of activity. The important bit to keep in mind is that after all is said and done, an accounting entry ends up in the General Ledger (and for sponsored projects, an entry also ends up in the Projects module).
The Chart of Accounts is the organizing framework for budgeting, transacting/recording, and reporting on all University financial transactions. It is designed to capture financial information to make good financial decisions.
Every time a transaction is entered into a particular module within the financial system, the Chart of Accounts is used to capture information about that transaction and allow it to flow through the system to the General Ledger. The more accurately a transaction is described through the ChartField string, the better the information that will be available to us.
ChartFields are values used to classify financial transactions entered into the General Ledger.
ChartFields comprise the ChartField string. The ChartField string is comprised of a sequence of values that describes the financial transaction.
ChartField values are designed to work independently of each other. This allows values to be used across departments increasing flexibility of monitoring and reporting.
Example: Below is an illustration that shows the ChartField strings two departments use to track the same information. The only difference is the DeptID, and the other values remain the same. This one difference is significant, as it changes the meaning of the ChartField string by identifying a different responsible unit.
Fund DeptID Program Account 1000 10084 20000 720101 1000 10006 20000 720101
A community of people within each unit share financial stewardship, even though we may all play different roles. Listed below are six primary financial roles. Keep in mind that these are roles, not job descriptions, so you may function in several of these capacities.
Individuals who request or initiate an event that results in a financial transaction. They are responsible for conducting activities and events within the boundaries of compliance with University policies and procedures and funding agency restrictions. Note: Any University employee has the potential to be an initiator.
Individuals who prepare, code, review, and/or process sponsored and nonsponsored accounting transactions in compliance with University policies and procedures and funding agency restrictions; resolve discrepancies; and prepare reports.
Individuals who review and approve sponsored and nonsponsored accounting transactions to ensure compliance with University policies and procedures and funding agency restrictions, and who identify problems and ensure resolutions.
Individuals who are responsible for policy interpretation and implementation for a department (or collegiate unit or higher). They manage the sponsored and nonsponsored accounting and fiscal operations of a department (or collegiate unit or higher) in compliance with University policies and procedures and funding agency restrictions.
Individuals who provide leadership for a research grant and/or subunit within a department by managing, problem solving, ensuring compliance with policies, and monitoring budgets.
Individuals who provide overall leadership for the unit and the University in general. They participate in policy formation and ensure policy implementation for their unit. They are also responsible for their unit’s overall financial management.
This section is excerpted from the Board of Regents Policy: Academic Code of Conduct, adopted July 12, 1966 and amended December 8, 2006.
Section I. Scope
Section II. Guiding Principles
Subd. 1. Values
Subd. 2. Commitment to Ethical Conduct
Section III. Standards of Conduct
Subd. 1. Act Ethically and with Integrity
Subd. 2. Be Fair and Respectful to Others
Subd. 3. Manage Responsibility
Subd. 5. Promote a Culture of Compliance
Section IV. Delegation of Authority
The University of Minnesota’s Code of Conduct applies to all employees of the University, and ensures honesty, integrity, and responsibility in all University-related activities, including purchasing.
The Code of Conduct (Code) applies to the following members of the University of Minnesota (University) community:
Students taking courses, attending classes, or enrolled in academic programs are governed by Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code.
This code is intended to reflect other Board and University policies and procedures. It does not create any additional or different rights or duties of a substantive or procedural nature.
Subd. 1. Values. In carrying out the institution’s research, teaching, and public service mission, members of the University community (community members) are dedicated to advancing the University’s core values. These values embrace commitment to:
Subd. 2. Commitment to Ethical Conduct. Community members must be committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct and integrity. The standards of conduct in this Code, supported through policies, procedures, and workplace rules, provide guidance for making decisions and memorialize the institution’s commitment to responsible behavior.
The University holds itself and community members to the following standards of conduct:
Subd. 3. Manage Responsibly. The University entrusts community members who supervise or instruct employees or students with significant responsibility. Managers, supervisors, instructors, and advisors are expected to:
(a) Expectations—Community members are expected to:
(b) Prohibition—Community members are prohibited from retaliating against another community member for reporting a suspected compliance violation.
Subd. 7. Ethically Conduct Teaching and Research. University researchers have an ethical obligation to the University and to the larger global community as they seek knowledge and understanding. Community members are expected to:\
Subd. 8. Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Commitment. Community members have an obligation to be objective and impartial in making decisions on behalf of the University. To ensure this objectivity, community members are expected to:
Subd. 9. Carefully Manage Public, Private, and Confidential Information. Community members are the creators and custodians of many types of information. The public right to access and the individual’s right to privacy are both governed by laws and University policies. To meet these responsibilities, community members are expected to:
Subd. 10. Promote Health and Safety in the Workplace. Community members have a shared responsibility to ensure a safe, secure, and healthy environment for all University students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors. Community members are expected to:
The president or delegate shall ensure that appropriate administrative policies are maintained to support this Code, and shall effectively promulgate this Code and any related administrative policies or procedures through appropriate and periodic explanation, education, and evaluation.
More information on the Code of Conduct and key related policies can be found at http://www.instcomp.umn.edu/conduct/index.html.
Internal control is a process affected by a university’s governing board, administration, faculty, and staff, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories:
Internal control consists of five interrelated components derived from basic university operations and administrative processes as follows:
The core of any educational institution is its people. They are the engines that drive the organization. Their individual attributes (integrity, ethical values, and competence) and the environment in which they operate determine the success of the institution.
Universities must be aware of and deal with the risks they face. They must set objectives that integrate key activities so the total organization operates in concert. They also must establish mechanisms to identify, analyze, and manage the related risks.
Control policies and procedures must be established and executed to help ensure that actions necessary to achieve the institution’s objectives are effectively carried out.
Information and Communication
Surrounding these activities are information and communication systems. These enable the organization’s people to capture and exchange the information needed to conduct, manage, and control its operations.
The entire process must be monitored and modified as necessary. Thus, the system can react dynamically to changing conditions.
* Internal Controls section reference source of material: From Internal Control Concepts and Applications, Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, 1992 .
The Chart of Accounts is organized and summarized via trees. Trees are hierarchical structures that represent a group of summarization rules for a particular ChartField. For example, a tree can specify how the University’s sources of funding should be summarized, or rolled up, for reporting purposes. A tree can also show the reporting relationships within the University by specifying how the individual DeptIDs should be summarized into Resource Responsibility Centers (RRC), or campuses.
The summarization rules depicted in a tree apply to the detail values of a particular field: vendors, departments, or other values that you define. These detail values are summarized into nodes on the tree. The nodes may also be organized into levels to logically group nodes that represent the same type of information or level of summarization.
Once a tree is defined, the system can use it in a variety of ways:
Multiple trees can also be created for the same ChartFields, providing different rollups for different views of the financial data. For example, departments can be grouped together differently for reporting than for security.
By building trees, the system has a single place to look for summarization rules. This centralization enables rules to be defined once and then used throughout the system. For example, different reports, ledgers, and security profiles might all refer to parts of the University’s organizational chart. All these objects can refer to the same predefined tree.
Trees make it easier to select and update values in reports, ledgers, or security profiles. Rather than specify DeptIDs 10086, 10717, and 10855 in a report, you can specify the Office of Technology Commercialization, which includes all these DeptIDs according to the tree. When the organizational structure changes, only the tree is updated rather than updating an untold number of reports, ledgers, security profiles, and so on.
Another advantage of trees is that they visually present summarization rules. Looking at a tree through the Financial System Tree Viewer, it is easy to see how the values relate to each other. See the sample tree below.
When talking about trees, we use terminology derived from the idea of a family tree. The nodes that report to the root node are called its children. They are also called child nodes. The root node is their parent. Nodes that have the same parent are called siblings.
Nodes are defined as a level of roll up within a tree representing a categorization of values according to function, organizational structure, type, etc.
Each detail value reports to a tree node at the next higher level of the organization. Each roll up level represents the group of detail values that rolls up to it. Referring to the roll up level is a shorthand way of referring to the group of detail values under it. For example, if a report refers to the Office of the Vice President for Research, it includes data from all the DeptID detail values under the Office of the Vice President for Research node—including the detail values
under the Office of Technology Commercialization, because the Office of Technology Commercialization reports to the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Detail values, or leaves of the tree, link a roll up structure to the supporting detail. For example, the nodes in the following ACCOUNT tree are not the actual accounts but categories of accounts. Using this example, the account tree has a parent node called Revenues, with a child node called Tuition, with detail values specifying a range of Tuition accounts from 400000 to 400999 rolling up to it.
Using effective dates with trees provides the ability to specify new objects, departments, reporting relationships, or organizational structures in advance and have them take effect automatically. Trees can also be used with past, present, or future effective dates when reporting on current or historic data.
Next section: FundIntroduction | Fund | DeptID | Account | Function | Program | Project | Cost Share | ChartField1 | ChartField2 | FinEmplID (ChartField3) | Terminology