Chart of Accounts - PS Financials


The implementation of PeopleSoft Financials provides NAU with an opportunity to rethink its chart of account (COA) structure and perform much needed cleanup.  The existing COA design and values have evolved over time to meet various reporting requirements within the system and reporting limitations of the time. Given the data tracking and reporting capabilities of the PeopleSoft system, the design and coding decisions of the past were reevaluated and, where it made the most sense, changes made to work within the PeopleSoft system and create as simple and flexible structure for current and future reporting needs.

The PeopleSoft COA design was developed by a work group consisting of members of Financial Accounting Services, Sponsored Project Services and the Budget Office with considerable input from PeopleSoft consultants. The design was presented to the Jurisdictional Budget Managers on August 2nd.  The Power Point for that presentation is located at:  PeopleSoft Financials Project > Modules > General Ledger > ADV to PSChartField.  Much of the information from the Power Point is summarized below.

PeopleSoft to Advantage COA Mapping

The individual COA elements in PeopleSoft are called Chartfields.  Below is a mapping of the PeopleSoft Chartfields to Advantage COA elements.

PS Chartfield (1) Advantage COA Length Comments
Fund      Fund [4 - numeric] Coding values are retained, however, many funds will be consolidated, especially the grant funds
Department      Dept/Unit [7 - numeric] Smart Coding will be eliminated and codes will become all numeric
Account Object/Sub Ob/Rev /Sub Rev [6 - numeric] Object/Sub Obj/Rev/Sub Rev codes are all combined into the Account chartfield.
The same numbering convention of revenue codes starting with a 5 and expense codes starting with a 7 will be used, but codes will be reorganized and consolidated into more logical groupings.
Program Activity [4 - alpha numeric] Coding values are retained.
Sub Dept SubUnit [4 - alpha numeric] Code length expanded from 2 to 4.
Project Grant Program [7 - numeric] Unique numeric value that is sequentially assigned
Project      Capital Dept/Unit [7 - numeric] Numeric value that is sequentially assigned

(1) Similar to Advantage, the PeopleSoft chartfields will roll up to higher level reporting categories for each chartfield in what are called Trees PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft Chartfield Structure

Similar to the Advantage Accounting Template, the required organizational COA elements in PeopleSoft can be inferred by using the Speed Chart code.  The diagram below shows the required chartfields for a transaction with the corresponding Advantage COA in parentheses.

 PeopleSoft Chartfield Structure

Budget and Structural Changes

While the overall purpose and use of the chartfields in PeopleSoft are not changing from those used in Advantage, how they are used together is changing.  As you can see from the diagram below, unique Dept/Units were setup in Advantage by Fund and Activity. By maintaining a one-to-one relationship between Dept/Unit, Fund and Activity, we end up with many more Dept/Units than actually needed to make a unique accounting string for budgeting and reporting purposes. In PeopleSoft, the combination of the Department, Fund and Program will make a make that unique accounting string.

The new structure will allow for considerable flexibility going forward.  In some cases it may allow for the consolidation of Advantage Dept/Units that serve the same purpose but only differ in their fund source. And, it will allow many that are unique unto themselves to continue with the same structure as the past. 

 PeopleSoft and Advantage Structure

Below is an example of what the chartfield coding would look like under the PeopleSoft structure as compared to the Advantage structure. The most notable change is that the Department value in PeopleSoft is all numeric with the first 3 numbers representing the Advantage Dept.

PeopleSoft Structure

Department Department Description Fund Program Speed Chart Speed Chart Description
1110370  ATH - Football 1100  E002 1110370F11 ATH Football 1100 Fund 
1110370  ATH - Football  4200  I003  1110370F42 ATH Football 4200 Fund

Advantage Structure

Dept/Unit Dept/Unit Description Fund Activity Accounting Template Description
ATH1151 Football State 1100  E002 ATH1151 Football State 
ATH4251  Football Aux 4200  I003  ATH4251 Football Aux

Note: For grants, the Project Id will make the accounting string of Department, Fund, Program unique as a generic Department will be used at the Advantage Dept level.  As an example, instead of creating a separate Dept/Unit for each Biology grant, the generic PeopleSoft Department would simply be "BIO - Sponsored Activity", and all grants under Biology would us that Department.


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PeopleSoft (also known as "LOUIE") is NAU's student and employee information management system. ITS provides technical support for the PeopleSoft system.