The Managers Task Force for BFS Solutions has prepared the following information to assist department managers in determining how to most effectively use the flexibility of the Chart of Accounts. In particular, this information is intended to assist managers in deciding under what circumstances to use the optional project and flexfield codes.
Following the general information below, are links to samples from diverse departments. The sample information includes a list of the departments org codes, a brief description of the rationale behind project and flexfield use in the department, and several sample project or flexfields. To get to these samples directly, click here.
Step 1: Understanding All the Fields in the New Chart of Accounts
Visit http://www.bai.berkeley.edu/BAI/gl/accounts.html for a full description of the new Chart of Accounts. What follows is a brief summary.
Business Unit = Location (1 for UC Berkeley)
BFS Account - similar to Object Code in Legacy Chart of Accounts. Visit http://www.bai.berkeley.edu/BAI/gl/accounts.html#Account to download the current list of expense BFS Accounts. Note: Summary level BFS accounts are somewhat equivalent to sub accounts in the legacy chart of accounts.
Fund - no change from Legacy
Org Code - represents permanent budgetary unit or significant activity within your department.
Program - indicates the activity involved in the budget or expenditure at a very high level - research, libraries, public service, etc.
Subprogram - further defines, where appropriate, the activity involved in the budget or expenditure - administration, development & external relations, recruitment, etc.
Project - further defines the budget and/or expenditure. If the budget or expenditure falls into a category for which a project code is required by campus, it will be assigned by the department(s) involved. (See http://www.bai.berkeley.edu/BAI/gl/accounts.html#Project/Grant for a list of these.) If not, the project field can be used by departments, but is required to begin with the departmental identifier. Contact your control unit if you do not know your departmental identifier.
Flexfield - further defines the budget and/or expenditure. This field is entirely optional for departments. It, too, begins with the departmental identifier, but the remaining characters (3) are entirely up to the department.
Step 2: Deciding Whether or Not to Use Project and Flexfield Codes And How to Use Them
We recommend that managers ask themselves the following questions and consider the following issues when determining whether and when to use project and flexfield codes.
Does your department have activities that you need to track that are not captured by the other fields of the new Chart of Accounts (COA)? If so, you can use project and flexfield codes to capture these activities.
Note: This is not the same thing as asking what activity are you unable to track with the current COA, since the new system has additional capabilities besides just the Project and Flex fields. For Example:
If the activity is a permanent part of your department organization, it can be tracked using an Org code.
If the activity is a type of expense, it can probably be tracked through the expanded expense break-out of the BFS Account field. (You can download the current list of expense accounts at http://www.bai.berkeley.edu/BAI/gl/accounts.html#Account)
Do you have activities within an Org that you need to track and report on separately - either within a fund or across funds? If so, and this activity does not have a fund, program, subprogram, or BFS account which uniquely identifies it within the Org in question, you probably want to establish a project or flexfield code for it.
Do you need to track similar activities across multiple Orgs? Again, if this activity does not have a fund, program, subprogram, or BFS account which uniquely identifies it across multiple Orgs, then you probably want to establish a project or flexfield code for it.
Note: If you need to track an activity across multiple fund sources and it is a permanent activity in your department, it should be an Org code.
Whats the down side?
Keep in mind that there are trade-offs in using the optional fields. You need to consider whether the benefits of tracking in greater detail are worth the additional complexity:
Workload: If you assign values to Project and Flex fields, these will need to be entered by your preparers in order for them to be tracked. For input into the BFS purchasing system, you can set up 10-digit speedtypes to enter the entire string, so that no extra data entry will be necessary. However, for other uses, most importantly PAFs, Add Pays, LX/RX, etc., the whole string will have to be typed , so that the use of Project and Flex fields will add to the amount of data entry for each transaction.
Accuracy: The longer the string of data to be entered, the more likely that mistakes will be made. The additional detail that helps in tracking may also mean a higher rate of mistakes, and more time spent on review and correction in order for the data to be accurate. Remember that BFS will only check to see if each piece of data is valid, not whether the each field in the chart of accounts belongs with the others. In other words, staff will be able to enter a project or flexfield code which your department may not want used with the particular org code or fund involved in the transaction.
Accuracy (again): Also, if the Project or Flex fields are used only for a part of your departments activities (only for research projects split between PIs, for example), it may be difficult for staff to remember to enter them consistently. Again, speedtypes may help in this regard for BFS data entry, but would not be available for PAFs and other payroll documents.
Participating Departments by Type
Organized Research Units
Institute of Transportation Studies
University Health Services