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Chart of Accounts Governance Policy



P​urpose/Background

The Chart of Accounts (COA), contained within the University's General Ledger system, is the primary framework for the management and reporting of financial activity, as well as for meeting compliance and regulatory requirements. As of July 1, 2020, a new COA was implemented which incorporated many changes designed to improve data transparency, clarity, and reporting. The COA must be governed over time to maintain the integrity of the University's financial reporting. The purpose of this policy is to establish key mandates to ensure that integrity. 

Applicability/Responsibility

This policy applies to all university employees who play any role in managing and reporting the university's financial activity, and/or who help the university meet its compliance and regulatory requirements. This policy provides for standardized governance of the COA so that Budget & Financial Services (BFS) can fulfill its roles to:

  • Create and maintain consistency for the naming and numbering structure of the elements and segments of the COA;
  • Create a governance structure to preserve and maintain consistency in how the COA segments are defined and used, to facilitate standard accounting and reporting at the University, division, and unit levels;
  • Create a continuous review process for maintaining the integrity of the COA over time.

Definitions

TermDefinition
Banner Finance

Banner is an administrative software application developed specifically for higher education institutions by Ellucian. Banner maintains student, alumni, financial and personnel information. It consists of six modules that integrate through one common database:

  • Finance
  • Advancement (Alumni and Donor relations)
  • Student
  • Financial Aid
  • Human Resources
  • General
Banner Data Entry Standards

A document which provides all Ellucian BANNER users with the standards to enter data. Data Entry Standards ensure that data entry is consistent. This is essential in order to avoid duplication of records and to simplify searches. Entered data must also look professional and attractive when inserted into word-processing documents. The document is maintained by Pacific Technology.

Chart of Accounts (COA)

A set of codes used to classify and record financial transactions in meaningful ways. In addition, the COA provides the structure for reporting and monitoring financial activity at Pacific. It consists of segments, hierarchies, and configuration attributes within the Banner Finance system that organize financial information for accounting, reporting, budget management, and compliance.

COA

Segments

A value representing a unique, material, institution-wide reporting element. May be referred to by acronym "FOAPAL".

  • The Fund, Org, Account, and Program segments are required to process a revenue or expense transaction.
  • Activity and Location segments are optional when processing a revenue or expense transaction.
  • Index is a predefined short cut that links a particular Fund, Org, and Program, used to speed up data entry

Governance

Committee

Representatives from the Financial Reporting office and University Budget Office tasked with ensuring that the COA is structured appropriately.


Policy Statement

The University of the Pacific is committed to financial integrity and accurate financial reporting. 

The COA, contained within the University's General Ledger system, is the primary framework for the management and reporting of financial activity, as well as for meeting compliance and regulatory requirements. Processes and procedures established by BFS must be followed to ensure the integrity of the University's financial reporting. 

All requests for new, modified, and inactivated COA segments, hierarchies, and characteristics are subject to the overall COA governance definitions and processes, as developed and maintained within BFS.

COA Governance Committee

The Controller's Office within the Business & Finance division governs the COA. A committee of representatives from the Budget Office and the Financial Reporting Office will be assigned to perform the COA governance duties (Governance Committee). Only the Governance Committee as a whole is empowered to authorize and make changes to the COA definitions and usage. Committee approval is not required for new, modified, and inactivated segment values; those are requested and processed through the form described below.

New, Modified, and Inactivated COA segments

All additions, modifications, and inactivations to COA segments must use the forms developed by Budget and Financial Services. The form and instructions to add, change (either name or hierarchy), or inactivate a COA segment will be located on the Controller's Office "Forms, Policies, and Procedures" website. Forms are submitted to the appropriate Business & Financial Services area for review, follow-up, and implementation. Requests will be escalated to the Governance Committee if needed. 

The segments and defining characteristics subject to this policy will be defined, where appropriate, by the Controller's Office, based upon factors including but not limited to:

  • University accounting policies and practices;
    University financial and operational reporting needs and requirements;
    External accounting and financial reporting requirements; and
  • Regulatory compliance requirements and reporting needs.

The Banner Data Entry Standards will apply where applicable to the naming of COA segments.

Periodic Review of COA segments

To maintain the benefits, integrity and relevance of the new COA, a periodic review of the COA segment values will be implemented. The Governance Committee will determine the review period and methodology to ensure that all COA segments are reviewed, and the timeframe and due dates for conducting the periodic review. The Governance Committee will assess the review process when this policy is reviewed every 3 years, to determine if the review period should be modified.

A verification process will require Business Unit Managers to certify to the Governance Committee that all COA segments assigned to their unit are still in use and being used as originally designed.

Follow-up processes for non-compliance with COA policies will be determined by the Governance Committee.

  • Processes for follow-up will be approved by the Associate Vice President for University Budget and Financial Services.
  • Non-compliance may include non-response to the annual review and certification of COA, and also changes or re-purposing of a COA segment without going through the change request process.

Communication and Training

Communication about the COA will be included with the periodic review information, to remind users of how the COA is defined and used. Reminders and updates will also be presented to Business Managers during the monthly Business Managers meetings as needed.

Training on the COA will be available to business users across Pacific. Training may be on-line or in-seat, at the university's option, and will include information that business users need to successfully understand and use the COA, such as the definition of COA segments, how to find and use the correct COA segments and hierarchies, and the forms and tools pertaining to COA maintenance.

Violations

Requests for changes to the Chart of Accounts that do not follow the policy will not be applied to Banner Finance by the Governance Committee or when using the form and accompanying process to request New, Modified, and Inactivated COA segments.

Only a limited group of analysts have the security access to make changes to the COA segments and structure in Banner Finance so there is very limited risk of erroneous or inappropriate changes being made to the Banner Finance system.

Contact Information

The Controller's Office within the Business & Finance division governs the COA. Use controllersoffice@PACIFIC.EDU to reach out to the Controller's Office with questions. 

Related Information

ItemDescription
University Links

Fiscal Stewardship & Responsibility (under development as of 2020.09.10) Financial Reporting Policy

Banner Data Entry Standards

Many other Business policies are available on the Policy website.

Forms"New Index Code Request" - currently being revised, will be "Form to Request New, Modification, or Inactivation of COA Segment"
Related LinksNo external links apply
ProceduresBusiness Forms, Policies and Procedures

 


About This Policy
Last Updated
1/5/2021
Original Issue Date
1/5/2021

Responsible Department
Business and Finance


​New Index Code Request Form