Chart of Accounts - Definitions and Examples

Chart ElementDefinitionExamplesInformationLinks and References
Project CodeProject Codes are used to capture activities and initiatives which may span across Accounts and organizations or represent activities within a single Account. Projects are a body of work with defined beginning and end dates.Departments may setup  Project Codes to track specific initiatives such as professional development activities, undergraduate recruitment, employee travel expenses, and large scale departmental and cross-departmental projects.Only one Project Code needs to be setup for projects across multiple Accounts. That makes this attribute easier than Sub-Accounts to track project related expenses across multiple Accounts.See Opening, Updating, and Closing Accounts
AccountIndividual pots of money that are established for a specific purpose and are being budgeted for or funded and spent against.One Example would be Account 3009210 Water and Environmental Technology Center used to track transactions related to the Water & Environmental Technology (WET) Center.Accounts are classified by the source of funds, how the funds can be used, and the function (Higher Education Function Codes) that identifies the purpose of expenditures in an Account. Each Account is self-balancing.

See Account Types- Fund Descriptions

See Opening, Updating, and Closing Accounts

See Account Roles

See Account NACUBO Functional Expense Definitions

Sub-AccountSub-Accounts are used to track a formalized set of ongoing activities (e.g., Programs); they may be contained within a single Account or capture sets of activities across Accounts.Sub-Accounts can be used to further segregate expenses within a single Account. Examples are tracking academic programs, expenses per employee, and ongoing lecture series. Sub-Accounts are also used to capture Cost-Share on sponsored research.Sub-Accounts can only be used with a single Account and must be recreated on each Account where they will be used. See Opening, Updating, and Closing Accounts
Fund GroupFund Groups identify the overall spending limitations or restrictions placed on an Account. They represent groupings of Accounts with common uses/purposes, activities, objectives, restrictions or regulations.Some examples of Fund Groups are Designated, State, and Plant (Capital) Funds.Funds may have limitations (restrictions) on use imposed by donors, sponsors, Federal or state requirements.See Account Types- Fund Descriptions
Sub-Fund GroupSub-Fund Groups identify a more detailed use/purpose, objective, or spending restriction on an Account and roll up to a Fund Group.An example of a Sub-Fund would be RESGFT (Restricted Gifts) which is a subcategory of the OR (Other Restricted) Fund Group. Like Funds, Sub-Funds may have limitations (restrictions) on use imposed by donors, sponsors, Federal or state requirements, or the university.See Accounting Services > References & Guides: "Fund/Sub-Fund Table"
Object CodeObject Code captures the nature of a transaction and is used to categorize revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and net assets. Object Codes are aggregated to associated AZ Reporting Object Codes on the University financial statements.An example of an Object Code is 5230 (Office Supplies) which is used to track expenses related to Office Supplies and reports to the AZ Object code of 1300 (Supplies and Materials).While there are many Object Codes to choose from, it is important to select the Object Code that best defines the transaction to ensure proper financial reporting. See Object Code References
Sub-Object CodeSub-Object Code identifies more detailed activity within a particular Object Code. Sub-Object Codes are associated with a specific Account.An example would be Sub-Object Code 0530-NM on Account 1611100 which is used to track New Mexico sales using Object Code 0530 on Account 1611100.Sub-Object Code can only be used with a single Account and Object Code and must be recreated on each Account-Object Code combination that will be used.  
Budget Shell CodeBudget Shells identify a group of Accounts that have a common purpose and/or restriction not already captured by the Sub-Fund Group. Prior to the implementation of the Budget and Planning system it was common to submit and prepare budgets according to Budget Shell groupings.  This functionality has largely been replaced by the combination of Organization and Planning Fund in the new system.Examples include V3ATHLFEE for the Athletics Mandatory Fee or ASUA for the Accounts used by the Associated Students of the University.