Accounting Structure

Chartfields are used to keep track of funding and expenditures.

Combinations of the various chartfield components allow UBC to summarize and monitor the activity of the entire organization or the activity of a single project/grant (PG). 

UBC uses up to eight chartfield elements to categorize transactions. The combination of chartfield elements used will determine with what project or department the revenue or expense item is associated. 

The key elements used by UBC are as follows:

Business Unit

The Business Unit chartfield identifies separate legal entities or the separate areas of UBC. Business Units are set up by the Finance department only:

  • General ledger and reporting: the business unit is always UBC
  • Accounts payable: a business unit is assigned to each area entering directly into the system

Structure: three to five alpha/numeric characters: e.g., UBC.

Business Unit is required for all transactions and defaults to "UBC". 


The Account chartfield defines the type of transactions. Examples of transactions include expenses, such as postage or office supplies, and revenues, such as food sales. A complete list of accounts can be found in FMS nQuery under the Chartfields menu. 

Structure: Six numeric characters: e.g. 999999

Account is required for all FMS transactions. 


The Fund chartfield classifies assets, liabilities, revenues and related expenses according to the purpose of each Fund type as defined here. In fund accounting, all revenue received must be classified and deposited to the appropriate fund.

Structure: Five alpha/numeric characters: e.g. G0000

Fund is required for all FMS transactions. 

Department ID (DeptID)

A department is any academic or other organizational unit that has defined fiscal, administrative and budgetary responsibility. Some examples include Botany, Mechanical Engineering, Surgery etc. Some FMS online pages refer to department IDs as 'Organization'. These terms are used interchangeably.

Structure: Six numeric characters: e.g.: 125003

  • 1st four digits centrally defined.
  • 1st and 2nd digits refer to the faculty or administrative unit.
  • 3rd and 4th digits refer to the department within the faculty or administrative unit.
  • Last two digits refer to sub-department/division and are determined by the user.

DeptIDs that start with '9' are used to identify central university activities that might be managed by a specific department on behalf of UBC. For example, the Province of BC Operating Grant is administered by Finance on behalf of the University. The DeptID for this grant begins with a '9'. The 2nd through 6th digits of this DeptIDs are first 4 digits of the Department that is responsible for the activity.

Department ID is required for all transactions.

Project/Grant (PG)

The Project/Grant (PG) chartfield is used to track assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses to a specific activity/grant/contract, for both actual and budget transactions.

Structure: alpha/numeric: eight characters: e.g. 12G08007

  • 1st two digits refer to the faculty or administrative unit.
  • 3rd digit refers to the fund group.
  • 4th to 8th digits identify the project.

When a DeptID and/or Fund are linked to a specific PG, that DeptID and/or Fund must be used whenever the specified PG is used.

Program Code

The Program Code field groups related activities and transactions that are directed towards accomplishing a set of objectives. This chartfield is user-defined to enhance reporting flexibility, and may be used in combination with any other FMS chartfield.

Structure: Five alpha/numeric characters: e.g.: ADMIN

The Program Code field is optional.

Budget/Fiscal Year

The budget year is the same as the fiscal year. The fiscal year is the 12-month period starting on April 1 and ending on March 31. This is UBC’s fiscal year. Some research PGs can have a fiscal year that starts and ends on a different month, but these PGs are not typical. The calendar year in which the final fiscal period ends names the fiscal year. For example, if UBC's current fiscal year is 2015, the last period of the University's year would be March, 2015.

Structure: Four numeric characters: e.g.: 2015
Budget/Fiscal year defaults to the current budget year, but may be over-ridden in special circumstances.

Accounting Period

Accounting periods range from one to 12. The first month in the fiscal year is accounting period one and the last month in the fiscal year is accounting period 12. For UBC, accounting period one is April and accounting period 12 is March. For example, a transaction coded to June 15, 2010 would have a fiscal year of 2011 and an accounting period of three.


SpeedCharts are four character codes that represent an entire chartfield combination (excluding the account number). The code is used to speed up data entry. SpeedCharts will be generated by Finance when a PG is created.

When a new PG is requested, Finance will create a new SpeedChart, and send an email to the requestor advising them of the new SpeedChart.

Structure: Four alpha characters, e.g.: CGFD

Request a Chartfield