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Understand

A chart of accounts is a coding system designed to track revenues and expenses. It provides information on the agency’s financial status to assist management in making good financial decisions. It should also provide information to meet your agency’s financial reporting needs. Some important elements in the chart of accounts are:

  1. Fund/Account Codes
  2. Expenditure Authority Codes
  3. Object Structure
  4. Program Structure
  5. Revenue Structure
  6. Project Structure

Fund/Account Codes – These are a bit like your bank account number. It designates the pot of money the agency will use to pay expenses or where money the agency receives will be deposited. Refer to SAAM Section 75.30 for the authorized statewide fund/account codes.

Expenditure Authority Codes – The state uses these codes to identify the legislative or executive authorization to spend. The Office of Financial Management (OFM) assigns expenditure authority codes specifically for an agency each biennium. 

Object Structure – These codes are used to classify expenses. Object structure has three levels. As of July 1, 2017, this structure is the same for all state agencies. Refer to SAAM Section 75.70 for the authorized statewide object/subobject/sub-subobject codes. Each level provides more detailed information on what was purchased.

Program Structure – This helps agencies to identify the cost of major activities or functions within the agency. Program structure has five possible levels of detail. Those levels are summarized in a single Program Index Code.

Revenue Structure - These codes are used to identify where revenue is derived. Revenue structure has three levels. The first two levels, Major Source and Source, are the same for all state agencies. Refer to SAAM Section 75.80 for the authorized statewide revenue source codes. The third level, called sub-source, is used to identify a particular revenue item within a Source. The lowest coding level is usually determined by agency need.

Project Structure - Used to identify tasks for which there are specific results. They can be used over multiple years and biennia to accumulate transaction results over time. For this reason, they are often used in tracking grant expenses. Project structure has three possible levels. Agency use of project codes is optional.

Master Index – A master index is a combination of the coding elements above used to assist us to consistently and accurately code expenses or revenue.

Take Action

Coding Structure:

  • Think about what financial information you need to manage your agency and fulfill reporting needs.
  • Work with your SAFS budget analyst to design a chart of accounts that meets the needs of your agency.

Revenue/Expenditure Activity:

  • Help us ensure we are providing good information. Periodically verify SAFS coded revenues and expenses in the correct place.
  • If your agency has multiple programs or funding sources, write the appropriate coding on documents sent to SAFS for deposit or payment.