Maine's Public Universities - University of Maine System

Peek #8. What is a ChartField?

Before we get into ChartFields, here are a couple of useful (and very elementary) background definitions. The Chart of Accounts is a list of all names and numbers (ChartFields) used in the General Ledger. The General Ledger is the "book" (central database, these days) of final entry that summarizes all of the University’s financial transactions.   Okay, on to ChartFields.

ChartFields and ChartField Combinations are terms you’re going to become quite familiar with as you learn to use PeopleSoft®’s Financial Management module.  ChartFields are used to classify financial transactions entered into the General Ledger.  Each ChartField represents one specific type of financial data.

We will use eight ChartFields in our PeopleSoft Financial Management system.  They are:

Business Unit

  • Department (ID)
  • Account
  • Class
  • Fund
  • Program
  • Project

Operating Unit

IF our ChartFields are required for each accounting transaction (meaning that PeopleSoft will not accept any transaction that does not include these four)—Business Unit, Department, Account, and Fund.  The remaining ChartFields can be used to report even more information about a transaction and, depending on the circumstances, one or more of them may be required for a specific transaction.

If you attended a session of “How Business Will Change” you’ve already been introduced to ChartFields, and know that ChartField Combinations will replace our current ten-digit FAST accounts.  Yes, there will be new terminology to learn, and yes, there will be a lot of new numbers to learn.  However, you won’t have to memorize all of your ChartField Combinations.  The new system will provide easy look-up functions for the ChartFields.  

(The system will also provide a look-up function, called the FAST to GL Translate Tool, which will find the new ChartField values that replace your old FAST account, but that’s another Peek altogether.)

In your training sessions this spring you’ll learn more about ChartFields and how to use them, but here’s a peek at what they look like.

Business Unit
(required, five characters)
Organizational unit that maintains its own set of books
Each University Unit is a Business Unit

business unit chartfield

Department (ID)
(required, seven digits)
Tracks information according to divisional breakdown of Business Unit
Can be used to indicate who is responsible for or affected by transaction

department id chartfield

Account
(required, five digits)
Can be generally compared to FAST Object Codes
Classifies nature of transaction into assets, liabilities, fund balances, revenues, expenses and transfers

account chartfield

Fund
(required, two digits)
Used for financial reporting
Will vary based on different types of Projects and Programs
Examples:  Perkins Loan, Nursing Loan, University Loan

fund code chartfield

Program
(sometimes required, five digits)
Tracks reserves, endowments, designated funds, loans, gifts and other sources of funds that need to be tracked across multiple departments or projects
Used to track various fees and waiver programs

program code chartfield

Class
(optional, two digits)
User-defined
Comparable to third digit of FAST Object Code
Will enable users to further qualify the Account on the transaction
Usage guidelines determined by Business Unit CFOs

class chartfield

Project
(sometimes required, 7 digits)
Required for all capital projects, grants & contracts and any other projects that accumulate revenues and expenses over multiple fiscal years

project chartfield

Operating Unit
(sometimes required, 3 digits)
Used with Department to indicate a location, such as a center or campus

Operating unit chart field