1300 Chart of Accounts Governance

Responsible Official: 
Controller / Chart of Accounts Manager
Responsible Office: 
Controller's Office / Chart of Accounts Unit
Effective Date: 
February 2, 2018
Revision Date: 
February 2, 2018

Policy Sections

1300.1 Governance and Oversight

1300.2 Required Approvals and Permissions

Scope

This policy establishes the University’s rules and standards regarding the chart of accounts data governance structure, responsibilities, and requirements.

Policy Statement

The Controller’s Office, which is responsible for all aspects of financial accounting and reporting, governs the chart of accounts.  The Chart of Accounts unit within the Controller’s Office performs this governance.

All requests for new or modified (including close/inactivate) chart of accounts segments, hierarchies, and configuration attributes are subject to the overall chart of accounts governance processes and procedures, as developed and maintained within the Controller’s Office. 

Reason for the Policy

This policy establishes formal responsibilities and accountabilities for how Yale handles all requests for new, modified, or closed data elements on the chart of accounts.  The purpose of standardized governance of the chart of accounts is to:

  • Create and maintain consistency for the structure of the elements and segments of the chart of accounts;
  • Create and maintain consistency in how the chart of accounts segments are used in order to facilitate standard accounting and reporting at the unit and University levels;
  • Provide a governance structure that is independent of the maintenance of the accounting system and local finance and administrative departments; and
  • Utilize center of expertise knowledge regarding the various financial and non-financial stakeholders involved with each segment of the chart of accounts.

Definitions

Chart of Accounts

The chart of accounts (COA) is 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 Yale.  It consists of segments, hierarchies, and configuration attributes that help the University organize financial information for accounting, reporting, financial management, and compliance.

Alternate Administrator

An Alternate Administrator is a financial/enterprise business system user outside of the Chart of Accounts unit and Business Solutions who, as a result of that user’s roles or permissions, has the ability to create, maintain, or inactivate segments, hierarchies, or attributes that are defined as part of the chart of accounts.  Alternate Administrators, despite having these capabilities, must not perform any of these chart of accounts functions, except as explicitly provided in this policy.

Policy Sections

The Controller’s Office, which is responsible for all aspects of financial accounting and reporting, governs the chart of accounts.  The Chart of Accounts unit within the Controller’s Office performs this governance.

The segments and attributes 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.

All requests for new or modified (including close/inactivate) chart of accounts segments, hierarchies, and configuration attributes must be submitted to the Chart of Accounts unit for review and approval.  The preferred submission method is by email to coa@yale.edu; see related information, below, for details.

If a user is an Alternate Administrator (e.g., an Organization Administrator in Human Resources), that user must not create, maintain, or inactivate segments, hierarchies, or attributes that are defined as part of the chart of accounts.  If an Alternate Administrator identifies the need for a new, modified, or inactivated segment, hierarchy, or attribute, the Alternate Administrator must submit a request to the Chart of Accounts unit using the standard processes.

In certain circumstances, the Chart of Accounts unit may establish specific parameters for governance in specialized units where certain request types are frequent and standardized.  In such instances (e.g., setting up individual Grants), the Chart of Accounts unit may delegate all or part of the preliminary review of specified segment requests to the appropriate Alternate Administrator.  The Chart of Accounts unit will, however, retain overall governance responsibilities.

The Chart of Accounts unit will determine the appropriate person or team for processing of any approved requests.

The Chart of Accounts and Business Solutions units will collaborate to identify and make effective the necessary and appropriate controls to enforce this policy and the associated procedures.

Special Situations/Exceptions

Any exceptions to University policy must be presented to and approved by the Chart of Accounts unit within the Controller’s Office at coa@yale.edu.

Roles and Responsibilities

Controller’s Office

The Controller’s Office, specifically the Chart of Accounts unit within the Controller’s Office, is responsible for the definition of the chart of accounts, the definition of the segments and attributes that constitute the chart of accounts, and the governance/approval of all new or modified (including close/inactivate) segments and attributes.  The Chart of Accounts unit may establish specific parameters for governance in specialized areas where certain request types are frequent and standardized.  Any such parameters shall be established as may be appropriate at the discretion of the Chart of Accounts unit.

The Controller’s office is also responsible for the overall governance on the use of those segments for accounting and financial reporting purposes.

Business Solutions

The Business Solutions team is accountable for the administration of the chart of accounts segments and attributes (including all new, modified, and/or closed/inactivated segments) as part of the overall management of the University’s financial/business systems.  Business Solutions may delegate certain tasks within the chart of accounts administration process to specialized units such as the Office of Sponsored Projects or Capital Accounting, provided that those units observe and utilize the appropriate governance process as discussed herein, and the operating processes and procedures for setup/maintenance defined by Business Solutions.

Other Stakeholders

There are other stakeholders associated with the chart of accounts governance that may influence certain governance decisions or financial system configurations.  The Controller’s Office and/or Business Solutions will include selected stakeholders in the related procedures and processes when and if appropriate.  Potential stakeholders include, but may not be limited to:

  • Office of Financial Planning and Analysis;
  • Office of Sponsored Projects;
  • Business Operations; and
  • Human Resources – for data elements that are part of the chart of accounts, but have shared functionalities within the financial/enterprise system.