What is the Common Chart of Accounts?
The Common Chart of Accounts (CCoA) fulfills a vital role for accounting at UC Merced. It organizes what we spend and the funding sources of those expenses by segments. Taken together, a combination of these segments is called a chartstring. Chartstrings are the basis on which we track spending across the university. When designed thoughtfully and used consistently, the chartstings inform us of where money comes from and where it goes, enabling reporting and analysis at all levels across campus (and the UC system, thanks to the “common” elements of the chart).
Impetus to update the UC Merced FAU to the CCoA
UCOP has mandated the Common Chart of Accounts (CCoA) systemwide, as part of an effort to increase UC system-wide reporting and measurement capabilities. An FAU to COA Mapping Tool is available to assist in the translation of Legacy FAU to the new CCoA chartstring.
Benefits of the new CCoA
The chance to rethink our chart of accounts structure is one of the biggest opportunities for modernization of our accounting practices we have in the Alpha Financials project. Today, we don’t get the full value out of our chartstrings because FAU segments are used inconsistently across (and often within) academic and administrative departments. Because some segments are “up for interpretation” in today’s world, deciphering meaning from the FAU and reporting consistently are extremely challenging and require many hours of investigation from the Finance team to create even simple reports.
The new structure is designed to improve the entry and maintenance of financial data that is used for financial management at the local and system-wide levels, by clarifying and simplifying financial transactions, while also accommodating UC Merced’s business requirements for the future. The new CCoA segments are being clearly defined and will be controlled to maintain consistency and integrity and enable reporting. There will be direct benefits realized in Financial Data and Budgeting, Projects and Grants Management, and the Finance team’s overall productivity through improved data integrity and quality of system output.
CCoA Engagement Approach
The move to the CCoA is the piece of Alpha Financials that will represent the biggest change for campus. We’ve understood since day one that introducing and rolling out the new CCoA to campus is vital to the success of the project. Involvement of stakeholders was thoughtfully overlaid with our chart design and mapping process so that the right inputs are brought in to imagine, create, map, and provide feedback on chart segments.
The next major step for the CCoA Committee will be to involve stakeholders with testing the proposed chart and values using their real-life acadamic and administrative scenarios. Once structure and values are tested and confirmed, the CCoA Committee will begin sharing the structure widely and provide training and reference information for campus users. Check back here for the latest!