Chart of Accounts and General Ledger - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of these procedures is to outline the management of the Chart of Accounts and General Ledger by University staff involved in financial transactions and management reporting.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

AAR - Accounting and Reporting

Chart of Accounts - a list of all accounts in the General Ledger tracked by a single accounting system which is designed to capture financial information to make good financial decisions. Each account in the chart is assigned a unique identifier, typically an account number. Each account in the chart is classified into one of five categories – Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income and Expenses.

ChartField - UniFi accounting segments in a multi-dimensional Chart of Accounts.

FAIFM - Faculty and Institute Finance Manager

FO - Finance Officer

FPA - Financial Planning and Analysis

General Ledger - Central repository of the accounting information of an organisation in which the summaries of all financial transactions (derived from subsidiary ledgers) during an accounting period are recorded.

ISC - Internal Service Charge

Suspense account - the general ledger account which records transactions of a temporary nature pending a determination as to how they shall finally be recorded.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

The Chart of Accounts and General Ledger procedures apply to all University staff involved in financial transactions and management reporting. The Chart applies to all organisational units.

4. Procedures Statement

The Chart of Accounts provides the fundamental structure that underpins management and financial reporting within the University. In order to ensure consistent, timely information is delivered to internal and external information users, it is essential that all finance staff understand how the Chart is to be used.

The General Ledger and Chart of Accounts should provide the ability to input and extract information accurately and efficiently for the following purposes:

  • Internal reporting to managers, for use in planning and controlling routine operations (monitoring and analysis of financial reports, management and development of budgets).
  • Internal reporting to managers, for use in making non-routine decisions in formulating major plans and policies (strategic budget management, business plans, allocating/redistribution of budget funding etc.).
  • External reporting to stakeholders, government, and other outside parties (Annual Report, Business Plans, formal reporting to Department of Education etc.).

5. Chart of Accounts Structure

The current Chart of Accounts is located on the FBS Website at Chart of Accounts - Current - UniFi Project at The University of Queensland and is accessible to University staff.

6. UniFi ChartFields

6.1 ChartFields overview

The UniFi ChartFields for UQ are as follows:

Each of the ChartFields is explained in detail in the following sections.

Operational Unit

The Operational Unit structure is based on the University’s organisational structure. The Operational Unit comprises three components, as follows:

  • The first two characters represent the Faculty/Institute code;
  • Middle three characters represent School/Centre code; and
  • Last two characters represent Section code.


The Site ChartField defines the main campuses of UQ (St Lucia, Ipswich, Herston and Gatton) as well as the teaching hospitals, health centres, farms and research facilities.


The Fund code allows for the reporting of income and expenditure for a particular source of funds.


The Function ChartField is designed to allow the University to capture high level data relating to major functions or activities of the University e.g., Teaching and Learning, Academic Services, Research, Research Support, Administration, Consultancy and Trading.


The Account ChartField defines the nature and activity of a transaction and includes both balance sheet accounts and profit and loss accounts.


The Project ChartField is to be used to track the cost of research projects, operating projects and consulting projects.

Certain criteria must be satisfied before a project can be set up in UniFi.

6.2 Setting up a new ChartField

A new ChartField may be set up by completing the New ChartField/Op Unit Change Request Form. The completed form should then be sent through to FPA section, FBS Division, for consideration and review.

Note: With regards to operational unit this form can only be used to create a new section. The creation of a Faculty equivalent or School equivalent operational unit must be approved by Senate.

A project may be set up by completing one of the following forms:

The completed form should then be sent through to Contract and Grants section, FBS Division.

6.3 General Ledger journals

A journal is used to record accounting transactions in the University’s general ledger. Feeder modules such as Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable generate their own special types of journal entries. However, from time to time, it is necessary to raise journal entries separate to feeder system entries.

A journal contains debit and credit entries and must balance – i.e. debits = credits. An unbalanced journal entry cannot be posted to the ledger.

6.3.1 Types of journals

The three main types of journal entries are as follows:

  • Online – user-generated journal entries that are created using the UniFi journal screens.
  • Standing or Recurring Journals – journal entries that are set up to be generated automatically by the system on a regular basis. Examples include expense allocations, charges raised by ICT and journals created by automatic interfaces from feeder systems (such as HR / Payroll).
  • Spreadsheet Journals – journal entries that are created in Excel using the Spreadsheet Journal Template and uploaded into the ledger.

6.3.2 Access

A finance officer only has access for raising journal entries to the organisational unit to which they have been assigned. The inbuilt UniFi security and rules will prevent an officer raising journals for units for which they do not have authorisation.

FAIFM's have access to the whole Faculty or Institute for which they are responsible. A FAIFM can raise journal entries across the whole Faculty/Institute but not from one Faculty/Institute to another. This also applies to central areas.

FPA or AAR sections, FBS Division have authority to raise journals across Faculties, Institutes or central areas.

6.3.3 Approval

With the introduction of journal workflow in UniFi, from August 2016 the approval for journals (other than cross operational unit - see below) is performed within UniFi by an individual with the journal approver role for the submitted journal source. Any associated documents should be attached to the journal (rather than keeping offline) to facilitate the approval of the journal and for audit requirements.

For spreadsheet journals that are across operational units, approval must be obtained and retained by the unit preparing the journal. The process is as follows:

  • Between 2 schools within the same Faculty/Institute/DVC portfolio
    • The journal is prepared by one party after receiving the appropriate approvals
    • The journal is sent to the FAIFM/delegate for loading
  • Between 2 schools across different Faculties/Institutes/DVC portfolios
    • The journal is prepared by one party after receiving the appropriate approvals
    • The journal is sent to Finance and Business Services ( for loading

The loading of journals by FBS is on the condition that approval has already been obtained by the unit submitting the journal for loading, and are to be submitted using the submitting unit's journal source. On loading the journal FPA will change the journal source to the "Cross Operational Unit Journal Source (COJ)" to enable the journal to post without requiring any further approvals.

When submitting cross opal journals to Faculty/Institute/DVC portfolio or to FBS any documentation that needs to be added as an attachment in UniFi to the journal must be submitted at the same time.

Internal Service Charges (ISC) journals

ISC journals are generated within the UniFi system based on information entered by the seller and buyer. When entering in account details the following is required:

  • A revenue and expense transaction.
  • Internal transfer account codes can only be used on both sides of the entry.

As part of this process the system will also generate the elimination entries.

For more information on internal purchasing refer to PPL 9.40.01 Purchasing.


All journals for a given accounting period should be processed before the month end process is completed. For journals not processed within the month a user will have one month to update the journal to the current month. Any journals not updated within one month will be deleted.

7. Suspense Accounts

Suspense accounts are used by FBS Division to record transaction amounts which are temporarily held therein, pending a determination as to the appropriate allocation within the general ledger. For example, most sections of FBS Division are responsible for a suspense account to which erroneous transactions relevant to the section are posted.

Organisational units do not need to use suspense accounts. A staff member should code expenditure items to the relevant account code.

An amount may be initially recorded in a suspense account where it is:

  • in need of identification prior to being transferred to an appropriate account;
  • in need of dissection prior to being transferred to two or more accounts;
  • awaiting correction for the use of an invalid account; or
  • awaiting the opening of a new account.

The Associate Director, FPA is responsible for approving the opening and closure of suspense accounts.

Amounts held in suspense accounts are constantly reviewed and actioned by the relevant FBS Division sections, with the view of transferring the amounts to appropriate accounts as soon as is possible. Staff in organisational units may be required to provide any correspondence, information or other assistance to clear these amounts.

Where possible, suspense accounts need to be cleared on a monthly basis by the AAR section.

Where suspense accounts are not being cleared on a regular basis, the Associate Director, AAR section, should be advised.

Appropriate reports are to be prepared monthly by the relevant FBS Division sections for each suspense account detailing:

  • amounts outstanding as at that date; and
  • action taken to identify the source of each amount; and
  • a recommendation about the proposed action for each amount.

Specific mention is to be made of any amounts which remain outstanding in excess of six months. The report is to be signed by the preparing officer and the reviewing officer (Head of Section). Upon reviewing the report, the Head of Section will record any further action required and follow up such action required.

8. Balance Sheet Accounts Reconciliations

Balance sheet reconciliations are an internal control which assists in ensuring accuracy and reliability of financial information. These reconciliations are performed for many reasons including:

i) To ensure transactions are timely and accurately reported.

ii) To identify, track, document and explain transactional differences between the general ledger and sub-ledger balances and other independent sources.

iii) To identify and guard against fraudulent activities and reduce losses.

Without performing reconciliations, inaccurate recording of transactions may occur that would result in incorrect reporting and could impact resources.

AAR section, FBS Division coordinate the monthly balance sheet account reconciliation process and review the reconciliations so that inconsistencies may be actioned immediately.

AAR issues an email, by the third working day of each new month, with account details and year to date balances, to each respective person responsible for completing the reconciliation. Reconciliations will be due within eight working days subsequent to the issue of this email.

Responsible persons complete the reconciliation ensuring that balances in accounts are supported by documentation obtained from outside the general ledger. Journal entries are never sufficient support for substantiation of an account. Examples of types of independent substantiation are:

i) Sub-ledger systems such as accounts receivable, fixed assets and accounts payable.

ii) Third party source documents such as bank statements, supplier statements and confirmations.

iii) Independent calculations such as accruals, etc.

iv) Analysis showing manually tracked items.

All duly completed account reconciliations need to be signed off by a reviewer prior to forwarding to AAR. The sign-off indicates that the reviewer:

i) Agrees with conclusions reached by the reconciler.

ii) Possesses the requisite knowledge of the account to review adequately.

iii) Is of the opinion that adequate supporting documents are attached.

AAR conducts a final review of the reconciliation prior to filing. Any inconsistencies will be followed up by AAR so that correction journals may be posted to rectify incorrect balances. Where the same inconsistency happens, the process for recording entries is reviewed and enhancements made to the process to ensure the inconsistency does not reoccur.

Chief Financial Officer Mr Andrew Betts


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