FAQs

​​​​​​This page features frequency asked questions related to the Ascend Project.

 

Chart of Accounts FAQs

  • What is the Chart of Accounts?
  • The Chart of Accounts, or CoA, is the basic structure used to record the financial effects of transactions in Oracle Cloud (Ascend). The future state Chart of Accounts will: 
     

    - Replace the current FAU structure for recording financial transactions.  

    - Organize UCLA’s finances by segregating expenses, revenues, assets, liabilities, and equity to provide a clear understanding of the university’s financial status.  

    - Organize and report data out of the financial system. 

    - Support financial and management reporting by serving as the basis for the fiscal administration of UCLA’s funds, programs, projects, organizations, and activities. 

    - Serve as the common language for financial transactions whether they are created directly in the financial system, generated in another major university system, or created through a local third-party application. However, it may not support the detailed fiscal tracking of all institutional activities. Some detailed information currently stored in the current FAU structure will instead be captured within other modules of the Oracle Cloud application. 

  • Why do we need a new Chart of Accounts?
  • A new Chart of Accounts is needed for the following reasons:

    - The current mainframe system no longer supports UCLA’s financial needs and requires modernization. The current FAU is not supported by Oracle Cloud and requires a redesign. 

    - FAU segments are used inconsistently across campus. Defined fields (e.g., Cost Center) are often interpreted differently in each unit and used in a variety of ways; free-form fields (e.g., Project, Source), if utilized, are used for a large variety of unique purposes. This inconsistent use of fields makes meaningful reporting at the broader institutional level difficult.  The fields within the new CoA will be strictly defined and controlled to maintain institutional integrity. 

    - Comingling of data within a single FAU field has led to duplication of values and inflexibility in reporting. These “nested” values prevent consistent departmental and institutional level reporting. 

    - A limited number of remaining values and narrow ranges in some fields (e.g., Fund) has led to the recycling of values, which compromises reporting. 

    - Certain internal reporting capabilities are becoming more important (e.g., activity by interdisciplinary program), but UCLA lacks the ability to determine this information with the current FAU structure.

  • How did we arrive at the CoA structure?
  • The CoA structure is based on the UC Common Chart of Accounts, prior assessments of UCLA’s CoA, industry best practice, and feedback from key financial administrators representing academic and non-academic areas. To arrive at the final CoA structure, the Ascend CoA Redesign Team is in the process of deploying a four-phased approach that involves collecting requirements, testing the CoA structure with real-life business scenarios, developing values, and translating the current-state FAU into future-state Chart combinations.
  • What are the key objectives of the CoA structure?
  • The key objectives of the CoA structure are to: 

    - Improve capacity for tracking fiscal activity of cross-disciplinary programs. 

    - Balance the University’s external reporting needs with the schools' local reporting needs. 

    - Create a common financial language for the institution. 

    - Increase flexibility for fiscal management and reporting. 

    - Scale as UCLA’s business expands and becomes more complex. 

    - Require less maintenance than the current-state FAU structure. 

  • How will the new UCLA Chart of Accounts compare to the current FAU?
  • The new UCLA Chart of Accounts differs from the current FAU in the following ways:

    - Unlike the FAU structure, the CoA has a multi-dimensional, or matrix-style, structure with multiple segments where each segment captures a specific defined attribute of the transaction. 

    - Each core segment (Entity, Fund, Account, Financial Unit, Transaction Class, Program and Portfolio) has a single use with a clear and consistent definition. Today, information is comingled in FAU segments – for example, the Account segment contains functional expense classifications and, in some cases, organizational information. The Chart of Accounts will only have defined value sets, unlike the current FAU structure, which has two free-form fields: Project and Source. 

    - The Oracle Cloud financial system requires that each segment has a value when entering a transaction. For certain transactions, where not all segments are required, the system will auto-populate a default value. In the current mainframe system, the FAU recordings allow some fields to be left blank on certain transactions.

  • How will this change the way I enter financial transactions in the Oracle Cloud Financial system?
  • There are several meaningful changes associated with the way financial transactions (such as purchase requisitions) are entered:

    - There will be a drop-down list for each segment that contains all valid values. 

    - Users will be able to search for and select any value.

    - Users will be able to see a title for each value. 

    - Cross-Validation Rules will systematically prevent users from entering an invalid CoA string. 

  • Where can users find all the latest information regarding the Chart of Accounts?
  • Information, including presentations and future training materials, can be found on the Chart of Accounts webpage. As the project progresses, the Ascend team will continue to post additional materials to this page.
  • Who is affected by this change?
  • All financial systems users will be affected by the new CoA in some capacity. Training materials are being developed to aid campus’ adoption of the new CoA.