Program ChartField

LAST UPDATED: August 6, 2015

What You Should Know

Definition

A method of aggregating expenses and revenues around a common purpose which typically spans multiple Funds, Accounts and/or Departments.

The Program ChartField is not the same as an academic program.

Program is an Optional ChartField for department use. Uses include:

  • Department Specific: Only one department will manage and be financially responsible e.g. Senior Thesis, or a specific department conference.
  • Inter-Departmental: More than one department will share responsibility for sponsorship and all involved departments will be contributing financially, e.g. a joint event.
  • People Specific: Used to track balances controlled by a specific individual or faculty member.

Characters

The Program ChartField has five digits and is alpha numeric.

Program ChartField Reference Guides

Reference guides for Person-Specific Programs and General Programs  can be found on the ChartField Reference Guide webpage.

Understanding Programs

Click image for larger format

How does a Program differ from a project grant?

  • A Program is used to track financial activities that have either and/or both multiple sources of funding or expense. Common examples may include senior theses, conferences, or a specific individual’s activities (e.g. a faculty member).
  • Certain activities may be co-funded by more than one department. By using a common Program code, all departments will be able to run a report to see the financial transactions for that activity.
     

Program Information Access

  • Information access will secured by the Department and by financial reporting Program
  • We will bundle access to systems and data into common roles rather than customized for each individual
  • Certain roles will have access to all departmental financial information, including financial reporting Programs
  • Financial reporting Program security will be provisioned by individual as needed

When to Use Program

  • First, ensure that the activity you want to track is not a single type of expense that will be tracked by another ChartField (e.g. Account or Fund). The new chart of accounts has many more account codes (no codes or ID) that allow you to track expenses at a more detailed level.
  • Programs should be activities that incur a significant amount of annual expense or income. Our guidance for the creation of a new Program should have a minimum of $2,500 in annual transactions unless compliance or reporting requirements mandate tracking at a lower threshold.
  • For activities less than that amount, for instance a small event, should not be tracked in our University financial systems.
  • When using a Program, every transaction tracked as part of that activity must be coded with the specific Program.
  • If a department is managing a large and unique activity that generally is recurring over multiple years, a distinct Program code should be requested. For example, if a department hosts an annual conference with significant expenses (e.g. >$2,500), and wants to track and report on this conference year-over-year, it may be best to request a specific, named Program code.

Program Monetary Thresholds

Programs are used to track activities that incur a significant amount of annual expense or income. Our guidance for the creation of a new Program is that it should have a minimum of $2,500 in annual transactions unless compliance or reporting requirements mandate tracking at a lower threshold. We do not recommend tracking activities less than $2,500, for instance a small event, in our University financial systems as Programs. However, there may be instances that do not meet the monetary threshold but still support the need to utilize a Program.

Interdepartmental Activities/Events

Departments often co-sponsor events or activities such as a lecture series where multiple departments contribute funds to a joint event. Program will be used to allow multiple departments to view and track expenses for shared events. These will be called Interdepartmental Programs. In the case of Interdepartmental Programs, multiple departments will be granted access to view and report on the financial activities. Any activities that have more than one department funding or incurring expenses for an activity must have a unique Program.

Reporting on Programs

The Cognos reporting tool gives you the ability to group common Program codes in custom queries for reporting purposes. The ad-hoc query parameters can be saved and run on-demand at a later instance.

Generic Programs

There will be generic Program descriptions that every department may choose to use for common types of department activity. For example, a range of generic Programs for common activity types (e.g. Conference 1, Conference 2, Conference 3; or Lecture 1, Lecture 2, Lecture 3, etc) will be created. Generic Programs should be used for activities that only one department is funding and managing. For reporting purposes, a department can run a report for its own generic Programs and not worry that other departments’ Programs will appear on the report.

For example, the Garden Department can run a report on Garden Department – Conference 1 and it will see its own departmental transactions only for Conference 1. Use of the generic Program will require departments to maintain their own separate “cheat sheet” to track the specific activity (conference, lecture, seminar) or Fellow they are associating with that Program.

Unique Program Descriptions and Values

Any activities that have more than one department funding or incurring expenses for an activity must have a unique Program value. If a department is managing a large and unique activity that generally is recurring over multiple years, a distinct Program code may be requested. For example, if a department hosts an annual conference with significant expenses (e.g. >$2,500), and wants to track and report on this conference year-over-year, it may be best to request a specific, named Program code.

Program and Project ChartField on a Transaction

The Program ChartField is used to track a unique activity across Departments, Accounts and/or Funds. For Sponsored Research, the Project ChartField is used to track each unique award’s activity, and so the Program ChartField is not necessary. When using the Project ChartField for a Sponsored Research transaction, the Program ChartField should be blank. However, for Non-Sponsored Research transaction, nothing systematically prevents the use of both a Project and Program on the same transaction. In some rare instances, for example when faculty are charging cost share to their own Program, the Program ChartField can be used in combination with Project.

Can Programs be added later?

Yes, journal reposting will allow the Program code to be added/modified after the transaction is initially coded. The Program code is valuable reporting mechanism but requires consistent use.

How do I request a new Program?

New Programs can be requested via the online Program Request form. Instructions are available here.


 

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