University of Illinois System
Accounting & Budgeting
Last item for navigation

Banner C-FOAPAL Accounting String

The University of Illinois System operates on a fund accounting basis. This accounting system commonly used by non-profit and governmental organizations emphasizes accountability (not profitability) to ensure proper stewardship of financial resources as well as compliance with applicable regulations, guidelines, and restrictions associated with the various funding sources that the University of Illinois System receives. For more details, see Section 13.1, Overview of University Fund Accounting within the Business and Financial Policies and Procedures.

To help maintain a financial reporting structure that can be consistently used across the U of I System to ensure accurate financial reporting and compliance with fund accounting principles, a chart of accounts, or an “accounting string”, was developed for all system units report their financial activity.

C-FOAPAL Accounting String Segment Codes

The accounting string used at the U of I System is called a C-FOAPAL string. See the information below for further details on what each segment of the C-FOAPAL accounting string represents.

C = Chart

The chart code is a one-digit code for the applicable university or System Office that the accounting string belongs to. There are four chart codes – see below for an explanation of what each code represents:

  • Chart 1 = University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Chart 2 = University of Illinois Chicago
  • Chart 4 = University of Illinois Springfield
  • Chart 9 = University of Illinois System Offices

F = Fund

The fund code is a six-digit code which identifies the funding source of the financial resources for accounting and financial reporting purposes. Financial resources received by the U of I System need to be recorded in separate fund types to denote the funding source, with each fund type having a different purpose depending on the revenue.

For example, financial resources received from state appropriations would be credited to a state fund, while financial resources received from donors would be credited to a gift fund.

O = Organization

The organization code (also commonly referred to as an “org” code) is a six-digit code that represents which unit owns and is fiscally responsible for that specific accounting string. The first three digits of the organization code typically designates the college, department, or unit that owns the organization code, while the subsequent three digits further classify the code’s ownership (such as to a particular department within a college, etc.)

A = Account

The account code is either a five-digit code (for the general ledger) or a six-digit code (for the operating ledger) that designates a transaction as an expense, revenue, transfer, asset, or liability. Proper account code usage is crucial for accurate financial reporting and state reporting requirements.

For further details on this important segment of the C-FOAPAL accounting string, refer to UAFR’s dedicated Banner Account Codes webpage.

P = Program

The program code is a six-digit code that has a variety of important financial reporting implications, including the classification of expense transactions to the proper “function” (or purpose) according to standard definitions developed by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). This code also helps distinguish between a unit’s operational activities within fund types that may record multiple activities in a single fund (e.g., state, institutional, self-supporting, service plan, and federal agricultural research funds).

For further details on this important segment of the C-FOAPAL accounting string, refer to UAFR’s dedicated Overview of Banner Program Codes & NACUBO Functions webpage.

A = Activity (Optional)

The activity code is an optional three-digit or six-digit code that may be used to track specific financial activities or projects.

For example, if Professor A has three different projects taking place within a particular C-FOAP accounting string, then that professor may want to assign separate activity codes to each of the three separate activities in order to segregate out the financial transactions for each project.

A list of Generic Activity Codes are open for use by any department and for any purpose. However, if you would like to request a new activity code specifically for your department to use, then you may request a new unique code as well.

Finally, keep in mind that Banner does not require activity codes on financial transactions. Be aware if you do use activity codes, there is always a risk of financial transactions posting without the activity code assigned. For example, if the user forgot to include the activity code on a journal voucher transaction.

L = Location (Optional)

The location code is an optional six-digit code that is primarily used (but not limited to) the Fixed Asset module. This code designates the physical location, such as a building and room number of an asset (such as a piece of furniture owned by the U of I System).

Other Codes

See below for an explanation of other helpful codes. While these codes are not necessarily a part of the standard C-FOAPAL accounting string, it is helpful to know what they represent.

Index Code (Optional)

The index code is an optional six-digit code that may be used to conserve keystrokes when typing out the full C-FOAPAL accounting string (such as within a journal voucher).

For example, if a unit frequently completes journal vouchers which use the same chart, fund, organization, and program code, then the user may want to establish an index code that will quickly fill in those C-FOP segments when they are completing their journal voucher. Instead of having to manually type in each one of these segment codes, they can request the establishment of a six-digit index code to use instead. Once UAFR establishes the index code at the unit’s request, the user can enter that six-digit index code into the applicable field of the journal voucher page, and the applicable chart, fund, organization, and program code will automatically default into the journal voucher page. This saves the user quite a few keystrokes, and helps eliminate the possibility of a typing error.

Also, all index codes which are tied to either a state or federal work study fund will be updated automatically on July 1 each year to reflect the new fiscal year’s fund code. So, there would be no need for the unit to request a new index code in those scenarios.

Who to Ask

For further details, contact the applicable subject matter experts listed in the Who to Ask list.