2.01 Structure of the Accounting System

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Policy Information

Policy Number: 2.01 Effective Date: 09/16/2012
Responsible Unit: Financial Management Last Revised Date: 10/04/2017
Email: FNSV-Financial-Management@arizona.edu Phone: 520-621-3220

Purpose and Summary

The purpose of this policy is to describe the structure of the University’s accounting system and to ensure accounts are setup with the correct attributes within UAccess Financials. This allows for accurate recording of transactions, which is a requirement for financial reporting.


This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international.


  1. Current Operating Funds: Resources currently expendable by the University in direct support of its primary objectives. The current operating funds may be either unrestricted or restricted. Resources available for all purposes of the University, at the discretion of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), are classified as unrestricted current operating funds. This group is further classified as state, designated and auxiliary funds.
    1. State Funds: Unrestricted current operating funds not classified as designated or auxiliary funds. These funds primarily consist of tuition and fee revenue collections and State General Fund appropriations for Main Campus, Colleges of Medicine, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Sierra Vista Campus operations. State funds are used to support the academic programs and the general operating expenses of the University.

      A State General Fund appropriation may specify the general purpose or purposes for which the appropriation may be used. Any changes to these allocations must go through a legislative process.

      Tuition and fee revenue collections allocations are governed by the Arizona Board of Regents and changes in the intended use of the funds can be made by them without having to go through a legislative process. ABOR may delegate authority to make changes in the intended use of these funds to administrative units within the University.
    2. Designated Funds: Current operating funds that have been limited for a specific purpose by specific action of the Arizona Board of Regents or by an administrative unit of the University authorized by ABOR to designate funds.

      The designated funds account for the activities of indirect cost and administrative service charge recoveries, conferences, and certain instructional activities, such as summer session, continuing education, international programs and extension programs. Also included are funds received from the sale of products or services that are not more appropriately classified as auxiliary enterprises according to the definition below. For example, sales of by-products of instructional, research, or public service activities, such as the sale of produce by the College of Agriculture, or the sale of hearing aids by the Speech and Hearing Science Department, are accounted for as designated funds.
    3. Auxiliary Enterprise Funds: Current operating funds generated by revenue from an established auxiliary enterprise. An auxiliary enterprise is a separately organized University unit or activity established to sell products or services on a continuing basis and is managed essentially as a self-supporting business. The auxiliary enterprises generally support the instructional, research, or public service activities of the University. An auxiliary enterprise charges fees directly related to, although not necessarily equal to, the cost of the products or services. Sales of by-products of instructional, research, or public service activities are not classified as auxiliary enterprises; see the definition above for designated funds. Examples of auxiliary enterprises include Residence Life, Intercollegiate Athletics, Bookstore and Campus Recreation.
    4. Restricted Current Operating Funds: Funds restricted for a specific purpose by persons or organizations outside the University are classified as restricted current operating funds. This group is further classified as sponsored project grants and contracts and other restricted funds.
      1. Sponsored Project Grant and Contract Funds: Funds received from Federal, State or other governmental agencies or private organizations that are provided on a contractual or grant basis with the restriction that the funds be used for a specific purpose. These funds may only be used for the intended purpose and must be spent in accordance with terms specified in an agreement established between the sponsor and the University. If not, the funds may revert to the sponsor.
      2. Other Restricted Funds: Current operating funds received from outside sources with specific restrictions on how the monies are to be spent that are not more appropriately classified as sponsored projects. Included are restricted gifts, governmental grants for student aid, and private grants and scholarships.
  2. Non-operating Funds: Classified as loan, endowment, plant and agency funds.
    1. Loan Funds: Resources available to the University for loans to students in the financing of their education and the balance of existing loans outstanding. Loan funds may originate from restricted sources, such as gifts, endowment income restricted to loans, and refundable grants matched with institutional funds. The Arizona Board of Regents or authorized University administrators may designate or transfer unrestricted funds to loan funds. Funds for loans may be specified for use in the National Direct Student Loan/Perkins program, temporary and long-term loan programs, or the health-related professions loan programs.
    2. Endowment Funds: A special fund whereby the principal is held for investment and the interest earned on the principal is spent as directed by the donor. For more detail on endowments, see policy 8.13 Endowment and Investment Policies in the Financial Services Manual.
    3. Plant Funds: The unexpended plant funds, renewal and replacement funds, debt service funds, and the investment in plant funds together comprise Plant Funds.
      1. Unexpended Plant Funds: Resources and any associated indebtedness to be used for the acquisition of physical properties for institutional purposes, which have not yet been expended. Indebtedness incurred to finance plant acquisition and construction is included as a liability of the unexpended plant funds until the proceeds of the indebtedness are expended. Examples of restricted unexpended plant funds include proceeds from the issuance of long-term debt and gifts designated for capital projects. Unrestricted unexpended plant funds include State capital or building renewal appropriations, as well as funds set aside by the University from unrestricted fund balances.
      2. Renewal and Replacement Funds: Resources accumulated for renewal and replacement of the capital facilities of the University.
      3. Debt Service Funds: Accumulates resources for the payment of debt service charges and the retirement of long-term indebtedness. Examples of debt service funds include those for bonded indebtedness, certificates of participation, lease purchase agreements, and other forms of long-term indebtedness.
      4. Investment in Plant Funds: Records the net capital acquisitions of the University. Capital assets are classified as land, buildings and improvements, infrastructure, equipment, library acquisitions, and construction in progress. The principal balance of liabilities incurred to acquire capital assets is recorded in this fund.
    4. Agency Funds: Resources held by the University as custodian or fiscal agent for an organization or entity (the Agency) external to the University. The University must act with reasonable care in administering the funds of others. Agency accounts do not carry a fund balance that belongs to the University. Transactions of agency funds are not included in the revenues or expenses of the University for financial reporting purposes.
  3. Account: A functional unit established for a specific purpose, with one individual having primary responsibility for its activity. The accounts in UAccess Financials are 7-digit numbers that are approved by Financial Services. Similar types of accounts will all be in the same range of numbers. See Table 1 below.
  4. Attributes: Non-dollar, descriptive data about the account. These attributes are used to identify financial information for reporting purposes.
  5. Account Reconciliation: The process of comparing the transactions initiated for the account to the transactions that actually posted to the account. This process verifies the balance of the account and identifies errors that must be resolved.
  6. Object Code: Four-digit numbers that represent detail activity within an account. See Table 2 below.


  1. UAccess Financials is the official accounting system used at the University. The accounting system is a tool for accumulating the financial activities of the University. The primary responsibility for the information maintained in the system resides with Financial Services.


  1. The University receives funding from various sources, most of which is specified for certain types of expenditures. To enable the administrators of these funds to monitor and report on the activity of the funds, the accounting system must maintain separate records of each source of funds, and the expenditures from each source. This is accomplished by establishing separate accounts in the system, much as a bank establishes separate accounts for each depositor.
  2. Seven-digit accounts are combined with four-digit object codes when dollar information is recorded in the system. See Table 1 below.
  3. Each type of object code has a "normal" balance of either debit or credit. See Table 2 below.  In Financials, E-Docs use the words “To” and “From” to represent debits and credits.  See Table 3 below.
  4. UAccess Financials is a double-entry accounting system. This requires that a document’s debits and credits balance.  The system will not allow a document to be submitted if it is out of balance.  
  5. Once an account has been established in the UAccess Financials system, transactions may be posted to the account. Transactions may be posted directly into the system through UAccess Financials Elctronic Documents (E-Docs) or may be posted to a subsystem and subsequently fed to UAccess Financials in a "batch" feed.  For additional information on the use of common UAccess Financial documents, see the Most Common Document Types chart.
  6. The transactions posted to an account are accumulated in the system.  After nightly batch is run, transactions can be viewed on various reports in UAccess Analytics.  
  7. The fiscal officer for the account is required to reconcile the account each month. Refer to policy 6.10 Account Management in the Financial Services Manual.

Table 1: Account Structure


Account Number










16XXXXX - 19XXXXX    

Sponsored Projects:


Other Restricted:












Due to conversion of FRS accounts to UAccess Financials, there will be some account numbers, established prior to 2011, that do not fall in the correct range. All new accounts should conform to the correct number range. Additional detail on account number ranges and Sub-Funds can also be found in the Fund-SubFund Table.

Table 2: Object Code Structure


Object Code*

Normal balance


0010 - 0999


Personal Services

1000 - 1999


Employee Related Expenses

2000 - 2999


Operations/General Expenses

3000 - 5999



6000 - 6399


Student Support

6400 - 6891



7000 - 7999



8000 - 8999



9000 - 9899


Fund Balance

9900 - 9999


*Detailed listings and definitions of object codes are provided within the reference section of the Financial Services webpage.

Table 3: Debits and Credits

Debits and Credits chart

Fund Balance (9900) is only adjusted once a year during balance roll forward.  For accurate fund balance, please use UAccess Analytics reports (for example, the Assets, Liabilities and Fund Balance Report found on the General – Financial Management dashboard).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who should I contact if I am unsure of an account attribute?

    Please contact your fund accountant.

Related Information

Policy 6.10 Account Management
Policy 8.13 Endowment and Investment Policies
Most Common UAccess Financials Document Types
UAccess Financials/Analytics Crosswalk

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.