Search within:

FSE Highlight: Using new Chart of Account strings in third party systems

August 4, 2017

Each month, a feature of the Financial System Enhancements will be highlighted to help prepare for the upcoming changes.

Chart of Accounts

If you have been following the Financial System Enhancements project, you already know that the Chart of Accounts will have two different account strings in November. Accounting activity will be tracked through the General Ledger (GL) or through the Grants Accounting (Grants) system. Grants is a sub-ledger to the GL, which means detailed accounting information is tracked through Grants and posted in summary to the GL. To read more about the account strings, please see the Segment Structure & Order page on the COA website. This web page provides detailed information about each of the structures and the segments that they use.

General Ledger COA Segments

The first five segments in the GL are considered the “cost center” portion of the account string.


The new Grants account structure will be comprised of four segments, each with defined segment lengths and set of possible values:

The first three segments in the Grants string are often referred to as the PTA (project-task-award) and are equivalent to the GL cost center. The expenditure type is equivalent to the object code in the GL string. To eliminate confusion, we always refer to this field as object code (equivalent to the natural account segment in the current chart of accounts).

Third party systems

The university uses Oracle Enterprise Business Suite (EBS) as their primary financial system for accounting, procurement and HR/Payroll. In addition to the Oracle application modules utilized, the University utilizes some applications from other software providers to supplement our “e-Biz” platform; these systems, are referred to as third party systems and include BobcatBUY, Concur, and WorkForce.

Within the Oracle modules, all screens have a common user interface and handle the accounting strings in a similar way. Our third party systems are provided by various vendors (other than Oracle), so each user interface is slightly different and the University’s ability to standardize the treatment of accounting strings is limited to the functionality provided by the vendor. Each system does accommodate the two accounting strings the University is using; however, the screens do have minor differences. Below are a few examples of how these third party systems will function once the updated Chart of Accounts is updated in November. Thorough training will be provided as outlined in the training curriculum on the COA website.

BobcatBuy (BCB)

BobcatBUY is used for processing requisitions/purchase orders and payment requests.

In BobcatBUY, when entering a cost center, you are first prompted to select an Account Type -- either a General Ledger or Grants account.

If you select Grants, you then select a PTA value in the second field, and the system populates the remaining fields in the screen.

If you select General Ledger as the Account Type, you then select Entity Source Org combination, which populates the Entity, Source, and Organization fields. You can then select the appropriate Activity and Function codes.

You are still able to split the accounting on a requisition, even between GL and Grants cost centers.

The object code is selected on the Object Code tab.

With the new COA, approvals in BobcatBUY will be based on Organization.


Concur is used for making travel arrangements, submitting expense reports, and verifying purchasing card transactions.

When preparing a report, you need to select a Policy, which populates field 1 and defines the cost center fields for entry.

For Grants, as you select each value, there are a narrowing list of values for each subsequent field depending upon your selection. Once you select a Project, Task only displays valid tasks on the Project, Task Organization is the organization on the Task, and Award only lists Awards that are funding the Project/Task you have selected.

For GL cost centers, you may select the values for each segment individually. As you recall, the drop-down lists will also display cost center strings you have used in the past. If you select one, it will populate the other segments in the cost center.

If you are charging a new string, you can specify the segment values you need to charge.

With the new COA, approvals in Concur will be based on Organization.


WorkForce is used to track time and attendance for employees paid on an hourly basis.

As an employee enters their time, separate accounting strings can be specified for their time. If time is to be charged to a GL string, you can populate the Entity – Source – Organization – Activity – Function – Object fields (green box). To charge time to a Grants string, the employee can populate the Object – Project/Task/Award fields (red box).

Additional Resources

Visit the COA website for the COA Mapping Introduction [PDF] presentation and the COA Quick Reference Guide [Excel]. Detailed definitions of the new Chart of Accounts Segments are detailed on the New Segment Structure page of the COA website.