System-wide group takes a closer look at the Chart of Accounts

Several financial experts from colleges and the SBCTC met with ctcLink project team members in Bellevue late last week to review and make some needed adjustments to the Chart of Accounts in the new ctcLink environment. For those of you (like me) who don’t have a good working knowledge of what the Chart of Accounts is or what it does, it basically outlines the components and structure of how each institution budgets for and records accounting transactions. It is how accountants at our colleges and SBCTC keep track of all the financial transactions (revenue, expenditures, etc.) to allow accurate reporting to management, regulatory agencies and the general public. As John Ginther, SBCTC’s director of accounting and business services put it, “Without a cohesive chart of accounts, we would be unable to determine details about how we received funds and how they were spent.”

Sounds pretty important. And, this is why a Chart of Accounts workgroup was formed. The group went through each account chart-field value as it was currently set up for ctcLink, checking it for correctness and its ability to provide the tracking and reporting our college system requires. Through that process, the group identified several chart-field values in the PeopleSoft environment that won’t be used when colleges switch over to the new system. In addition, they also identified some changes made by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and by the state’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) that needed to be incorporated in the new chart of accounts.

“This process provided us the opportunity to clean out codes we currently have in the legacy system that aren’t or shouldn’t be used anymore,” said ctcLink Finance Functional Lead Emmett Folk. “The workgroup’s analysis will also help us structure our ‘account trees’ in PeopleSoft to help us generate better required state reports and better financial statements.”

Participants in the workgroup were Susan Dresser, Everett; Marian Paananen, Edmonds; Sharon Waymire, Cascadia; Janell Whitely, Olympic Sylvia Derrick-James, Pierce; Carie Edmiston Peninsula, Pam O’Connor and Lisa Hjaltalin, Spokane, Janice Stroh, Tacoma and John Ginther, SBCTC, along with ctcLink project staff and Ciber consultants.

“I’d like to give a big thanks to everyone for their time and expertise,” Emmett said. “I appreciate those who braved the commute to Bellevue and also those who stuck through the two days over WebEx. Both can certainly be a challenge and I want to acknowledge everyone at the colleges, our project team participants and our Ciber counterparts for all the hard work and attention to detail.”

Based on the workgroup’s findings, the ctcLink project and SBCTC finance teams will develop a plan for addressing values that aren’t needed or used anymore as it relates to the legacy system as well as PeopleSoft.

About ctclinknews

ctcLink is a single, centralized system of online tools for student services and administrative functions for all 34 community and technical colleges in Washington. In the next several years, ctcLink will be implemented on every campus, providing online tools for everything from admissions to graduation. The first three ("FirstLink") colleges came online in August 2015. A wave of 8 more colleges (cleverly named "Wave 1") will switch over to the new ctcLink system in August 2016, followed by Wave 2 in 2017 and Wave 3 in 2018.
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