I. Overview of the Standardized
Account Code Structure

This supplement to the California School Accounting Manual presents a Standardized Account Code Structure for use by school districts and county offices of education. The standardized structure has been developed to accomplish several key objectives:

  • To establish a uniform, comprehensive, minimum chart of accounts statewide to improve financial data collection, reporting, transmission, accuracy and comparability.
  • To reduce the administrative burden on local educational agencies (LEAs) in preparing required financial reports.
  • To meet federal compliance guidelines and increase opportunities for California to receive federal funding for education programs.
  • To ensure school districts and county offices of education comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) principles.
  • To create a logical framework which can be used to determine where education funds come from and how they are used.
  • To provide better information for use by administrators, parents, board members, legislators and others interested in school finance.

    The Standardized Account Code Structure contains five numerically-coded, mandatory fields and one field that will be required to be built into the structure, but its use is not mandated:

            1.     FUND/GROUP                              2 digits
            2.     RESOURCE (Project/Reporting)            4 digits
            3.     PROGRAM GOAL                            4 digits
            4.     FUNCTION (Activity)                     4 digits
            5.     OBJECT                                  4 digits
                   SCHOOL - NOT MANDATED                   4 digits

    Local education agencies may include additional sub-fields in their chart of accounts and/or expand the number of digits in each field, but must utilize these fields and the accounts described in this supplement. Exhibit I-1, on page 3, provides definitions for each of the six fields. Exhibit I-2, on the page following Exhibit I-1, provides the layout of the standardized structure and some guidelines to help users as to the decision process in classifying transactions. Exhibit I-3, on page 5, shows how the standardized structure should be used for revenue, expenditure or balance sheet transactions. The remainder of this supplement provides a chart of accounts with detailed account numbers, names and descriptions for each of the six fields, and several examples of how to use the standardized structure.

    Excerpted from a document distributed by the California Department of Education