Pre-Planning Information for Units

Organizations may look for opportunities to modify or expand their organizational structure for a variety of reasons.  Some of the top reasons are:

  • More accurately represent the actual structure of an organization
  • Represent reorganization of an academic or non-academic MAU
  • Refine document routing paths and transaction workflows
  • Better utilize system security roles that are designated at organization level
  • Provide opportunity for a more detailed level of reporting with grouping or increased granularity

Before moving forward with the organization change process, it is important for units to consider what “problem” areas modifying a current organization may help address and what the primary goal(s) are for modifying their current organization structure. Some of the most common “problem areas” tend to be:

  • Workflow for HR/Payroll transactions and forms
  • Workflow for financial transactions and eDocs
  • Need to refine unit time administrators, create new groups for time reporting
  • Need to have more fiscal officers on accounts
  • Need to further define financial transactions
  • Already using subaccounts, but need to break down transactions even further
  • Current organizational structure doesn't accurately represent the actual structure of our organization.

Depending on the problem areas you identified and your overall goals, you will notice in the table below that there may be more than one option available to help your organization meet its needs. 

Note: Gray column shading indicates accounting line elements currently available for use.

 Commonly Identified IssuesAccount attributes such as Program Initiative CodeSub-Accounts/WBS ElementProject Codes/Internal OrderSub-Object Codes/Cost CenterAccounts/FundsNew Organization/Modify University Defined Organization
Need to refine workflow           X
Need to group accounts on reports X X       X
Need to refine time unit administrators           X
Need to further define financial transactions X X X X X X
Need to have more fiscal officers on accounts         X  
Need to break down transactions lower than sub-account X X X X X X
Need to refine finance workflow         X X
Need to more accurately represent organizational structure X X X X X X
Need to reflect reorganization of an MAU X X X X X X
Need to improve reporting capacity X X X X X X

When to Create New Organizations

Organizations (orgs) are used for budgeting, financial reporting, personnel assignments, and course or major assignments, to name a few of their primary purposes. Some activities, such as workflow, are driven by the organization code (org code). Some EBS enterprise roles are assigned by org as well.

If a new org has sufficient importance to raise it to the level of an official unit, such requests will need to obtain appropriate executive approval. Units may choose to create unit-defined orgs to further define themselves at levels below departments to meet their reporting and tracking needs. Unit-defined orgs will report to established orgs and should have the same general function as the established org. Interdepartmental coordination will be necessary if consistent reporting across units is needed.

Consideration of the guidelines below should help a unit determine if unit-defined orgs will be helpful.

A new org:

  • Should have sufficient activity or purpose to justify a separate budget and/or account(s).
  • Spends money for salaries or other operating expenses.
  • Should have the need for reporting as a separate, specific entity; for example, specific research or teaching activity.
  • Will typically have a lifespan of more than 2 or 3 years, or activity sufficient to offset shorter duration.
  • May have activity that spans several departments, such as clinical operations.
  • Should assist unit administrators in tracking and reporting financial, personnel, and courses/majors information to external agencies, central administration, and others.
  • Should have several funding sources that need to be segmented, which can include outside income (gifts, sales, etc.)
  • Will facilitate the allocation of indirect costs across multiple administrative units or projects, e.g., large interdisciplinary research activities.
  • Should be created if an org already exists in a departmental shadow system. For example, if identified in a functional budget, a new org should most likely be created.
  • May have positions assigned to it.
  • Will allow for more granular workflow and/or role assignments.
  • Is recommended for operations that cross hierarchical boundaries.
  • May be needed if you are sub-accounting sub-accounts in your shadow system (sub-sub-accounting).
  • When a new sub org (U2) is created, parent orgs must be vacated (all positions, people and accounts must be removed from parent org and placed in unit defined orgs). This concept does add a level of complexity that the unit should consider when choosing to create unit defined orgs.

When to Create New Accounts

If utilizing the optional accounting line fields, such as subaccount, project code, etc. does not meet your needs, your next option is to create new accounts. Additional accounts will enable you to segment activities for a specific purpose, rather than combining multiple activities within one account. Effective 7/1/11, an organization can have multiple general fund operating accounts, which may allow you to use accounts, rather than organizations, to meet your needs.

An account may be a viable option if:

  • Funding is specific to one source (ex. general funds, gift, contracts)
  • The duration is a minimum of one year.
  • Expected revenue is $5,000 or more.
  • A specific purpose or activity exists.
  • There will be monthly transactions.
  • There can be only one Fiscal Officer.
  • To group accounts together that support an activity, you can use the Program/Initiative Code (mentioned above). 

When to Use Optional Accounting Line Data

The simplest way to meet your reporting needs may be to utilize the optional fields in the accounting line (sub-account, sub-object code and project code) OR attributes assigned to key data elements (program/initiative code, use of funds and financial reporting code).

This is your best option if:

  • Your existing accounts and organizational structure sufficiently meet your needs
  • Completing the optional fields when submitting or approving transactions is acceptable
  • You don’t need more granular workflow or org-based roles (roles assigned at the organization level).


To address any questions your unit may have regarding which path may best meet the needs of your organization, please contact the Organization Planning Group  EBSP.OOI.Workgroup and the appropriate party will respond.



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