What is FOAPAL


FOAPAL is an acronym, short for fund, organization, account, program, activity, and location. In the simplest terms, a FOAPAL is a set of codes that, together, tell a story about any particular transaction. Each code within the FOAPAL serves a different purpose. Below is a brief overview of each code. For a more detailed presentation on FOAPAL codes, please see the online Chart of Accounts Training or FOAPAL handout.

Fund (Where is the funding coming from to make this purchase?)

Fund codes are six-character numeric or alphanumeric codes that tell the funding source of the transaction. For example, the fund that supports non-payroll law school expenses is 111301, and the fund that supports dorm renovations is C10002. The fund code is always required when documenting a FOAPAL.

A department may use more than one fund code depending upon the purpose of the department.  For example, an academic department may support residential and online undergraduate programs, so they may use funds from the residential undergraduate fund (fund code 111101) or from the LUO undergraduate fund (111201).

Each fund has a payroll and non-payroll version. Payroll versions typically end with a 2 and non-payroll versions typically end with a 1. For example, the residential undergrad payroll fund is 111102; the non-payroll fund is 111101. The non-payroll fund will almost always be used when submitting Banner documents (requisitions, encumbrances) and reconciling P-Card transactions. Payroll funds are only to be used with personnel account codes.

For a listing of all active fund codes, see Fund Codes & Definitions.

Organization (Who is making the purchase?)

Organization codes are 5-character alphanumeric codes that identify a department within the University. For example, Procurement’s organization code is H1070. An organization code is always required when documenting a FOAPAL.

Most users will be concerned with using only one organization code, but some divisions have a number of organization codes within them. For example, the School of Aeronautics has multiple organizations codes: one for the school’s administration (B3200), for its instruction (B3205), for its flight operations (B3210), and other functions within the school.

For a listing of all active organization codes, see Index Code Assistance.

Account (What item or service is being purchased?)

Used in conjunction with the commodity code, the account code is a 6-digit numeric code that tells what the purchase was. For example, the account code 732001 is used for instructional supply expenses. An account code is always required when documenting a FOAPAL.

Account codes are “where the money’s at”. In other words, they are the categories to which a department’s funding are distributed. For example, a department may have $10,000 in account code 722002 (professional development travel), $500 in account code 732099 (supplies, such as food and decorating supplies), and $1,400 in account code 712003 (food services). It is important for those within a department who view or manage the budget to become very familiar with account codes to avoid overspending budgeted funds.

When submitting a requisition or reconciling a P-Card transaction, the account code will never need to be manually entered or changed. This is because the correct account code automatically populates when the commodity code is entered. If any change must be made to the corresponding default account code, Procurement or Accounting will make the changes.  

For a listing of all active account codes, see Account Codes & Definitions.

For a listing of all commodity codes and their corresponding account codes, see Commodity Code Definitions.

Program (How does the expense benefit the mission of Liberty University?)

Program codes are two-character numeric or alphanumeric codes that define the function/purpose of a transaction. For example, expenses incurred by Information Technology typically benefit the entire university, so they would use program code 60 (Institutional Support); expenses incurred by Theatre Productions may benefit the community outside of Liberty University, so they would use program code 30 (Public Service). The program code is always required when documenting a FOAPAL.

Each department will have at least one primary program code (see Index Code Assistance list for this default), but could potentially use other program codes depending on the nature of the transactions. For example, a faculty budget’s primary program is 10 (Instruction), but will also use program code 40 (Academic Support) for some expenses including, but not limited to, professional development, IT equipment, and curriculum development.

There are also some areas that will only use one program code as they are recorded differently in financial statements than the general operations of the University.  These areas include Auxiliary Services (uses program code 81), Capital Projects (uses program code YY), and Agency Funds (uses program code ZZ).

For a listing of all active program codes, see Program Codes & Definitions.

For a listing of default program codes to be used with a specific organization code, see Index Code Assistance.

Activity (What special purpose is this purchase being used for?)

Activity codes are 6-character alphanumeric codes used to track special projects or events when the funding is included within a department’s operational budget. It can allow a department to accurately predict how much funding it will need in future operational budgets based on past expenses. For example, Student Activities may set up an activity code, such as S.CCOFE, to use for all its expenses related to Christmas Coffeehouse.

An activity code is not required when documenting a FOAPAL. It is up to the division leader or department head to determine whether or not the department will use activity codes. 

Requests for activity codes should be submitted to Financial Planning & Budgeting by email at budget@liberty.edu or phone at (434) 592-3333.

A listing of all active activity codes is not publicly available. For guidance on if you should use an activity code or what activity code you should use, please contact your budget manager within your department.

Location (Where is the purchase located?)

Location codes are 6-character numeric or alphanumeric codes that specifies where an asset is located.  Location codes assign a geographical location to assets and are only to be used on asset related transactions. 

When searching for location codes in Banner or RapidRecon, please use the two-step method.  First, search for the building and obtain the two digit building code and then enter the building code and percent sign (%) to search for all available codes for the building. Refer to the Location Codes Presentation for more information regarding location code logic.

Index codes and commodity codes are not part of the FOAPAL acronym but are used alongside the FOAPAL:

Index Codes

Index Codes are six-character codes specific to a department that are used mainly for Human Resources paperwork or billing purposes.  It can either be a combination of a department’s organization code with a fund code prefix or the department’s payroll fund code.

For a listing of all active index codes, see Index Code Assistance.

Commodity Codes (What is being purchased?)

Used in conjunction with account codes, commodity codes are a series of 5 to 8 letters that tell what is being purchased; however, commodity codes are more specific than account codes. For example, commodity codes SPFIELD (field supplies), SPFOOD (food supplies), SPPRINT (printing supplies), and SPDRAMA (Theatre Production supplies) all correspond to the same account code 732099 (supplies). Commodity codes are always required when documenting a FOAPAL.

For a listing of all active commodity codes, see Commodity Code Definitions.

For any questions or further information about FOAPALs, please contact Financial Planning & Budgeting at (434) 592-3333 or budget@liberty.edu.

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