What is FOAPAL

FOAPAL is 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. Here is a brief overview of each code:

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

The Fund is used to determine the funding source of the transaction.  A department may use more than one fund code depending upon the structure of the department. 

For example, Academic departments will use their department code and then choose between the various Resident and LU Online fund codes.

Funds are organized in a hierarchy structure for roll-up and reporting purposes.  Data-enterable funds are six characters. Each fund will have a payroll and non-payroll fund.  Payroll funds are only to be used with personnel account codes.

Organization (Who is making the purchase?)

The organization code identifies a department within the University.

Organization codes are organized by division for reporting purposes. Each division is distinguished with a unique alpha character and further broken down based on the division’s organizational chart.

Account (What is being purchased?)

Used in conjunction with the commodity code (see below), the account code classifies what item or service is being purchased. The operating ledger accounts are used by departments to properly classify revenue, expenses, and transfers. 

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

The program code defines the function/purpose of a transaction.  This code is used by the University to create the Statement of Activities.

Each department will have at least one primary program code, 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 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, Capital Projects, and Agency Funds.

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

Activity codes are used for specialized tracking of projects or events when the funding is included within a department’s operational budget.  Since these codes are not used for financial reporting or budgeting purposes, it is up to the division or department level to determine whether or not this FOAPAL element is necessary. 

Requests for activity codes should be submitted to Financial Planning & Budgeting.

Location (Where is the purchase located?)

Location codes are used for asset management that includes the maintenance, repair and acquisition of University assets.  The location codes assign a geographical location to assets and are only to be used on asset related transactions.  An asset is an item with a usable life over one year and a cost of $5,000 or greater. 

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 code presentation for more information regarding location code logic.

Index codes and commodity codes are not part of the FOAPAL acronym but necessary to know:

Index Codes

An Index Code consists of the organization code preceded by a numeric value or a specific fund code.

Index codes contain a fund/organization/program combination and are generally only used for payroll transactions.  Since departments can use more than one fund code, it is important to use the index code on Human Resources paperwork.  Printing, Postal Services, and other internal departments will also use the payroll index code to properly charge departments.

Commodity Codes (What is being purchased?)

Commodity codes are to be used in conjunction with account codes to expand reporting capabilities and to ensure correct account codes are being selected. When submitting Requisitions, Request for Check forms, and Orders/Trips in Rapid Recon, a commodity code is required.

Please see the comprehensive FOAPAL presentation for a more details.

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