General Ledger - GL Accounts

General Ledger Accounts (GLs) are account numbers used to categorize types of financial transactions. Most commonly used GLs are revenues, expenses and transfers. A “chart of accounts” is a complete listing of every account in an accounting system.

Following is the numbering structure for a general ledger account number.

GL numbering scheme graphic

Many names, same information

GL, General Ledger, Cost Element, Commitment Item, Revenue Element, Account -- at the University, all of these terms are names for the same thing – a general ledger account or GL. In SAP, GLs are known as “cost elements.” The BCS budgeting system and Business Intelligence reports call them “commitment items.”

GLs are 6 digits long and each digit provides information. Revenue postings start with 4; expense postings start with 5. A GL that starts with an 8 is a transfer of funds from one area of UNL to another -- usually from one funding source to another – and occur infrequently. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th digits represent the major, minor and sub categories; and the 5th/6th allow for a more detailed breakdown. For example, the numbers in GL 531100 indicate the following: 5 indicates an expense transaction, 53 is operating supplies, 531 is general supplies and 5311 is office supplies. An office supply purchase may be posted to the GL of 531100, or to a more specific category in that range.

Resources for more information about GL Accounts:

The following resources are available in Sapphire. Viewing requires TrueYou authentication:

  • The most commonly used documents are: ExpendituresRevenues and Transfers -- If you open these documents electronically, you can then use the keyboard shortcut “Control F” to find something in the electronic file, rather than printing the document and manually searching pages.
  • The GL Account Code Structure summarizes GL categories
  • Detailed lists of all GLs and additional documentation may be found in the Sapphire folder found at SAP Documentation>Financial