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CUNYfirst Budget Overview

CUNYfirst Budget Structure

CUNYFirst Financial Data is organized into two components. They are Business Unit and Chartfields. Business Units organize accounting information into logical business groupings. Hunter College has two Business Units:

  • Hunter College
  • Hunter College Campus Schools

The Business Units contain all of the college's departments. All financial transactions for a department are organized based on the combination of CUNYfirst chartfields.

Chartfields provide the structure to segregate and organize financial transactional and budget data. Each Chartfield has a defined purpose and the combination of chartfields brings meaning to transactions for both recording and reporting purposes. There are nine chartfields.


(10 or 11)

Department ID

Major Purpose


Funding Source

Operating Unit

Special Initiative

Project Activity

This arrangement provides the structure to allocate funds, process expenditures and properly record the financial activity for University-wide reporting. It is important to note that the Department ID is part of the Chartfield data structure. Your former Budget "Department" account was simply a six digit account number and a name. Now in CUNYfirst, the "Budget Department" includes the Department ID, as well as other combinations of chartfields depending upon funding and purpose.

Budgets may be allocated to each Department ID (and a combination of chartfields). Please note that each chartfield may have separate coding to properly record fiscal activities. The "Fund" chartfield can be either 10 or 11. These indicate the funding type as being State Tax Levy Funds (10) or Income Fund Reimbursement Funds (11). The chartfield "Account" can be one of 6 Budget Accounts listed below "that begin with "80xxx".

  • 80120 Supplies & Materials
  • 80121 Travel
  • 80122 Contractual Services
  • 80123 Equipment Acquisition
  • 80124 Fringe Benefits (i.e. Honorariums, Merit Award)
  • 80125 Indirect Costs - this is just for information -do not use this budget account

"Account" can also be the expense account used in purchase requisitions that start with "5xxxx".  In order to view your "Department ID" budget allocation and balances you must run a query report.

You will not see the Budget Accounts when you create a purchase requisition.

You must make sure to use the correct combinations of Chartfields for your purchase requisitions or they will produce Budget Errors.

CUNYfirst Budget Errors

Avoiding CUNYfirst Budget Errors in Procurement:

Your purchase requisition will not pass budget check unless there is sufficient budget allocation in the combination of Chartfileds (Department ID, (Budget) Account, Fund, Major Purposes, etc.).

Before you create purchase requisition, please follow the steps provided below:

1. Know your CUNYfirst "Department" Identification (ID) number. 

a. Department ID information was provided to your division's fiscal budget coordinator.

2. Run a Budget Query for your Department ID

a. Please note that your Office may have funds allocated to multiple chartfields combinations using the same Department ID. For example, your office may use the same Department ID but have funds allocated to both Fund 10 (state tax levy operating budget) and 11 (IFR funds such as course fees). 

3. Know all of the Chartfields you intend to use for your purchase requisition and check to make sure you have funds allocated to the corresponding budget accounts.

a. Use the correct 10 digit CUNYfirst "category code" - (i.e. 4412000000) which maps to the 5 digit "account code" (ie 51001)

b. CUNYfirst requires all OTPS transactions to be budgeted in one of the 6 corresponding "budget accounts". These budget accounts correspond to the 5 digit "account codes - expense" as listed below as an example.

Budget Account

Example Account Codes (please refer to the crosswalk guide)

CodeCategory CodeAccount Code
80120 Supplies & Materials  4412000000 51001
80121  Travel  9011000000 52253
80122 Contractual Services  7315000090 51203
80123 Equipment Acquisition  4617000080 53906
80124 Fringe Benefits (i.e. Honorariums, Merit Award) 5310270000  50753 
80125 Indirect Costs - this is just for information -do not use this budget account

For more detailed information on what Account Codes relate to each Budget Account please refer to the CUNYfirst Quick Guide--Category Codes Crosswalk.

c. Pay special attention that you are using the correct DEFAULT Department ID (if your Office has more than one). 

Check All of the Chartfields

4. If you need to redistribute the funds to the different budget accounts, you will need to request a Budget Modification (CUNYfirst calls this a Budget Journal).

a. A SharePoint Budget Modification website is available to request and track budget mod journals/transfers.

b. CUNYfirst Purchasing Requestors have been given access to the Hunter College SharePoint budget modification website using their Hunter College NET ID and password.

5. If you do not have sufficient funds to re-distribute you will need to contact your Dean's Office or Vice President/Provost.

Checking and Correcting CUNYfirst Budget Errors in Procurement

You may notice that you have a budget error when you check your requisitions.  You can refer to the CUNYfirst Quick Guide-Manage Requisition. 

You will need to determine what type of budget error you have and correct by checking for budget errors.  Use the CUNYfirst Quick Guide-How to Identify Budget Errors in CF Procurement.

The most common budget errors are:

  • Use of the incorrect combination of chartfileds
  • Insufficient funds in the correct budget account
  • Zero funds in a budget account


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