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Financial Structure Maintenance

Follow these steps to create or update a new or existing ChartField value. NUFinancials Financial Structure Request supports requests to Add, update or Inactivate Fund Codes, Department IDs, Project IDs (non-sponsored) or ChartField1 values. Supported updates include Status changes (Active/Inactive), Description changes and in limited cases, changes to Effective Dates. See our Trainings page to access our Panopto training videos related to finance training, budgeting and forecasting.

Core Information

  • If you are setting up a PI chart string or any chart string that belongs specifically to a faculty member, please use their Employee ID in the manager field so that they can view the chart string in the Research Portal.
  • The fund type must match the fund attribute. Even if you are setting up a discretionary string (i.e., PI string), a 172 should have a project type of self-supporting (SSUPP).
  • Choose the correct attributes. All projects need FUND, CLASS and a purpose matching the type of string (gifts use GIFT_PURPOSE, endowments use END_PURPOSE, all others use CURRT_PURPOSE).
  • The class should align with the activity supported on the project.
  • The description must be unique, so be specific. (e.g., “Dr. Smith PI” rather than “Chair PI”).


All chart string requests which include a budget require an approved Budget Request Form; if you have already budgeted for this activity on another existing chart string, the Form should indicate specific account codes/amounts that should be transferred from the current to the new chart string.  For New Budget Requests (budget isn’t already set up on another chartstring), also complete Revenue & Expense Budget Journal Templates:

  • Enter header description and journal date
  • Enter fund, department (project will be assigned when you submit the Financial Structure Request later), account, and amount columns
  • Round all amounts to nearest dollar
  • Check that correct account is used; budget-only accounts (e.g. 70000) are not used on non-sponsored chart strings
  • Verify that the correct fringe benefit rate is used when budgeting salaries
  • Both expense and revenue templates must be completed separately and must equal each other

Email Budget Request Forms and Budget Journal templates (if applicable) to your Financial Administrator for review prior to submitting a Financial Structure Request. 

Upon approval, submit a Financial Structure Request with the approved Budget Request Form and Revenue & Expense Budget Journal Templates attached.

Questions & Attachments

 How to Answer Question 1: Reason for Request

Reason for request should be more detailed than “to capture Dr. Smith’s revenue and expense.” A better description includes type of revenue and expense (e.g., “string for new PI Dr. Smith’s non-sponsored research expenses, professional development, travel and clinical trial close-out revenue”).

 How to Answer Question 2: Source of Funding

If funding is from another department or an affiliate, please attach an email from them indicating their support. If it is a small amount from within your department no email is required. If it is a large amount from within the department, include documentation (i.e., offer letter, but feel free to redact all sensitive areas of the letter).

Commitments: If it is a dean’s commitment, NMGrant, and/or NMCAT funds, please reference the commitment ID number. Example: C1234-5678.

 Internal Grants

If this is an internal award from Northwestern, please attach a supporting email. If this is from an affiliate or another source, please include an email from the Office for Sponsored Research indicating that it shouldn't be set up as a sponsored project. Always include the signed contract or other relevant documentation you have.

 Gift Requests

Include June Ulrey ( in the list of those to be notified. Attach gift transmittal documentation (including check or electronic payment receipt).

 Setting Up a 160

To setup new Recharge Centers (fund 160):

Requesting department:

Email Approval Chain prior to entering a Financial Structure Request in NUFinancials:

  • ASRSP Costing
  • FSM
  • Budget Office

If all approvals are received, Costing will email the requesting department and let them know they can proceed with setting up the Recharge (fund 160) chart string.

When entering in the Financial Structure Request, attach all approval emails, Business Plan and Recharge Rate Calculation in addition to the revenue and expense budget templates.

Do not request a chart string until all approval levels are received.

Chartfield Inactivation

Enter a Financial Structure Request in NUFinancials to fully close a project or department ID (make sure no chart string is currently using the project or department ID).

  • Attach a GL005 showing zero balance

If a ChartField is used in multiple chart strings and you only need to close one (for example one project ID has multiple department IDs or fund codes – but only one should remain active), email a completed Inactivation of Chartstring Combinations form and GL005 showing zero balance to, cc’ing your Financial Administrator.

  • It is recommended to inactivate chart strings prior to budget season, so they will not appear in NUPlans or Cognos reporting for the following fiscal year.

Contact Accounting Services with any questions about the inactivation process.