Master File Key (MFK)

CLAS Departmental Accountants are responsible for maintaining departmental MFKs. Please consult CLAS Finance before setting up new MFKs.

When preparing financial transactions such as Purchasing requisitions or Payroll forms you need to identify the account for the expenditure to be charged. The account is referred to as the Master File Key (MFK), which is a code up to 40 characters in length and divided into 10 elements or fields of information. Definitions of these elements are in Accounting & Financial Reporting's Accounting Code Manual, along with an MFK Validation Tool. When the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences gives supplemental funds to a department, special coding is used to identify these funds by using the 8 digit "grant/program" number. Some may also require the Cost Center code to identify a faculty member.

Click on any linked element to read more about it and view frequently used code numbers.

Fund Org Dept Subdept Grant/Prgm InstAcct OrgAcct DeptAcct Funct Cost Ctr
xxx 11 xxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxx xxxxx xx xxxx


Here are the different types of funds used in CLAS. For a detailed list of all funds used in the University Accounting system, refer to the Accounting Code Manual.

Used to account for transactions related to the University's State-appropriated budget for instruction and general operations as approved by the Iowa State Legislature and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.

Used to account for transactions related to approved public-private partnership (P3) strategic initiative projects.

General Organized Activities - Used to account for transactions related to instructional departments for activities such as conferences and institutes, correspondence study, continuing education, dental clinic operations, and testing and learning publications.

Used to account for transactions for stores and service departments that maintain various inventories and service functions which are supported by user charges to other University departments. The revolving accounts are used as clearing accounts for such items as deferred summer session revenues and expenses & travel advances

Used to account for transactions of substantially self-supporting activities that primarily perform a service to students, faculty, and staff.

Used to account for current funds which are restricted by donor or outside agencies as to specific purposes for which they may be expended.

  • 500 Current Restricted Non Federal
  • 510 Current Restricted Federal
  • 520 Current Restricted Gifts
  • 525 Current Restricted Scholarships

Used to report fiduciary activities for custodial funds.


The system treats department and sub-department as one element for validation purposes. The department is a reporting entity defined by the Board of Regents or administration to meet the specific reporting requirements of the University of Iowa. A department may only exist under one organizational unit. List of CLAS department numbers


The grant/program ID (identifier) is used by Central Administration to indicate if the grant/program number is a grant, program or gift. This element may be used for projects that cross organizational or departmental boundaries. The system treats the ID and number as one element for validation purposes. For a detailed list of all grant/program IDs used in the University Accounting system, refer to the Accounting Code Manual.

Examples for the use of this element include:

  1. Responsibility centers or projects maintained within a specific sub-department such as journals, conferences, events, trust funds, etc.
  2. Responsibility centers or projects which may cross organizational, departmental or sub-departmental boundaries
ID Description
0 Indicates no Grant or Program
1 Grant or Contract
2 Grant/Contract Alternate Grant Year
3 Cost Sharing
4 Unassigned
5 Organizational Unit/Dept Programs (CLAS Program Numbers (5xxxxxxx), Range by Dept)
6 Building Renewals and Plant Funds
7 Central Programs
8 Gifts
9 Investments



Here is a list of commonly used institutional accounts for expenses and revenue. For a complete list, refer to Accounting & Financial Reporting's Accounting Code Manual.


  • 5000-5999 Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • 6025-6064 Travel and Relocation Expenditures
  • 6065-6199 Supplies and Other Tangible Items
  • 6200-6299 Services and Repairs
  • 6300-6399 Scholarship Costs
  • 6400-6499 Fees, Leases and Overhead


  • 4040-4099 Grant & Gift Revenue
  • 4020-4027 Tuition and Fees
  • 4200-4999 Sales and Services Revenue


When the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences gives supplemental funds to a department, special coding is used to identify these funds by using the 8 digit "grant/program" number and the 3 digit "Organizational Account Code." Some may also require the "Cost Center" code to identify a faculty member. Please use this link for the types of funds and appropriate codes: CLAS Budget Accounts


The departmental account may be used by a department to further breakdown the institutional account and the organizational account (if utilized) in greater detail. Each department may use any value from 00000-99999.


The function element will be used by the University to identify current funds' revenues and expenditures by their intended purpose. This element will allow the University to accumulate financial data in a format consistent with that of other colleges and universities. For a complete list of function elements, refer to Accounting & Financial Reporting's Accounting Code Manual.  Here is a list of some common codes used in CLAS:

Function Purpose Includes Examples
00 No Function Required    
10  Instruction All expenses for activities that are part of an institution's instructions program. Faculty base salary that has not been separately budgeted for research & service components can be charged entirely to this classification, expenses for academic personnel who serve as academic unit DEO's. Excludes expenses for academic personnel whose primary activity is administration (i.e., academic deans). General academic instruction (informal academic advising, general course updating), technical/vocational instruction, community education (i.e., extension & continuing education program), preparatory/remedial and tutorial instruction, instructional IT
20 Research - Externally Sponsored All expenses for individual and/or project research that has been undertaken as the result of a contract, grant or gift. Activities could occur within academic departments or university institutes and research centers. Federal research agreements (NIH, NSF, NASA, DOD, etc.); private foundation, non profit and industry sponsored research; NRSA training grants. Does not include: public service grants, outreach programs, capital projects or non-research training
21 Research - University and Departmental All expenses for activities specifically organized to produce research that are separately budgeted by an organizational unit within the institution; individual and/or project research as well as that of institutes and research centers; departmental research that are separately budgeted. Funding from institutional funds awarded through a competitive application and award process; University funding used to cover overdrafts from sponsored research accounts; bridge funding; committed cost sharing, matching or costs over the salary cap that directly support research awards; general lab setup; startup funds to support faculty research; faculty/staff/students who are conducting/supporting research; transfers for residual balances from fixed price awards
30 Public Service Expenses for activities established primarily to provide non-instructional services for the benefit of individuals and groups that are external to the institution (i.e., K-12 outreach programs, Art Share, Project Lead the Way, summer camps). Community service programs (excluding instruction; e.g., conferences, general advisory services, consultation, testing services (i.e., soil testing)), cooperative extension services, public broadcasting services, public service IT
40 Academic Support

The academic support classification includes expenses incurred to provide support services for the institution's primary programs of instruction, research, and public service. The classification includes the following subclasses:

  • Academic Administration - Expenses for activities to provide administrative and management support to the academic programs.
  • Other Academic Administrative Costs - Expenses that support the University's primary mission of instruction, research & public service.
  • Academic Personnel Development - Expenses for activities that provide the faculty with opportunities for formal personal growth/professional development.
  • Course and Curriculum Development - Expenses for activities established either to significantly improve or to add to the institution's instructional offerings.
  • Academic Administration - It includes the expenses of academic deans (deans of research, deans of graduate schools, and college deans), but excludes the expenses of department chairpersons (which are included in the appropriate primary function categories). It includes expenses for formal academic advising. For staff providing administrative services to support offices (i.e., Dean's Office, Student Services, Diversity/Outreach, Academic Programs & Student Development Office), appointments for these staff should be set up using Function 40.
  • Other Academic Administrative Costs - For example, general office supplies, postage, local telephone charges and other costs incurred in support of routine administrative activities of the university.
  • Academic Personnel Development - Included in this subclass are faculty travel grants for faculty to present research at a conference, sabbaticals, faculty awards, faculty career development assignments, and organized faculty development programs.
  • Course and Curriculum Development - This may include curriculum committees, course & curriculum development, course planning, course evaluation, curriculum evaluation, curriculum research.
80 Scholarships and Fellowships (for use with IAccts 5610, 5710 and  6300 through 6340 only) Expenses for scholarships and fellowships, from restricted or unrestricted funds, in the form of grants that neither require the student to perform service to the institution as consideration for the grant, nor require them to repay the amount of the grant to the funding source; trainee stipends, prizes and awards (however, trainee stipends awarded to individuals not enrolled in formal coursework should be charged to instruction, research or public service). Excludes student awards made in exchange for services provided to the institution such as graduate and teaching assistantships and student work-study programs. Scholarships - grant-in-aid, trainee stipends, tuition and fee waivers, and prizes to undergraduate students
Fellowships - grant-in-aid and trainee stipends to graduate students. Excludes funds for which services to the institution must be rendered, such as payments for teaching

There are also appropriate combinations of how these Function Codes are to be used with Funds. For a complete list of appropriate combinations, refer to Accounting & Financial Reporting's Accounting Code Manual.  Here is a list of the above common codes used in CLAS along with the Funds to use when establishing a new WhoKey:

Function Valid Funds
00 260 Stores Srvcs Revolving Dpt Svc
450 Auxiliary Enterprises General
980 Other Fiduciary Accounts
10 050 General Education Fund
240 General Organized Activities
500 Current Restricted Non Federal
510 Current Restricted Federal
520 Current Restricted Gifts
20 240 General Organized Activities
500 Current Restricted Non Federal
510 Current Restricted Federal
520 Current Restricted Gifts
21 050 General Education Fund
240 General Organized Activities
30-40 050 General Education Fund
240 General Organized Activities
500 Current Restricted Non Federal
510 Current Restricted Federal
520 Current Restricted Gifts
80 050 General Education Fund
240 General Organized Activities
450 Auxiliary Enterprises General
500 Current Restricted Non Federal
510 Current Restricted Federal
520 Current Restricted Gifts
525 Current Restricted Scholarship

Cost Center

The cost center element will be used to indicate if it is identifying a building (0001-0699), a CLAS faculty member (1000-8999) (assigned by Org Unit), or open access numbers (9000-9999) used by org unit or department for any additional breakdown which may be necessary. See the University's Accounting Code Manual for a complete listing.

The cost center is required when used with the following institutional accounts to track building, other improvement and repair costs that will be capitalized or expensed (used by Central Administration):

  • 6260 Repair/Maintenance-Bldgs & Land Improvements
  • 6700 Land
  • 6710 Land Improvements
  • 6720 Buildings


The reports issued monthly by the Business Office provide the DEO with information needed to manage the department's current budget and to develop projections of future budgets. If the department is managing grant funds, the Business Office issues separate reports on those funds. The DEO needs to monitor the terms and conditions of employment under grant contracts and the amount of grant funds, to ensure that monies needed for salaries will be available.

The University's Accounting & Financial Reporting website contains links to several useful references.

CLAS provides a query/report tool,  MAX 2.0, that provides additional financial information at a department level and offers several alternatives for sorting information. This tool can also assist in managing a department's current budget as well as monitoring budget-to-actual comparisons.