‘Did Somebody Say FOAPAL?’ Special Tip Series: Putting the P in FOAPAL

We are back with the fifth tip in this suspenseful series. Watch out for the cliff-hanger at the end!

What is a Program Code?

It is the fourth element in a FOAPAL.  It is four to six digits in length.


The Program Code represents the functional use of each transaction (e.g. Instruction, Research, Administration).

What else is it called?

We believe that we are consistent in our use of the term ‘program code’.  Have you heard us call it something different?  Let us know (facts@carleton.ca)!

Why is the Program Code important?

As a university, we are required to report in a standardized way to both provincial and national associations that provide oversight. The program code is used by the Controller’s Office to prepare financial reports that compare Carleton’s use of funding to other universities.

Most of our financial systems either hide this element or provide a default value for this code.

The Take Away?

Apart from the Controller’s Office, most of the university does not use this FOAPAL element. For this reason, we recommend that the default values be left alone when entering a transaction.

Where do I find more information?

For questions related to Program Codes, please contact the Controller’s Office through financial_services@carleton.ca.

Will we be back with a new tip next week? Yes! Next week, we’re putting the second ‘A’ in FOAPAL.

Links to Related Tips: