General Ledger Accounts and Subsidiary Accounts


The State Controller's Office (SCO) sets up the STARS General Ledger that are used to record all the assets, liabilities, fund balance (equity), receipts, and expenditures within a fund. This classification element is the key tool for producing a trial balance and balance sheet for a fund. The accounts are generally:

  • Real Accounts – Assets, Liabilities, and Fund Balances are often referred to as 'real' accounts.  These balances are always carried forward from one reporting period to the next, including into the next fiscal year.  These accounts comprise what is reported on a Balance Sheet and represent financial information at a specific point in time.
  • Nominal Accounts – Revenues, Expenditures, Encumbrances, Transfers In, and Transfers Out are commonly called 'nominal' accounts.  These balances provide the information for Operating Statements and reflect the activity that has occurred during a period-of-time.  At fiscal year end, the balances in the nominal accounts are 'closed' to Fund Balances.
  • Memo Accounts – STARS includes the budgetary accounts in the 'memo' accounts.  The Memo accounts do not close to Fund Balances, and the balances are not brought forward to the next fiscal year.  They begin as zero balances at the beginning of each fiscal year. In order to eliminate the need for pre-encumbrances to be re-entered into STARS at the beginning of each year, these amounts are carried forward into the next fiscal year, but remain as 'memo' accounts

General Ledger Categories and Accounts

STARS General Ledgers consists of five balance sheet categories:

  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Fund Balances
  • Nominal Accounts
  • Memo Accounts

Within each of these general categories is the actual General Ledger Account. For example, the General Ledger category Assets includes the General Ledger Accounts of 1003 Cash in Treasury and 1005 Imprest Petty Cash.

STARS Descriptor Table 31 defines the system controls for individual General Ledger Accounts.

The following table describes the General Ledger categories and accounts. NOTE: The balances of General Ledger Accounts in the categories of Assets, Liabilities, and Fund Balances are always carried forward from one fiscal year to the next.

General Ledger Category General Ledger Accounts   Types of Accounts
Assets1000 – 1999An asset is any item of probable future economic benefit obtained or controlled by a particular entity, as a result of past transactions or events.  Examples of assets are cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and equipment.
Liabilities2000 – 2999Liabilities represent probable future sacrifices of economic benefits, arising from present obligations of an entity to transfer assets or provide services to other entities in the future as a result of past transactions or events.  Examples of liabilities are accounts payable, taxes payable, and due to other funds.
Fund Balances (Net Assets)3000 – 3999Fund Balances are the difference between Assets and Liabilities


NOTE: The balances of Nominal Accounts will close into the appropriate Fund Balance General Ledger at fiscal year-end.

General Ledger Category General Ledger Accounts   Types of Accounts
Revenues4100, 4350, 4500Revenues are increases in the net current assets from transactions other than expenditure refunds and transfers.
Expenditures4200, 4250, 4600Expenditures are decreases in net financial resources.
Encumbrances4300Encumbrances are commitments related to unperformed contracts for goods or services.  Encumbrances are recorded for budgetary purposes to reserve a portion of an appropriation to cover the cost of the legal obligation.
Transfers In4700, 4725, 4900Transfers In are cash not related to revenue that is received by an entity.  Examples of Transfers In include operating transfers and statutory transfers coming in from a different fund, agency, etc.
Transfers Out4750, 4800, 4950Transfers Out are cash not related to expenditures paid by an entity.  Examples of Transfers Out include operating transfers and statutory transfers going out to a different fund, agency, etc.

NOTE: The balances of the Memo Accounts do not close to Fund Balances, and most balances are not brought forward to the next fiscal year. At the request of agencies, pre-encumbrance GLs 5100 and 5110 are carried forward, so re-entering them is not needed:

General Ledger Category General Ledger Accounts   Types of Accounts
Memo5000 - 5999Memo accounts are used as a mechanism to record information for reporting purposes but that will not impact the financial statements.  Examples of Memo accounts are Financial Plans, Estimated Revenues, and budgetary accounts such as Appropriations.


Transaction Codes

Once the General Ledgers have been established, the State Controller's Office can set up transaction codes that post to these accounts in the Transaction Code Decision Table.

On this table, the Transaction Code identifies which General Ledger Accounts a transaction will post to. Every transaction must post to at least two General Ledger Accounts.  Additionally, every transaction must post to the General Ledger, and include a Fund.If a transaction code is set up in STARS to include only one General Ledger Account, the second must be manually entered on the transaction by the SCO staff.

Additional information on Transaction Codes is available on the STARS Transaction Code Decision Table, S028 screen, or the DAFR8640 report in the STARS User Manual.

Each transaction code has General Ledger postings. Most transaction codes have all of the necessary GL accounts needed to process. Notice that there is no GL (General Ledger) file posting reference. Since all transaction codes post to the General Ledger file, the GL file postings are a given.


VERSION 3.1                              STARS--TRANSACTION CODE DECISION TABLE MAINTENANCE/INQUIRY                    S028  

      FUNCTION: R (A=ADD, C=CHANGE, D=DELETE, N=NEXT, R=RECALL)                     


    GENERAL-LEDGER-     DR-1: 4200    CR-1: 1003     DR-2:      CR-2:                        

                        POSTING      DR-3: 1003    CR-3: 2101      DR-4:      CR-4:                        

TRANSACTION    CI     MODI  N     RVRS   INDX  R     PCA  R     BUDU R     FUND R     FDTL   ESUB I  

EDIT-INDS      EDTL   RSUB N     RDTL N     SUBS N     MULT      GLA  N     VNUM  I     VNAM     VADD    

PCN N              PROJ    GRNT         CDOC  I     RDOC   INVC   DOCD   DUDT N    WARR N     SECA N  


GEN-TC:            GEN-ACCR-TC:                                                      

                       A/S    FIELD    MATCH   GLA    DOC    SUB    A/S    FIELD    MATCH    GLA    DOC     SUB  


FILE             AP:         +         12              M                                                

POSTING    AL:          +        09                                                        

                     CC:           -        05                                                       

                     GP:           +       05                                                       

                      PJ:           +       05                                                        


                     OF:           +      01               1                                           


Fund and Grant in General Ledger Accounts

General Ledger Accounts are set up for all agencies to use. STARS keeps separate records by Agency, Fund, and General Ledger Account by including the Agency and Fund numbers as part of the key when posting to STARS financial files.

You can also post to the Grant or Grant Phase level within a Fund in the General Ledger. That means that you can post and control Grants using the General Ledger file.

General Ledger Files in STARS or IBIS

Use the STARS online inquiry to view General Ledger Account balances through screens S065 or S076. Use the S076 Financial Inquiry screen to view information by Fund and GL account. Use the S065 Record Inquiry screen to see more detail by Transaction Code.

Reports can be run in IBIS that will show your agency's General Ledger Account structure.

S065 Record Inquiry screen

The S065 Record Inquiry screen shows the Start of Year Balance - amounts brought forward from the prior year. These will be transaction codes in the 600 range. The Current Balance shows current year information.

S076 Financial Inquiry screen

The S076 Financial Inquiry screen totals the Transaction Codes by GL Account. Grant or Grant/Phase details are shown, if set up on the Grant Control Table. This screen also shows whether the GL account should have a debit or credit (DEBIT/CREDIT) balance.  If this is a “D", the Ending Balance should not have a negative sign.

The S076 Financial Inquiry also shows the Beginning Balance (brought over from the prior year), the Activity (for the current year), and the Ending Balance (beginning balance plus activity).

Using Trial Balance Reports

You can use the DAFR8180 Trial Balance by Fund/GL Account/Transaction Code in conjunction with the DAFR8160 Trial Balance by Fund/Grant report. DAFR8180 is broken down by GL Account and then by Transaction Code.

The DAFR8160 shows all of your General Ledger Accounts, broken down by Subsidiary (if any), where the debits must equal the credits. The DAFR8160 report shows the following columns.



General Ledger Category

Shows the GL Categories and totals for each category (such as assets, liabilities, fund balances, nominal accounts, and memo acct).


General Ledger Account

Shows the GL Accounts and a description of each.


Subsidiary Accounts

Shows the breakdown of the GL Account by listing each Subsidiary account used and a total of subsidiaries by GL account.
DESCRIPTIONShows the description of the GL category, GL account, or Subsidiary account



Shows the beginning of the month balance. It will show the monthly beginning amount of each Subsidiary (SUBS) and of each general GL account (GEN), totaling by GL account, then GL category.
DEBITSShows the debits posted for the month to the GL account or Subsidiary. Debits or credits depend on the normal balance of the GL account.
CREDITS Shows the credits posted for the month to the GL account or Subsidiary. Debits or credits depend on the normal balance of the GL account.


Ending Balance

Shows the balance at the end of the month of each Subsidiary (SUB) and of each general GL account (GEN), totaling by GL account, then GL category.


Invalid Indicator

Shows an asterisk beside the Subsidiary or GL account line if the balance is not a normal balance. E.g., GL 1003 normally has a debit balance, so if the ending balance is a credit amount, an asterisk will be in this column.


On a monthly basis, use the DAFR8160 trial balance report to review (errors should be fixed before the end of the next month):

  1. A balance for a Fund that is not usually used.
  2. A Subsidiary or General Ledger Account that is not usually used or abnormal balances in ones that are used.
  3. A Subsidiary (such as suspense accounts) that should be at zero at the end of the month.
  4. If there is an asterisk in the INVAL IND field on the GL account or Subsidiary account lines, check to see if this abnormal balance is correct. (Example: Agencies do not receive actual cash from the General Fund for their General Fund appropriations.  The cash balance in GL 1003 will be a credit amount which, in this case, is a valid abnormal balance.)

Subsidiary Accounts

Some General Ledger Accounts also have Subsidiary accounts associated with them. A Subsidiary number must be associated with a specific General Ledger Account.  Subsidiary accounts provide a means of tracking amounts at a lower level than the General Ledger Account.

For example, you could request the State Controller's Office to create Subsidiary accounts within GL 1502 to track different types of transactions.

Subsidiary codes must exist on the STARS Descriptor Table 32 (D32) before they can be used. Subsidiary codes are seven digits, often set up with the three-digit agency number followed by four zeros. However, the last four digits may be something other than zeros in order to identify different programs within an agency.

VERSION 3.1                                       STARS--DESCRIPTOR TABLE MAINTENANCE/INQUIRY                             S023  


FUNCTION:     R       A=ADD, C=CHANGE, D=DELETE, N=NEXT, R=RECALL)                      


TABLE-ID-NUMBER: 32 SUBSIDIARY                                                 




TABLE-ENTRY-KEY:         15021400000                                                   


                                        G/L ACCOUNT,       SUBSIDIARY                                       





Subsidiary accounts will be printed on Trial Balance reports as detail lines under the respective General Ledger Account. The Subsidiary code to use on transactions also depends on the General Ledger Account on the transaction code (TC) used. Refer to the Transaction Code Decision Table Inquiry screen or the DAFR8740 report in the STARS User Manual to see how the General Ledger Account is set up on a given TC.

For example, on the Transaction Code Decision Table Inquiry screen for TC 130, the GLA (General Ledger Account) field shows that Position 1 is the GL 1502. The General Ledger Account 1502 is also the G/L shown on the Document File (GLA=1). TC 130 also posts to General Ledger Account 4100 (Revenue) on the Operating File (GLA=2).


 FUNCTION:   R          (A=ADD, C=CHANGE, D=DELETE, N=NEXT, R=RECALL)                     


GENERAL-LEDGER-  DR-1: 1502   CR-1: 4100         DR-2:      CR-2:                        

       POSTING            DR-3:           CR-3:                 DR-4:      CR-4:                        


EDIT-INDS       EDTL N     RSUB I     RDTL     SUBS I    MULT     GLA  N    VNUM     VNAM     VADD    

PCN N         PROJ     GRNT      CDOC I     RDOC      INVC       DOCD R     DUDT      WARR N     SECA R  


GEN-TC:      GEN-ACCR-TC:                                                      

                             A/S      FIELD      MATCH      GLA    DOC    SUB    A/S    FIELD    MATCH   GLA    DOC     SUB  

                     DF:    +           01                 N              1           1                                       

FILE            AP:                                                                 

POSTING    AL:                                                                  


                    GP:     +            08                                                           +        11                       

                      PJ:     +            08                                                           +         11                       

                   SF:      +            03                                1                                           

                  OF:       -            01                                2                                           


Viewing Subsidiary files in STARS or IBIS

You can find subsidiary information in three places in STARS:

  • The subsidiary number is on Descriptor Table (D32).
  • Once transactions post to the subsidiary file, you can find detailed information, such as, increases, decreases, or adjustments on the STARS Record Inquiry screen S069.
    Once transactions post to the subsidiary file, you can find summary information by fund or fund detail on the STARS Financial Inquiry screen S075.

STARS Online Inquiry screens show the total amount for a specific Subsidiary account under a given Fund and General Ledger number. They also show all the amounts due a Fund under a given General Ledger number with details by Subsidiary. 
Reports can be run in IBIS that will show your agencies specific General Ledger Account and Subsidiary Account structure.

S069 Subsidiary File Record Inquiry Screen

The S069 Subsidiary File Record Inquiry Screen and the S075 Subsidiary File Financial Inquiry Screen show accumulative data posted to the Subsidiary file.

The S069 Subsidiary File Record Inquiry Screen Subsidiary files are listed by agency, by TY, by Fund, by Grant/Phase, by General Ledger Account, and by Subsidiary. It also shows the Beginning Balance, Decreases, and the Balance (the Beginning Balance plus Increases less Decreases). 

S069 Subsidiary File Record Inquiry (Due From)

VERSION 3.1             STARS--SUBSIDIARY FILE RECORD INQUIRY              S069  


 AGENCY: 230        TRAN YR: 00 FUND/DET: 0001        GRANT/PH:                GL ACCT: 1502    

SSID   ACCT:   2000000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 CM: X PM:   CP:   PP:   PY:            CUM: X ACTV:                           


 DESCRIPTION:     ADMINISTRATION                                                   


 CREATE DATE: 080699         CLOSE DATE:                                                                                                                    


 BEGINNING BALANCE:              0.00          ADJUSTMENT AMOUNT:              0.00     

 INCREASE:                               5,783.63         DECREASE:                                  100.00      


                                             BALANCE:   5,683.63                                                                                                     

S075 Subsidiary File Financial Inquiry Screen

The S075 Subsidiary File Financial Inquiry Screen lists all Subsidiary File Record Inquiry screens having the same Fund, Fund Detail, Grant, Grant Phase (if used), and GL account.  This screen lists the Subsidiary account numbers and summarizes information similar to the trial balance.  The S075 Subsidiary File Financial Inquiry Screen Subsidiary files are listed by agency, by Fund, by General Ledger account, by Trans Yr and by Grant/Phase.

Screen S075 lists the Beginning Balances of all Subsidiary records, their Activity (increases plus adjustments plus decreases from the S069 Subsidiary File Record Inquiry screen), and their Ending Balances. For each unique Subsidiary number, the Beginning Balance of S069 and S075 should be the same and the Balance of S069 and Ending Balance of S075 should be the same.


                                                        S075 Subsidiary File Financial Inquiry (Due From)

VERSION 3.1                                  STARS--SUBSIDIARY FILE FINANCIAL INQUIRY                                    S075  


  AGENCY: 230              TRANS YR: 00               FUND/DET: 0001             GRANT/PH:                  GL ACCT: 1502    

SSID ACCT:    2000000                                

 CM: X         PM:           CP:        PP:           PY:                        CUM: X    ACTV:                         


 SUBSIDIARY          BEGINNING BALANCE            ACTIVITY                  ENDING BALANCE       

    2000000                                    0.00                                   5,783.63                         5,783.63    

    2000101                                    0.00                                      178.78                             178.78    

    2000102                                    0.00                                  10,150.50                        10,150.50    

    2000103                                    0.00                                       938.00                             938.00    

    2000122                                    0.00                                     1,000.00                         1,000.00    

    2000123                                   0.00                                       3,500.00                         3,500.00