CALSTARS Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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1. Why do the Operating File Reports (Q10, Q16, etc.) not show the same amount of personal services costs as labor reports (L01/L02)?

The only transactions that post to the labor reports are those generated by the CALSTARS Labor Subsystem.  If personal services expenditures are manually posted to CALSTARS, they are displayed on the Operating File reports, but they will not be displayed on the Labor reports. If labor transactions appear on the Error File, classification information such as Index, PCA and Agency Objects may be changed during the Error File Correction process. This may cause a difference between the labor reports and the Operating File reports. The labor reports show the original Labor Subsystem transactions. The Operating File reports include the impact of the corrected transactions and manually posted transactions.

2. Why does the amount of Expenditures (GL 9000) on the G01, Trial Balance of General Ledger Accounts, not agree with the amount of Expenditures on the G02, Pre-Closing Trial Balance?

Expenditures on the G02 Report (Pre-Closing Trial Balance) are budgetary expenditures, and they include the following General Ledgers:

  • 6150-Encumbrances,
  • 6151-Annual Allocated Encumbrances,
  • 6152-Start-of-Year Encumbrances, and
  • 9000-Expenditures

For more information, refer to CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 7, Chapter IV-A (.pdf)


How is an entire claim schedule or individual item within a claim schedule deleted from the Claim Schedule Maintenance Screen (B.2)?

To delete an entire claim schedule, enter ‘D’ in the ‘F’ column of the line containing the Claim Schedule number. This means that the claim schedule is no longer available for print.

To delete an individual transaction within a claim schedule, use the Insert function to create a transaction. Enter ‘I’ in the ‘F’ column on the line containing the Claim Schedule number. A new transaction ID will appear. Change the sequence number to the transaction that corresponds to the transaction you want to delete. Verify the sequence number by reviewing the Claim Schedule Requiring Action (CSBW01-1) Report or the Claim Schedule Preview (CSBW08-1) Report.

Note: All Claim Schedules listed on the Claim Schedule Maintenance Screen (Command B.2), contain Sequence 00000, and deleting transactions from the Claim Schedule Subsystem does not delete the previously posted expenditure transactions. Therefore, additional action may be required.

For information on the Claim Schedule Maintenance Screen), refer to CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 1, Chapter X I (.pdf)


1. How does an agency know whether or not they should use Cost Allocation/Fund Split in CALSTARS?

All State agencies need to plan how their expenditures are recorded including those costs which are considered either administrative or indirect program overhead. Consideration should be given to how many funding sources and appropriations the agency has, whether or not a clearing account is used and whether the agency separately budgets their administration/distributed administration.  The agency’s Program Management, Accounting, and Budget Offices must work together to establish a Cost Plan.  The cost plan should have a detailed basis for cost allocation to each program such as Salary/Benefits charged to the program (the most common for CALSTARS agencies), Square Footage, Statistics, etc.  An organization’s cost plan should also comply with State Policies (e.g. SAM), Federal Regulations with respect to Federal funding and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  A cost plan should be approved by high level officials (Directors, Deputy Directors).  Once the plan has been completed, the agency can contact either their CALSTARS assigned analyst or the Hotline for assistance in establishing their Cost Allocation tables.  Please note that the CALSTARS staff is only to assist with establishing an agency’s tables.  CALSTARS cannot make any recommendations for an agency’s Cost Plan unless it would violate the regulations previously mentioned.  For more information about costs allocation and methodology, please refer to State Administrative Manual (SAM) §9200 to §9205. (sam.dgs.ca.gov)

2. How does an agency establish their Cost Plan in CALSTARS?

Based on the agency’s cost plan, CALSTARS Cost Allocation tables are established with the number of steps (sequences) an agency needs to use to efficiently allocate their expenditures and encumbrances.   Once the agency creates the cost plan and charts the steps that will be required for allocation, the next step would be to establish other CALSTARS tables such as the Index Codes and PCA’s, the number of sequences (steps) to be used and whether the cost table will allocate expenditures based on calculated or fixed distribution. 

Note: If an agency determines that more than 4 steps are necessary to meet the requirements of their cost plan, this will require an extra day of completing Cost Allocation.  It is recommended to minimize the number of sequences as much as possible.  

For more information on establishing Cost Tables and methodology, refer to the CALSTARS Procedures Manual Volume 2, Chapter IV-Cost Allocation Table. (.pdf)

3. If an agency has a budget for Administration/Distributed Administration, what costs are considered to be Administrative?

Administration programs are defined in SAM §9202.1 (sam.dgs.ca.gov). They normally consist of Personnel, Business Services, Legal, Accounting, Budgeting, Executive and Information Technology. The standard to determine if a program within the agency meets the criteria for Administrative costs is that it must provide services to all programs in the organization. Administration expenses (and encumbrances) should always be allocated to the agency’s programs as Indirect Costs.  As Administration is a service to all programs, the budgeted amount is formulated on the organization’s program budgets. The State Budgeting process requires that an agency’s Administration budget must not be an additional amount to the organization’s total budget. Therefore any budgeted amount in Administration must also include an offset amount in “Distributed Administration”.  CALSTARS tables are designed to allocate Administration and simultaneously post an equal Credit amount in Distributed Administration.   

4. Once the tables are established, what will get allocated?

The CALSTARS cost allocation tables are designed to allocate any expenditure posted in General Ledger Account (GLA) 9000 and any encumbrance posted in GLA 6150 where the Program Cost Account (PCA) was programed into the Cost Allocation tables. Any transactions posted in other GLA’s such as GLA 8000 (revenue) and GLA 8100 (reimbursements) will not be run through the cost allocation process.

5. Will CALSTARS allocate Budget or Appropriation amounts?

No. Agencies should not set up Cost Allocation tables for the budget amounts that they load in CALSTARS. These amounts do not post to GLA 9000 or 6150 and will not be allocated.

6. Is there a difference in how costs are allocated based on the “RUN TYPE” indicator?

Yes. There are some differences in using the RUN TYPE in the OC table.  If an organization chooses to use the ‘S’ indicator for Standard Cost Allocation, expenditures and encumbrances will allocate based on activity for that month.  Conversely, if the ‘C’ indicator is used in the RUN TYPE field, the expenditures/encumbrances will allocate based on cumulative Year-To-Date activity.  

For example, if an agency uses the salary/benefit methodology to allocate their costs using the ‘S RUN TYPE indicator, and there are no salary/benefit activities in that program (in the PCA) for the month, the system will specifically exclude that PCA when calculating the allocation. However, if the ‘C’ indicator is used, the allocation will be based on the Year-To-Date activity.  In either situation, before an agency runs CA/FS, it is recommended to order a Q16 report at the lowest level of detail to determine the activity in the PCA.  

Note: Once the RUN TYPE indicator has been established for the year, it is not recommended to change the indicator until the next fiscal year before running CA/FS for FM 01.

7. How does an agency run Cost Allocation/Fund Split (CA/FS) in CALSTARS?

There are options available to agencies to set and run CA/FS.  For example, if an agency prefers to run only one step of CA/FS each day, they can set the Organization Control (OC) Table accordingly (e. g. Run Cost indicator ‘Y’).

For more information on how to run CA/FS, refer to CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 2, Chapter IV-Organization Control Table (.pdf)

As of September 1, 2013, the CALSTARS OC table has a new format which allows staff authorized to set Cost Allocation to run either directly in the OC table or using Special Processes Entry Screens (CommandF.4).

8. How can it be determined if cost allocation and fund split (CA/FS) were completed? 

On the current year OC Table, the Run Cost indicator automatically resets to ‘N’ upon completion of all steps requested. The Last Step Run indicator will display the number (e.g. 00, 01, 02, 03, or 04) of the last Cost Allocation step completed if Fund Split was not requested. If CA/FS was requested, the Last Step Run indicator will display 'FS'.

9. The Run Cost indicator on the OC Table displays ‘M’, and the Last Step Run indicator displays ‘FS’, what should be done? 

    The Run Cost indicator will display an ‘M’ if CA/FS errors occur.  For example, errors may occur if a PCA is inactivated, deleted, or an Appropriation Symbol (AS) has reverted. Agencies should review the CA/FS Edit Activity Error Report (CFB584-1) and correct the PCA and/or AS tables if applicable. After all FS errors are cleared from the Error Report, they should order a PCA Report (Q21) by fund and verify that the D fund source, Clearing Account (if applicable), is zero. 

    In addition, the corrected tables are used when the CA/FS transactions are reprocessed during the nightly Input/Edit/Update Process (IEUP). Agencies should review the Edit Activity Error Report (CFB800-2) the next day.  Moreover, the OC Table may or may not be required to reset pending on the following situations:

    • Last Step Run indicator shows ‘FS’:
    • Once the errors have successfully cleared, the entire CA/FS process has posted and month-end reports can be ordered. Do not reset the Run Cost indicator on the OC Table
    • Last Step Run indicator does not show‘FS:
    • If the errors have successfully posted, reset the Run Cost indicator on the OC Table to ‘Y’, ‘A’ or ‘C’ to continue the Cost Allocation process.


Should a TC 912 be used to change a PCA number on a document?

No. A TC 912 should only be used to add the ‘S’ (Save) Modifier or to add/change the Vendor Number to an existing encumbrance document.  The S Modifier prevents document from purging when purge criteria is met.  The TC 912 also overlays the original document with the new PCA information so there will not be an audit trail of the old PCA information.  As a result, if a PCA is changed using a TC 912, the document may likely be liquidated or reversed with a different PCA than the PCA the document was originally established with. This causes an inconsistency between the Document File and the Operating File.

When using a TC 912 to add/change the ‘S’ Modifier or Vendor Number, it is important that all remaining data is entered exactly as it was originally entered on the document, except the amount which must be zero. Use the F4 Document File retrieval feature to ensure that the information is not changed.  For more information on the Document File Retrieval feature, refer to CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 1, Chapter IX. (.pdf)


1. What causes the OPT OBJ DTL NOT D11 (E67) error message for a TC 362 (automated posting of a CD102)? What should be done?

When a claim schedule is paid by the SCO, a Notice of Claims Filed (CD102) form is sent by the SCO to the agency.  If an agency has their OC Table CD 102 indicator set to a ‘Y, a TC 362 transaction is automatically generated from the monthly CD 102 electronic file received from the SCO.  When a TC 362 does not match the Document File, the Claim Schedule Subsystem inserts an Object Detail Code 000 into the transaction. This forces the non-matched transaction to the Error File with an E67 error message.

These non-match errors occur when a claim schedule is not posted in CALSTARS, when a claim schedule was paid from a different FY or appropriation than what was recorded in CALSTARS, or when a claim schedule is split into A, B, etc.  Analyze the transactions to determine the cause of the error(s).  Enter the missing claim schedule(s) or correct the claim schedule transaction(s) in CALSTARS. The following steps must be taken to clear the error using the Error File Correction process:

  • Create two additional lines on the Error Correction screen (Command C.3). To create each additional line, enter an ‘I’ (Insert) on the ‘S’ (Status) field next to the Transaction ID.

  • Enter Detail Correction Number 26 in the Data Element field. Enter a $ in the Correction field on the Error Correction Screen to delete the Object Detail code 000.

  • Enter Detail Correction Number 40 in the Data Element field. Enter the correct Reference Document Number in the Correction field.

  • Enter Fund Segment in the Data Element field. Enter the appropriate Appropriation Symbol, Fund, Fund Source, Method, and Fund Detail in the Correction field.  If no Fund Detail exists for the transaction, space through the 10th and 11th position.

Note: If there are multiple errors, it may be faster to delete the errors from the Error File and manually post the CD 102 entry with a TC 252.

2. What causes the AP Date Not In Range (EA7) error message to appear on the error file in July? What should be done?

Agencies may encounter a reverting appropriation that has the Appropriation Symbol (AS) Table Reversion Date field set to June 30.

When a transaction is entered after June 30, and the Document Date field is blank or contains a date after June 30, the system rejects the transaction because the date of the transaction is past the ending date shown on the AS Table Revision Date. To correct this error, the agencies can change or add a Document Date prior to July 1 or change the AS Reversion Date to a date that is equal to or later than the transaction date.

3. How to correct the Fiscal Month, Claim Schedule Number, or Check Number using the Error File Correction process?

To correct the Fiscal Month (FM) or Claim Schedule Number, key the appropriate correction number in the Data Element field on the Error Correction screen (Command C.3) and the correct FM or Claim Schedule Number in the Correction field. When a batch level correction is used, all transactions in the batch are corrected.  Refer to the CALSTARS Procedures Manual (CPM), Volume 4, Chapter III (.pdf) for coding information.

If the Batch Header is on the Error File, the FM or Claim Schedule number may be corrected through the Error File Correction process. The Sequence Number for a Batch Header transaction on the Error File is '00000'.  This information must be keyed on the Transaction ID line. 
If the Batch Header is not on the Error File, the FM may be corrected by keying a group level correction in one of the transactions within the batch. To do a group level correction, change the Sequence Number in the Transaction ID to '00000'.  Key GR16 in the Data Element field on the Error Correction screen (Command C.3) and the correct FM in the Correction field. The group level correction will correct the FM for all transactions within the batch that were on the Error File.

The Check Number cannot be corrected via the Error File. Delete the transaction from the Error File and key the transaction with the correct Check Number.


1. What time is the normal cutoff for the following activities?

  • Setting my OC Table to run Cost Allocation and Labor Distribution,
  • Submitting FTPs for external financial transactions,
  • Inputting transactions for nightly processing, and
  • Setting YEC/YEO.
  • Weekdays include last working day of the month

    • Cost Allocation-----------------10:00 AM
    • Labor Distribution---------------3:00 PM
    • FTP & Upload Process--------5:30 PM
    • Transactions Input--------------6:00 PM          
    • YEC/YEO-------------------------6:00 PM

    Additional dates and times are scheduled for the Year-end Close period. These are announced each year in the Schedule For Year-end Closing COM, which is available on our CALSTARS website at http://www.dof.ca.gov/Accounting/CALSTARS/Operations_Memos/.

2. Where can information be obtained that describes the purpose of a Transaction Code?

The comment section located at the center of each Transaction Code (TC) describes the purpose.  It also includes coding tips and helpful information.  The transaction illustrations for all TCs are available in the CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 5, which may be accessed at VOLUME-5 (.pdf).

3. A Controller's Journal Entry (JE) shows expenditures posting to a shared or non-shared fund.  The Organization Code on the JE is not the agency's code.  What should be done?

The agency still needs to post this JE so that the General Ledger balances for Cash and Fund Balance will agree with the Controller. This JE affects the General Ledger balances, but it does not post to any of the agency's appropriations. 

The following Transaction Codes (TCs) are used to record SCO JEs that decrease the agency's Fund Balance or Retained Earnings. These adjustments are posted at the fund level:

  • If it is a shared fund, and the agency is a Fund Administrator, the agency posts this JE with a TC 571:

  • TC 571-Decrease Fund Balance-Shared Fund 

    Dr   5570 Fund Balance-Clearing Account
    Cr   1140 Cash in State Treasury

  • If it is a non-shared fund (no Fund Administrator), the agency posts this JE with a TC 581 or TC 582:

    TC 581-Decrease Fund Balance-Non-shared Fund 
    Dr   5530 Fund Balance-Unappropriated 
    Cr   1140 Cash in State Treasury 

    TC 582-Decrease Retained Earnings
    Dr   5540 Retained Earnings
    Cr   1140 Cash in State Treasury

These SCO journal entries are typically for the following statewide assessments and at the fund level adjustments:

    • DOF - FSCU Assessments (Org. 8860)
    • SCO – MyCalPAYS  (Org. 0840)
    • SCO - GAAP Reporting (Org. 0840)
    • FI$Cal Assessments (Org. 8880)
    • Pro Rata Assessments (Org. 9900)

A Subsidiary Code is a required field for the above transaction codes. The Subsidiary Code identifies the type of adjustment. Although the agencies may use their own numbering conventions; however, the Subsidiary Code should be established with the above statewide assessment title. The Subsidiary Code title(s) and corresponding amount(s) can be displayed on the Year-End Report 9 (G04) under “Adjustments To Fund Balance” section.

The transaction illustrations for these TCs are available in the CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 5, which may be accessed at VOLUME-5 (.pdf).

4. Why did a Natural Error 932 occur which then automatically returns the user to the Main Menu screen? There were no apparent errors.

There are occasions when CALSTARS staff must replace a Natural program during the day. When this occurs, the Natural Error 932 is displayed, and you are returned to the Main Menu screen.

Unfortunately, agencies are inconvenienced when this maintenance is performed.  However, the advantage to performing system maintenance during the day is that unanticipated problems can be quickly corrected. To minimize any inconvenience to CALSTARS agencies, most maintenance is performed during the evening or early morning hours when user activity is low. Also, programs are replaced during the day only when absolutely necessary. 


1. What should be done when a password is revoked?

The agency’s Security Officer can reset the staff’s password.  If the Security Officer needs to reset his or her password, the Security Officer can e-mail CALSTARS Production Control Unit prodcntl@dof.ca.gov and include the agency’s Organization Code and the client’s user ID number.

2. When to use CALSTARS 95 and CALSTARS 98 forms?  And how to request a copy of these forms?

CALSTARS Security Form (CALSTARS 95) is used to add, change, delete, or reset specific CALSTARS accesses for a user. The form should be submitted to the agency’s Security Officer. This form is maintained at the agency office.

CALSTARS Agency Security Officer Appointment Form (CALSTARS 98) is used to add, delete, or change a Security Officer

In addition, if specific CALSTARS accesses also need to be added, changed, or deleted for the Security Officer, agencies should submit both CALSTARS 98 and CALSTARS 95 forms to CALSTARS Production ControlUnit via e-mail prodcntl@dof.ca.gov or fax at (916) 323-4049.

Agency can email CALSTARS Hotline hotline@dof.ca.gov and request a copy of these forms.


1. An agency would like to start submitting financial transactions, accounting table maintenance, or labor table maintenance (timesheets) electronically. What steps are needed?

Call (916) 445-0211, extension 2811, and ask for the System Support Unit Manager or e-mail calstars@dof.ca.gov for more information.
2. What time is the cutoff for submitting FTPs for external financial transactions, table maintenance, or labor table maintenance (timesheets)?

Normal Time (include last working day of the month)

  • Transactions & accounting table maintenance  4:30 PM— Labor table maintenance  2:30 PM

 Day before Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years

  • Transactions & accounting table maintenance  11:30 AM—Labor table maintenance 11:30 AM

Saturdays (during Year End only)

  • Transactions & accounting table maintenance  12:30 PM—Labor table maintenance 12:30 PM


1. Where does YEC/YEO fit in the CALSTARS processing cycle?  When does it run?  What time should the Run YEC indicator be set to run YEC/YEO?

YEC/YEO runs after the Table Maintenance Process, which begins at 6:00 PM.  The Run YEC indicator for YEC/YEO may be set to ‘C’ anytime during the day before the system begins nightly processing at 6:00 PM.  However, agency must e-mail their assigned CALSTARS Analyst or CALSTARS Hotline at hotline@dof.ca.gov to request YEC authorization prior to setting the Run YEC indicator.  

The following processes are run in the order listed:

  • Table Maintenance
  • Error Correction Process

Note: YEC/YEO related errors on the Edit Activity Error Report (CFB800-2) must be cleared before the Run YEC indicator is set to run YEC or YEO.

2. The RUN YEC indicator is set to ‘C’, but the process did not run.  Why?

If there is current year activity (FM 01, etc.) in an appropriation with a Reversion indicator ‘1’ (for reverting appropriation), the YEC process will not run.  Agency can review the Preliminary YEC Processing Report (CFY010-1) for more detail of the problem transaction(s). To clear the error(s), agency can choose one of the below options:

  • Change the associated reverting Appropriation Symbol Table record, Reversion Date to a later date and the Reversion Indicator to a value other than ‘1’ until the YEC process is complete OR

  • Reverse all of the current year (FM01, etc.) activity for the reverting appropriation.

After all changes and corrections are posted and verified, agency can contact their CALSTARS Analyst or Hotline at (916) 327-0100 to reset the YEC authorization. For more information, refer to CALSTARS Procedures Manual, Volume 7, Chapter VI, pages 7-13. (.pdf).