Charge numbers and the WBS
Control accounts are issued at the intersection of the WBS and the OBS; they hold the budget for a particular group of people to perform a specific bucket of work and are typically assigned to a control account manager (CAM). The CAM should have authority over how budget is spent and resources consumed within their portion of the project.
CAMs typically break out charge numbers at least one level deeper than their control account. I've seen charge numbers used to collect actuals by smaller elements of the team (i.e. OBS), to break things out in phases to align to a schedule (e.g. charge numbers change after some big review), and/or to collect costs by a lower level of the WBS.
In general, it's perfectly fine for a charge number to span multiple WBS elements--as long as the sub-elements it spans all fall under the same parent. For example, you could have one charge number for 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 and another for 1.2.3, but you don't want to have a charge number for 1.1.2 and 1.2.2 and another for 1.1.3. If you did that, you'll have no way to determine how much 1.1 cost, because it will have 1.2.2 costs embedded with it at the charge number level.
So the hard rule is that charge numbers cannot span WBS elements above the level you're required to report costs at, or to mix charges from WBS elements at the reporting level.
Within that constraint charge numbers can span multiple lower-level WBS elements or you can have multiple charge numbers within a WBS element.
Reasons hours might not be collected against a WBS element
I can only think of a two cases where hours would be charged and there would be no associated WBS item:
- The WBS is missing something
- The hours were supporting something you track as overhead, so you should collect them under a special set of charge numbers that map to overhead accounts not program accounts