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Accounting |Introduction | Commonly Used Terms

Financial Procedures Manual: Introduction

Definitions of Commonly Used Terms

Following are definitions of key terms used throughout this manual.

  • Account Manager - First signatory listed on the authorized signatory list for a particular account.
  • Administrative Overhead - An assessment against revenues in IFR accounts to recoup the indirect administrative and other indirect cost associated with operating an IFR program. The assessment is reflected in the individual IFR accounts as a reduction to the uncommitted cash balance.
  • Allocation Transfer - Movement of allocation from one account or object to another account or object. Transfer of allocation from an account decreases the account's uncommitted balance. Transfer of allocation into an account increases the account's uncommitted balance.
  • Authorized Allocation - The level of funding available to the account for its operations. Allocations are assigned by object.
  • Authorized Signatory - Person(s) authorized to approve transactions associated with a particular account. There can be up to three authorized signatories per account.
  • Carryover Period - Allocations are assigned to accounts and intended for use during the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Often transactions started during the fiscal year are not completed by June 30. For example, an item ordered in April may not be delivered by the vendor until August. The University's carryover period begins July 1 and continues into September. The actual dates for processing are noted in the annual Allocation Letters.
  • Cash Disbursement - Issuance of a check to a vendor as payment for goods or services. All cash disbursements are issued by the State Comptroller's Office.
  • Citibank Travel Account (CTA) - A New York State mandated account to use for all air travel.
  • Committed Funds - The total of all outstanding encumbrances and expenditures in an account.
  • Encumbrance - A commitment of a portion of an account's allocation to purchase a particular good or service (e.g. purchase orders).
  • Equipment Funds - Funds assigned to an account to purchase items defined as equipment. Usually such allocations are based on the expected cost of the item(s) to be purchased.
  • Expenditure - A transaction that indicates the approval to issue a check. The transaction could be liquidating an encumbrance or be a direct payment out of uncommitted funds.
  • Expenditure Transfer - Movement of expenses incurred in one account to another account. Transfer of expenditures from an account increases the accounts uncommitted balance. Transfer of expenditures into an account decreases the account's uncommitted balance.
  • Fiscal Year - The time period used to monitor financial activity. The University's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.
  • Fringe Benefits - An assessment against temporary service and personal service charges in IFR accounts to recoup the costs of fringe benefits. The assessment is made against all temporary service charges, except students and honoraria, regardless of whether the individual receives the University's entire fringe benefit package.
  • Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR) - A self-supporting account that operates on revenue generated from its operations. These accounts are considered a special type of State funds.
  • Maintenance Operations Overhead (M&O) - An assessment against revenues in IFR accounts to recoup the indirect costs associated with the facilities used by an IFR program. The assessment is reflected in the individual IFR accounts as a reduction to the uncommitted cash balance.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - An agreement between two State agencies specifying work to be done by one agency and the method of payment and amount to be paid by the other agency for the services rendered.
  • Object Codes - Numeric codes representing distinct categories of funds within an account; e.g., Personal Service, Temporary Service, Supplies and Equipment. Also see Sub-Object Codes.
  • Pending Items - Transactions which have been initiated, but have not yet completed the entire transaction process.
  • Personal Service Funds - Assigned to accounts to support persons paid with State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable appropriated funds. Positions are normally controlled via line items through the annual budget process.
  • Procurement Card - In December 1999, the University joined the NYS Procurement Card Program to help streamline the campus procurement process for goods and services. The program enables campus personnel to charge general supplies and equipment using a credit card charged to their University State Purpose, Dormitory Fund, or Income Fund Reimbursable Account.
  • Project Director - First signatory listed on the authorized signatory list for a particular account. Used interchange-ability with Account Manager when associated with Income Fund Reimbursable accounts.
  • Purchase Order (P.O.) - A document specifying the description, quantity, price, and related information for goods and services ordered from a vendor. An issued purchase order is a contract between the University and the vendor, not to be altered without the approval of the Purchasing Office.
  • Purchase Requisition - A request to order goods or services by a department. Most requisitions are sent to the Purchasing Office for action. Requisitions for direct vendor payments, such as subscriptions, advertising, utilities and freight charges, are sent directly to the Accounting Office.
  • Receiving Report (AP-102) - A document to be prepared by department staff when goods or services are received. The report provides a description of the goods, quantity, and date received, as well as other relevant data. A properly completed receiving report is required for the Accounting Office to pay vendors.
  • Recharge Funds - Funds assigned to an account to record the expenses incurred for University provided goods and services. The recharge areas include telephone, mail, photocopying, printing, and the Educational Communication Center.
  • Revenue Contract - A contract between the University and another entity wherein the University is to provide a good or service. The revenue contract specifies the good or service, applicable time period(s) and the amount to be paid to the University.
  • State Purpose Funds - State appropriated funds provided to the campus to operate University programs.
  • Sub-Object Codes - A more detailed structuring of expenses within the object codes. For example, the object code supplies can be further detailed to classroom, office, or cleaning.
  • SUNY - State University of New York.
  • Supply and Expense Funds (S&E) - Assigned to accounts to fund departmental operating expenses for such items as supplies, contractual services, or travel.
  • Temporary Service Funds - Assigned to accounts to fund expenses for hourly or non-permanent employees and honoraria.
  • Three Way Match - Purchase Requisition, Invoice(s) and AP-102.
  • Uncommitted Balance - The allocation remaining and available for use in the account after deducting all outstanding encumbrances and expenditures from the authorized allocation.
  • University - State University of New York at Albany.
  • Vendor's Invoice - A document issued by vendors specifying such items as the description and quantity of goods and services delivered, price, freight costs, cash discount terms, and the billing date. This essential document is required for payment to be made. Invoices should be sent directly to the Accounting Office by the vendor.
  • Vendor Statement - A statement prepared periodically by the vendor indicating the beginning balance, billings, collections, and ending balance. These statements are the vendor's representations of activity for the period and cannot be substituted for vendor invoices as a basis for payment.
  • Voucher - A control document required by the State Comptroller's Office to issue a disbursement.