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Accounting |Introduction | Summary of Fiscal Controls

Financial Procedures Manual: Introduction

Summary of Fiscal Controls

The University enjoys funding from multiple sources. Each funding source has its own set of accounting and fiscal controls. Following is a brief description of the primary aspects of each funding source. The fiscal year for each funding source is the same, July 1 through June 30.

State Purpose Funds:
These funds are appropriated annually by the State Legislature through the State budgetary process. All activity is monitored by the State Comptroller's Office.

Income Fund Reimbursable:
This mechanism allows departments to operate certain funds that collect revenue in support of those functions. Examples include photocopy services, research grant cost recovery, and conferences. Like State Purpose funds, IFR funds are appropriated annually by the State Legislature and all payments are approved by the State Comptroller's Office.

Research Foundation:
The Research Foundation of the State University of New York serves as the conduit for all grants and contracts awarded at SUNY institutions. The Research Foundation provides basic administrative support to the campuses. The University is responsible for ensuring that expenditures are made in accordance with Research Foundation, sponsor, and campus guidelines and that sponsor billings are timely and accurate.

University Auxiliary Services - Agency Accounts:
University Auxiliary Services (UAS) is a not-for-profit corporation operated to provide auxiliary services to the University pursuant to a contract with the University and SUNY Board of Trustees. UAS also provides bookkeeping services for specific operations through agency accounts, as allowed by SUNY policies. Agency accounts are established and monitored based on University Controller guidelines and approval.

University at Albany Foundation:
The University at Albany Fund is a not-for-profit corporation created and operated to receive and administer gifts and donations for the campus. Monies are held as restricted or unrestricted in a fund account and are made available to departments in accordance with gift or donation specifications.

State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable Research
at Albany

I. General
A. Account Establishment Accounts are approved by the Budget Office and SUNY Central Administartion and established by the Accounting Office. Accounts are established and activated by the Office for Research. Accounts are authorized by the campus controller and activated by the UAS Controller's Office. Accounts are authorized by the UAF Controller and executive director (based on Board policies) and activated by the financial operations staff.
B. Categories of Expense The Purchasing and Accounting Offices have issued detailed charts of accounts and character and object codes for use on payment documents based on State Comptroller guidelines. The Research Foundation (RF) has established a standard set of object codes that are used by all grants and contracts. Standard object codes established by UAS. Standard object codes established by UAF.
C. Expenditure Review OSC has ultimate approval authority for any payment request. Also, all funds received by University must be deposited to an OSC authorized account. Regulations, rules, policies, and procedures established by SUNY, OSC, State Division of Budget (DOB), and other state or federal agencies. RF Central Office reviews all expenditures over $25,000. All expenditures over $5,000 are reviewed by the Sponsored FUnds Accounting Unit Head. Standard consultant agreements are reviewed by Campus personnel. Sponsor rules and RF guidelines dictate allowability and classification of expenditure items. Payments are reviewed by the Accounting Office and approved by the UAS Controller's Office after verification of proper authorizing signature. UAF Controller approves all payments.
D. Signature Authorizations An account may have up to three signatories, who may authorize any expenditure. Special approval processes are sometimes required to meet certain purposes. Project Director determines signatories assigned. Can also specify types of transactions for which individuals may be authorized. Account Manager identifies signatories, who may authorize any transaction. Foundation Manager is authorized to sign and to designate alternate signatories, if desired.

II. Account Monitoring
A. Allocation Set through the budgetary process, established by object. Deficit overrides approved by the Accounting Office. Set through negotiation process between the Office for Research and sponsor. Multiple Sponsor account allocation is equal to cash available. Only payroll overrides are possible, and they are monitored by the Accounting Office. Account can be expended up to cash available. Non-endowment accounts can be expended up to cash available. Endowment account principal may not be spent; restrictions against spending quasi-endowment account principal.
B. Deficit Control Personal Service (for IFR's only), Temporary Service and Other Then Personal Service deficits are reviewed and approved by the Accounting Office. Deficits may also result from contract carryover commitments or excess use of a recharge service. The Purchasing Office will not process a purchase requisition unless adequate funds are available or the Accounting Office authorizes a deficit. The Accounting Office annually draws general supply and expense funds to cover recharge deficits. IFR accounts are monitored on both a cash basis and an allocation basis. Sponsor rules dictate. If required, budgetary categories can be over-expended only with approval from the sponsor. Multiple Sponsor accounts can spend only up to the revenue level, but exception will be made for Personal Service. Periodic reviews are done by the Sponsored Funds Accounting and Personnel Offices to monitor payroll deficits and initiate corrective action. Deficit condition prohibited. Only funds in the account may be spent. Periodic review of current balances, as well as a balance review prior to payment processing to prevent a deficit condition.
C. Movement of Funds Funds can be moved between accounts or agencies by allocation or expenditure transfers, revenue transfer or by a billing. Transfer of allocation between Temporary Service and Other Than Persoonal Service requires vice presidential approval. Transfers are made within monetary limits specified in the State Finance Law and monitored by the Accounting Office. Treated like a disbursement. Treated like a disbursement. Transfers are effected via journal entry.

III. Departmental Administration
A. Reports Monthly consolidated expenditure report, IFR reports, accounts receivable and cash reports. Specialized reports are developed and issued as necessary. Monthly account expenditure reports. Specialized reports developed and issued as necessary. Monthly revenue and expenditure detail report. Quarterly detail reports of income and expense.
B. Access to Accounting System Real time via SUNY Real time via Research Foundation. N/A N/A
C. Dissemination of Information Accounting manual, memoranda directives, attachments to monthly reports. All Funds Reporting system. At least two seminars each year. Special seminars as needed. Meetings with asst. vice presidents to discuss changes in policy and items of particular interest. Memoranda directives, attachments to monthly reports. At least two seminars each year. Special seminars as needed. Meetings with asst. vice presidents to discuss changes in policy and items of particular interest. Memoranda. Memoranda, including dissemination of Board policies. Attachments to reports. Periodic informational seminars. Activity presently coordinated at the dean or department head level.

IV. Revenue
A. Billings Student billings issued by Student Accounts. IFR invoices issued by account manager. Memoranda of Understanding set forth payment terms. Grants and contracts are billed by the Accounting Office. Multiple sponsor billings are done by the project director. Issued by account manager. Billings are generally not made, other than chargebacks for institutional services.
B. Collections Student revenue collected by bursar, deposited to local depository. IFR revenue collected by departments or bursar, deposited with the bursar. All funds are distributed semi-monthly by the Accounting Office to appropriate funds and accounts. Grant and contract billing and follow-up are done by the Accounting Office, funds are remitted directly to the Research Foundation. Multiple Sponsor collections are done by the project directors, who then submit the funds to the Accounting Office, which forwards collections to the Research Foundation. Collection by account manager, deposited with UAS Controller for credit to appropriate account. Collection by foundation manager, deposited with UAF controller for credit to appropriate account and deposit in foundation depository.
C. Special Revenue Reports SUNY Uniform Revenue Accounting System reports, as well as specific IFR collection and receivable monthly reports. Funds received information is provided to project directors via monthly account status report. Revenue amd expenditure reports issued to account managers monthly. Revenue is reported simultaneously with expenses and is itemized by type of income. Ad hoc reports are provided as well.

V. Payment Processing
A. Documentation All payments require:
  1. Authorized purchase order or, for direct payments a requisition, honoraria form, or travel request.
  2. Vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts.
    c. Notification from authorized employee that goods were received in suitable condition and payment is authorized.
All payments require:
a. Authorizd purchase order or, for direct payments, a requisition, consultant/ lecturer form, or travel request.
b. Vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts.
c. Indication from authorized employee that goods were received in suitable condition and payment is authorized.
All payments require:
a. Disbursement request form signed by an authorized individual (UAS).
b. Vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts.
c. Accounting Office approval of disbursement.
All payments require:
a. Disbursement request form signed by an authorized individual.
b. Original vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts.
c. Additional information required for meals and any obvious personal expenses.
d. Social security or federal ID numbers required.
B. Recharge area payments Payments to units that provide University-wide services, such as Telephone, Rapid Copy, Central Duplicating, Central Stores, Mail Room, and ECC, are done by journal transfer of expense from the unit providing the service to the unit receiving the service. Prices of services are based on analysis done by the Accounting Office. Major recharge areas are shown as separate categories on each departmental report. Internal requisitions are used to obtain services. Recharge areas bill grants that receive services. Charge is reviewed by the project director and by Accounting Office and payment is made via check from RF to the approrpriate IFR account. Accounts are billed directly by the various recharge units for services provided. UAS issues a check to make payment. Foundation managers submit recharge unit bills with other requests for disbursements. UAF issues a check from the appropriate account to make payment. For recharge units with a UAF account, a chargeable journal is used.
C. Petty Cash None. Central fund held by the Accounting Office. No limit on single expenditure amount. Used sparingly since RF voucher payment turnaround time is short. Over $250 needs unit head approval. None. None.
D. Voucher Payments Paid through OSC. State law requires payment to be made within 30 days of the date of receipt of either the merchandise or the invoice, whichever is later. Process used for vendor payments, honoraria, consultants, and travel costs. Data is input via the SUNY network, sent overnight to OSC, and a check is issued from the State Treasury. Payment reviewed and approved by the Accounting Office. Input via RF System. RF issues check to vendor. Also used for travel reimbursements, consultants, etc. Disbursement request results in check issued from UAS bank account. Payment reviewed and approved by UAF accounting supervisor and/or controller; checks are signed by executive director or controller; two signatures required for checks over $5,000.

VI. Travel
A. Rates Standard Federal rates. Standard Federal rates, but may be exceeded under certain circumstances. No special policies, processed like other payments. Currently treated like other disbursements, paid based on actual receipts. Excess over authorized rates (State, RF, or Federal) must be verified.
B. Forms Specific forms and procedures promulgated by OSC and University. Standard forms and policies issued by RF and University in accordance with OSC policy. No special forms, processed like other payments. Standard disbursement forms used.
C. Documentation Expenses must be documented. Travel advances allowed up to $400 unless individual has been issued a travel credit card. DOB policies regarding in-state and out-of-state travel as well as airplane use within certain distances. Expenses must be documented. Advance allowed up to 80% of estimated cost unless sponsor guidelines and circumstances warrant higher advance. Out-of-state/out-of-country travel requires prior approval under certain sponsor guidelines. Travel encumbrance and approval prior to trip if advance is requested. No special documentation, processed like other payments. Disbursement form contains instructions on documentation of disbursements. Travle advances to non-students are not allowed unless costs are expected to exceed $500. Original receipts are required.

VII. Other Assets
A. Investments OSC invests State funds. Research FOundation invests sponsored funds. Investments managed by UAS general manager and UAS controller. Long-term investments managed by Sanford Bernstein, of New York City. Short-term investments managed by UAF controller. Various policies provide fund investment guidelines.
B. Fixed Assets SUNY Equipment Inventory Management System is linked to purchasing system to record all equipment purchased. Tagging of new items and annual physical inventory of all University equipment is done by the Equipment Management Office. RF Inventory Management System is linked to purchasing system to record all equipment purchased. Tagging of new items and annual physical inventory is done by the Equipment Management Office. RF requires that all requisitions over $10,000 be screened to prevent asset duplication. No provision for recording purchased equipment; however, unrecorded equipment encountered during the University's annual physical inventory cycle would be recorded at that time. Most fixed assets have been transferred to the State. Remaining UAF assets are maintained on the State Equipment Management System.