Financial Services

PeopleSoft Financial Information Management System Policy

The University manages the financial aspects of its operation through the use of an electronic financial information management system called PeopleSoft Financials.

PeopleSoft is a relational database, capable of storing financial history for the University and all its Business Units. PeopleSoft currently provides for the General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Purchasing, Accounts Receivable and Asset Management modules.

Policy statement

PeopleSoft generates a variety of reports to provide Business Units with information regarding their financial activity. Financial Services generates a set of reports containing the aggregated financial information for the whole of the University for the end-of-year Financial Reports.

The sections below state the business rules for the features of the PeopleSoft financial information system: Ledger and ChartFields, Fund Codes, Project/Grants, Account Codes and Classification (Class).

PeopleSoft Structure – Ledger and Chartfields

The University's ledger constitutes the complete set of accounts and the framework for recording all the financial transactions of the University. It is the prime source and repository of data used to produce a wide range of periodic financial reports, for internal decision-making within the University, and financial statements for external use – notably the Annual Financial Statements.

Consequently, it is vital that the overall reliability and integrity of the ledger (both the General Ledger and all subsidiary ledgers) is assured, and the accuracy of all transactions recorded therein is not in question. The level of integrity and accuracy required can be achieved only by undertaking an ongoing, comprehensive program of ledger maintenance. The ledger maintenance program incorporates detailed reconciliation and review procedures covering all segments of the ledger.

PeopleSoft uses one ledger for all financial transactions. This ledger contains a number of ChartFields by which transactions are recorded and identified. These ChartFields are Business Units; Fund Codes; Project Grants; Account Codes; and Classification (Class). Of these ChartFields, all but Classification (Class) are required for financial transactions to be acted upon and to be recorded accurately.

Fund Codes

Fund Codes denote the source of funding for a Project/Grant and are the first two numeric characters in the numeric sequence of the Project/Grant. The source of funds or income for a project/grant are classified in the University's financial system in the following main areas:

  • DEEWR Operating Grant (recurrent)
  • University Investment Funds
  • Research
  • Scholarships
  • General Income
  • Special Purpose Funds.

Project Grants

  • Project/Grants are linked to particular Business Units and a Project/Grant number may not be unique to a Business Unit. A Project/Grant will only be unique when it is used in combination with the Business Unit number, which is a unique numeric identifier. Project/Grants form the basis of the Chart of Accounts for a Business Unit because they are the locus of income and expenditure transactions.
  • Income and expenditure must be allocated to a Project/Grant in order to hold funds and effect payment. Transactions are recorded in Project/Grants. In some cases, one Project/Grant will suffice for all salary or administrative transactions. In other cases, individual Project/Grants are required for specific purposes or projects, such as specific research grants. Contact Financial Services for clarification on whether or not a new Project/Grant is required. If it is, then submit a request through the Project/Grant Requisition page in PeopleSoft.
  • A similar process exists for closing a Project/Grant when it is no longer required by a Business Unit. The Business Units must ensure that there will be no further expenditure from this Project/Grant, particularly salary expenditure, before requesting its closure. Any remaining funds within the Project/Grant should be transferred to another Project/Grant within the Business Unit. To close a Project/Grant, submit a request through the Project/Grant Requisition page in PeopleSoft.

Account codes and uses

  • This is a three-digit number that defines or labels the accounting nature and type of activity for a specific transaction either in the income, expenditure or balance sheet streams. For example, photocopy expenses would be identified as 621 in a financial report on expenditure. The list of valid account codes can be found in PeopleSoft.
  • Note: Account codes associated with internal services recovery are posted as Revenue within the University's internal management reports but are netted off the appropriate expenditure items for the University's external reports.
  • Faculties, Schools, Centres and administrative units that wish to have greater detail for expenditure than Account Codes can provide may choose to use Classification (Class).

Classification (Class) and Use

  • Account Codes capture data at an aggregate level which is required by Financial Services for the preparation of the end-of-year financial reports for the Auditor General. However, Business Units that wish to, may also capture data at a more specific level through the use of Classification (Class). Classification (Class) offers individual Business Units the opportunity to further refine an Account Code by providing detail specific to that particular Business Unit.
    For example, a Business Unit that needs to record more specific information regarding Chemicals than Account Code 645 will allow, may choose to use Classification (Class) for specific chemicals: 001 herbicides, 002 caustics, 003 toxins. This information can be extracted from PeopleSoft by the online inquiry function for downloading into Excel.
  • Business Units need not use Classification (Class), but may choose to do so if such detail is helpful for management purposes. The use of Classification is not available for use on transactions generated by interfacing systems such as Alesco and Maximo.
    Note: Classification (Class) is completely at the discretion of the Business Unit. The Business Unit is responsible for the administration and management of the Classification chart field. Financial Services (Data Management) will only key in numbers in the Classification (Class) section of the relevant forms if they appear there. If that section is blank, nothing will be keyed in.

Internal transaction rules

Internal Service Transactions
  • Internal Service Transactions are those that relate to the provision of a service from an area within the University. Dedicated Credit Account Codes provide for the recovery or credit side of the transaction and enable Managers of internal services to easily identify this internal revenue within their Project Grants.
  • Staff requesting a service from an internal provider should use the appropriate Expense Account Code as shown in the list. For one-off recovery transactions, or where it is desired to transfer expenditure, the relevant expense account code for the service should also be used for the credit side.

Salary transfers

  • In the circumstances where there is a need to recover or charge out salary costs either within a Business Unit or between Business Units, two account codes, one each for Academic (509) and General (529) are provided to transfer salary charges.
  • For the list that identifies the salary transfer accounts together with the explanation/rule that applies please refer document Internal Service Accounts.
  • There are specific account codes that are used by Alesco (Human Resources payroll system) for salary and related on-cost charges. Any correction/adjustment (such as an incorrect Project Grant) required for an individual staff member is to be directed through the payroll system (Human Resources) and not adjusted by PeopleSoft journal.

Journal posting system and use

The journal posting system is the method by which transactions are recorded in PeopleSoft. Journals are the fundamental activity of the system. Every financial transaction is made through the use of a journal regardless of its point of origin. In practice, a journal is an accounting transaction used to make a transfer, adjustment or an accrual accounting entry within a Project/Grant.

A journal entry indicates the two aspects of the transaction, the debit and the credit, as well as the relevant chart fields to be charged. In PeopleSoft these are made as two individual entry lines, each of which is given its own line number for future identification. The total amount to be debited must equal the total amount to be credited.

The journal header and lines have provision for a brief, meaningful explanation of the entry and relevant supporting documentation. Care should be given to enter journal descriptions that are relevant and concise. Staff should be clear as to the reason for a journal and understand the effect of the journal entry. A good description should reflect this understanding and will help when identifying a transaction on a report. In particular:

  • Enter the most relevant information first. Do not include redundant information that is otherwise provided by the ledger record, eg do not enter the Account Code into the journal entry description as that will appear elsewhere in the report. Instead, details such as names, dates and descriptions are more useful (for example "Smith, Geo Eng 2000-Melb").
  • Cross reference the other Project/Grant if transferring funds between accounts; (enter an offset account in data field).
  • When correcting a previous erroneous entry, reverse the prior entry in full and re-enter the correct entry in full. Never attempt to correct by entering the difference between the correct and incorrect entry. This will only lead to subsequent confusion for any officer trying, at a later date, to work out what took place.

Reports: types and use

The PeopleSoft application delivers a comprehensive online inquiry facility. In addition to this reporting capability, several reports are available from PeopleSoft which make use of the Crystal reporting tool. These are:

  • Summary Activity
  • Detailed Activity Budget
  • Detailed Activity Budget/Balance Sheet
  • Project Grant Transaction Activity

Financial information from PeopleSoft can be downloaded into Excel through the use of the query function.

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