• Terms & Acronyms for General Accounting

    CSU Legal Accounting & Reporting Manual, Appendix 12

    CSUMB Glossary Terms, Abbreviations & Acronyms:

    2-Way Match Purchase Order (PO)

    Requires a match between the quantity and amount on the PO and an invoice. Usually a blanket PO is used for service contracts and does not require receiving within CFS Finance.

    3-Way Match Purchase Order (PO)

    Requires a match between a PO, an invoice and a receiver. The item purchased has to be received into CFS Finance through the Receiving Department.


    The object of expenditure.

    Accounts Payable (AP)

    List of debts currently owed i.e., services, inventory, and supplies. Also used to refer to the accounting department area responsible for making payments.

    Accounts Receivable (AR)

    Accounts Receivable are amounts owed to CSUMB by an identified debtor. In many circumstances, the accounts receivable refers to the amount due from a customer (i.e. student for tuition and fees, employees for travel and salary advances, The University Corporation, and third parties) for the sale of goods or services, when the goods or services have been delivered to the customer, and payment is not received by CSUMB prior to or at the time the goods were received by the customer. In other situations, the accounts receivable results from charging fines, assessing late fees, accepting a non-sufficient funds check, etc. Each individual transaction associated with any of the above-noted items is an account receivable

    Account Receivable Aging

    A schedule that categorizes each account receivable by the number of days it is past due.


    An event that is included on the accounting records regardless of whether any cash changed hands. A fiscal recording of items pertaining to a current period which would not have appeared on the General Ledger until a future period in the normal course of payment or receipt of the items.

    Accrual Basis (Method)

    A method of reporting income when it is earned and expenses when incurred, even though they may not have been received or actually paid.


    An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to furnish a justifying analysis or explanation for one’s actions.


    A system for collecting, summarizing, analyzing and reporting, in monetary terms, information about an organization primarily for management purposes. Some requirements are established by law or directives of state and federal agencies.


    Accounting Department Notice of Accounting Transactions – SCO fund balance clearing transactions and accounting communication issued by the Chancellor’s Office. These transaction reflect against the Fund Balance Clearing (FBC) account.


    A contract duly executed and legally binding as affected by applicable rules of law. The university engages in commodity agreements and price schedule agreements.


    Persons who are not citizens of the United States. They may, however, establish residence unless precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act.


    An estimate of the amount of accounts receivable that is unlikely to be collected.


    Allocation Order – Budget transactions recorded at the SCO (TC-24) and reconciled with the campus financial records to establish or augment a governmental fund account. Include: Initial Base Budget Allocations, CPA transactions to fully expend the current year’s General Fund, Capital Outlay and Dorm Construction accounts.


    Accounts Payable – List of debts currently owed i.e. services, inventory and supplies.


    An amount allocated for expenditure.

    Approving Authority

    The authority, either by virtue of a person's appointment as department head or by redelegation to departmental representatives, to formally give permission to process a transaction. Accounting Department must have original, signed ‘CSUMB Delegation of Authority’ form on file. There is also a Delegation of Authority CFS Inquiry in CFS Finance to use as a quick reference. The inquiry page displays the name and signature of all people who are authorized to approve specified purchase categories for a given fund, department and/or project.


    Physical property that an organization owns which has monetary value.


    The examination of documents or records to determine the propriety, legality and accuracy of transactions recorded, or to be recorded, in accounts.

    Bad Debt Expense

    The administrative costs for the collection of past due accounts receivable and the writing-off of uncollectible accounts receivable.

    Blanket Order

    A purchase agreement in which the purchaser contracts with a vendor to provide item(s), and/or service(s), on an "as required" and frequent basis.


    A financial plan that estimates the costs of conducting future activities.

    Budget Adjustment

    The act of amending the budget by moving funds.

    Budget Balance Available (BBA)

    The remaining amount available after allowing for all funds disbursed or obligated to be disbursed against the budget for a particular cost center.

    Capital Asset

    A capital asset is defined as real or personal property that has a unit acquisition cost equal to or greater than $5,000 and an estimated life greater than one year. For capital assets that are acquired as a group whose individual acquisition cost is less than the $5,000 threshold, it may be appropriate to capitalize them if they are considered material collectively. Capitalization threshold should appropriately rebalance the goals of (1) ensuring that all material capital assets, collectively, are capitalized and (2) minimizing the cost of record keeping for capital assets (GASB Staff implementation Guidance 7.9.8). Capital assets must be capitalized, which means to record the property in the accounting records as assets at original/historical cost. Capital assets must also be depreciated/amortized except indefinite or inexhaustible life capital assets. Note: Demolition of buildings is not considered a capital asset. See Business and Support Services website, for more information on property.

    Cash Basis Accounting

    A major accounting method that recognizes revenues and expenses at the time physical cash is actually received or paid out. CSUMB operates on a cash basis until fiscal year-end where follow generally accepted accounting principles. This contrasts to the other major accounting method, accrual accounting, which requires income to be recognized in CSUMB’s books (FYE June 30) at the time the revenue is earned (but not necessarily received) and records expenses when liabilities are incurred (but not necessarily paid for).

    Cash Management Operations

    CMO - Department at the Chancellor’s Office responsible for oversight of systemwide cash management activities including cash planning, forecasting, transfers to/from investments, and interagency transfers.

    Chart of Accounts

    A list of accounts in the general ledger, systematically classified by title and number, in order to be compatible with the organizational structure of CSUMB (Stateside), and to allow us to generate the financial report we need.


    Common Finance System. Replaced CMS Finance on April 1, 2011.


    The Class Chartfield is used with Development funds to identify the fund type, and within some departments in CSUMB (Stateside) to specify and distinguish funding categories.


    Common Management System (previously known as PeopleSoft).


    Chancellor’s Office (State of California)


    Any tangible good.

    Cost Center

    Cost pool. A distinctly identifiable department, division, or unit within the university whose managers are responsible for all its associated costs and for ensuring adherence to its budgets but does not necessarily generate revenue directly.


    Commercial Paper – The Commercial Paper program is a short term financing vehicle used to finance DRF (Dormitory Revenue Fund) projects during the construction period to lower cost of borrowing.

    Credit – CR

    Entries on the right-hand side of the General Ledgers. A credit transaction decreases an asset account or an expense, and increases a liability, equity account, or revenue account.

    Current Year

    CY – The current fiscal year.

    Data Warehouse

    Reporting tool used to run financial reports from the Common Finance System (CFS) and accessed through the CSU Portal.

    Debit – DR

    Entries on the left-hand side of the General Ledgers. A debit transaction increases an asset account or an expense, and decreases a liability, equity account, or revenue account.


    Any dollar amount due and owing that has accrued through contract, subrogation, tort, or operation of law regardless of whether there is an outstanding judgment for that sum.


    Any individual, corporation, or business owing money to, or having a delinquent account with, any department whose obligation has not been adjudicated, satisfied by court order, set aside by court order, or discharged in bankruptcy.

    Deferred Revenue

    Income, received in advance, which is not earned income until a later fiscal period.


    The Department Chartfield represents the detailed breakdown of campus organization structures.

    Deferred Maintenance

    Postponed maintenance projects for capital assets. For example, painting buildings or repair of roads and sidewalks.


    The process of allocating the cost of property, plant, and equipment as an expense in a systematic and rational manner to those periods expected to benefit from the use of the asset.

    Direct Cost

    Those costs that can be identified specifically with a particular sponsored project or an instructional or institutional activity or with the provision of a particular good or service, and that can be directly assigned to the activity relatively easily with a high degree of accuracy.

    Direct Payment

    Payments made straight to the actual payee, without sending it through the State Controller’s Office (SCO) to pay the vendor directly (claimable funds only) or going through Procurement to set up a Purchase Requisition. Examples of direct payment vouchers are Personal Reimbursements, Petty Cash Reimbursements, Payment Requests, Travel Advances and Travel Reimbursements.




    Dormitory Revenue Fund – Proceeds from bond sales to support auxiliary enterprise activities are deposited in the DRF in accordance with the CSU Fond Act of 1947.


    A firm commitment or obligation placed against funds of a department, in the form of purchase orders or agreements, to cover a later expenditure required when goods are delivered or services are rendered.


    Expense - An account to which payment is charged.


    Financial Information Record Management System.


    FY - Pertaining to fiscal matters. The 12-month period beginning July 1 and ending the following June 30.


    The 12-month period beginning from July 1 and ending the following June 30 (crosses two calendar years).


    Fund Balance Clearing – An account in the Equity account group used to record each agency’s balance in a State (SCO) fund maintained at the CO. This account is excluded for the purpose of calculating the current Retained Earnings balance in non-governmental funds.


    Fund Attribute Key – Attribute assigned to a CFS fund to provide common and necessary information for CSU Systemwide, SCO and GAAP.


    Free On Board -The term means that the seller is required to place goods aboard the equipment of the transporting carrier with or without cost to the buyer. The F.O.B. must be qualified by a location. The stated F.O.B. location is generally where title for the goods passes from the seller to the buyer. The buyer is liable for such charges and risks after passing of title.

    Foreign Student

    A student who is a citizen of a foreign country and who pays nonresident fees.


    The source of the money you are spending.

    Fund Accounting

    A method of accounting that separates and tracks financial transactions to meet restrictions and reporting requirements imposed by funding sources.

    General Ledger

    GL - The general ledger is where financial information from all aspects of CSUMB's business is maintained. The General Ledger is the heart of the accounting system. Activity to the GL is visible on the Departmental Activity Reports.

    GAAP Ledgers

    Accounting records kept according to GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). Note that these ledgers are not kept in business unit MB000 and therefore, departments cannot view this activity on CFS Departmental Reports.

    Generally Accepted Accounting Principals

    GAAP – The basis of accounting used for preparation of financial statements. Conventions, rules, and procedures that define accepted accounting practice, including broad guidelines as well as detailed procedures. The campuses of the CSU maintain their financial records and reports on the legal basis of accounting which varies from GAAP. In order to prepare financial statements in accordance with GAAP, adjustments must be made to convert from the legal basis to the GAAP basis of accounting.


    A report of goods received in CFS but not yet paid; a CFS report generated to automatically accrue at year-end. Also known as YAOBL (Year-End Annual Obligation).


    Species of Property that is not real estate.


    Payment or award in recognition of special service or distinguished achievement for which custom or propriety forbids any fixed business price to be set. A gratuity paid for lecturing or similar service, usually not directly related to the value of service performed.


    Integrated CSU Administration Manual is the CSU information security policy. This policy provides direction and support for managing changes to CSU information assets and provides guidance for implementing emergency changes to CSU information assets.

    Interagency Financial Transaction

    IFT – Transaction notice initiated by the Cash Management Operations office to transfer cash balances between or with CSU banking institutions and SWIFT agency accounts.


    The net value of revenue received less expenditures.

    Independent Consultant

    An independent consultant is an individual or organization outside the university of proven professional and technical competence who provides primarily technical or professional advice to the university in an independent contractor relationship. The end product is usually a written or oral report, study, design, or set of recommendations. Consultants are vendors who provide professional services over which the University has neither the right to control the manner of performance nor the results of the service.

    Independent Contractor

    An independent contractor relationship is a relationship in which the university controls only the results of the service, not the manner of its performance.

    Indirect Costs

    The costs of conducting business that are incurred for common or joint objectives and therefore cannot be identified readily and specifically with particular projects (such as individual grants or contracts) or with a specific activity (such as instruction, research, public service).


    Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System, established as the core postsecondary education data collection program for NCES, is a system of surveys designed to collect data from all primary providers of postsecondary education. IPEDS is a single, comprehensive system designed to encompass all institutions and educational organizations whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education. The IPEDS system is built around a series of interrelated surveys to collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances.


    A request for payment (bill) from a vendor for specific materials or supplies furnished or services rendered to the University. Disbursement invoices are invoices that are paid through Accounts Payable such as direct payments and invoices associated with Purchase Orders (3-way match POs and 2-way match POs).


    Journal Entry – Recording of a transaction in an accounting journal. Accounting journal – book, typically to record accounting transactions as they occur.


    Labor Cost Distribution. Process of assigning chartfield values to the specific employee pay record.

    Legal Ledgers

    ACTUALS Ledgers containing period 1-12 (July-June) that includes year-end accruals. Departments can view this activity on CFS Departmental Reports.


    A debt or obligation.


    National Association of College and University Business Officers.

    Net Assets

    The net value of assets less liabilities.


    Persons who are not citizens of the United States (see residents, permanent). Noncitizens may be immigrants who have established residency and may then pay resident fees.


    Persons who is not a resident of California. Nonresidents can be from another state or country.


    Plan of Financial Adjustment – Allows agency to pay out of one appropriation and then identify costs properly belonging to other appropriations. The State Controller transfers these expenditures from the originally charged appropriation to the alternately charged appropriation upon request by the campus or CO (TC-36).


    Program code is not used on the CSUMB campus.

    Prior Year

    PY – The prior fiscal year.


    A Project/Grant Chartfield will be used to identify a discrete set of activities that occurs within a finite time period.

    Purchase Order

    Written sales contract between buyer and seller detailing the exact merchandise or services to be rendered from a single vendor. It will specify payment terms, delivery dates, item identification, quantities, shipping terms and all other obligations and conditions. Purchase orders are generally preprinted, numbered documents generated by the buyer's financial management system which shows that purchase details have been recorded and payment will be made.


    Remittance Advice – Notification to the State Treasure and State Controller of cash, checks, or electronic deposits to the State Treasury (TC-30 or TC-47).


    Cash received.

    Receiver (Packing List/Slip)

    Statement of the contents of a shipment, usually attached to the container so the quantity of merchandise may be counted by the person who opens the container.


    A repayment, commonly for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by an employee, such as for travel. Also refers to payment by agencies to the University for costs incurred under contracts.

    Residents, Permanent

    For state income tax purpose, according to the California Revenue and Tax Code, a California resident is anyone in the state for other than temporary purposes. Being in the state for more than nine months of a tax year creates a rebuttable presumption of residence. Residency also includes anyone domiciled in California, but out of the state for temporary purposes. A person's domicile is the place where he has the most permanent residence and to which he always intends to return.

    Restricted Funds

    Funds, the use of which must be made in accordance with restrictions, directions, or instructions placed on them by donors or outside agencies.


    Revenue is derived from providing sales of products or services.

    Reverted Funds

    Funds remaining in an appropriation at the end of the liquidation period that are automatically returned (reverted) to the source appropriation. Reversion of funds may occur prior to the expiration period by Public Works Board action or by legislation.


    Revenue Management Program – Term used to describe the implementation of business practices related to the transition of managing student fee revenues in the CSU Trust Fund.


    State Administrative Manual is a reference source for statewide policies, procedures, regulations and information developed by the Governor's Office and other state agencies, and is located on the web at


    State Controller’s Office (State of California)

    State (Appropriated) Funds

    Funds made available through Budget Act authorization or other special legislation. Period of Appropriation Availability: The Governor's Budget includes only those projects or project phases for which funds can be encumbered within the appropriation period. Budget Act and provisional language, Section 2.00 of the Budget Act specifies that, in general, appropriations and re-appropriations for capital outlay pursuant to that act are available for expenditure for three years (with an additional two years for liquidation, per Government Code Section 16304.1); appropriations for studies, preliminary plans, working drawings, or minor capital outlay are available for encumbrance for a single year only. However, a construction appropriation reverts to its source fund at the end of the first year of appropriation availability if DOF has not allocated the funding through fund transfer or approval to proceed to bid. A capital outlay appropriation provided through special legislation is also available for expenditure for three years (followed by a two-year liquidation period), unless otherwise specified or unless the chapter is codified making the appropriation continuous. Reference: SAM Section 6812. Re-appropriation: Legislative authorization to extend availability of existing funding for another period of time. Always check Budget Act Control Section 2 and the language of the re-appropriation item for fund limitations.

    Sensitive Equipment

    Sensitive property items are defined as highly desirable and portable items (e.g., computers, digital and video camera equipment, Personal Data Assistants, televisions, VCRs, cell phones, kindles, I-pads, all similar electronic items, etc.) It is highly recommended that departments with theft sensitive property valued less than $1,000 record the receipt of these items. The make, model, serial number, value, vendor, should be noted and recorded in departmental records and information furnished to the Department of Business and Support Services – Asset Management. Items costing between $1,000 and $4,999.99 will be bar coded and tracked by Asset Management, but will not be capitalized for accounting purposes. Any sensitive equipment that is taken home, to conferences, etc. from the workplace, requires an off campus office permit. See Business and Support Services website, for more information on property.


    Surplus Money Investment Fund – The primary investment vehicle for cash balances in State operating funds. It is managed by the State Treasurer and provides low risk, short-term earnings on funds invested.


    Systemwide Revenue Bond – New (2002) long-term debt management program designed to reduce costs overall and maximize capacity limits. Uses a broad, multi-source pledge for all bonds, including auxiliary enterprise and auxiliary organization capital projects.


    For staff, a regular or fixed payment made to an individual in recognition of added responsibility.


    State University Administrative Manual is a CSU reference source for policies procedures, regulations, and information from a variety of California statutory codes and Board of Trustees' policy provisions and administrative direction, etc.


    Amount of a commodity offered at a given price or available for meeting a demand.


    Systemwide Allocation Transfer – Supplemental budget allocation of cash from Systemwide resources to campuses; normally funded by a IFT.


    Systemwide Investment Fund Trust – Internal service fund managed by the CMO. SWIFT was established pursuant to legislative authority granted in Ed Code, §89721on July 2, 2007 for the purpose of pooling university cash and investments, providing centralized cash and investment management services, and equitably distributing earnings to the campus participants in the pool. FIRMS object code 101100, Cash – Short Term Investments (SWIFT), is used to record transactions that flow through the SWIFT portfolio. It can only be used in the State University Trust Fund (state fund 0948). During the fiscal year, transactions that are posted to revenue, reimbursement, and expense accounts will ultimately be offset by an entry in Cash – Short Term Investments (SWIFT).

    Tax Offset

    The interception of an individual’s personal California State Income Tax refund, to be applied to the outstanding debt with CSUMB.


    An individual, partnership, or corporation that sells something or charges for a service.


    Documents a liability and provides authorization to pay the debt.

    Vouchering term as used by the CSUMB Accounting Dep’t

    AP has entered an invoice into CFS. [By posting a voucher, the activity reflects in the Actuals Ledgers (expenditure recorded) and offsets an AP liability in the balance sheet. Since CSUMB pays Vendors, net 30 days, the voucher sits on the books until AP pays the invoice. Payment of the invoice clears the AP liability and decreases cash.]

    Write off

    When used as a noun, refers to an account receivable that has been removed from the accounting records. The debt has not been forgiven, and CSUMB will continue to pursue collection through tax-offset and other means. When used as a verb, is the act of removing an account receivable from the accounting records. This involves a journal entry to remove the accounts receivable from the financial system and an adjustment to the departmental accounts receivable system.

    Year End

    YE – FYE (for year ending) 06/30/XXXX.