General (A0000) and Institutional Expense Fund (A0018)

The General Fund (A0000) and Institutional Expense Fund (A0018) hold the largest share of activity in the University’s operating budget. Because so much activity is recorded on these funds—and the fact that their balances do not roll over—it is especially important to ensure that revenue and expense have been recorded correctly well before the fiscal-year close process begins.

If any activity has inadvertently been recorded on these two funds, and needs to move to a departmentally managed gift or endowment fund, please make sure that the donor restrictions for those funds allow the type of expenses you intend to move to them. See the Balances and Funds for Year-End Close section for more information about compliance and stewardship considerations on gift and endowment funds. In many cases, expenses can also be moved onto designated A-funds that do not carry donor restrictions.

The type of activity, and General Fund budgeting conventions, differ according to whether the activity is in an Academic Department or Administrative Department.

Monitoring and Closing the General Fund (A0000): Academic Departments

In Academic Departments, the General Fund is the primary place to record centrally supported teaching and graduate student-related expense. Faculty research, departmental administration, and other departmentally managed activities are not charged to the General Fund. Costs expected on the General Fund in Academic Departments include:

Allowable Academic Department General Fund Expenses

Allowable Category

Key ChartField

Useful Reports

Dean of the Faculty - approved Teaching Budget activity

Account - 5093

Earnings Detail by Person; Revenue and Expense

Dean of the Faculty - approved Assistants in Instruction

Account - 5601/5202

Earnings Detail by Person; Revenue and Expense

Centrally managed fellowship expenses reviewed by the Graduate School

"GSF" Programs - GR980, etc.

Earnings Detail by Person; Revenue and Expense

Dean of the Faculty - approved Learned Society Travel expenses

Program - AM025

Ledger Detail; Revenue Expense

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (PDRF) expenses on Program GU093

Program - GU093

Earnings Detail by Person; Revenue and Expense

Approved Assistants in Research Tuition Cost Share

Program - AC390

Earnings Detail by Person; Revenue and Expense

Unallowable Academic Department General Fund Expenses

Beyond the exceptions noted above, most Academic Department expenditures do not occur on the General Fund. Examples of expenses not expected on the General Fund include:

Unallowable Category

Key ChartField

Useful Reports


Expense on person-specific Programs. Faculty research is supported on departmentally managed funds or sponsored research projects.

Programs-F*/ GA/IA/OA/VA

Spendable Balance for your department, Fund A0000

Journal expense to appropriate departmental A-, B-, or E- Funds

Most non-personnel, non-student aid expenses (other than those specifically listed above). This includes student wages, purchased goods and services, equipment, and so on.

Non-personnel Accounts

Revenue and Expense for your department, Fund A0000

Journal expense to appropriate departmental A-, B-, or E- Funds

Academic Department administrative staff, which are typically charged to the Academic Allowance, A0001, or flexible departmental endowments.

Accounts - 51XX Admin. Staff

Revenue and Expense; Earnings Detail by Person for your department, Fund A0000

Labor Accounting to move Admin. Staff and Time and Absence Management System (TAMS) to move Bi-Weekly Staff to appropriate Fund, such as A0001

Office of Planning, Budget, & Analysis staff will be in contact with your department to discuss any cases where unallowable Academic Department expenses have not been moved off the General Fund by the end of May.

Monitoring and Closing the General Fund (A0000): Administrative Departments

Expense budgets are the source of General Fund spendable balance for Administrative Departments. Although certain Administrative Departments also record revenues on the General Fund, these inflows do not affect the spendable balance for the departments that manage these revenue streams. To ensure that your department’s General Fund budget performance is reported as accurately as possible:

  • Review your General Fund activity to see if any charges should be placed on other departmentally managed funds. Some administrative departments have endowment funds and special purpose “A-Funds” that should be utilized where the restrictions or designations allow.
    • Run your “Spendable Balance” reports for Funds other than A0000 to see if you have any non-General Fund sources that can be used. This helps the University’s donor stewardship reporting and improves your organization’s General Fund performance.
  • Review cases where actual income or other revenues are recorded on the General Fund, but where no budget exists. Spendable balance on the General Fund does not include activity in revenue accounts. If no income is budgeted in that Account category, this is often a good indication that the activity was posted to the incorrect chart string, or should have been posted as a reimbursement on an expense Account. We also ask that you investigate any unbudgeted transfers out of the General Fund and discuss them with your area’s analyst in the Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis.
    • Use the “Revenue and Expense” report, with drills to transactional detail as needed, to review any unbudgeted revenue that may have been posted to your department on the General Fund.
    • Please contact the Office of Planning, Budget, & Analysis to discuss any cases of unbudgeted or incorrect revenue Account postings on the General Fund. For those Administrative Organizations, such as Housing and Dining, that budget and record actual revenue to their units, please confirm that the actual revenue postings are correct, and note to your budget analyst any cases where revenue is trending below budget.
  • While your organization may have cases where it has over- or under-spent the expense budget that you allocated for a given Program or “sub-department,” the University only assesses budget variances at the Organization level.
    • The “Revenue and Expense” report is the best report to review overall performance compared to your Organization’s General Fund expense budget. This report shows total personnel and non-personnel expense categories, compared to budget for those categories.

Monitoring and Closing the Institutional Expense Fund (A0018)

The Institutional Expense Fund, A0018, is used to record non-discretionary institutional costs, such as property taxes and central utility expenses. This facilitates easy separation of these costs from the portion of the General Fund (A0000) expense budget that is more directly under administrative organizations’ control. This also clarifies the computation of General Fund budget variances and savings, where allowed. Standard reports allow you to exclude fund A0018 when viewing your Organization’s General Fund performance.

Please run the “Spendable Balance” report, selecting Fund A0018 only, to see expense categories budgeted on this Fund in your department.

If qualifying institutional expenses have not yet been moved from A0000 to A0018; or if unapproved expenses have hit A0018 and need to move to A0000, please use standard or correction journals (for non-labor expense) to move those costs onto A0000, or another appropriate Fund. Labor Accounting must be used to adjust salaries in the rare cases where compensation costs should have been charged to A0018 (in most cases, salaries are not treated as institutional expenses). Whether you are moving non-personnel expense to A0018 from A0000, or vice versa, please complete these journals as soon as possible, so that review of General Fund budget variances can be conducted early in the fiscal-year close process.

Note: The Office of Planning, Budget, & Analysis will close out the A0018 balances by Department and Program at the end of the Fiscal Year. Please note that A0018 “spendable balances,” whether positive or negative, will remain on spendable balance reports at the fiscal-year close, to facilitate variance analysis and planning for the next fiscal year. The Office of Planning, Budget, & Analysis’s closeout processes ensure that these balances do not roll forward to the next fiscal year. The subsequent year’s spendable balance for A0018 will be based on the new, posted expense budget.

If you have more detailed questions about the costs that were budgeted on Fund A0018, please contact your area’s analyst in the Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis.