Princeton Financial Glossary - A

ABA Number

A domestic bank's Federal Reserve routing number.


Automated Clearing House is a method of direct depositing funds to commercial bank accounts or transferring funds electronically in a reliable and efficient method.

ACTUALS Budget Scenario

Expense and income history loaded from the general ledger to budget at the end of each fiscal year. It is used to compare actual to budget amounts in various budget analysis reports.


ChartField that defines the natural classification of revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and net assets. The term natural classification refers to the nature of the expense (e.g. salaries, supplies), revenue (e.g. tuition, grant), asset (e.g. cash, property) or liability (e.g. accounts payable, accrued liabilities).

Accountable Plan

A method of accounting that allows an employee's business expenses to be excluded from income. Three conditions must be met: there must be a business purpose for the expenses; the employee must substantiate the expenses in writing; and the employee must return to the employer amounts advanced in excess of the substantiated expenses.

Accounting ChartField String

See ChartField.

Accounts Payable (AP) Journal Voucher

A collection of unpaid invoices, prepaid invoices, or adjustments used to generate the AP journal entries. These journal entries are posted to the general ledger to summarize Princeton University expenses. Each voucher has a unique identifier, a Voucher_id, that aids in tracking it through our financial systems.


The recognition of assets, expenses, liabilities or revenues after the dollar amount has been determined but before the final transaction has occurred.


ChartField used in conjunction with Project.  For sponsored projects it is used to track the year of the award. For Capital, it is used to track the phase of construction.

Actual Ledger

The part of the general ledger used to process and summarize expenses and revenues against project grants. Budget transactions (account codes 105-109) are recorded in the budget ledger. All other income, transfer, and expense account codes are recorded in the actual ledger.


A payment made directly to an individual or organization prior to the actual activity for which the payment is made.

Advance Earned Income Credit (AEIC)

Payments of earned income credit during the year to employees who expect to be eligible for the credit. Employers make the payments out of federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes withheld from the employees' wages.

After-Tax Deduction

A deduction from an employee's pay that does not reduce the employee's taxable wages and is taken after all applicable taxes and other deductions have been withheld (e.g., union dues, garnishments, charitable contributions).


A citizen of a country other than the United States or one of its territories or possessions; foreign nationals are not considered residents of the United States for tax purposese. Also called non-resident aliens.

Allowable expense

A necessary, reasonable, and appropriate expense incurred for the primary benefit of University business and therefore permitted to be reimbursed or directly charged based on the permission of the University or by the terms of federally or privately sponsored agreements.


To extinguish the balance of a fee, loan, or other financial obligation by periodic payments to the creditor.

Annuity-403(b) Annuity

A particular type of retirement annuity provided under section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code for retirement income of employees of educational institutions and certain tax exempt organizations.


An expense that is suitable or fitting for a particular valid business purpose.

Appropriate Documentation

Appropriate documentation includes any documents that accompanied a gift to the University such as a signed gift agreement, a letter from the donor expressing his or her intent for use of the gift, and the envelope in which the gift check was mailed (establishes the date).

Appropriate expense

An expense that is suitable or fitting for a particular valid business purpose.

Approval Level

The delegated dollar threshold for which an individual has been given approval authority for a purchasing transaction.

Approved Student Driver

A student who has passed the University’s online written test and on-the-road driving tests and whose motor vehicle record has been approved by risk management may become an approved driver of University owned or leased vehicles.


An individual responsible for confirming charges are appropriate, compliant with policies, and approved.


A purchase, whether a physical good or intangible property, that has monetary value and is accounted for in the owner's balance sheet.


An audit is an evaluation of a person, organization, system, process, project or product. Audits are performed to ascertain the validity and reliability of information, and also provide an assessment of a system's internal control.

Authorized FTE

FTE stands for full-time equivalent. A position that has been centrally approved as a charge to an eligible source of funds, usually referring to an FTE that is part of a department's general funds budget.

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

A Federal Reserve Bank or private financial institution acting as a clearinghouse for direct deposit or fund transfer transactions. Entries are received and transmitted by the ACH under the rules of the association.


Awards are bestowed in recognition of past performance and achievement, usually based on established criteria. There is no restriction on the use of an award.


Tel (609) 258-3080
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Princeton University
Office of Finance & Treasury
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Princeton, NJ 08540

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Tel (609) 258-3080
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The General Ledger is your link to updates on people, policies, and other information related to financial transactions at the University.

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