Princeton Financial Glossary - B

Backup Withholding

Income tax withholding required from non-employee compensation when the payee fails to furnish the payer with a taxpayer identification number (TIN) or the payer is notified by the IRS that the payees TIN is incorrect.

Base Period

As it relates to unemployment compensation, it generally consists of either 52 weeks or four of the last five quarters, immediately preceding the claimants benefit year.

Base Period Wages

Wages earned during the base period. The amount is generally one of several criteria used in determining a claimant's eligibility for unemployment compensation.

Benefits Rate

The percentage rate applied against salaries to recover the cost of employee benefits. The rate is charged to all non-Princeton student salaries (account codes 201-207 plus 210), and is set each year. The rate charged to academic departments is higher than the administrative rate because it includes the cost of faculty sabbatical leaves.


A bequest is a gift to the University payable at the donor's death under a will, trust, or other legal instrument.

Best Practices

Methods and techniques that consistently show results superior to those achieved by other means. Best practices and their results serve as benchmarks.

Betterment and improvement

A modification or addition to capital equipment that costs more than $5,000, increases the equipment’s capabilities or productivity, and extends its useful life by more than one year.

Bid Requirement

The minimum number of bids (3) required for all purchasing transactions totaling $2,500 or more.


Bidding is an offer (often competitive) of setting a price one is willing to pay for something. A price offer is called a bid or quote. Three written quotations are required for all purchasing transactions totaling $2,500 or more. A fourth, "opportunity" small, disadvantaged business should be included whenever possible.

Book Value

Book value is the dollar value of a gift at the time it is received plus the dollar value at the time of addition of any subsequent gifts added to the same fund. Book value may also include reinvested income.


The total spending planned for a department or project grant for a given fiscal year. For fund 10 project grants, budget appropriations are made on account codes 105-109.

Budget Commitment Module (BCM)

A process by which PeopleSoft verifies that all submitted accounting transactions pass Princeton's budgetary controls.

Budget Ledger

The part of the general ledger used to record budget transactions, all of which are posted on account codes 105-109. All other transactions are posted in the actual ledger.

Business Meal

Business meals are meals with a clearly substantiated business purpose and are directly associated with the active conduct of University business. At a business meal the business discussion is the primary purpose of the meal.

Business Purpose

A purpose that confirms a particular good, service, or activity is necessary to fulfill the mission of the University and is of primary benefit to the University rather than the individual; a purpose that can be well defended under public scrutiny or audit.

Business Travel Expense Report

A form used to request payment of a University expense to an employee or student, incurred on University business.

Business Unit

An organization or a subset of an organization that is independent with regard to one or more operational or accounting functions. A business unit can also be an independent unit that needs to segregate data for reporting purposes. There is only one business unit at Princeton University, PRINU.

Business travel

Travel for the purpose of conducting business for the sole benefit of the University.


An individual outside of the purchasing department at Princeton who can purchase products or services via the PeopleSoft financial system or with a Departmental Credit Card.


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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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