Princeton Financial Glossary - P

PO (Purchase Order)

A document requested by a department and issued by a buyer indicating the type, description, quantities and agreed-upon price for a product or service. When accepted by the seller it forms an agreement between buyer and seller.

PRINCO: (Princeton University Investment Company)

The managers of the University's endowment.

Participating Depository Financial Institution

A financial institution that can accept direct deposits and transmit or receive entries.

Payroll Deduction

An amount subtracted from an employee's gross pay to reach net pay. Payroll deductions include Social Security and Medicare withholding, federal and state income tax withholding, and elective deductions an employee chooses for health care coverage and savings plan contributions.

Payroll Period

The period of service for which an employer pays wages to its employees.

Payroll Schedule

A schedule showing the period start, end, and pay date for each monthly and biweekly payroll. Payroll schedules are updated on an annual basis.

Payroll Tax

Any tax levied by a government agency on employees' wages, tips, and other compensation.

PeopleSoft Financials (PS)

The system that supports the financial business functions of the University including procurement, payables, general ledger budget preparation, RITA and financial reporting.

PeopleSoft Project Grant Security

PeopleSoft project grant security is used to control a number of functions, both within PeopleSoft and in other financial applications such as the Information Warehouse. Individuals may be given access to a single project grant or a range of project grants.

Per Diem

A per diem is an allowance determined by the U.S. government to cover meals and incidentals while traveling for business purposes. Per diem amounts are published by the General Services Administration (Domestic) and State Department (International) and are specific to major cities.


A pledge is a promise to make or complete a gift. Pledges are sometimes, but not always, legally binding.


A statement of basic principles communicated to direct activities toward institutional goals (the "what"), including a concise statement of why the policy is important to the institution (the "why"). The scope defines who the policy applies to and under what conditions. Policies often are confused with guidelines or procedures.

Policy Coordinator for Identity Theft Prevention (the Coordinator)

The individual designated with primary responsibility for oversight of the Policy. See Section VII below.

Positive Pay

A list of checks previously authorized and issued by Princeton University and transmitted daily to the issuing bank to assure each check presented for payment is for the correct payee and amount.


The process financial institutions require for individuals who are trying to establish electronic direct deposit services.


Preference is a term used to describe a non-legally-binding request or stipulation with respect to the use or purpose of a gift. While the University is not required to follow gift preferences, it does routinely strive to do so. The database's "Donor Preferences Summary" is used to describe such requests.

Pretax Deduction

A deduction taken from gross pay that reduces taxable wages.

Primary Pool

The primary pool (081-prefix) is that portion of the University's investment portfolio that is comparable to a mutual fund and operates on a market-value basis. All gifts, reinvested income, and other funds added to the primary pool are converted to equity units ("unitized") at the time the monies are transferred to the pool.


The principal is the book value of an invested fund.

Principal Investigator (PI)

The lead scientist for a particular well-defined science (or other academic) project. In the context of federal funding from agencies such as NASA or the NSF, the PI is the person who takes direct responsibility for completion of a funded project, directing the research, and reporting directly to the funding agency.


A prize is something awarded in a non-academic contest or won by chance. The winner of a prize does nothing to earn the prize, has no obligation after winning it, and can spend or use the prize on whatever he or she wishes.


A sequential, step-by-step process (a "how to") that takes the user through all necessary actions to comply with a policy. It should include links to necessary forms and templates. Procedures should be referenced in policy documents, with the step-by-step instructions attached or hyperlinked. If a procedure is very brief and straightforward it might be included as part of a policy document.

Professional Legal Liability

Insurance coverage protecting against legal liability resulting from negligence, carelessness, or a failure to act causing bodily injury or property damage.


ChartField that defines an activity owned and managed by one or more departments, academic programs or individuals. The activity typically spans Funds, Accounts and Departments while aggregating expenses and revenues around a common purpose.


ChartField that defines a collection of detailed transactional information related to grants, non-grant sponsored research and capital projects with specific beginning and end dates.

Provost's Office

The Provost is the chief budgetary officer of the University, under the President, and is responsible for long-range planning and for the coordination of the administrative and support functions of the University with its academic purposes.


An individual that serves as a substitute, but does not possess equally delegated authority or responsibility.

Purchase Order Invoice (PO)

A document issued by the seller which identifies an amount of payment due for services or for a product.

Purchasing Buyer

A staff member in the purchasing department responsible for obtaining the highest quality goods at the lowest cost. This usually requires research, writing requests for bids, proposals or quotes, and evaluation information received.

Purchasing Workflow Level

The individual's purchasing authority level in their PeopleSoft security profile determines what dollar level they can approve and what their purchasing function is within their department's chosen workflow model.


Tel (609) 258-3080
Fax (609) 258-0442

Princeton University
Office of Finance & Treasury
701 Carnegie Center
Princeton, NJ 08540

Google Map
Princeton Shuttle


7 New South
Tel (609) 258-3080
Fax (609) 258-5040
Open Monday through Friday,
8:45 am — 5:00 pm


Customer service, cashiering,
check pick-up, financial system access


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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