General Fund (A0000) and Institutional Expense Fund (A0018)

LAST UPDATED: March 16, 2017

What You Should Know

The General Fund (A0000) and Institutional Expense Fund (A0018) hold the largest share of activity in the University’s operating budget—over 60 percent of the total. Because so much activity is recorded on these funds, and the fact that their balances do not roll over, it is especially critical to ensure that revenue and expense have been recorded correctly there well before the fiscal-year close.

If any activity inadvertently has been recorded on these general funds, but needs to move to departmentally managed gift and endowment funds, please make sure that the donor restrictions for the departmentally managed funds allow use of those funds. See the Manage Balances and Funds for Year End section for more information about compliance and stewardship considerations about those funds.

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 charged to funds other than A0000. Costs expected on the General Fund in Academic Departments include:

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Costs not expected on the General Fund in Academic Departments:

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Budget Office staff will be in contact with your department to discuss any cases where 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. To ensure that your department’s General Fund 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. See, especially, below for approved Institutional Expenses that are to be charged on Fund A0018. Some administrative departments have endowment funds and other special purpose A-Funds that should be utilized where restricted or designated in a way that allows them to relieve General Fund expenses.
    • Run your FIN010 or FIN019 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 stewardship goals and improves your organization’s General Fund performance.
  • Review cases where actual income or other revenues are recorded, 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 fund, or should have been posted as a reimbursement on an expense Account. You should also investigate any unbudgeted transfers out of the General Fund.
    • Use the FIN006 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, A0000.
    • Please contact the Budget Office 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 investigate any cases where revenue is trending under budget.
  • Review temporary staff costs. Any non-personnel, temporary staffing agency expenditures that were incurred to backfill for staff vacancies should be charged to the “backfill” Program, GU604.  If such costs haven’t already been charged directly to GU604, move them via a Prime Journal or spreadsheet journal. Use of this Program will ensure that these personnel-related costs can be counted against your staffing budget and not against your discretionary non-personnel expense budget (this only applies to Administrative Departments that have General Fund personnel expense budgets).
    • Run your FIN015 or FIN016 transaction detail reports to look for vacancy-related temporary staffing costs that have not been moved to the “backfill” program. These costs are usually on Account 6092, Temporary Staffing.
  • While your organization may have cases where it has over- or under-spent the non-personnel expense budget that you allocated for a given Program or “sub-department”, the University only assesses budget variances at the Organization level.
    • The FIN006 is the best report to review overall performance compared to your Organization’s General Fund expense budget. This report shows totals in personnel and non-personnel expense categories, compared to budget.

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 utilities. 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 simplifies the process of computing General Fund budget variances. Standard reports allow you to exclude fund A0018 when viewing your Organization’s General Fund performance.

Please run the Spendable Balance by Program (FIN008) or Department (FIN012), 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 were to have been charged to A0018 (in most cases, salaries are not treated as institutional expenses).  Whether you are moving expense to A0018 from A0000, or from A0018 to A0000, 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.

Note: The Budget Office will close out the A0018 balances by Department and Program at the end of the Fiscal Year. Please note that A0018 “spendable balances”, 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 Budget Office’s closeout process will use actual journals to 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.

A0018 Expenses to be Managed and Monitored by Central Offices

If you have more detailed questions about the costs that were budgeted on Fund A0018, please contact your analyst in the Budget Office.

Monitoring and Closing the Provostial Allocation Fund (A0019)

Cabinet Officers have assigned portions of their Provostial Allocations to specific Departments and Programs under their purview. Any unspent or overdrawn balances automatically will roll over to the next fiscal year, at the Department-A0019-Program level, as assigned.

Please run a Spendable Balance by Program (FIN008) or Department (FIN012), selecting Fund A0019. If you see assigned balances, but no expense, this may indicate that you need to move approved expenses to A0019 from other funds so that the allocations are used as planned, and other chartstrings are not over drawn.


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