Prime Journals 101

Prime Journals are the method by which you create a financial transaction in Prime Financials for a variety of purposes. These can include:

  • Allocating or contributing a spendable balance from one chartstring to another

  • Managing negative balances in a chartstring

  • Moving a posted transaction (correction)

  • Charging, paying, or allocating expenses between Princeton University chartstrings

Accounting Notes

  • A Journal Entry (Journal or JE) is the accounting method used to record financial transactions. 

  • All Journal Entries are composed of Journal Lines, which record individual detail transactions to chartstrings.

Prime Financials utilizes a double-entry (balanced) accounting system. Entries of equal and opposite amounts are made to Prime Financials for each transaction. In other words, for every debit (positive) there is an equal and offsetting credit (negative).

Anatomy of a Prime Journal Page

The following elements are displayed in the Journal Information section of a Prime Journal:



Journal ID

A unique ten-digit number, which will begin with 1 (eg. 1000123456). This element will display “NEXT” until your journal is saved, at which time the next consecutive Journal ID will automatically be assigned.


Indicates the type of Prime Journal. There are four types of Prime Journals: ASG=Assignment, COR=Cost Transfer/Correction, STD=Standard and TRF=Transfer.

Journal Date

Defaults to the current date. Typically, you want to leave the current date, but there are rare circumstances where you may change the date to another in an open accounting period.

Status (aka Journal Custom Status)

Indicates the “working” status of the journal. Is the journal still a work-in-progress or has it been saved and/or submitted for approval?


Fiscal Year/Accounting Period – Month

Justification Status

Will only appear on Sponsored Research Award COR journals.

Award ID (if Sponsored Project)

Will only appear on COR journals. Required if you are moving expenses onto (debiting) a Government Sponsored Project (Fund G0001).  

Entered By

User’s NetID

Status in GL (aka Journal Header Status)  Will appear once you select “Save and Edit” or “Save and Submit.” Indicates the GL (General Ledger) status of the journal. Does the journal have errors to resolve, is it valid and awaiting posting, or has it been posted to the GL?
Approval Status in GL (aka Journal Processing Request) Will appear once you select “Save and Edit” or “Save and Submit.” Indicates where the journal is in the workflow process. Has the journal been approved, denied, or is it pending approval?

Journal Purpose, Line Detail, Attachments, and Line Totals

Journal Purpose

Visible on the workflow approver screen, this is an overall synopsis of why the journal is being entered and should include any relevant information. Limited to 200 characters.

Line Detail

This is the “meat” of your journal, where you enter the debit and credit amounts, descriptions, and chartstrings.

  • Lines to Add: You always need at least two lines for every Prime Journal. Once you enter the first two lines, click on “Lines to add” if you need to add another journal line for data entry. If you know you need more than one additional line, you can change the default from “1.” You can add as many lines as needed to your Prime Journal. 

  • Attachments: Use attachments if you would like to add relevant support documentation to your Prime Journal. Attachments should be documentation that supports every line of your journal.

  • Line Totals: This is a running total of debits (positive amounts) and credits (negative amounts). A Prime Journal cannot be saved until total debits = total credits.

Save Options

As you are working on your Prime Journal or once it is completed, choose the appropriate save option. Your choice depends on if the journal is still a work-in-progress, or if it’s ready to be reviewed by an approver. 

For more details on the Prime Journal page, including Status Definitions and Save Options, please see “Anatomy of a Prime Journal: A Closer Look.