»Budget Checking Frequently Asked Questions

+-What is budget checking?

Budget checking is the automation of a formerly manual process. In the past, when purchase requisitions and requests for payment were received, budgets were manually checked by individuals to ensure enough funds existed to fulfill the request. Now, when an expense request is submitted, budget checking automatically verifies the availability of funds and will block an expense from being paid if sufficient funds are not available.

+-Why was this process implemented?

These changes are in direct response to requests from members of the Chapman community to make it easier for departments to manage their approved, budgeted operating funds.

+-How does the electronic verification process work?

The process begins when you fill out an online purchase requisition, or when Accounts Payable or Purchasing enters your paper request into their online systems. Budget checking looks at the annual amount budgeted, the amount of actual expenses (purchase requisitions or expense requests that have already been paid out and posted), and encumbrances (future payments expected to be paid based on outstanding balances of any Purchase Order). If, after taking into account the actual expenses and encumbrances, enough annual budget exists to fulfill the purchase requisition or request for payment in question, your request will pass. If there are insufficient funds, the request fails and the user is notified. There is no minimum request amount for which budget checking will verify availability of funding.

+-Does budget checking look at the total amount of funds available within my department?

No, budget checking only looks at the department’s total non-compensation budget when determining availability of funds. A new category number has been created (5000) to encompass all non-compensation expense lines.

+-What are non-compensation expenses?

Non-compensation expenses refer to expense object codes that are not related to the salary and benefit lines. For a comprehensive list of non-compensation object codes, run an “Object Code Listing - Numerical” report in Dashboard, selecting “XP” for Expenses, and “5090:5990” for Budget Category.

+-What if budget checking determines there are insufficient funds to submit my request?

If, during the verification process, budget checking determines your department has insufficient funds, you will be notified with a block message from the online request or Purchasing/Accounts Payable will notify you if you are submitting a paper request. If you are submitting an expense request, your request will be returned unpaid and, once funds have been identified and a budget transfer has been posted, you will need to resubmit the request to Accounts Payable for processing. You and your fiscal manager must work together to identify funding and process a budget transfer. If you are attempting to submit an online purchase requisition, your request can be suspended and completed once funding has been identified and a budget transfer has been posted (see below).

+-How do I save my online purchase requisition (PR)?

If your online purchase requisition is rejected due to lack of sufficient funds, the process can be suspended while funding is arranged. Your online purchase requisition can be suspended by replacing the dollar amounts with zeros. After doing so, a green check mark should appear indicating that the change has been accepted. Do not approve the purchase requisition again until funding has been secured and your dollar amounts have been restored. Once again, a green check mark will appear when the dollar amounts are restored, and you can resume the approval process.

If you inadvertently or mistakenly approve the purchase requisition with zero dollar amounts, an error email will be sent to you notifying you that the PR is invalid. Simply return to the PR after funding has been arranged, and re-enter the dollar amounts and resubmit.

+-How can I manage my accounts and reduce unnecessary delays?

Review your department’s budget on a regular basis (at least monthly) and before submitting any expense or purchase requests. Make sure funds are available within your department’s non-compensation expense lines. If funds are not currently available, contact your fiscal manager for assistance with securing funding and create a budget transfer to move funds.

Your budget can be viewed in Dashboard through various methods:

“Budget Comparison by Project” will show month-to-date and year-to-date spending versus budget for each object code and category. It also lists the annual budget, and compares to prior year’s spending. Note that this report does not include encumbrances, but only actual invoices/payments that have been posted.

To view encumbrances, choose the report “Budget to Actual with Encumbrances” for your department.

Both of the above reports have a subtotal section for non-compensation expenses.

To view the monthly allocation of a given object code’s annual budget, select the report “12 Month Budget Report” or “Monthly Budget to Actual w/Annual Budget”. Both reports will show the monthly allocation of the requested department/object code; the second report will show, in addition, the amount of actual expended funds already posted to each month.

If you need help running any of these reports, please call your fiscal manager for assistance.  If you need access to the Dashboard, please complete the Dashboard Access Request Form. This form and instructions for its use can be found at the Financial Reporting site.

+-When was the electronic budget checking system implemented?

On June 1, 2009, at the beginning of the new 09/10 fiscal year, in warn mode, and on July 13, 2009 in block mode. Budget checking on a non-compensation level took place on December 7, 2009.

+-We used to check on a category level, what has changed?

Instead of checking on a category level, budget checking now checks on a non-compensation expense level. In the past, if funds were available in your expense lines, but not in the object code or category with which you were attempting to utilize, a budget transfer was required to move funding to the needed area. With the switch to checking on a non-compensation level, if funds are not available in your object code or category, but are available in your overall non-compensation budget, budget checking will not block your request.

+-How does this new non-compensation checking impact month end variance issues?

Although budget checking now checks on the non-compensation level, departments will still be held accountable for significant monthly variances by object line and will need to work with their fiscal manager to align their budget with spending.

+-How do I complete a budget transfer?

If you have completed the training session for budget transfers, you may complete an electronic budget transfer. Otherwise, contact your fiscal manager to discuss transferring funds. Once you or your fiscal manager has completed the budget transfer and it has been through the necessary approvals, you or your fiscal manager will receive a confirmation email, and you can resume or resubmit the purchase requisition or expense request.

+-Who can I call with questions?

Contact your fiscal manager, who has undergone training, with questions. The fiscal managers are:

Academic Affairs, Enrollment, and Student Life - Laura Baker (x. 2101)

University Advancement & Marketing - Carol Bonner (x. 6688)

Law School - Laura Baker (x. 2101)

All others - Budget Office (x. 6910)

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