General Ledger


Table of Contents


Introduction to General Ledger

Welcome to the online overview of the university's General Ledger (GL) system. This financial accounting system:

  • Is used by over 1,000 faculty and staff.
  • Includes over 4,000 Orgs (organizations).
  • Allows entries to over 23,000 university funds.

Daily GL Processing

The Financials system housing the GL is available for online transaction processing from about 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays, with more limited hours on weekends. User activities include:

  • Entering online journals via Journal Entry and Spreadsheet Upload.
  • Entering Deposits.
  • Entering Budget and Fund Transfers.
  • Approving workflow items.
  • Inquiring about transactions online.
  • Accessing reports in the eReports portal.

Business Units

There are three GL Business Units:

  1. UNIV, for general university transactions.
  2. OSURF, for sponsored projects administered by the Office of Sponsored Programs (13xxxx and 59xxxx fund ranges).
  3. OSUMC, for the clinical operations of the OSU Health System (Hxxxxx fund range).
The OSURF business unit allows the university to apply different business rules to OSP and non-OSP projects. The OSUMC business unit allows the Health System to close its month (accounting period) later than the general university.

Financials system Edit process

Edit processes within the Financials system ensure that GL users enter the appropriate business unit and fund combinations. In addition to checking for valid ChartFields, balanced debits/credits and open accounting periods, the edit process includes Combination Edits.

There are a variety of "combination edit rules," including:

  • Use of Health System cost centers (organizations) with the appropriate Hxxxxx funds.
  • Use of OSP project values with entries to OSURF 59xxxx funds.
  • Use of appropriate accounts with the General Fund.
  • Prevention of charges to Endowment Principal and other nonexpendable funds.

Other system edits ensure use of appropriate combinations of business unit and fund and prevent direct postings to equity and other "control accounts." Online journals will not post until all edit errors have been resolved.

Creation of Cash Offset Lines - As part of the editing process, cash journal lines are automatically created to balance transfers between funds using the Cash Account 11010. For example, an expenditure transfer to move $100 of supplies expense from Fund 160001 to Fund 160002, the debit is to expense in 160002 and the credit is to expense in 160001.The total GL stays in balance, but the Funds are each out of balance by $100. The edit process detects that these Funds are out-of-balance and adds journal lines to the entry to bring each Fund back into balance.

The cash offset lines that are automatically generated use a central Organization (Org) value (85898 for UNIV). These combinations of the central 85898 Org with the various Funds are not considered "fund exceptions," and do not appear on Fund Exception reports. See note below on central error processing.

Commitment Control (Encumbrances and Budget Checking) - Encumbrances are maintained in the Commitment Control (KK) ledger as (one-sided) balances, without an accompanying detail of debit/credit transactions. The edit process updates (in effect, "posts") encumbrance entries to the KK ledger and runs the budget checking process to track deficits on OSP sponsored projects. In some cases, the budget checking process will identify lack of appropriate funding and prevent procurement activity.

Overnight Batch Processing:

After 7 pm, the University posts GL interfaces and updates the reporting (RPT) copy of the Financials system used for flex reporting in eReports.

Posting of GL Interfaces - The Procurement and Grants modules summarize and post transactions to the GL. Payroll, SIS and other GL interfaces use custom "interface engine" programs. Combination edit rules, creation of cash offset lines, and updates to Commitment Control (described above) run on all GL interfaces. Journal lines with invalid ChartFields or combination edit errors create Suspense journals. Files that are duplicates of previous interfaces are out-of-balance or have excessive numbers of edit errors do not post to the GL.

Here is a brief summary of key GL interfaces and their timing/frequency:

Payroll - all biweekly and monthly payrolls are posted throughout the month; payroll expenditure transfers are posted daily.

Procurement (Accounts Payable) - posted daily for general university and the Office of Sponsored Programs; monthly for Health System.

Grants Modules (OSURF) - receipts, expenditures and F&A charges posted throughout month; sponsored project billings posted at end of month.

SIS (Student Billings and Receivables) - posted daily

Office of Financial Services/Endowment - posted at end of month

Development - posted at end of month

Other Billing Feeds - posted at end of month

Update of Reporting Database - After the completion of GL interface processing, a copy of the production database is made for ad-hoc (flexible) reporting. When GL users run flex reports in eReports, they will not see transactions that were posted today. The reporting database reflects all transactions posted as of yesterday's close of business (including any interfaces posted last night).

Maintenance of ChartFields, Trees, Allocations and Combo Edit Rules - The Accounting Division in the Office of the Controller coordinates with accounting staff at the Office of Sponsored Programs and Health System to maintain ChartFields, Trees, Allocations and Combination Edit Rules. The Office of Sponsored Programs sets up new Project values for sponsored programs via the Grants modules. The Health System maintains the Hxxxxx Funds, the 7xxxx range of HS-specific revenue and expense Accounts, the Trees used for HS detail reports, and the combination edit rules for Hxxxxx Funds. The Accounting Division handles all other ChartField, Tree, Allocation and Combo Edit maintenance. For additional information on maintaining your department's ChartFields, please see the Guidelines for ChartField Changes in the General Ledger Policies section of the Controller's website.

Central Error Processing (Central, OSP and Health System) - The Accounting Division monitors the GL for certain types of errors, including suspense transaction lines and fund exceptions (combinations of organization and fund that violate established fund control rules in the system). In some cases, such as Suspense, the problem is relatively straightforward (such as an invalid ChartField value). However, other "errors," such as Fund Exceptions, are more complex. Some Fund Exceptions may require a correcting entry while others may be deemed OK due to a temporary arrangement to share a Fund approved by a fiscal officer. Some Fund Exceptions may require ChartField maintenance, e.g., to allow sharing of a Fund by related organizations.

Generally, the Accounting Division works with the initiators of erroneous transactions to arrange the appropriate correcting entries. However, it is sometimes necessary for the Accounting Division to initiate correcting entries and later notify the affected departments. Please feel free to contact the Accounting Division with any questions or concerns regarding errors or correction activity.

Monthly GL Processcing

At month-end, the university cuts off GL interfaces, Interdepartmental Billings and all charges to OSURF sponsored projects on the second working day of the new month. Three additional working days are allowed for departmental correction and accrual activity. The Financials system runs processes for Allocations and automatic budget reallocations (ABRs). Electronic monthly GL reports are generated. The OSU Health System generally holds its accounting period open 3-4 additional working days to record accruals and other non-cash entries to its Hxxxxx funds. Daily GL activity for the new accounting period continues throughout the monthly closing process.

The Accounting division publishes the monthly GL closing schedule on its website and in NewsLink updates from OCIO. GL users will be notified via email of any changes in the closing schedule.

New Month Processing - GL users are able to process transactions in more than one month or accounting period. To facilitate posting of recurring entries, accrual reversals and similar items, the current period and 18 future periods are open in the GL. The Journal Date determines the accounting period of a GL entry. During the first five working days of the new month, GL users need to override the default (calendar) date to enter journals into the prior accounting period.

Interface and IDB Cut-off (2nd Working Day) - The university has established the close of business on the second working day as the cut-off for all prior-month interfaces, OSP sponsored program activity and interdepartmental billings.

On the third working day, the Accounting Division prohibits the creation or posting of IDBs to the prior month. For example, if a user accesses the Journal Entry - General panels on the fourth working day in September and types 8/31/2010 in the Journal Date, a message will inform the user that IDBs are no longer allowed in the prior period. The IDB check-box on the Journal entry header panel will also be grayed out, preventing its use.

If the user in our example posts this entry to August as a JRNL (general journal, not IDB) the journal will enter into workflow for approval. Similarly, if a user tries to post a previously entered and saved IDB journal after the deadline, the IDB check-box will automatically be unchecked. If the user proceeds with posting, the journal will enter into workflow as a JRNL, not an IDB.

Employee Benefit Allocations (2nd Working Day) - On the evening of the second working day, after the processing of GL interfaces, the employee benefits allocation process runs for the UNIV and OSUMC business units. The benefit allocation runs after the HR payroll confirm for OSURF.

OSP (Office of Sponsored Programs) Sponsored Project Billings (3rd Working Day) - On the 3rd Working Day, OSP reviews current-month charges to OSURF including the employee benefit allocations. When the review is complete, OSP runs the sponsored project billings process, generating revenue and receivable entries for their monthly project activity.

Departmental Cut-off (5th Working Day) - During the three working days after the interface cut-off, entries to the prior accounting period are limited to non-Deposit, non-IDB entries. A small number of Other Bank Activity entries (e.g., to post an end-of-month wire transfer) also occur during this period. Departments may post entries until 7pm on the fifth working day, at which time the Financials system is unavailable to users and begins the overnight batch processing.

Allocations and Automatic Budget Reallocations (ABRs) - On the evening of the fifth working day, the university runs a series of allocations for interest income, overhead expense, federal work-study wages and other miscellaneous reclassifications.

Each category of allocation is known as an "allocation group." For example, overhead is an allocation group. Within each group, there are one or more "allocation steps." Each allocation step creates a journal entry with a unique Journal ID.

To ensure that the allocations calculate properly, the allocation groups are arranged in a specific order. The automated job-processing system, Autosys, posts the results of each allocation group to the GL before proceeding to the next allocation group. After the allocations, the university runs and posts a series of custom ABRs (automatic budget reallocations) to the 01400x and 049000 ABR funds to cover current month expenditures for college work-study, fee authorizations, and other centrally funded items.

After all allocations and ABRs are posted to the GL, the Ledgers for a Unit panels are updated to prevent any further entries to the accounting period for UNIV and OSURF. Approximately 3-4 working days after the general university close, the OSU Health System manually closes the accounting period for OSUMC.

Report Generation and Distribution

At the conclusion of the allocation and ABR processes, generation of the standard monthly and user-requested monthly GL reports begins. Once the runs are completed, the report output goes to eReports for loading into the portal.

The standard and user-requested monthly reports in eReports are available in PDF (adobe acrobat) format. The GLU004OS-91 (Revenue and Expense Transaction Detail), GLU006OS-91 (Balance Sheet Transaction Detail) and GLU007OS-90 (ChartField Combination Revenue and Expense - Budget vs. Actual) reports also are available in a .csx format that can be imported into Excel. The .csx (Excel) output is only available in the current fiscal year. Prior months' reports will remain in eReports indefinitely (the university is still working on plans for electronic archiving of old GL reports).

Annual GL Processing

The year-end closing process consists of two June closings, the posting of audit adjustments and a final "re-closing" of June to reflect the audit adjustments in the final year-end balances. Special accounting periods are used to carry balances forward into the new fiscal year.

First June Closing - The fiscal year closing process begins with an initial June "cash" close, which is identical to the regular monthly closing process. After this initial closing, which includes a full set of monthly GL reports, Accounting re-opens June for additional correction and accrual entries by departments.

Second June Closing - Approximately 10 working days after the initial June closing, Accounting runs a second "rollover" closing for June that includes a re-run of the allocations/ABRs, generation of second-close June reports, and the carryforward of balance sheet, PBA (Present Budget Allocations), and GFSA (General Funds Spending Authority) balances into the new fiscal year.

Special-Purpose Accounting Periods - To close out the fiscal year, the Accounting Division uses a few special-purpose accounting periods:

  • Period 998 is for year-end audit adjustments.
  • Period 999 is used to post close-outs of current-year revenues and expenditure balances.
  • Period 0 is for posting the beginning of the year balance sheet and PBA amounts. (GFSA carryforwards post to period 1 of the new fiscal year.)

Audit Adjustments - - From late July through November, the Accounting Division and the Health System post audit adjustments to period 998. Please note that the 998 audit period is for central use only. At the conclusion of the audit, the Accounting Division re-runs the year-end closing process. This updates the period 0 (beginning of the year balance sheet) balances in the new fiscal year. The Accounting Division provides reports or similar notification of audit adjustments to affected departments.

For additional dates and deadlines associated with year-end, see the year-end reporting schedule on Accounting's website.

Links to Additional Information

To learn more about processing general ledger transactions, visit the ASSIST pages and click on the General Ledger link.

Policies and procedures for deposits and cash handling are available on the website for the Office of Financial Services.

Additional guidance on budget and fund transfers and reconciling GL reports is available at the Controller's website.

Policies and procedures related to sponsored research projects are available on the website for the Office of Sponsored Programs.

For a list of training requirements, see the information at the website for OSU Administrative Systems.

For a description of the available online courses, see the Office of the Controller Online Training website.


Revised: March 14, 2011