Finance Glossary

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  • Accounts Payable Key Terms

    Definition:

    Please navigate to the following page.

  • ADD-COMP

    Definition:
    Additional compensation payments.
  • AP

    Definition:
    Accounts Payable.
  • AP/CAR

    Definition:

    Accounts Payable Controlled Analytical Review - system used for processing payments to vendors.

  • ARC

    Definition:

    Accounting and Reporting at Columbia, our new finance system that will go-live in July, 2012.

  • As-Is

    Definition:

    The current state of a process; how something is currently performed.

  • Budget Checking

    Definition:

    Enables you to control commitments and expenditures automatically by checking them against predefined, authorized budgets.

  • Budget Control

    Definition:

    Process in commitment control whereby transactions are approved and posted, only if they are sufficient.

  • Budget Row

    Definition:

    A valid ChartField combination in the system.

  • Business Owners

    Definition:

    Senior-level staff responsible for policy, administration, and oversight of the functional areas being addressed in FIN ERP, i.e. Budget, Finance, Human Resources, Sponsored Projects, and Sourcing and Procurement.

  • CAPS

    Definition:

    Purchasing Office backend purchase order system - interacts with FFE Purchasing Requisition Module.

  • Chart Fields

    Definition:

    The fields that store the Chart of Accounts (COA) and provide the system with the basic structure to segregate and categorize transactional and budget data.

  • Chart of Accounts

    Definition:

    A list of all General Ledger (GL) accounts used by one or several University codes. For each GL account, the chart of accounts contains the account number, account name, and the information that controls how an account functions and how a GL account is created in a University code.

  • Chart Strings

    Definition:

    The combination of ChartFields and the level at which accounting charges and credits are applied.

  • COA

    Definition:

    Chart of Accounts

  • COB

    Definition:

    Consolidated Operating Budget - found in the Data Warehouse section of My.Columbia portal - a useful budget report.

  • Commitment Control

    Definition:

    Functionality in PeopleSoft that enables us to manage expenditures actively against predefined, authorized budgets

  • Conversion

    Definition:

    The process of loading data from the existing system to the new system. The conversion process involves identifying the data that must be brought to the new system, mapping the data to PeopleSoft fields, translating old codes into PeopleSoft codes and loading the clean and compatible data into PeopleSoft.

  • Cost Transfers

    Definition:

    Ability to change an employee’s account distribution retroactively in PAC. Also refers to the retroactive transfer of expenditures from one account to another.

  • Crosswalk

    Definition:

    The translation of a legacy value to a PeopleSoft value.

  • CUBHIS

    Definition:

    Columbia University Biomedical and Health Information Services.

  • CUF

    Definition:

    Columbia University Facilities.

  • CUHR

    Definition:

    Columbia University Human Resources.

  • CUIT

    Definition:

    Columbia University Information Technology.

  • CUMC

    Definition:

    Columbia University Medical Center.

  • DA

    Definition:

    Departmental Administrator.

  • DAF

    Definition:

    Departmental Authorization Form - used to create a financial authorization profile for qualified administrators.

  • DARTS

    Definition:

    Departmental Advance Reporting and Tracking System - used for creating financial reports from FAS data.

  • Dialog Box

    Definition:

    A box that appears on screen that asks the user for input, or relays information to the user.

  • Drill Down

    Definition:

    To move from the general to the specific. By “drilling down” you can examine the data underlying any summarized form of information in your PeopleSoft system.

  • DWR

    Definition:

    (also known as DWH):  Data Warehouse - section of My.Columbia portal that houses various reporting mechanisms.

  • EM

    Definition:

    Exception Memorandum.

  • EmpID

    Definition:

    (employee ID): Unique identification code for an individual associated with the University.

  • Encumbrance

    Definition:

    A commitment to pay for goods and/or services reflected in a budget (i.e. purchase order commitment).

  • ERP

    Definition:

    Enterprise Resource Planning Systems:  A single, integrated business solution that works across an entire organization. The primary elements of the solution are multiple software applications, or modules, that provide specialized functionality within a single, integrated operating environment that makes use of data in a database that is shared among the modules. At Columbia University, the Finance business area is the focus of our ERP effort.

  • EZ-PO

    Definition:

    FFE generated Purchase Order for small dollar and UwPA transactions

  • F&A

    Definition:

    Facilities and Administration: also referred to as Indirect Cost (IC), Indirect Cost Recovery (ICR), and overhead.  F&A are actual costs incurred to conduct normal business activities, but are not readily identified with or directly changed to a specific project or program.

  • FAS

    Definition:

    Financial Accounting System - the University’s existing accounting system that will be replaced by the FIN ERP solution in July 2012.

  • FDS

    Definition:

    Financial Data Store, our new financial data warehouse.  (Previously referred to as ODS --Operational Data Store).

  • FFE

    Definition:

    Financial Front End - front end interface that brings together various action and report modules - interacts with FAS.

  • Field

    Definition:

    An area on a page that displays or requires data.

  • FIN ERP

    Definition:

    Financials Enterprise Resource Planning project.

  • FINSYS

    Definition:

    Financial Systems section of My.Columbia Portal - certain FFE modules are found there.

  • FR&O

    Definition:

    Financial Reporting & Operations

  • Functional Requirements

    Definition:

    Comprehensive descriptions of what a specified software package will do, how it is expected to perform, and its intended purpose as it relates to the specified business needs (Finance) of the University.

  • FY

    Definition:

    Fiscal Year runs from July 1st through June 30th each year.

  • GL

    Definition:

    General Ledger: The ‘Book of Record’ which holds all financial transactions in detail or summary and is used for financial reporting and financial management.

  • Go-Live

    Definition:

    The day the University starts to use ARC.

  • HRPC

    Definition:

    Human Resources Processing Center.

  • IC ICR

    Definition:
    (This term has not been defined.)
  • IDI

    Definition:

    Inter Departmental Invoice - used by CU departments who need to charge other CU departments for services rendered.

  • JAC

    Definition:

    Jobs@Columbia

  • JE

    Definition:

    Journal Entry - mechanism for transferring funds between FAS accounts.

  • Labor Accounting

    Definition:

    Manages an employee’s account profile, additional compensation, and cost transfers.

  • Leading Practice

    Definition:

    A process or practice that is considered to be highly efficient or effective and has been adopted by a large number of organizations.

  • Matching

    Definition:

    The matching process compares vouchers with purchase orders (2-way) and receiving (3-way) documents.  This ensures that you pay only for the goods and services that you order and receive.

  • Module

    Definition:

    Groupings of software programs that collectively support a specific business function.

  • NFY

    Definition:

    New Fiscal Year.

  • OFY

    Definition:

    Old Fiscal Year.

  • OMB

    Definition:

    Office of Management and Budget.

  • P-CARD

    Definition:

    University Purchasing Card.

  • PAC

    Definition:

    People@Columbia (also referred to as PeopleSoft system) – The  customized version of PeopleSoft that integrates and processes all Human Resources and Payroll transactions for Columbia University including hire/rehire, salary distribution, additional compensation and cost transfer transactions.

  • PAD

    Definition:

    Payroll Accounting Distribution - breakdown of personnel salary costs as charged across FAS accounts.

  • PAF

    Definition:

    Personnel Action Form - used to convey individual personnel data to HR and Payroll systems.

  • PAT

    Definition:

    Payroll Account Transfer form - used to accomplish payroll specific accounting entries.

  • PC

    Definition:

    Petty Cash - cash held in department for small or emergency purchases.

  • PO

    Definition:

    University Central Purchase Order.

  • Pre-encumbrance

    Definition:

    Part of the budget checking process.  It is the amount you expect to spend, but for which there is no obligation to spend and it is cleared when an encumbrance is created.

  • Project

    Definition:

    First (highest) level at which you can budget and record project activity.

  • Project Life Budget

    Definition:

    A budget that is created for the life of a project, e.g. Sponsored Projects, Capital Projects.

  • Purchasing Key Terms

    Definition:

    Please navigate to the following page.

  • Receiving

    Definition:

    A system record of goods received from purchase orders.

  • RG

    Definition:

    Regular Earnings - refers to the most commonly used payroll earnings code.

  • Role

    Definition:

    A named set of work that a user can do.  A role is associated with one or more permission lists that authorize access to particular system functions to accomplish the work implied by the role.

  • SAF

    Definition:

    Salary Action Form - used to convey labor information to payroll (i.e. which accounts salary will be charged to).

  • Sandbox

    Definition:

    A test environment that allows experimentation with system elements without affecting production data. For example, a sandbox might be used to test a new system module or module interface.

  • School/Admin Unit Liaisons

    Definition:

    Change agents for schools and admin units.  These individuals will help champion change and help their respective areas prepare for the FIN ERP solution.

  • Security Mapping

    Definition:

    The assignment of user roles and other user-specific settings to the employees who will use ARC, FDS (Financial Data Store) and PAC.  These assignments define the functions, screens, and data available to each user when working in these systems.

  • Shadow System

    Definition:

    A system used locally by a School/Admin Unit to provide a capability not available in a central system. The system was neither created by, nor supported by, Columbia University Information Technology.

  • SIC

    Definition:

    Standard Industry Code - used to identify types of payments in AP systems.

  • SIS

    Definition:

    Student Information System - student oriented system that conveys academic registration status to other CU systems.

  • SME

    Definition:

    Subject Matter Expert:  A person who is an expert in a particular business area.

  • SPA

    Definition:

    Sponsored Projects Administration (formerly Research Administration).

  • SPF

    Definition:

    Sponsored Projects Finance (formerly Restricted Funds).

  • Stakeholder

    Definition:

    An individual or School/Admin Unit that is involved in, affected by, or has a relevant interest in project activities or outcomes.

  • TBER

    Definition:

    (aka T&E):  Travel and Business Expense Report.

  • To-Be

    Definition:

    A future state of a process. Typically used in reference to a desired future state.

  • Trees

    Definition:

    A PeopleSoft graphical format that organizes ChartField data into hierarchies which can be used for security, reporting and managing organizational structure.

  • UNI

    Definition:

    University Network Identification.

  • UwPA

    Definition:

    University-wide Purchasing Agreements are those supplier relationships for products and/or services that have cost, terms and other business elements negotiated by the Purchasing Office.

  • VDC

    Definition:

    AP/CAR Vendor Creation module in FinSys.

  • VFFE

    Definition:

    The Foxpro version of FFE (old version) accessed by downloading entry point software.

  • Workflow

    Definition:

    Automatic, rule-based routing to pre-determined users based on criteria such as role, department, commodity, account and dollar amount. Workflow manages and tracks the flow of work.

  • Worklist

    Definition:

    The automated to-do list created by workflow. From the worklist, you can directly access the pages you need to perform the next action, and then return to the worklist for another item.

  • ZT (Module)

    Definition:

    Old term for what is now called the FFE Time Entry Module - used to pay casual (non-permanent) employees or make additions or deductions to weekly or bi-weekly regular employees.   Also refers to paper forms used for the same purpose.