01.10 Definitions, Chancellor's Office Business Policies and Procedures

Purpose: To provide a description of common terms used within these policies and procedures and in the Financial Information System.

Account Code - The third element of a FOAPAL accounting string used to identify specific financial transactions. Account codes define the type of activity taking place, such as revenues, expenses, and transfers in the Operating Ledger, and assets, liabilities, and fund balances in the General Ledger. Account codes with similar characteristics can be grouped into account types.

Accounting String - A series of alpha and numeric codes used to identify and access financial data in FIS. See FOAPAL and Chart of Accounts.

Activity Code - The optional fifth element of a FOAPAL accounting string. It is used to subdivide activities in a FOAP, primarily for the purpose of tracking multiple activities or tracking cost sharing on grants and contracts within the FOAP.

Approval Queues - The approval queues route FIS documents to various individuals (approvers) for review in the approvals process. The FOAPAL elements and/or dollar amounts determine which queues are required. Once reviewed, the document is approved and sent to posting, or is disapproved.

Banner Software - Any software object used in a Banner production environment.

Business Processing Staff - Departmental staff responsible for handling numerous aspects involved with processing a transaction (e.g., compiling necessary supporting documentation for transactions, entering payments into FIS for payment, and reconciling FIS activity and documentation).

Chart of Accounts - The primary structure of FOAPAL elements used to keep track of the flow of resources into and out of the Chancellor's Office. It is used to organize, collect, and report financial data, including revenues, expenses, budget, assets, liabilities, and fund balances. The Chancellor's Office chart is identified by the letter K.

Department Approver - The person(s) designated by the Department Head with the responsibility of authorizing disbursement and journal voucher transactions up to a dollar level assigned by the Department Head. This designation is made on the Designation of Department Approvers Form and is on file with Business Processing Staff.

Designated Dollar Limit - The dollar level assigned by the Department Head which indicates the expenditure/transaction limit for a Department Approver. In other words, the Department Approver can approve transactions up to this amount which is designated by the Department Head. This dollar level is assigned on the Designation of Department Approvers Form and is on file with Business Processing Staff.

Encumbrance - A formal commitment of budgeted resources. To create an encumbrance means to set aside funds as designated for payment of future expenses; available only for the specified purpose.

Element - One of the six parts of a FIS accounting string.

ETS - Enterprise Technology Services.

Financial Information System (FIS) - A comprehensive software package for entering, adjusting, and retrieving financial data. FIS is a complete financial system, with modules devoted to accounting, purchasing, accounts payable, fixed assets, grants, and budget development. It offers administrators and departmental staff accessibility to financial information, data security, and compatability with other databases in the Chancellor's Office and elsewhere in the Oregon University System.

FIS Approver - The person(s) designated by the Department Head with the responsibility of authorizing disbursement and journal voucher transactions on-line in FIS.

Fiscal Period - A unit of time (corresponding to calendar months) into which the fiscal year is divided. Period 1 is July 1st through July 31st, and so on. An extra accrual period (called Period 14 in FIS) also exists.

Fiscal Year - The period of time used for financial reporting purposes; the Oregon University System's fiscal year extends from July 1st to June 30th of the following year.

FOAPAL - An acronym for the six chart of accounts elements used to process financial data (Fund, Organization, Account, Program, Activity, Location). Transactions in the Operation Ledger (OPAL) require fund, organization, account, and program, sometimes referred to as FOAP. Transactions in the General Ledger require only fund and account. All of the elements, with the exception of activity codes, are hierarchical and roll up from lower data entry levels to higher summary levels.

Functional Director - The Director responsible for a specific functional area within the Controller's Division. These include:

  • Director of Financial Accounting & Reporting
  • Director of Fiscal Operations
  • Director of Treasury Operations

Functional Lead - The individual authorized by the Controller to approve non-standard updates in their respective functional area. The individuals authorized by the Controller, and their respective functional areas are:

  • Payroll Operations Manager - HRIS - Payroll

Fund Accounting - A method of recording financial information that groups resources into funds based on their source and any limitations on use.

Fund Balance - The net equity, which is the difference between assets and liabilities.

Fund Code - The first FOAPAL element of an accounting string; shows ownership of cash and fund balance. A fund is a self-balancing set of accounts, with assets, liabilities, and a fund balance. A fund may be unrestricted or restricted, and may be specific to one department or shared by many departments. There are many funds, which are grouped into fund types based on similar characteristics.

General Ledger - The balance sheet; shows the financial position of a fund at a particular point in time. FIS General Ledger forms show current assets, liabilities, control accounts, and fund balances.

Index Code - A series of up to six characters that can be used to default FOAPAL elements on FIS transaction or query screens; used to improve accuracy in data entry. Elements defaulted usually include fund, organization, program, and activity codes; rarely include account codes.

Inter-Institutional Journal Vouchers (IIJV) - A journal voucher document reflecting a transaction between institutions (e.g., a transaction between the Chancellor's Office and Eastern Oregon University or between Oregon Institute of Technology and Western Oregon University).

Journal Voucher (JV) - An electronic movement of funds between funds, organizations, accounts, or programs.

Location Code - The optional sixth element of a FOAPAL string. It is used primarily to track the location of fixed assets via building number, room number, etc. Location data can also be entered in journal voucher and invoice forms, but it is not carried over to Fixed Assets forms.

Object Owner - The Chancellor's Office employee responsible for this area of processing.

Operating Ledger (OPAL) - Used to record the day-to-day financial activity. Operating ledger screens in the financial system show year-to-date revenue, expense, encumbrance, transfer, and budget activity.

Organization (Org) Code - The second element of a FOAPAL accounting string. This code identifies the responsibility or budgetary unit. It reflects a department's internal structure and the organization chart.

OUS Baseline Banner Software - represents Banner objects intended for use:

  • in all OUS Banner production instances; or
  • by Chancellor's Office staff in a systemwide capacity.


Program Code - The fourth element of a FOAPAL accounting string. This code specifies the function that a transaction is related to. Functions include instruction, research, public service, academic support, student services and activities, physical plant operations and maintenance, institutional management and support, financial aid, plant construction and improvement, and fiduciary management services.

Purchase Order - A document that specifies commodities ordered from a specific vendor, as well as the price, terms, and conditions of that order. Purchase orders are created from requisitions that have been requested by various departments, and includes accounting data that automatically creates encumbrances against departmental accounts.

Technical Lead - The technical staff in Enterprise Technology Services responsible for evaluating non-standard updates.


Last Updated: 10/20/14