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Journal Processing

Overview

Journal Posting Schedule
Types of Actuals Journals

Methods of Journal Entry

Journals from Systems and Other Automated Interfaces
Direct Data Entry of Journals
NUPortal for Entry of Journals
Journal Upload Process for Large Multi-line Journals

Journal Rules

Internal Sales Journal Rules
Correction Journal Rules
Transfer Journal Rules
Using Accounts in Transfer Journals

Resources

Contact Information

Overview

Journals are created following the business rules and Chart of Accounts architecture for valid values to record and order financial information for management and reporting. Journals must be approved, be valid and pass budget-checking before posting into the general ledger. Journals that fail to post are monitored with corrective action taken as needed, and posted/deleted by Accounting Services.
 
Depending on the journal method, validation of the transaction coding, business rules and approvals may be applied in different ways or at different times. However, at posting, all transactions will be edited again by the system. The system edit compares values entered to values that are valid in the Chart of Accounts. At the same time, the system also compares the transaction activity to the established budget for that activity to determine if the transaction is allowable based on budget rules and spending availability.

Journal Posting Schedule

Accounting Services posts transactions at 10 AM and 4 PM each day.  After the last day of the month, transactions will be posted twice a day until the last day prior to close when they will be posted 3 times per day at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM.

Types of Actuals Journals

There are three types of actuals journals:

  • Internal Sales Journal
  • Correction Journal
  • Transfer Journal

Actuals journals are NOT for moving budget support.  Budget journals are used to move funding between unrestricted (110) and designated (171) funds only.  For movement of funding between other funds, use the transfer journal.

Refer to the Which journal type should I use? Chart for more information about the three actuals journal types.

Methods of Journal Entry

There are four basic processes that create journal transactions in NUFinancials:

  • System interfaces and other automated interfaces
  • Direct data entry
  • Portal transactions with workflow
  • Spreadsheet uploads

Journals from Systems and Other Automated Interfaces

System interfaces (SES, AIMS, HRIS) and unit-based interfaces (recharge centers such as NUIT) are written to include a variety of system edits and validation prior to loading into the general ledger. They are transmitted on a prescribed schedule and uploaded automatically. NUFinancials edits and budget-checks the transactions before posting occurs; if any of the journal lines are in error the entire journal is not posted and is assigned an error status. Journals that fail to post are monitored with corrective action taken as needed and resubmitted for posting by Accounting Services.
 
Intra-system modules (A/P, Expenses, Grants) also generate journals to the general ledger; journals in error are recycled and must be corrected before posting.

Direct Data Entry of Journals

Direct data entry into NUFinancials is limited to Accounting Services (AS) and Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) due to the complexity of the functionality and the lack of business rules and workflow in the system to control how and what transactions are created. Specific sources are assigned to accounting staff in order to monitor direct entry activity and business processes are in place to ensure appropriate approvals before posting.

NUPortal for Entry of Journals

All other units will use the NUPortal journal functionality to create journals for the purposes of accounting corrections, charging internal sales, and transferring actual monies between chart strings (NOT for moving budget support as Budget Journals are used to move funding). The portal includes approval workflow. No paper forms for data entry will be used in NUFinancials.  For detailed instructions about how to create Journals using the NUPortal, view the Café training guides for Using the Journal Portal Hands-on.

Tip: When creating an actuals journal via the NUPortal, you must enter an Account value.  On the accounting line, click on magnifying glass under Account to find all available values.  Or, enter the "first digit" of an Account series to limit the returned values.   For example, enter "7" for non-personnel expenses, "4" for revenues, "5" for internal sales revenues.

Journal Upload Process for Large Multi-line Journals

Users will also have a tool for large multi-line journals for these same purposes: an excel spreadsheet template. Users will first register with Accounting Services to use this program.  Then, spreadsheets are submitted to Accounting Services for final approval, edit, and upload for posting. Refer to

Journal Upload Process for more information.

Balance sheet entries may only be submitted by units via the spreadsheet journal.

Journal Rules

Internal Sales Journal Rules

  • Journal must be entered within 90 days of the original sale date or service period end date.
  • Must use an RDX revenue Account (5 series) and expense Account (7 series) which most accurately reflects the nature of the transaction.
  • If correcting or adjusting, you must reference original internal sales journal. The correction journal must reverse the original transaction and a new ISJ must be created with the correct transaction.
  • ASRSP approval via workflow will be required on all journals containing sponsored funds.
  • Journal must balance.
  • To increase:
    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)
    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)
  • To decrease:
    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)
    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

Correction Journal Rules

  • Journal must be entered within 90 days of the original journal date, otherwise a justification form is required.
  • Must use either an expense account (7 series) or revenue account (4 series), but not both on the same journal.
  • Transfer Accounts (8 series) may not be used.
  • ASRSP approval will be required on all journals containing sponsored funds (6 series).
  • Journal must balance.
  • To increase:
    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)
    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)
  • To decrease:
    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)
    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

Transfer Journal Rules

  1. Must use Transfer Accounts (8 series) for both revenue and expense lines. Refer to Recommended Transfer Account Pairs chart for NUFinancials recommended codes. Refer to Using Accounts in Transfer Journals for more information.

  2. Not allowable on chart strings where the Fund ChartField is in the Grants (600) or Agency (700) series.

    • Agency funds represent external entities; actual expense and revenue account codes should be used

    • Grant funds are specifically budgeted through InfoEd; contact the Office for Sponsored Research

  3. Journal must balance, total transfer expense must equal total transfer revenue.

  4. To increase:

    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)

    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)

  5. To decrease:

    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)

    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

  6. For transfers between series 400’s funds and any other fund series, Accounting Services will add Due To/Due From accounting lines to the journal before posting to move the corresponding cash between endowment and non-endowment funds. This keeps the fund cash in balance and has no effect on expense and revenue.

Using Accounts in Transfer Journals

Transfer transactions move supporting monies between managing units when a budget transaction cannot be used. Most budget activity can be processed using a Budget Journal via the NUPortal. However, you cannot move “budget” between two different gift or endowment projects. Use the Actuals portal transfer journal for this movement of dollars. Refer to training materials and Transfer Journal Rules for details.

The transfer represents an internal transaction to the university and must be eliminated from the financial statements. To facilitate this elimination, specific pairs of transfer codes must be used to record the internal expense and revenue transactions.

Some codes in the series may be used generically and others are specialized transfer codes. In the prior financial system, codes were setup for movement between fund groups; because these fund groups have been redefined for NUFinancials, new and simplified transfer codes may be used. However, old codes were converted for data conversion purposes. See the Recommended Transfer Account Pairs chart for NUFinancials recommended codes.

Non-mandatory transfers (description NMT) are typical programmatic internal funding transactions. Mandatory transfers (description MT) are central office use only. Other special codes may be school based (eg, Feinberg School of Medicine internal transactions).

Resources

Contact Information

Questions about…

Journal Processing? Transfer transaction processing?

Contact Accounting services at 847-491-5337

Sponsored project journal approvals?

Evanston - Contact Jany Raskina, Expenditure Audit Coordinator, at y-raskina@northwestern.edu or 847-491-4697


Chicago – Contact Ma. Rosanna Sian Rolle, Senior Accounting Representative, at m-sian@northwestern.edu or 312-503-0835 or contact Cherie Liwanag, Senior Accounting Representative, at cherie-liwanag@northwestern.edu

or 312-503-1157