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Journal Processing

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 should contain adequate supporting information or documentation (such as system generated reports, supporting calculations, emails) for an approver to verify the appropriateness of the amount and transaction.   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

Journals post automatically by the system on the hour each day after all approvals are applied. Accounting Services may also post transactions intermittently as needed.

Types of Actuals Journals

Five (5) types of actuals journals exist for processing:

  • Correction Journal 
  • Internal Sales Journal
  • Transfer Journal
  • Agency Journal
  • Balance Sheet Journal

Actuals journals are NOT for moving budget support. 

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 central offices, primarily 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 central office staff in order to monitor direct entry activity and business processes are in place to ensure appropriate approvals before posting. Other central offices that utilize this journal type are the Office of Budget and Planning, Student Accounts, and Student Loans.  

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. 

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.

Spreadsheet Journal Process for Large Multi-Line Journals

Users also have a tool for large multi-line journals for these same purposes: an excel spreadsheet template. Users will directly import spreadsheets into NUFinancials, then edit and submit them.

Click here for the Training Guide: NU KnowledgeBase: Creating a Spreadsheet Journal

Click here for the blank Spreadsheet Journal Template: Spreadsheet Journal Template

Correction Journal

Correct a chart string or account from an existing posted journal. Not to be used for balance sheet account changes.

  1. Journal must be entered within 90 days of the original journal date, otherwise a justification form is required.  Corrections may not be made for activity occurring in prior (closed) financial years.
  2. Accounts must either be expense (7 series) or revenue (4 series), but not both in the same journal.
  3. Transfer accounts (8 series) may not be used.
  4. Reference the journal number of the original transaction being corrected.  Best practice is to also include supporting documentation as needed.
  5. Cannot be used for funds 030, 120, 130, 131, 132, 134-139, 700-799.
  6. ASRSP approval will be required on all journals containing sponsored projects (6 series).
  7. Journal must balance.
  8. To increase:
    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)
    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)
  9. To decrease:
    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)
    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

Internal Sales Journal

New sale of goods or services from one NU Unit to another NU Unit. Correct a sale of goods or services from one NU Unit to another NU Unit. (Use Agency Journal for sales with 700s Funds).

  1. Journal must be entered within 90 days of the original sale date or service period end date.
  2. Must use the RDX revenue (5 series) and expense (7 series) accounts which most accurately reflect the nature of the transaction.  Effective January 2022, an ISJ journal may contain multiple RDX account lines.
  3. If correcting or adjusting, you must reference original internal sales journal. Best practice is to reverse the original transaction and enter a new ISJ with the correct transaction. See Knowledge Base: Correcting a Posted Internal Sales Journal (ISJ)
  4. Cannot be used for funds 030, 120, 130, 131, 132, 134-139, 700-799.
  5. ASRSP approval via workflow will be required on all journals containing sponsored projects (6 series).
  6. Journal must balance.
  7. To increase:
    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)
    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)
  8. To decrease:
    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)
    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

Transfer Journal

Move an amount from one chart string to another (internal transaction within the university when a budget transaction cannot be used).  Specific pairs of transfer codes must be used to record the internal expense and revenue transactions.

Not to be used for changes in budget or with Agency or Sponsored activity chart strings.

  1. Must use Transfer Accounts (8 series).
  2. Not allowable on chart strings using funds for Grants (600s), Agency (700s) or in funds 030, 120, 130, 131, 132, 134-139.
  3. Journal must balance.
  4. The description or supporting documentation should explain the purpose of the transaction.
  5. To increase:
    • Expense, enter a positive amount (debit)
    • Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit)
  6. To decrease:
    • Expense, enter a negative amount (credit)
    • Revenue, enter a positive amount (debit)

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. 

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

Agency Journal

Agency funds represent external entities; actual expenses and revenue account codes should be used.

  1. Must use at-least one Agency fund code (700s).
  2. Must use only revenue account code (4 series) and expense account code (7 series) which most accurately reflect the nature of the transaction.
  3. ASRSP approval via workflow will be required on all journals using sponsored projects (6 series).
  4. If correcting or adjusting, you must reference original Agency journal.  See Knowledge Base: Correcting a Posted Agency (AGY) Journal
  5. Best practice is to also include supporting documentation as needed.
  6. Journal must balance.
  7. To increase:
    • Expense, enter positive amount
    • Revenue, enter negative amount
  8. To decrease:
    • Expense, enter negative amount
    • Revenue, enter positive amount

Balance Sheet Journal

Balance Sheet Journal includes lines with account codes in the 10000 and 20000 series.

  1. Must use at-least one Balance sheet account code (i.e. 1 series and/or 2 series).
  2. May only use accounts 10000-29999 and revenues (4 series) or expense (7 series).
  3. Cannot be used for funds in the 300s, 400s, 600s, or 800s.
  4. ASRSP approval via workflow will be required for all journals using sponsored projects (6 series).
  5. Journal must balance.
  6. To increase:
    • Asset and/or Expense, enter positive amount
    • Liability and/or Revenue, enter negative amount
  7. To decrease:
    • Asset and/or Expense, enter negative amount
    • Liability and/or Revenue, enter positive amount
  8. Attached supporting documentation is required.

Resources

Contact Information

Contact Information
Questions About Contact
Journal processing, transfer transaction processing Accounting Services, 847.491.5337
Sponsored project journal approvals

Evanston
Jany Raskina, Expenditure Audit Coordinator, 847.491.4697

Chicago
Rosanna Sian, Expenditure Audit Coordinator,, 312.503.0835