frequently asked questions
- Chart of Accounts
- Accounts Payable and Vouchers
- Budget and Inquiry
- Purchasing and Requisitions
- Reimbursement and Expense Reporting
- Grants and Contracts
Chart of Accounts
Q: Which chartfields are required?
A: All the chartfields need to be populated to process a transaction. DeptID, Fund, Fund Source, Function, and Account provide required information for every financial transaction and appropriate values must be selected. Program, Project and Property (the 3 P's) are required for certain types of transactions. Programs and Property can be completed with an unspecified value of all 0's (e.g., 00000) if they are not used. Project should only be populated with a value if utilizing for a Grant or Capital Project.
Q: What is the difference between Program and DeptID?
A: Programs are used for expense centers that previously had their own budgets but don't meet the criteria for a unique department. (for example: departments staffed with salaried budgets) Programs also enable the department to isolate budgets and associated costs for activities of a program.
A program may:
- Be common across departments (e.g. Commencement, Recruiting, Marketing, Training)
- Make use of multiple accounts (e.g. Recruiting-travel/advertising/postage)
- Have their own assigned meaning within a department (e.g. Department Designated Program 1)
Q: Can every user see every value in PeopleSoft pick lists and look up screens? Can they select any value?
A: An individual user's security access and role in the system determines the DeptID(s) that s/he sees. Security will also drive the Funds and Projects that they can see and select in the system. All values associated with the remaining chartfields will be displayed in pick lists.
Q: Which department will be my default if I am affiliated with several departments?
A: The department(s) you are permitted to enter or use is limited by your Home Department, which is assigned by Human Resources and the departments that report to your home department. In some instances, additional departmental access is given when requested by the Principal Users for your area.
Q: What Programs are defined in the PeopleSoft system?
A: Already defined Programs include:
- Named programs
- Commonly used programs like recruiting, and generic programs that are being called "department defined"
Q: How do I request a new Program?
A: If the Program does not yet exist and you want to create a new, formally named Program, it will need to be requested through the Budget Office and then you will be able to do the transfer to move dollars into a chartstring that includes the new Program.
Q: How do I search for a vendor?
A: There are two ways to search for a vendor:
Use the following query to find a list of vendors and the remit (AP) addresses
OR within the entry screen for a requisition or a voucher
- E-Procurement>>Create Requisitions>>Special Request>> Click on the Vendor Lookup hyperlink>>Use the actual vendor name or portion thereof
- Accounts Payable>>Vouchers>>Entry>>Regular Entry>> Click on the magnifying glass next to Short Vendor or Vendor ID>>use the Name 1 field
Q: What are some helpful hints in finding an existing vendor?
A: Always use capital letters while searching.
When unsure of complete vendor name, enter the known characters of the name then insert the wildcard (%) at the beginning and end of these characters (ex %DIVERS%).
Q: What is the difference between an order address and a remit to address?
A: Order addresses are displayed on the Requisition screens within Vendor Lookup. The order address is where the purchase order will be sent. Remit addresses are displayed on the Voucher screens on the Payments Tab. The remit address is where the check will be sent.
Q: What is the vendor request form used for?
A: The information entered on this form is used to set up each vendor with all necessary PeopleSoft and IRS requirements. Use this form to both request a vendor or change the address of an existing vendor.
- Please supply:
o Complete vendor name - always add the "INC", "LLC"
o Individual's middle name or middle initial
o Provide both order and remit address as they tend to be different
o Permanent home address when paying an individual for services (EX Consultants, Honorarium, Awards)
o Phone number, including area code
o Federal Tax ID # (TIN, FIN) or Social Security # (SSN)
You can find the form at: http://www.bc.edu/offices/fvp/psfinancial/forms.html
Q: What is the Employee/Student Request form used for?
A: This form is used to request an Employee/Student to be added to PeopleSoft. If the Employee /Student is currently on the BC payroll, they will be added to your drop down menu in the expense module. If a student is not on the BC payroll they can not be added to the expense module so the student will be added as a vendor.
- Please supply:
o Employee/Student middle name or initial when available
o Eagle ID is always needed
o Department contact and address information
- Please note:
o Two addresses will be available, campus and home address
o When creating a voucher for a student always choose the "pick up" option in the handling code field on the payments page
You can find the form at http://www.bc.edu/offices/fvp/psfinancial/forms.html
Q: When do inactive/seasonal vendors get deleted from the system? What is the purge process for vendors who are not active?
A: Vendors will be archived after two years.
Q: Can vendors be created on the fly in PeopleSoft? (in UBUY I could enter an "x" in the system.)
A: No, vendors cannot be created on the fly. Any vendor updates or additions must be requested by completing the Vendor Request form.
Q: How long does it take for a new vendor to be added to the system?
A: Generally, a vendor is created the same day as a request. Any request received late afternoon will be entered the next morning. If you have a rush request or any vendor related question, call the Accounts Payable office at 522-4855. Note: the more information provided about your vendor will help expedite the process.
Accounts Payable and Vouchers
Q: How do I know if my voucher has been paid?
A: The easiest way to see if a voucher has been paid is to go to the Payments Tab on the voucher screen. In the section titled Payment Options, the reference box on this screen represents the check number and the payment date is the date the check was printed.
Accounts Payable>>Vouchers>>Entry>>Regular Entry>>Find An Existing Value Tab>>Enter your Voucher ID or Vendor Name>> Select the "Payments" tab
Q: How do I make changes to a voucher I have already created and saved?
A: Bring the voucher up using the Find an Existing Value tab in voucher entry. You can make any changes to a voucher (ex: changing the vendor, address, amount, chartstring, or handling codes). Always re-budget check and save after making any changes to a voucher.
NOTE: If you made any changes to either the dollar amount or the chartstring, the voucher will be resubmitted through workflow. You can not make changes to a voucher after it has been paid.
Accounts Payable>>Vouchers>>Entry>>Regular Entry>>Find An Existing Value Tab>>Enter your Voucher ID or Vendor Name>> Make the necessary changes
Q: Why am I getting a "duplicate invoice" message?
A: Every invoice number needs to be unique. When entering an invoice, always enter the date on the invoice and the invoice number. If there is no invoice number on the invoice, which may happen when paying an individual rather than a company, use the payee's last name and date of service. (ex: Daly 10/31/03). If you need to reference the account number on the check stub, which may happen when paying a utility company; use a combination of the company account number plus the invoice date in the invoice number field.
Q: What if I am paying 10 different invoices to the same company?
A: You will need to enter 10 vouchers in PeopleSoft.
Q: When do I use the "Handling" option?
A: Handling options are located on the Payments Tab in the section called Payment Method. There are three options for handling:
- Mail Direct (MD) is the preferred method and is the default for all vendors. The check requires no additional information and can go out in the US Mail
- Mail w/Attachment (AT) should only be used when the company requires supporting documentation to correctly apply the payment. (ex: subscription form) Please attach an additional copy of the documentation for this purpose
- Pick up (PU) is used when the check requires pick up at Accounts Payable. This is the least preferred method
Q: Why is there a budget error?
A: There are only two possible reasons for a budget error during voucher entry:
- There is no money in the chartstring being used or
- There is an error in the chartstring
Q: Why hasn't my voucher been paid?
A: There are several possible answers to this question, but most likely response is due to lack of approval.
Enter your voucher ID and select the Voucher Attribute tab. This page will show you the STATUS of your voucher.
HINT: If your voucher is a "Pending" status this means you did not save the voucher after you budget checked. Re-open the voucher and hit the save button.
Accounts Payable>>Vouchers>>Entry>>Regular Entry>>Find An Existing Value >>Enter your Voucher ID>> Voucher Attribute tab
Q: How do I ensure my check is being mailed to the correct address?
A: When creating a voucher, click on the "Payments" tab and look in the section titled Payee. Choose the magnifying glass beside the field "Addr" to view a list of all remit addresses associated with this vendor. Verify this address matches the address reflected on the invoice. Select the appropriate address.
If the correct address is not available a Vendor Request should be submitted. Do not send the voucher to AP until the correct address is selected.
Q: How should invoices be sent to Accounts Payable? Fax? Campus mail?
A: Voucher paperwork still needs to be sent to Accounts Payable through campus mail using the "blue" envelopes. A new label is available to accommodate the voucher number that needs to be affixed to the invoice. Alternatively, copy the voucher screen and attach the invoice to the back.
Q: What are the check run days?
A: Check run days are:
Tuesday - Friday for Vouchers
Tuesday - Friday for Expenses and Cash Advances
Rush: A rush needs to be fully approved and hand delivered to Accounts Payable. Please make us aware that it is a rush and we will see to it that the check will be printed in the next check run.
Budget and Inquiry
Q. What are parent and child budgets, and how do I know if an account is a parent or a child?
A: Some budgets are used to fund expenses or revenues in multiple accounts; the term used to describe this type of relationship is parent-child. The purpose of the parent-child relationship is to minimize the number of budget transfers required. A parent account is where the budget is recorded, and its child accounts are where the expenses or revenues are recorded. If there is a ^ on an account description, it means the account is a parent account and its budget supports multiple accounts. Budgets are established and adjusted at the parent. Expenses charged and revenues received are recorded at one of the child accounts. The balance available at the parent level will be reduced by the amount of all expenses at the child level.
For example, the budget of account 64001 General^ may be spent by charging expenses to about 24 other accounts. An expense charged to the Account 68150 Meetings and Meals will affect the budget of Account 64001 General^.
For more information about budget accounts, refer to the Operating Budget Translation Tree available from the CHART OF ACCOUNT link on the main page of this website.
Q. My supervisor gave me an invoice to pay and says there is funding available in the line. Before I put the invoice on, I am looking at the line (68150 Meetings and Meals) but I cannot see any funding. Where did the money go?
A: Before creating an invoice for 68150 Meetings and Meals, check that the budget of Account 64001 General^ is sufficient. The account, 68150 Meetings and Meals, is the child of 64001 General^. An expense charged to the Account 68150 Meetings and Meals budget checks against the budget of Account 64001 General^.
Refer to the Budget Account and Actual Account columns on the ACR query. If the accounts are different, then there is a parent-child relationship. Look at the parent line to see the budget available.
Q: Why didn't the Budget Available amount on the ACR query increase after a budget transfer was posted?
A: The data used by the ACR queries (BC_GL_ACR_STDNT_SLRY and BC_GL_ACR_ALL_SLRY) is updated several times during the day. If it is necessary to see up-to-the-minute data, use the Budget Inquiry.
Commitment Control>>Review Budget Activities>>Budget Inquiry>>Budget Details
Q: How do I know if the transfer I submitted has been posted?
A: If the transfer required workflow, you will receive an email notification when it is posted. Use an ACR query or the Budget Inquiry to view the budget. The data used by the ACR queries (BC_GL_ACR_STDNT_SLRY and BC_GL_ACR_ALL_SLRY) is updated several times during the day. If it is necessary to see up-to-the-minute data, use the Budget Inquiry.
Commitment Control>>Review Budget Activities>>Budget Inquiry>>Budget Details
Q: I am trying to pay an expense, but it will not pass budget checking. What should I do?
A: Use the Budget Inquiry to check the budget balance for the chartstring used on the Requisition/Voucher/Expense. It is possible the budget balance has changed due to other payments or transfers of which you are unaware. If the budget available is lower than the amount needed for the expense payment then complete a budget transfer to the chartstring you are using for the expense at the account's parent level. If you do not have access to Enter Budget Transfer, then make the request to a P1 or P2a who maintains budgets for the department included in the chartstring.
Q: Who can run reports and access queries?
A: Access to queries and reports will depend on the role an individual is assigned within People Soft Security. Refer to the PeopleSoft User Roles document available from the PS FINANCIAL MODULES link on the main page of this website. If you have any questions about your role in the system, contact your department's Principal User (P1).
Q: How do I transfer funds to cover an expense?
A: If the expense has not yet occurred, enter a Budget Transfer to cover the planned expense. If the expense was already paid, request a General Ledger journal entry. Send an email message to General Accounting using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the full to/from chartstrings in the email message and make sure there is enough funding to cover the requested expense transfer.
Q: How are restricted budget transfers be handled?
A: The restrictions that were in place before the implementation of PeopleSoft Financials are still in place now. In most instances, restrictions are managed online with Budget Transfer Workflow. Instructions for budget transfer workflow are available from the home page of this website.
Q: What happens if you need to spend money on a Program that you have not anticipated and budgeted for?
A: If you want to set up a budget in a chartstring using a Program, you only need to do a transfer from an existing chartstring to a new one that includes the program.
Purchasing and Requisitions
Q: How do I know whether to create a requisition or a voucher?
A: If the item you need has a value of $5000 or more, it should be ordered through the requisition process. If the item is under $5000, the most efficient process is to charge it to a purchasing card. If this option is not available or is restricted, a voucher can be created provided you have the necessary details and the actual invoice to be paid.
Q: How do I know which address to select for a requisition?
A: Order addresses are displayed within Vendor Lookup. The order address is where the order will be sent. You should obtain the order address from the buyer or the vendor sales associate.
Q: How do I add shipping (or a second line) to my requisition BEFORE it is submitted?
A: After creating the first line of the requisition, do not select Save and Submit. Instead, select "Special Request" again and add an additional line to the requisition. Complete the screens for the second line entering "shipping" for the description and select the SAME CATEGORY as you did for the first item. CATEGORY applies to the whole order and not each line. This insures all lines of the requisition are routed to the same buyer and remain together throughout the requisition to purchase order process.
Q: Why can't I find the commodity I used to use?
A: Like the accounts (subcodes), categories have also been rolled up to an higher (more generic) level. Most categories can be found in six main sections:
- Equipment_Major (value of $5000* or greater)
- Equipment_Minor (value under $5000*)
- Equipment_Repair (non-contract)
- Maintenance_Agreements (Contracts)
There are also some other miscellaneous categories. Find the category that best matches your purchase. The category will select the buyer and account (subcode) for you. In some cases, such as sponsored funds, the account that defaults may need to be changed because your funding is being budgeted at a lower level. Changes to the account can be made as the chart of account values are entered.
Please refer to the Query BC_PO_ITM_CAT_Listing
Q: How do I know if my requisition has been approved and has gone to the vendor?
A: The STATUS of your requisition can be found under E-Procurements Manage Requisitions Page. The following is a list of the statuses you may encounter:
- Open - requires originator to save and submit the requisition
- Pending - requires approvals
- Approved - passed all of the approvals
- PO Created - PO has been created but not sent to the vendor yet
- Dispatched - PO has been sent to the vendor (or filed in the case of confirmed orders.)
Q: What if I realize I've made a mistake after I have created, saved and submitted a requisition?
A: You can make adjustments to a requisition by using the "Edit" icon in the "Manage Requisition" screen. If the requisition has been approved you should contact Purchasing to make changes to the order.
Q: Why can't I locate my requisition when using the Manage Requisition pages?
A: Check the "to" and "from" dates to make sure you are covering the time of the requisition creation. You may also need to change the name of the requester, if it was not created by you. To see the Purchase Order Number: Click the Green CYCLE > then click the ORDER link (with the line under it).
HINT: You may need to click VIEW ALL to see all of the lines on the requisition.
E-Procurement>>Manage Requisitions>>Enter the Requisition Number and click GO
Q: How much time should I allow for my requisition to be turned into a Purchase Order?
A: The time will vary depending on the requirements of the order. If a bid is not required or if the bid has already been done by Purchasing ($5000 or over) the buyer can usually process the requisition into a purchase order within the day. If the order requires research or is more complicated it may take longer. If a bid is required, but has not been done prior to the request, the buyer will be in contact with you to obtain more details.
Q: What if there are insufficient funds in the budget I selected to pay for my requisition?
A: The requisition can be "Saved for Later" if there are insufficient funds and the transaction can be re-budget checked after you transfer funds to the budget or enter the appropriate chartfield combination that is being charged the expense. When the budget check is valid, you can select "Save and Submit".
Q: How do I know if my requisition or order has been paid out?
A: You will need to review the purchase order activity to find out the voucher numbers related to your order. Within PO Activity: Click each line of the order to see what has been invoiced and matched for each line. To see the voucher numbers and amounts, click the blue invoice hyperlink at the bottom of the page. Go to the Accounts Payable section to look up the voucher payment information. With the voucher numbers you can follow the process in Accounts Payable to look up the voucher and any check numbers and check dates.
Purchasing>>Purchase Orders>> Review PO Information>>Activity Summary>>Find an Existing Value>>Enter the PO number
You can also run a query to see any recent payments made. That query is called BC_PO_RECEIVING_REVIEW_PAYMENT.
Reporting Tools>>Query>>Query Viewer>> BC_PO_RECEIVING_REVIEW_PAYMENT
Q: How do I know how much is left on my blanket order?
A: The balance of blanket orders, or any order, is available by reviewing your PO BALANCES report. This is a report that you can run by chartfields or by purchase order.
If you have never done a PO Balances report before you will need to set up a RUN CONTROL before you can actually run the report. To set up a run control select Add a New Value and name the run control "PO_BALANCES" and click Add. If you have previously added a RUN CONTROL, enter the description you had previous created (example: PO BALANCES). To run this report: Enter the required chartstring information or enter the PO number. After narrowing down your search criteria, click the RUN button which will bring you to a new screen. Here you will select the Server PSUNX and click OK. Then click on the Process Monitor Link. Periodically click the Refresh button until the top process BCPOR003 reflects Success. To view the report: Click on the link called Details. Then click the View log trace link at the bottom of the page. Lastly click the blue link for the file named bcpor003####.PDF. This will open the report as a PDF file which you can view, print or email. The report will list each line on a PO matching your criteria and the balance remaining in that line.
BC Reports>>Purchasing>>PO Balances
Q: What is the difference between a requisition number and a purchase order (PO) number?
A: A requisition number pre-encumbers funds in PeopleSoft. Vendors can not process orders based on requisition numbers. After Purchasing approves the requisition, it becomes a purchase order and an encumbrance and is sent to the vendor. The PO number is what you refer to when speaking to a vendor regarding the status of your order.
Q: Do all requisitions need to be approved?
A: Yes. Each department will decide who has initiating and approval roles. Some requisition originators may also be approvers. The second approver procedures are still required for transactions that exceed $5,000. The competitive bid limit and capital threshold will also be $5,000 for operating budgets.
Q: Can I charge a requisition purchase to multiple accounts [chartfield combinations]?
A: This feature is not available yet. To charge 2 or more Chartfields, you must create 2 or more lines on the requisition. Contact Purchasing if you need more information. We hope to have this feature available soon.
Q: Does a requisition need to designate a vendor?
A: No, a requisition does not need to designate a vendor. The Purchasing Department can select the vendor if you do not wish to enter a vendor name on the requisition. A voucher payment, however, must specify a vendor.
Q: Will BC be implementing new numbering, filing, document retention policies or recommendations?
A: Document retention policies are not changing for the University.
Q: Can I use the P-card for additional types of purchases, for example, a computer expense of $3,500?
A: Yes you can use the p-card to purchase computer hardware up to $4,999. Other restricted categories have not changed, but now, your department p-card administrator can grant access to cardholders to purchase up to $5,000 per single transaction for the acceptable types of expenses. See the Purchasing web site for more information at: http://www.bc.edu/pcard/
Reimbursement and Expense Reporting
Q: How do I reimburse non-travel expenses?
A: Through the Expense module using the appropriate business purpose. Select a non-travel expense type to create an expense report.
Q: Is mileage an expense type?
Q: Are Visa and MasterCard going to be added to the expense reimbursement payment types in PeopleSoft?
A: No, Payment Type indicates how the expense was paid for while traveling. The options are: Cash, Check or American Express. University policy states that travelers should use their corporate American Express card for business travel.
Q: Do we need to breakdown expenses for travel, ground transportation, etc. on each expense report or can we just report the total expenses for a given trip?
A: You need to provide detail for each type of travel expense that is being reimbursed and provide all receipts for any reimbursement.
Q: Do I need to complete a Travel Authorization to get a cash advance?
A: No. Use a travel advance form, which is available on the Forms page on the PeopleSoft web site.
Forms are available at http://www.bc.edu/offices/fvp/psfinancial/forms.html
Q: Will cash advances be deposited directly into an employee's bank account?
A: Not at this time.
Q: Why haven't I been reimbursed for my expense sheet?
A: There are several possible answers to this question; however it is most likely due to lack of approval.
Return to the expense sheet using "Create and Update". This screen will show you the STATUS of your expense sheet. Your expense sheet may read "Pending" or "Pending Department Approval". If you are unable to view the expense sheet in "Create and Update" try using the "View" option. This screen will also show you the STATUS of your expense sheet.
HINT: If your expense sheet is a "Pending" status this means you did not submit the expense sheet for approval after you budget checked
Employee Self Service>>Travel and Expense>>Expense Report>>Create and Update>> Find an Existing Value >>Enter the expense sheet number
Q: Can I budget check more than once in an expense sheet?
A: No, you can not! Before Budget Checking in the expense sheet make sure all of the entries are correct.
- Employee name and ID are correct
- Chartstring information is accurate
- All expenses are included
Q: Do I need to send a copy of the printed expense sheet to Accounts Payable along with my receipts?
A: Yes. The printed expense sheet contains all the details of the expense (ex: Expense Sheet number and Employee name) and should be signed by the employee being reimbursed. All original receipts should be taped to the second page of the printed Expense Sheet (Do not staple). Do not mail this report to Accounts Payable until there is a valid budget status and all approvals are complete (including departmental and fund code approvals).
Employee Self-Service >>Travel and Expense>>Expense Report>>Print>>Enter Report ID>>Select File/Print
Q: How do I apply for a cash advance?
A: Cash Advances forms are available on the PeopleSoft website. This form should be completed and fully approved before sending it to Accounts Payable.
HINT: Always provide the employee ID and the employee's full name on the cash advance form. There are several employees with the same name (ex: Michael Martin) this will insure the cash advance is issued to the correct employee and address.
Forms are available at http://www.bc.edu/offices/fvp/psfinancial/forms.html
Q: How do I note that I received a cash advance when I am porcessing my expense report?
A: It is easy to apply a cash advance to an expense report. Cash advances are not charged to your departmental budget until the expense report is created. It is very important to reconcile outstanding cash advances as soon as possible.
Create an Expense Report as you normally would. Budget Check the Expense Report to expense the entire trip to your department budget. On the bottom of the screen, click the HYPERLINK: Apply the Cash Advance(s). This will bring you to a screen which lists all of the outstanding cash advances associated with this employee. Click on the magnifying glass below "Advance ID" and select the appropriate Cash Advance ID #. Verify the amounts you want to apply. The selection of the Cash Advance will decrease the amount due to the employee.
Grants and Contracts
See http://www.bc.edu/research/osp/faqs.html for FAQ’s on Grants and Contracts