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Ledger Adjustment Guide

The information provided in this guide is intended to assist a UCSC staff member in properly making adjustments to the campus’ general ledger, and in understanding the situations under which making such an adjustment is appropriate.

Most departmental ledger adjustments, commonly known as journal vouchers, are made in situations where the correction of an amount or coding of a completed financial transaction is needed. A journal voucher may also be used to process reallocations of expenses, such as recharge transactions, and to transfer or redistribute budgetary allocations. For a detailed explanation of the procedures used to process a journal voucher in the Financial Information System (FIS), refer to the UCSC FIS Training Manual.

For questions, please contact accounting@ucsc.edu.

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  • Before you start

    Important information to know:

    • There are two types of adjustments that can be made to the campus’ general ledger.
      • Financial adjustment, also known as a transfer of expense
      • Budget adjustment, also known as a transfer of funds
    • Adjustments to the campus ledger are typically made under the following circumstances:
      • Error correction
      • Redistribution of budget or expense amount
      • FOAPAL (accounting coding) change. Refer to General Ledger Structure for more information about FOAPALs.
    • Ledger adjustments are processed in the Financial Information System (FIS).
      • In the FIS, a ledger adjustment is known as a “journal voucher.”
      • You must be authorized to access the FIS in order to enter a journal voucher on-line. To obtain a user account and password to access the FIS you must complete FIS training.
      • In some departments, a paper ledger adjustment form may be used to facilitate the ledger adjustment process.

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  • Financial adjustments

    Financial adjustments are typically made under the following circumstances.

    • To correct an expense or revenue item that has been recorded to the incorrect fund, organization, account, and/or activity code.
    • To redistribute revenue or expenses (recharges) within the department or between departments.
    • To add an activity code or document reference code to a posted (recorded) transaction.
    • To record financial activity not recorded as part of other campus financial processes, such as an expense or revenue accrual, or a fiscal year-end closing entry. These types of adjustments are usually made by the Accounting Office.

    An expense adjustment must be made within 120 days from the close of the month in which the original expense posts to the ledger.

    • For example, an expense first appearing in the January ledger must be adjusted in time to appear in the May ledger.

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  • Budget adjustments

    Budget adjustments are typically made under the following circumstances:

    • To reallocate resources among budgetary pool account codes to facilitate departmental budgetary control.
    • To distribute additional funds or reduce allocated funds during the fiscal year.
    • To redistribute budgeted allocations within the department or between departments.

    There are certain situations where it is not appropriate to make a budget adjustment.

    • To fund an expense that has been recorded to an erroneous FOAPAL; make a financial ledger adjustment (transfer of expense), instead.
    • To transfer funds between different fund codes; different University funds cannot be exchanged or commingled.
    • To permanently redistribute budgeted funds; use the Financial Manager’s Workbench System (FMW) for this purpose.

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  • Financial Information System rule codes

    The proper processing of a ledger adjustment in Financial Information System (FIS) depends on the using the appropriate rule code. The four-character rule code tells FIS how to process a journal voucher in the ledger, including what approvals are required. Here are some important FIS journal voucher rule codes:

    What type of FOAPAL balance are you trying to adjust? Use this rule code The adjustment will be approved by
    Revenue or expense (non-payroll) – transfer from one FOAPAL to another (excluding Contracts & Grants funds, see XECG) XTOE Unit staff member(s) authorized in FIS to approve
    Payroll-related benefit expenses – transfer to another organization and/or fund code
    (Use the Payroll Personnel System (PPS) to transfers salary and wage expenses)
    XPRA Payroll Office (Accounting Services)
    Inventorial equipment – transfer expense to another account code (007xxx series) XEQT Plant Accounting Office (Accounting Services)
    Contract and grant expense – transfer non-payroll, non-inventorial equipment expense among Special State appropriations and Contract & Grant funds
    (For further guidance, refer to the Cost Budget Transfer Desk Manual for Extramural Funds.)
    XECG Unit staff member(s) authorized in FIS to approve
    Balance sheet FOAPAL – make an accrual or deferral adjustment, reclassify deposits, or adjust inventory or prepaid expense XJVB Financial Accounting and Reporting Office (Accounting Services)

    Here are some important budget adjustment rule codes:

    What type of fund are you trying to adjust? Use this rule code The adjustment will be approved by
    Budgeted funds (non-Contract and Grant) – transfer from one FOAPAL to another (excludes Contracts & Grants funds, see XDCG) XTOF Unit staff member(s) authorized in FIS to approve
    Contract and grant funds – transfer funds among Special State appropriations and Contract & Grant funds
    (These types of adjustments are usually made by the Accounting Office)
    XDCG Unit staff member(s) authorized in FIS to approve

    Detailed information on these and other FIS rule codes is provided in the UCSC FIS Training Manual.


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  • Ways of making ledger adjustments

    Important information to know:

    1. On-line budget or financial adjustment. The FIS User Manual contains step-by-step instructions on how to process an on-line journal voucher using the FIS.
    2. Paper financial adjustment form. The Transfer of Expense form is used to record a financial adjustment for entry into FIS, and for documenting preparer and approver signatures.
      • For rules codes used to transfer revenue and expense (XTOE, XEQT, XPRA, and XECG):
        • A debit to an expense FOAPAL increases the balance in the expense FOAPAL and a credit reduces the balance in the expense FOAPAL.
        • A debit to a revenue FOAPAL reduces the balance in the revenue FOAPAL and a credit increases the balance in the revenue FOAPAL.
      • For the XJVB (asset and liability adjustments) rule code:
        • A debit to an asset account increases the balance in the asset account and a credit reduces the balance in the asset account.
        • A credit to a liability account increases the balance in the liability account and a debit reduces the balance in the liability account.
        • Debit and credit entries to revenue and expense FOAPALS have the same effect as in the TOE rules codes above.
    3. Paper budget adjustment form. The Transfer of Funds – Santa Cruz Campus Form is used to record a budget adjustment for entry into FIS, and for documenting preparer and approver signatures.
      • For transfer of funds rules codes (XTOF and XDCG):
        • A “+” to an expense FOAPAL increases the budgeted amount in the FOAPAL, and a “-“ entry decreases the amount.
        • A “+” to a revenue FOAPAL increases the budgeted amount in the FOAPAL, and a “-“ entry decreases the amount.

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  • Intercampus ledger adjustments

    Special forms are used to record revenue, expense, and fund transfers between the Santa Cruz campus and another UC campus or Office of the President.

    • Intercampus transfers of expense. Follow these steps to process a transfer an expense between the Santa Cruz campus and another UC campus or UC Office of the President
      1. Complete a UC Intercampus Order and Charge Form.
      2. Obtain appropriate departmental approvals.
      3. Submit the form to the Financial Accounting and Reporting Office.
    • Interlocation transfers of funds. Follow the instructions provided by the Office of Planning and Budget to process a transfer of funds between the Santa Cruz campus and another UC campus or UC Office of the President.

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  • Common oversights

    Improve the efficiency of making ledger adjustments by avoiding these common oversights:

    Paper form

    • Forgetting to provide an adequate explanatory text and/or information.
    • Forgetting to provide contact information about the journal voucher preparer.
    • Forgetting to properly classify amounts on the ledger adjustment forms as debits or credits, or as plus or minus amounts.
    • Forgetting to include the correct FOAPAL information on paper ledger adjustment form.
    • Forgetting to obtain the signature of an authorized approver on paper ledger adjustment forms.

    Financial Information System On-line Entry

    • Forgetting to complete and approve journal vouchers in a timely manner.
    • Entering a transaction date for a closed period.
    • Using an organization, fund, or account code that has not yet been activated.
    • Entering signs (plus or minus) in the ‘Amount’ field.

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  • Policy references

    This policy applies to this campus business process:
    UC BFB A-47 - University Direct Costing Procedures


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  • Where to get help

    Assistance with ledger adjustment questions is available from the following campus offices:

    Rule Code Office Contact Email Phone
    XTOE Financial Information System Mary Dunlap mdunlap@ucsc.edu 459-3937
    XEQT Plant Accounting Ed Moran efmoran@ucsc.edu 459-1926
    XPRA Payroll Walt Eissmann wweissma@ucsc.edu 459-4208
    XJVB Fin Acctg and Reporting Rob Jarvis rjarvis@ucsc.edu 459-5294
    XDCG, XECG Extramural Funds Accounting Marcie Coulter mfcoulte@ucsc.edu 459-4688
    XTOF Office of Planning and Budget Alice Burke aburke@ucsc.edu 459-5500

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  • Relevent Appendices

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