Accounting Questions

What are the accounting periods?

The accounting periods are:

  • Period 1 is July.
  • Period 2 is August.
  • Period 3 is September.
  • Period 4 is October.
  • Period 5 is November.
  • Period 6 is December.
  • Period 7 is January.
  • Period 8 is February.
  • Period 9 is March.
  • Period 10 is April.
  • Period 11 is May.
  • Period 12 is June.
  • Period 998 is year-end adjusting entries for accounting services use only.
  • Period 000 is carry-forward totals from one year to the next.

What are the different funds?

Fund descriptions:

  • General fund (11)—Western Michigan University operating fund; expenses are mostly salaries, equipment, telecommunications, supplies; revenues are state appropriations and tuition—this is filtered to the departments through a budget.
  • Designated funds (23 and 24)—departmental self-supporting activity; funding source must be departmental activities, not general fund or grant fund supported. Fund 24's revenue is gift money transferred through the Foundation.
  • Expendable restricted (21, 25-30, 50 and 59)—restrictions are placed on the use of funding; Fund 21 represents gifts used in the administrating of scholarships/aid; Funds 25-30, 50 & 59 represent revenue obtained through grants and contracts for a specific purpose.
  • Student loan (31)—accounts for short-term student loans; revenue originates from various places and once established, acts as a revolving loan fund.
  • Annuity and life income (32)—houses irrevocable planned gifts from donors, where the income from the gifted asset to the University is delayed until after the donor's (or surviving beneficiary's) death.
  • Auxiliary activities (41–46)—maintained to account for revenue-producing, substantially self-supporting University activities that perform a service but are not themselves educational activities (ex: athletics, health center, bookstore, Miller Auditorium, physical plant, housing).
  • Agency (51 and 52)—fund held by the University on behalf of organizations associated with the University (ex: alumni accounts, student organizations).
  • Foundations (54 and 56)—accounts for donations made to the University (54 = Western Michigan University Foundation; 56 = Paper Technology Foundation).
  • Insurance and benefits (55)—houses employee retirement and insurance programs.
  • Plant (61, 63, 64 and 65)—accounts for University physical properties and related indebtedness.

May I transfer funds from 11 to 23?

Only in specific circumstances:

  • A specific expense has erroneously been charged to the wrong department at which point the expense can be moved between the two.
  • Generally fund 11 money has to be spent on fund 11 expenditures, you wouldn’t transfer to other funds for other purposes.

When may I deposit money into fund 24?

  • All gifts must go through the Western Michigan University Foundation, in-kind and cash. The foundation transfers gifts to the departments in August and February.
  • Gifts in-kind are gifts other than cash, such as goods or services.
  • The donor designates the university department.
  • Gifts to the University generally have a specific purpose and can only be used for that purpose.

What is a department (cost center)?

  • A seven digit number.
  • A number that identifies your department.
  • Is where departments post revenues and expenditures.

How do I set up a new department (cost center)?

  • Complete the Department Number Set Up form on the forms and documents page.
  • For Department Administrator, please list the individual who will be responsible for the account activity and funding.
  • Some departments receive financial reports from accounting services. The Add to Month End Report field tells us if your new department should be added to one of these reports. If so, please list the name of the report(s) you’d like it added to. If you do not receive financial reports from Accounting Services, please disregard this field.
  • Please send the completed form to accounting services. Fax: (269) 387-4297, mail stop 5207.

What is an account (object code)?

  • Is a four digit number.
  • Identifies revenue, expense, asset, liability and equity transactions.
  • Is most commonly used by individual departments for revenue and expense transactions.

What are the types of accounts?

Account descriptions:

  • 1xxx—Asset (Something the University owns that has economic value, tangible or intangible, cash, accounts receivable, or land.).
  • 2xxx—Asset (Construction in process—fund 63 only.).
  • 3xxx—Payroll expense.
  • 4xxx—Other expense.
  • 6xxx—Liability (What the University owes, accounts payable, and long-term debt.)
  • 7xxx—Liability.
  • 8xxx—Revenue.
  • 9xxx—Fund balance.

A complete list of accounts can be found in GLOW under "Accounts."

What are a debit and a credit?

A debit is a positive number and a credit is a negative number. Expenses generally have a debit balance and revenues generally have a credit balance.

What accounts should be used for equipment purchases?

Account used for equipment purchases:

  • 4452—Software—All software should be charged to this account regardless of cost.
  • 4865—Technical Initiatives—Computers and related hardware costing less than $5,000 and that are not purchased with a procurement card or through the Technology Purchases website.
  • 4997—Internal Service Equipment less than $5,000—Technology Purchases website purchases costing less than $5,000.
  • 4481—Office Supplies—Equipment costing less than $5,000.
  • 4850—Equipment equal to or more than $5,000—Equipment costing at least $5,000.
  • 8980—Miscellaneous Income—Proceeds received from the sale of equipment.

Why would I use transfer/support accounts (4995/8995)?

Transfer/support account descriptions:

  • Move or transfer money between funds and/or departments.
  • Must be used together—debit to 4995 requires credit to 8995.
  • One-sided transfer/support entry generates an error.
  • Expense remains in account where incurred.
  • Support shows as revenue in transfer/support account.
  • 4995/8995 is used to transfer funds from one department to another.

What is account 9200 (fund balance)?

Account 9200 is used only for carrying a balance from one year to the next. Please do not use 9200 when entering journal entries.