General Accounting and Analysis
What is PantherSoft Financials?
PantherSoft Financials was developed using PeopleSoft® software, a product of Oracle ® Corporation. PantherSoft Financials stores all the financial information of the University including areas such as budget, general ledger, purchasing, inventory, and reporting tools.
What is a Business Unit (PC Bus Unit)?
What is the University’s Fiscal Year & Accounting Period?
Our fiscal months begin with July (Period 1) and end with June (Period 12) instead of the usual January (1) and December (12). For example, period 7 represents the month of January.
What are Chartfields?
The University’s Chart of Accounts in PantherSoft is made up of 15 blocks of information called Chartfields. Chartfields provide a common accounting language for identifying the University’s transactions. They make up the backbone of the University’s accounting system.
A few examples of Chartfields are: Site, Activity Number, GL Account, Unit, Fund, Department.
Crosswalk of old Chartfields to new Chartfields as of August 15, 2012
What Chartfields must be entered for each financial transaction in PantherSoft Financials?
Required Chartfields combinations vary depending on the Fund Code being used. At a minimum, ALL journal entries and other financial transactions require the use of Site, Fund, Department, Activity Number (Activity Nbr), and GL Account.
It is encouraged to use the Speed types when processing journal entries. A Speed type is an index number that identifies an activity in the general ledger. It refers to a unique combination of fund, org, program, project, etc. which are collectively known as Chartfields. If Speed types are utilized, Chartfields on the journal entry related to a specific activity number will be populated automatically. For the latest list of Speed types run the following public query in Peoplesoft: SPEEDTYPE_PROMPT_QUERY.
What additional Chartfields are required for projects (i.e. Contracts & Grants (C&G) and Construction Projects)?
Transactions recorded at the Project ID level for a construction project, require additional Chartfields such us: Budget Reference, PC Business Unit (PC Bus Unit) Project ID, Activity, and Analysis Type (An Type).
If you need specific or additional information, please contact the project’s manager.
How do I know which GL Expense Account to use when recording departmental journals?
How can I tell what account a commodity code / purchasing category is going to hit on my ledger when processing a requisition?
Each commodity code and Purchasing Category is mapped to an expense account. This crosswalk is available on the query: FIU_FSSS_PO_CATEGORY_LIST
If departmental expenses are reimbursed by an outside entity, is this considered a reduction of expense or revenue to the university?
If payment is received from an outside entity for any good or service, it should always be recorded as revenue, not a reduction of expenses. The reimbursement of expenses by a university DSO (Foundation, Research Foundation, etc.) should be recorded as per the Procedures for Accounting for Funds Received from DSOs.
If you need specific or additional information, please send your inquiry to the General Accounting Team.
How are Interdepartmental Charges recorded?
The Controller’s Office is responsible for posting all inter-departmental charges in PeopleSoft either through a manual review and posting process or an automated overnight posting process thru the Smart Internal Billing tool. All interdepartmental charges move cash from one Activity number and/or Project number to another without generating an actual payment (check/ACH). Please review the official University policy related to interdepartmental charges.
What is Smart Internal Billing?
The seller or Billing Department is responsible for providing a price quote and initiate the billing process. The buyer or Receiving Department is responsible for approving the price quote and reviewing the charges being billed by the selling department.
What is a Smart Journal?
Smart Journal is a tool that creates journals to facilitate the cash transfer process for those activities that can transfer cash thru the Smart Journal process. It looks very similar to a journal entry that has been limited to only use GL accounts 757001-Transfers Out – Within University and 657001-Transfers In – Within University; and configured to check for available cash of the activity that is transferring out. Access to the tool is limited to organizational approvers (Expense Managers) and only those activity numbers in which the organizational approver has access will be allowed to process Smart Journals. It reduces data-entry errors and labor costs by eliminating the need for double entry into the units’ software and PantherSoft Financials.
For any questions regarding Smart Internal Billing or Smart Journals, please contact Financial Systems and Support Services (FSSS) Call Center at (305) 348 – 7200. For our current instructor led classes please visit the Training Registration Site.
If the cash transfer is related to projects, a Cash Transfers Form (Link to Forms and Template page – AR section) should be processed along with the adequate and sufficient supporting documentation and sent via inter-office mail or e-mail to our Cash Management Team.
Smart Journals or Cash Transfers Forms are also used when recording adjusting entries for transactions that cross fiscal years, i.e.: to record a correcting entry in October 2019 for a transaction originally recorded in May 2019.
How are adjusting journal entries processed?
All adjusting journals entries requests should be submitted via inter-office mail or email our General Accounting Team along with all supporting documentation. Please note that we might require original documents. For these adjusting journal entries that do not cross fiscal years, please use the Internal Transfer Form.
Users should be as explicit as possible in the “Justification” section as this information will appear in the header description of the journal within PantherSoft Financials.
Please note that if the internal transfer is between two different activity numbers, the signature of both departmental expense managers should be included on the Initiating Activity Number. and Benefiting Activity Number. sections of the form.
All adjusting entries submitted with an Internal Transfer Form related to Accounts Payable will be routed to the Accounts Payable Department as these adjusting entries are processed with an AP journal voucher.
Internal transfers related to travel will be routed to the Travel Department.
Some users have access to upload the adjusting journal entries with an Upload Form to PantherSoft Financials via the spreadsheet journal import process. The Spreadsheet Journal Import process is used to streamline the journal import and simplify journal data entry using Microsoft Excel. Spreadsheet Journal Import uses a front-end interface that provides you with an easy-to-follow menu for entering data, specifying defaults, and importing journals. With Spreadsheet Journal Import, you can enter foreign, base, and statistical journals, as well as adjusting journal entries. Guideline: Journal Upload Tool Manual.
Internal transfers related to credit card transactions, i.e.: vendor – JP Morgan Chase, please contact the Credit Card Solutions Team (Link to Directory page – Credit Card Solution Section).
What is considered adequate and sufficient supporting documentation?
How can I submit a request to create/change or deactivate an activity number?
For a new activity number request, change or deactivation of a current activity number, please follow the steps as prompted on the Activity Number & Department Maintenance Request E-Form Instructional Guide.
Link to the Request E-form: Activity Number & Department Maintenance Request eForm.
For further instructions, please contact Financial Systems and Support (FSSS).
Merchant Services and PCI Compliance
My department wants to accept credit cards as a form of payment. How can we establish an account?
Contact Merchant Services via email at email@example.com to request an exploratory call or schedule a meeting to discuss your department’s needs. This will assist the Merchant Services team in identifying the best solution for your department.
What are the requirements for employees?
To complete the Merchant Employee e-form. The eform is an electronic workflow that incorporates several departments (HR, University Compliance, Merchant Services) to ensure that the employee has completed the following requirements:
- Level II background check (background check and fingerprinting).
- Completion of PCI training with passing score.
- Completion of the employee attestation that includes the University’s payment card processing policy, related procedures and records your merchant role and required access.
The Merchant Services team can manage, track, monitor these employees which have a merchant related role through this process.
Who is required to complete the Merchant Employee eform process?
Can I use my work computer to process a credit card payment on behalf of a customer?
What is the risk of Non-Compliance/PCI Breach?
- Reputational Damage
- Fines (up to 500k per card brand, Visa/MasterCard/Discover/American Express)
- Legal and Investigative costs
- Cardholder notification and credit monitoring for 3 years
- Potential classification as a Level 1 Merchant
- Report on Compliance (ROC) – Minimum 50k
Who should I contact if I have any security concerns regarding cardholder data?
The PCI Compliance Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact any of the team members directly via phone (Link to our new Directory page – Merchant Services section).
Petty Cash and Participant Payments
How can the petty cash be used?
What are requirements to become a petty cash custodian?
Are two custodians allowed to manage one petty cash or participant payment fund?
No, only one custodian is allowed per fund. The custodian is fully responsible for the safeguarding and proper usage of the fund. For planned absences the current custodian must submit a transfer of custodian form to email@example.com.
How can I change custodians of a petty cash or participant payment fund?
Complete the Petty Cash Transfer of Custodianship or Participant Payment Transfer of Custodianship form and send the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org. The new custodian must have cleared a level II background check.
My research study has surpassed the original project date. Am I required to close the participant payment fund?
The participant payment fund can be extended as long as the Institutional Review Board (IRB) form has extended the project date. The IRB protocol form and the Participant Payment Extension form must be completed and sent to email@example.com. If the forms are not received on time, the fund will be requested to be close by the Controllers Office.
Travel and other Expenses Questions
When is a Travel Authorization required?
What is considered vicinity travel?
Where do I find information concerning FIU travel policies and procedures?
Are students and/or non-employees eligible for Cash Advances?
Cash Advances are only issued to FIU employees.
If the city traveled to is not listed as a location, what city should I use?
Can I create one TA for multiple travelers?
How far in advance of the travel date should I create the TA?
Will airline baggage fees be reimbursed?
If severe weather occurs, are flight changes allowable?
If a traveler uses frequent-flyer miles/reward points to purchase an airline ticket for business, can the traveler be reimbursed for the estimated cost of the flight as originally quoted?
Is an agenda required when traveling to a conference, convention, workshop or seminar?
If the conference registration fee includes meals but the traveler does not eat them, can the traveler receive reimbursement for the meals?
Immediately after a conference ends, a traveler travels to another location to attend a second conference that begins a few days later. Are the costs the traveler incurs while waiting for the second conference to begin reimbursable?
Can a traveler be reimbursed for events that contain additional fees exceeding the basic conference fee?
Is the cost for materials needed to present at a conference reimbursable?
Can foreign travel lodging costs exceed the U.S. Department of State’s per diem rates?
Are visa and immunization fees reimbursable?
Are the fees a foreign bank charges to convert U.S. currency to a foreign currency reimbursable?
Are entry and exit fees for foreign travel reimbursable?
Are tips made to hotel cleaning staff reimbursable?
If a traveler works outside normal business hours, is the traveler entitled to receive reimbursement for mileage between the university and home?
Is valet parking reimbursable?
If a traveler chooses to drive his or her vehicle instead of fly, is the traveler entitled to be reimbursed for mileage?
Can a traveler be paid the cost of gas in lieu of mileage?
Are hotel phone charges reimbursable?
Are laundry charges at a hotel reimbursable?
Is a GPS device in a rental car reimbursable?
If a traveler loses a receipt; can the traveler still receive reimbursement?
Can I use a rental company other than Avis/Budget?
For rentals other than the Avis/Budget State contract, travelers will be reimbursed at the rate of the state contract.