Division of Administration and FinanceUniversity of CincinnatiDivision of Administration and Finance

Division of Administration and Finance

Glossary of Terms Used in Financial Policies

 Auxiliaries—Entities  that exist to furnish a service to students, faculty, or staff and charge a fee directly related to, although not necessarily equal to, the cost of the service; managed as essentially self-supporting.

Bonus—A sum of money given or granted to an employee in addition to the employee’s usual compensation in order to recognize specific accomplishments.

Central Funds—Undesignated current funds that are also defined as non-proprietary funds in the budget carry-forward policy.  These funds are centrally managed because they are generally subject to conditions over which little or no control can be exerted, such as the weather, health care inflations, and litigation.  Examples of such funds are those for utilities, benefits and legal counsel.

Commitments—Budgeted amounts that the accounting system commits to a particular purpose when a purchase order, term contract release, funds reservation or payroll authorization is processed.

Current Restricted Funds—A subgroup of Current Funds that is expendable only for those purposes, programs, or activities specified by the donors and organizations providing the funds through gifts, grants or contracts.

Current Unrestricted Funds—A subgroup of Current Funds that is expendable but not limited to specific purposes, programs or activities.

Current Unrestricted Undesignated Funds—A subgroup of Current Unrestricted Funds, they are also known as General Funds and Operating Funds.  They are free of internal designation by the Board of Trustees to specific purposes, programs or activities.

Defined Reward Program—Documented reward program developed, communicated, and implemented in consultation with Human Resources (HR) and the appropriate vice president, senior vice president or the president. Defined Reward Programs consist of rewards that range from spontaneous to those that are more formal in nature.

Designated Funds—A subgroup of Current Unrestricted Funds, these funds are designated, or set aside, by the Board of Trustees for specific purposes, programs or activities.

de minimis—Latin for "of minimum importance" or "trifling." Essentially it refers to something or a difference that is so little, small, minuscule, or tiny that the law does not refer to it and will not consider it. In a million dollar deal, a $10 mistake is de minimis.

Discretionary Fund—fund (usually only found in gifts and endowments) set up by the original source/donor who stipulated that it is to be discretionary or used broadly.

Employee - Unless otherwise indicated, applies to faculty and staff.

Employee Recruiting Expenses—Costs incurred when hiring new employees.  These may include advertising, search firms, travel, meals, and lodging, among other expenses.

Entertainment— The arrangement of activities, events, or meals for the promotion or advancement of the university’s mission. A primary example of entertainment expenses are those expenses incurred as part of fundraising

Endowment Funds—A separate fund group for which the donor specifies that the principal (or corpus) is to be held in perpetuity.  The principal is unexpendable, but is invested to produce earnings (such as interest, dividends and gains) that are generally available, in whole or in part, for current use.

Expendable Endowment Funds—The income earned from investing the principal of endowment funds that the donor specifies as being available to spend for restricted or unrestricted purposes, programs or activities.

Expense Budget—The amount established for each object of expense for the entire fiscal year.

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Federal per diem—The daily allowance for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses set by the General Services Administration (GSA) for Federal travelers who travel on official business.

Fiscal Year—The annual financial accounting period, which is July 1 through June 30.

Functional Area—A part of the account coding structure that classifies transactions according to the nature of the activity being carried out (e.g., Instruction, Research).  A function may cross funds and organizational boundaries.

Fund—An accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts consisting of assets, liabilities and fund balance.  Separate funds are used to ensure the observance of limitations and restrictions placed on the use of their resources.

Fund Accounting—Method of segregating resources into categories according to restrictions placed on their use.

Fund Group—The aggregate, or grouping, of similar types of funds.  In UC Flex, every fund is assigned to a fund group.

General Funds—See Current Unrestricted Undesignated Funds.

Gift Funds—Part of the Current Restricted Fund Group having gifts from donors as its primary resource.

Grant and Contract Funds—Part of the Current Restricted Fund Group.  Grant and contract revenue is generated from agreements with sponsoring agencies, such as federal, state, and local governments, corporations and foundations, which generally include the performance of specific tasks.

Honorarium—A lump-sum payment in return for a particular service performed for a single event that would not normally be performed by an employee.  Honoraria are generally given to speakers, guest lecturers, and performers at a special event or as a supplement to an academic course.

Independent Reviewer - University employee(s) within each department responsible for sampling and testing Purchasing Card transactions to verify that they are appropriate and supported by adequate documentation.

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LPLife Event—Changes in an individual’s life that may affect benefits, such as the following:

  • Birth, adoption or placement of child for adoption
  • Death of spouse or family member
  • Marriage
  • Divorce, legal separation, annulment

Loan Funds—A separate fund group used to account for loans made to students, faculty and staff.

Local Funds—A name referring to expendable funds managed at the department, school or college level.  Locally managed funds include Designated and Restricted funds.

Non-Cash Award—An award such as merchandise given to an employee to recognize significant outstanding performance. Depending on the value, non-cash awards may be considered taxable income.

Organizational Unit—As used in UC Flex HR, each unit in the organizational hierarchy is composed of jobs that are identified as positions with employees as holders of the positions.  The highest organizational unit is the University and then each vice presidential unit becomes its own organizational unit within the hierarchy.

P-CardSee Purchasing Card.

Per diem—See Federal per diem.

Plant Funds—A separate fund group used to account for long-lived assets such as land, buildings, and capital equipment; renewals and replacements of those assets; and debt service (principal and interest payments) incurred to purchase those assets.

Purchasing Card—A credit card issued to an employee of the University of Cincinnati for the purpose of making authorized purchases on the university’s behalf. The university will issue payment for charges with the Purchasing Card.

Pyramiding charges—The use of split transactions in an attempt to break purchases into smaller dollar amounts and thereby circumvent established limits.

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Quasi-Endowment Funds—Funds designated by the Board of Trustees to be treated as endowments (See Endowment Funds).  Many times these funds originate as gifts that will not be used in the immediate future.  Quasi-endowments may be removed from endowment funds only with the approval of the Board of Trustees.

Recruiting Expenses—See Employee Recruiting Expenses.

Responsible Office—An organizational unit impacted by, or responsible for interpreting, managing, and ensuring compliance with a policy.

Restricted Funds—A separate fund group used to manage resources subject to legally binding limitations on their use imposed by external donors or other sponsoring agencies. 

Reward—One-time cash or non-cash award for significant outstanding performance.

Reviewer— See Independent Reviewer.

SPA—Abbreviation for Sponsored Program Accounting.

UC Flex GL Account – A General Ledger account within the university’s integrated system for financial and human resources processes. General Ledger provides a complete balanced financial ledger for the University as a whole without a fund perspective. It is the original entry ledger for financial transactions resulting in postings to all other modules.

Undesignated Funds—See Current Unrestricted Funds and Current Unrestricted Undesignated Funds.

Unobligated Amount—Represents the current budget less commitments and expenditures.

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501 (c)(3)—Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations.  Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170. The exempt purposes are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.