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Glossary of Financial Services Terms


Your one stop resource to decoding financial language on campus.

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Financial Services Glossary
Term Definition
Account

Is a numeric code that identifies an allocation to a specific department. This numeric code is created by the Budget and Financial Reporting Services office to facilitate expenditures.

Accounting, Budget, Bursars (ABB)

The campus budget, accounting and bursars’ professional group.

All Funds Budget The total campus budget including the Core Operating Budget, residence halls, sponsored program activity, self-supported programs, auxiliary service corporations, foundations, and any other spending related to the campus such as temporary sources of support (legislative member items, University-wide programs).
Allocation The distribution of appropriated funds to campuses and departments for expenditure control.
Amount of Contract

The total financial obligation incurred by the University. In a multi-year contract, the obligation incurred over the entire set term must be considered, rather than the annual amount alone.

Appropriation The authority to spend up to the amount indicated and for the purpose stated.
Article VII The portion of the New York State Constitution which governs State finances. Article VII bills include the language/permanent statute changes necessary to support the appropriations bill.
Bid

The seller's offer to furnish material or perform services at a stated price under specific terms in response to the buyer's solicitation. A bid may be a formal document, an advertisement, a letter, or a verbal offer by the bidder.

Commodity - Commodities Material goods, supplies, products, construction items, electronic information resources or other standard articles of commerce which are the subject of any purchase or other exchange. The State Finance law requires commodity contracts to be awarded based on lowest price from a responsive and responsible offerer.
Construction Fund A Public Benefit Corporation established in 1962. The purposes of the Fund are: "... to provide academic buildings and other facilities for the State-operated institutions and contract and statutory colleges under jurisdiction of the State University, to reduce the time lag between determination of need for such facilities and actual occupancy thereof, to expedite the construction, acquisition,  reconstruction and rehabilitation or improvement of such facilities and to assure that the same are ready for the purposes intended when needed and when scheduled under the approved master plan of State University."
Contract

A new agreement, permit, memorandum of understanding or lease, or an amendment of same.

Contractor A vendor from whom the University obtains commodities, services or technology.
Core Budget (Core Operating Budget) Combination of State tax dollar and University generated income support for direct instruction, academic support and institutional support activities. This funding may also be referred to as the campus financial plan; core instructional budget; operating budget, or state purpose budget.
Departmental Allocations The campus formal budget; detailed allocations by account level, sub-object and fund.
Division of the Budget (DOB) Charged with the responsibility of advising the Governor in matters that affect the financial health of the State. The office assists in formulating the Governor’s budget proposal to the Legislature, offers policy recommendations on fiscal issues, and oversees the implementation of the final Enacted Budget. Under the State  Constitution, the Governor is also responsible for developing a revenue and expenditure plan for the State, which the Division of the Budget prepares for the Governor’s review.
Dormitory Income Fund Reimbursable (DIFR) A self-supported fund dedicated to residence hall operations and funded from room rental fees and charges.
Emergency "An urgent and unexpected requirement where health and public safety or the conservation of public resources is at risk." A failure to properly and timely plan in advance for a procurement, which then results in a situation in which normal procurement practices cannot be followed, will not constitute an "emergency."
Enacted Budget The spending plan for the State of New York, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor. It is due by April 1st of each year. The actual spending plan can be revised by DOB administrative actions or Legislative actions during the year.
Encumbrance

An amount set aside to reserve all, or a portion, of an appropriation for payment of future expenses i.e., payments for capital construction, monthly lease or maintenance agreements, or other contracts (including purchase orders).

Executive Budget The Governor’s proposed spending plan for the State of New York. This plan is generally released in mid-January.
Financial Plan Operating budget (Core) as approved by the Board of Trustees. This includes the campus specific allocations for State-operated and statutory colleges, and University-wide programs. 
Financial Plan Account Used for purposes of supplementing the Core Operating Budget with funding for a source other than State tax or revenue (offset). Generally this is used by a campus to provide special revenue fund (primarily general IFR or SUTRA) revenues to fill in a shortfall in available financial plan support.
Financial Plan Letter Annual memo detailing specific campus allocations and instructions.
Form 1 The formal budget submission by each campus
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) The equivalent of a full-time position filled for a full year. 
Fund Used to distinguish the major categories of appropriation, such as general fund, special revenue funds, capital funds, fiduciary funds. 
General Income Fund Reimbursable (General IFR) A self-supported fund dedicated to campus operations and funded from revenues generated by campus programs and broad based fees (student activity fee, transportation fee, technology fee, student health fee, etc.)
Good Faith Effort

NYS Executive Law Article 15-A and University policy require campuses, and the vendors and contractors (vendors) with whom they do business, to make a good faith effort to procure materials, supplies, equipment and services (including printing) from NYS certified minority- or women-owned businesses (M/WBEs) and meet University established goals for M/WBE participation in contracts. This procedure applies to all procurements exceeding $25,000 for labor, services, supplies, equipment, or materials and for procurements exceeding $100,000 for the acquisition, construction, demolition, replacement, major repair or renovation of real property and improvements.

Headcount The number of students; an unduplicated count.
Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) An inflation index designed specifically to track the main cost drivers in higher education and is similar in concept to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR) Accounts Self-supporting accounts that support activities related to campus' missions. These types of accounts have clear and defined income/expenditure relationships. Each IFR account must generate revenue sufficient to cover costs incurred and be managed to a positive cash position. A number of accounts generate revenue through contracts and other entities. In some cases these contracts require an initial outlay of funds before reimbursement can be requested. For these and other accounts with like circumstances where revenue follows expenditures, an accrual basis can be used to assure a break-even status at fiscal year-end.
Invitation for Bid (IFB)

A form of solicitation used for procurements where the needed commodities, services or technology can be translated into exact specifications and the award can be made on the basis of lowest price or best value when the best value determination can be made on price alone.

Legacy SUNY's mainframe accounting system
Lowest Price

The basis for awarding contracts for commodities among responsive and responsible offerers.

Major Object A category of expenses; for example, Personal Service or Non-Personal Service
Minority & Women Owned Businesses (M/WBE)

Independent business concerns which are at least 51 percent owned and controlled by minority group members (MBE’s) (citizens of the United States or permanent resident aliens who are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian), and women-owned business enterprises (WBE’s).

Office of the State Comptroller NYS Chief Financial Officer. The Comptroller is charged with auditing government operations and operating the Statewide Retirement Systems. OSC monitors, reports on, and coaches other public entities, and works to ensure that governments at all levels are discharging their responsibilities in an efficient, effective, and timely manner.
Offset Fund A Special Revenue Fund into which tuition and other campus generated revenues are deposited for spending as part of the Financial Plan. In addition to campus revenues, each campus’ share of the pooled offset is part of this fund. Starting with 2012/13 State tax support is also provided as a revenue to this fund.
Other Than Personal Service (OTPS) All expenditures that are not personal service (PS) related. This includes Supplies and Materials, Travel, Contractual Services, Utilities and Equipment.
Overflow The term “overflow” relates to enrollment beyond that which is funded in the allocation process. Overflow may be the result of better than expected yield or retention, or may be the result of a conscious decision by the campus to grow enrollment funded by tuition alone. Overflow revenue is that campus revenue (tuition, interest, etc.) which is generated beyond the target established in the Financial Plan.
Personal Services (PS, PSR, PST) All expenditures related to payroll and wages. A single segregation covers all personal service regular (PSR), personal service temporary (PST), and holiday and overtime expenditures and allocations.
Pooled Offset State tax support is reduced by an amount equal to fringe benefit collections on the special revenue funds; SUNY keeps the collected fringe benefit charges, in lieu of State tax support. This revenue is distributed as if it was State tax support, generally in proportion to the total campus state support, and is part of the “State and Other Support” column in the financial plan documentation. Each year a total for this State tax offset is determined by the DOB as part of the Executive Budget process; in order to avoid a financial plan spending reduction, this amount must be collected in aggregate from the State-operated Campuses.
Pre-bid Technical Review Submission by the prospective purchaser of commodities or services, of the technical portion of a request for proposal, to the appropriate office for pre-bid review, recommendation and/or approval. Such portion shall be composed of a detailed description of the commodities to be purchased or the services, including consulting or construction, to be performed.
Price Analysis The process by which a supplier's selling price for an item or service is evaluated by the buyer to be equitable and/or competitive.
Procurement (Purchase) The acquisition of goods or services in exchange for money.
Procurement Card (P-Card) The Citibank VISA procurement card ("P-Card") program is ideal for small-dollar purchases of $5,000 or less. Use of the P-Card increases departmental efficiencies and decreases administrative costs associated with the processing of small-dollar purchase orders.
Procurement Record Documentation of the decisions made and the approach taken in the procurement process and summarized in the Procurement Record Checklist.
Proposal A bid or other form of written or oral submission of a quotation by a contractor, upon purchaser's request, usually in competition with other contractors or vendors. Proposals are usually opened publicly at a specific time and place.
Property Control System An information system maintained by the State University of New York that provides a record of state-owned equipment and equipment purchased with State funds (including IFR accounts), over $2,500.
Provisional Account Where the initial allocation is recorded for a fund. Allocation will be in this holding account before it is distributed to the departmental accounts. It is used for "controlling" the allocation in that fund.
Purchase Instrument A document that formalizes the terms and conditions mutually agreeable to the University, as the buyer, and the vendor or individual, as the seller, to furnish materials or render services being purchased. Types of purchasing instruments are purchase orders, contracts, subcontracts, and maintenance and lease agreements.
Purchase Order A Purchase Orders (PO) is a basic contractual document, issued by an agency’s finance office or other authorized individual(s), and is generally for “one time” purchases. A PO usually
consists of the vendor’s name/address, a description of the item, quantity, cost per item, shipping terms, total cost and some data for State use (cost center, object code, and the
applicable OGS or purchase authorization contract number). The PO solidifies the terms of the purchase.
Purchase Requisition A request to the purchasing department, authorized by the project director, to obtain specific materials or services. Requisitions will indicate a suggested supplier, quantities of material needed, a clear description of services to be performed or goods to be provided, and required delivery date.
Recharges A transaction used to fund certain common services that are negotiated centrally on behalf of the entire university.
Request for Proposals (RFP) A form of solicitation used for procurements of services and/or technology where factors in addition to cost are considered and a comparative evaluation of the proposals is necessary.
Research Foundation A private, nonprofit, educational, corporation that supports the advancement of education, research and discovery at SUNY.
Service - Services The performance of a task or tasks, except for architectural, engineering or surveying services, and may include a material good or a quantity of material commodities, and which is the subject of any purchase or other exchange. For the purposes of these procedures, "Technology" shall be deemed services.
Short-Term Investment Pool (STIP) Rate All New York State cash is invested in the Short Term Investment Pool, which is intended to maximize investment returns in a safe and secure manner, using the investment expertise of the Common Retirement Fund's investment staff. The STIP rate is the rate of interest earnings on the special revenue funds held by a campus.
Single Source "A procurement in which although two or more offerers can supply the required commodities or services, the ... state agency, upon written findings setting forth the material and substantial reasons therefore, may award the contract to one offerer over the other".
Small Business A business residing in this state, independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field and employs one hundred or less persons.
Small Disadvantaged Business A business enterprise classified as such by the Federal Small Business Administration. Under the Federal Small Business Act, such enterprises must be allowed to compete for an equitable share of all procurements made under federally supported grants and contracts.
Sole Proprietorship

A business that is owned by a person who is solely responsible for all aspects of the business. The owner is personally responsible for all debts of the business.

Sole Source

"A procurement in which only one offerer is capable of supplying the required commodities or services."

Solicitation A written request to a vendor to submit price quotations or bids on materials required or services to be rendered that are clearly and accurately defined by the buyer.
State University Business Officers Association (SUBOA) The professional association for the State-operated campus Business Officers.
State University Tuition Reimbursable Account (SUTRA) A special revenue fund dedicated to campus operations and funded from tuition revenue collected from summer session, contract courses, overseas academic programs and excess tuition revenue from the core operations budget.
Sub Object Code Defines what the item is and the range of its value. (Expenditure Object Code)
SUTRA Overflow Revenues collected at a campus in excess of its revenue target are deposited into the SUTRA fund for use as deemed appropriate at that campus.
Tabulation A tabular format listing of all pertinent information from contractors' proposals, including a description of the commodities and/or services to be provided, which permits a comparison of proposals received and a determination of the lowest responsible vendor.
Temporary Service (TS, PST) All expenditures related to payroll and wages for personal service, rendered by employees who occupy positions that are temporary in nature, and payments to non-employees.
University-Wide Program Allocations for specific programmatic purposes. These programs are appropriated as specific line items in the University’s budget.
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