Accounting – University Concepts Accounting in a university is the means by which financial data are made available for efficient administration. A State university is in the nature of public trusts. Therefore, the inherent obligations for stewardship and accountability necessitate a system of accounting that ensures control and complete disclosure of the results of its operation and of financial position.
The University follows the fund accounting and reporting guidelines recommended by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) guided by the standards of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Certain concepts are embodied in the financial accounting system for The University of North Carolina at Greensboro which differ from private enterprise. Higher educational institutions are created to carry out the function of instruction, research and public service rather than to produce profits. The user of higher education financial data, therefore, must focus on the sources and uses of institutional resources and the way in which those uses contribute to the attainment of the institution’s objectives. To satisfy the requirement to account properly for the diversity of resources and their uses, the principles and practices of “fund accounting” are employed. Refer to Policy 4 for definitions of ” fund accounting”.
Fund Accounting To observe limitations and restrictions placed on the use of the resources available to the University, the resources of the University are maintained in accordance with the principles of fund accounting. Resources for various purposes are classified into funds that are in accordance with activities or objectives specified. Separate resources are maintained for managing these resources on a daily basis; however, for reporting purposes, funds with similar characteristics are combined into fund groups and reported accordingly.
Within each fund group, fund balances restricted by outside sources are so indicated and distinguished from unrestricted funds allocated for specific purposes. Externally restricted funds may be utilized in accordance with the purposes established by the source of such funds and are contrasted with unrestricted funds which may be used in achieving any of the University’s institutional purposes.
Current Funds Current Funds represent unrestricted and restricted resources which are available for the operating purposes of performing the primary missions of the University. Included are the University’s auxiliary enterprises which are managed as self-supporting activities and exist to furnish goods or services to students, faculty and staff.
Current Funds at the University must consist of two subgroups – Unrestricted and Restricted. Unrestricted Current Funds include all resources received for which no stipulation was made by the donors or other external agencies as to purposes for which they should be expended. It includes, by definition, all federal and state appropriations. The University’s auxiliary enterprises are also unrestricted current funds. Restricted Current Funds are those resources available for financing operations, but which are limited by donors and other external agencies to specific purposes, programs, departments or line items, e.g., contract and grant monies.
Loan Funds Loan Funds represent resources received from donors, governmental agencies, and mandatory institutional matching grants which are restricted for use in making loans to students.
Endowment Funds Endowment Funds represent those resources received from benefactors who stipulate the principal of their gifts be invested and only the generated income be utilized. Also included in this fund group are quasi-endowment funds, which the University, rather than the donor, has determined that the resources are to be retained and invested. The Board of Trustees has adopted the policy that spending (monies available for current use) from the Fund in any one fiscal year shall not exceed a specified percentage of the “average market value” of the Fund. The specified percentage is determined by the Board each year. The “average market value” is defined as an average of the market values on December 31 of the previous three years. This statement is issued by the Board and governs the maximum spending allowable from the Fund. The actual spending rate may be less than the specified percentage rate due to the economic environment.
Plant Funds The Plant Funds group consists of:
♦ resources to be used for the acquisition of physical properties for institutional purposes but unexpended at the date of reporting;
♦ resources set aside for the renewal and replacement of institutional properties and for debt service charges and the retirement of indebtedness on institutional properties; and
♦ resources expended for and thus invested in institutional properties. Assets of the investment in plant subgroup consist of land; buildings and infrastructures; equipment; and Construction in Progress.
Agency Funds Agency Funds are resources held by an institution which acts as custodian or fiscal agent for others, e.g., student organizations.