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PRISM Account Structure & Attributes

The University of Pittsburgh receives funding from a variety of sources that carry with them fiduciary responsibilities. Inherent in these responsibilities is the requirement to operate the institution under guidance set forth by the Board of Trustees; to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; and to comply with related federal, state, and local regulations. Proper stewardship of University funds is the responsibility of all University employees involved in financial transactions. This document describes the structure of the University’s accounting system and provides the framework for accounting policies and procedures.

The University of Pittsburgh's account number structure is based on a 32-digit number comprised of 7 discrete segments (separated by periods): entity (2 digits), department (5 digits), subcode (4 digits), purpose (5 digits), project (6 digits), reference (5 digits), and future use (5 digits).

Entity . Department . Subcode . Purpose . Project . Reference . Future Use

XX . XXXXX . XXXX . XXXXX . XXXXXX . XXXXX . XXXXX

A University “account” is a unique combination of Entity, Department, Purpose, and Project. These four segments are defined in PRISM at the time the account is established by the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The remaining two segments (Subcode and Reference) are identified by the department when transactions are processed on the account. The Subcode segment is used to track financial activity by financial statement element (asset, liability, net asset, revenue and expense). In addition, individual schools may use the purely optional Reference segment to track their own distinct subsets of activities within a given account or across all of their accounts. The segment identified for future use is populated with zeros at this time.

The following table illustrates the numbering scheme that is used when creating an account in the PRISM financial system:

 

Entity or Fund Type

Entity

Dept.

Subcode

Purpose

Project

Ref.

Future Use

Operating (Hard Money)

02

xxxxx

xxxx

00000

000000

xxxxx

00000

Operating (Institutional Aid)

02

xxxxx

xxxx

07xxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Operating Balance Sheet

02

xxxxx

xxxx

1xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Cost Centers

03

xxxxx

xxxx

00000

000000

xxxxx

00000

Cost Center Balance Sheet

03

xxxxx

xxxx

1xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Discretionary (Gifts & Endowment Income)

04

xxxxx

xxxx

2xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Discretionary (RDF)

04

xxxxx

xxxx

3xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Sponsored Projects

05

xxxxx

xxxx

00000

xxxxxx

xxxxx

00000

Plant (Unexpended & ROI)

06

xxxxx

xxxx

6xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Plant (Investment in Plant)

06

xxxxx

xxxx

7xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Government Student Loans

07

xxxxx

xxxx

4xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

University Student Loans

47

xxxxx

xxxx

4xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Quasi-Endowment

08

xxxxx

xxxx

5xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Annuity & Life Income

25

xxxxx

xxxx

5xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Realized Gains on Endowment

28

xxxxx

xxxx

5xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

True Endowment

48

xxxxx

xxxx

5xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

Agency

09

xxxxx

xxxx

9xxxx

000000

xxxxx

00000

FASB Entries

24

000xx

xxxx

0000x

000000

xxxxx

00000

 

Entity Segment Go to Top

2 characters – required

Entities are the University's core reporting units. Each entity is a set of accounts established to group together similar sources and uses of funds into a self-balancing “fund group.” In Fiscal Year 1996, the University implemented Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) 116 (“Accounting for Contributions Received and Contributions Made”) and 117 (“Financial Statements of Not-For-Profit Organizations”) which, among other things, required not-for-profit organizations to report contributions and net assets (previously called fund balance) in three separate categories based solely on donor imposed restrictions - unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted. While fund accounting is no longer necessary for FASB reporting purposes, its custodian or stewardship focus is still required for management purposes. Therefore, when the University implemented a new financial accounting system (PRISM) in 1997, it established thirteen entity segment values to facilitate FAS 116 and 117 reporting, while at the same time continuing to follow traditional fund accounting.

 

02 Operating Go to Top

Represents core University operations that are funded primarily by tuition, the state appropriation, and education and general sales and services. Departmental “hard fund” budgets are allocated annually as part of the University’s Planning and Budgeting Process and are comprised of unrestricted funds.

Ex: Tuition (includes student aid), state appropriations, education and general sales and services, scholarships and fellowships, and athletics.

 

02 Operating Balance Sheet Go to Top

Assets and liabilities associated with core University operations and requires a 1xxxx Purpose segment.

 

03 Cost Centers Go to Top

Cost Centers represent self-supporting business enterprise activities that generally charge other University departments and sponsored projects. The following types of activities represent cost centers at the University:

Provides highly complex services primarily to sponsored research.

Ex: Central Animal Facility and DNA Sequencing Facility.

Provides administrative support for University departments and sponsored programs. The service provided might be available from commercial sources, but for reason of convenience, cost, or control, the service is provided more effectively within the University.

Ex: Telecommunications, Motor Pool, Computing Services, University Marketing Communications, Mailing Services, Inventory Stockrooms, and Central Copying Services.

Courses offered for non-degree credit and non-credit programs offered for professional certification or self-improvement.

Ex: Continuing Education Programs, Conferences and Seminars, and Dental students providing services.

A necessary business function that contributes to and relates directly to the University’s missions, goals, and objectives. Auxiliaries provide a product or service to individual students, faculty, or staff. These services are provided in exchange for a fee.

Ex: Student Housing, Food Services, Parking and Transportation, Bookstore, and Property Management.

 

03 Balance Sheet Go to Top

Assets and liabilities associated with cost center operations and requires a Purpose segment.

 

04 Discretionary Go to Top

Restricted and unrestricted funds received by academic units outside of the University’s Planning and Budgeting Process.

Funds restricted by donors and other external agencies for specific purposes, programs, departments or schools. There is minimal reporting to the donor with no time limit for fund usage. Discretionary gifts are not part of a competitive process.

Ex: Alumni Fellowship Fund and certain Athletics Funds.

For guidelines to help you properly distinguish between sponsored projects and gifts, go to: http://www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/guideline/sponsored_projects_vs_gifts.pdf

Represents the earnings generated from endowment principal for expenditure as specified by the donor.

Research Development Funds are internal funds used for seed money to provide support prior to obtaining additional external funding or to further enhance the research environment of the University.

 

05 Sponsored Projects Go to Top

Binding agreement with project sponsor (federal, state, and local government; private companies; and foundations) which either party may terminate for non-performance. A principal investigator (usually faculty) is designated as the technical expert for the project. Funds are used for a specified research purpose and are administered and approved by the Office of Research. These funds may include indirect costs. For guidelines to help you properly distinguish between sponsored projects and gifts, go to: www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/guideline/sponsored_projects_vs_gifts.pdf

Ex: Microscopic structures, Brain Activations, CWS, SEOG, and Pell Grants (for both revenue and expenses).

 

06 Plant Go to Top

Represents the University’s investment in fixed assets, construction projects in progress, unexpended funds that have been set aside for capital construction projects, long term debt, and funds set aside for the retirement of indebtedness.

 

07 Government Student Loans Go to Top

Government funded revolving student loans.

Ex: Federal Perkins Loans – formerly National Direct Student Loans (NDSL) and Stafford Loans – formerly Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL).

 

08 Quasi-Endowments Go to Top

The principal of an endowment received from a donor for which the donor has specified no restrictions. The department restricts the funds for a particular purpose. This entity is also used for endowment stabilization reserve account adjustments and board designated purposes.

 

09 Agency Go to Top

Resources held by the University (the Agent) for organizations or entities (the Principal) external to the University (e.g., a student, staff or alumni association; a professional or scientific organization in which faculty or staff are officers or editors) that are not subject to the University’s control. The manner in which the funds are administered is, however, subject to the University’s internal controls.

 

25 Annuity/Life Income Funds Go to Top

For endowment principal accounts of life insurance policies, gift annuities, annuity trusts, and unitrusts. For life insurance policies, the donor pays the premium with the University listed as the beneficiary.

 

28 Realized Gains on Endowments Go to Top

For realized gain accounts for investment managers (used only when a new investment manager is hired).

 

47 University Student Loans Go to Top

Revolving loan funds established by gifts from outside donors or board designated funds.

 

48 True Endowments Go to Top

For endowment principal accounts and investment manager asset accounts. Once the principal has been received from the donor, the investment is transferred to an investment manager of a brokerage firm. The interest generated from the principal is awarded according to donor restrictions and is recorded in an 04 Discretionary Endowment Income account (purpose 22xxx and 28xxx).

 

Department Segment Go to Top

5 characters – required

In general, the department segment represents the smallest reporting unit that the University uses to measure budget and actual financial results. In most instances, it identifies the organizational unit responsible for the daily financial management of an account. However, it may also identify a particular event, program, cost center or other special purpose cost grouping within a school or administrative office. In addition, there are many general University accounts with department values that are not associated with any organizational unit but are instead used to record general University accounting transactions.

This segment has 3 reporting attributes that enable the University to summarize and report financial activities across the various entities: Senior Officer, Responsibility Center, and Function.

 

Subcode Segment Go to Top

4 characters – required

This segment is used to track financial activity by financial statement element: asset, liability, net asset, revenue and expense.

The subcode values adhere to the following numbering convention:

 

Subcode

Financial Statement Element

1xxx

Assets

2xxx

Liabilities

3xxx

Net Assets (Fund Balance)

4xxx

Revenues

5xxx

Compensation Expenses

6xxx – 9xxx

Other Expenses

 

See Resources section below for link to a listing of all subcodes.

 

Purpose Segment Go to Top

5 characters – required for all accounts except for entity 02 operating accounts, entity 03 cost center accounts, and entity 05 sponsored project accounts (which require the default value 00000).

This segment is used to account for funds that have been restricted or designated for specific purposes by donors, management, or the Board of Trustees. Individual accounts utilizing the Purpose segment are established to enable responsible administrators of these funds to separately monitor and report financial activity. This also enables management to meet its fiduciary responsibilities.

The numbering convention for the Purpose segment is as follows:

 

Entity

Purpose

Restrictions

02

07xxx

Institutional Aid accounts

02 & 03

1xxxx

Unrestricted balance sheet accounts

04

23xxx, 24xxx, 25xxx & 26xxx

Restricted gift accounts

04

22xxx, 27xxx & 28xxx

Endowment income accounts

04

3xxxx

Research Development Fund accounts

06

6xxxx and 7xxxx

Plant accounts

07 & 47

4xxxx

Loan accounts

08, 25, 28 & 48

5xxxx

Endowment accounts

09

9xxxx

Agency accounts

 

Project Segment Go to Top

6 characters – required for entity 05. Defaults to 000000 for all other entities.

This segment is used to account for sponsored projects. A sponsored project (grant, contract, cooperative agreement, etc.) is any externally funded research, scholarly, or public service activity that has a defined scope of work, or set of objectives, which provides a basis for sponsor requirements or expectations.

The numbering convention for the Project segment is as follows:

 

Project

Agency Type

01xxxx

National Science Foundation

07xxxx

Department of Education

10xxxx

Department of Health and Human Services (includes NIH)

40xxxx

Other federal agencies

60xxxx

State and local government

70xxxx

Private agencies (includes foundations and companies)

90xxxx

Pharmaceutical and drug company clinical trials

 

Reference Segment Go to Top

5 characters – optional. Defaults to 00000 but may be overridden.

This segment is optional and is used solely at the discretion of the department to track distinct subsets of activities within a given departmental account or across many accounts. The values of this segment are only meaningful at the individual school or department level. Consequently, there are no descriptions associated with reference segment values. In addition, no reporting is performed on this segment at the consolidated level.

See Resources section below for link to a listing of all available reference values.

 

Future Use Segment Go to Top

5 characters – defaults to 00000. Not available for use.

This segment is reserved for future needs.

 

Account Aliases (Restricted Use)

An account alias is an easily recognized code representing a frequently used General Ledger account combination. It is used to eliminate data entry errors by allowing a user to type in a 3- or 4-character code rather than a 32-digit account. Examples of current account aliases are GME (General Funds –BNY Mellon) and STAX (sales tax).

PRISM Account Attributes Go to Top

These attributes are not components of the 32-digit PRISM account structure but they are still associated with and assigned to accounts in the PRISM system.

 

Responsibility Center Code Go to Top

2 characters

A Responsibility Center is a budgeting and financial reporting unit such as a school, branch campus, executive office or support unit designated by the University. The Responsibility Center code is a reporting attribute that is assigned to the Department segment of the University’s account number. It enables the University to summarize all financial activities of a Responsibility Center.

See Resources section below for link to Responsibility Center Table, a listing of the hierarchy of these reporting units.

 

Senior Officer Code Go to Top

2 characters

The Senior Officer code is a reporting attribute that is assigned to the Department segment of the University’s account number. It groups multiple Responsibility Centers and summarizes financial activities at the senior executive level.

The Senior Officer codes are as follows:

 

Function Code Go to Top

3 characters

The Function Code is a reporting attribute assigned to the Department, Purpose, or Project segment of the University’s account number that is used to classify expenditures according to their predominant function. It is a combination of two previously distinct function codes: the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Purpose Code and the OMB Circular A-21 Code. The Function Code is a three-digit code where the first digit identifies the NACUBO function and the last two digits identify the A-21 function. There are 10 NACUBO functions and 15 A-21 functions that have been combined to form 23 valid combined function codes.

Although the functions listed for both reporting attributes bear some resemblance, there is a distinct difference in the purposes they serve. The NACUBO functions are expense classifications established and defined by the NACUBO to improve comparability of data among institutions of higher education. They are used by Budget and Financial Reporting to prepare a footnote to the University's Audited Financial Statements titled "Functional Expenses" in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They consist of the following:

In contrast, the A-21 functions are used by Research and Cost Accounting to prepare the University's Indirect Cost Proposal. This is a cost study and computation required by Federal OMB Circular A-21 in support of the University’s claim for indirect cost reimbursement. The A-21 functions are expense categories established and described in Circular A-21 that provide a uniform method of grouping costs into various direct and indirect cost pools for the primary purpose of calculating indirect cost reimbursement rates on sponsored projects.

 

They consist of the following:

 

Click here (http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/rca/documents/FunctionCodeDefinitions.pdf) for a complete listing of function codes and definitions.

Resources
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