Datatel's Financial Information System has introduced many technological terms and concepts to the University community, and some of these require further explanation. Additionally, there are many accounting terms with which staff members may be unfamiliar. Therefore, the Comptroller's Office has created this Glossary page to help staff better understand the language of the Datatel system and accounting concepts.
Budget – Budgets are based on the amount of money the department/unit projects will need for expenditures over the course of the fiscal year (as compared to the past fiscal year’s expenditures) and the revenue they expect to receive throughout the fiscal year. Therefore, a budget primarily determines authorized funds availability. Umbrella accounts contain the budget data.
Cash – Cash is calculated as the previous fiscal year’s Cash carryover (the Fund Balance) plus deposits minus expenditures. It is possible to have a positive Available Balance in the Budget, but have Cash in a deficit position, if the anticipated income from various sources has not been received and deposited. A Cash report is always based on accounts (Poolee, defined below) with activity in them.
Colleague System – A comprehensive administrative software package specifically designed for higher education institutions. It includes four integrated systems: Financial, Student, Human Resources, and Alumni and Development. At this point, Illinois State University has purchased only the Financial system.
Datatel + SGHE, Inc. – A corporation headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, which develops, sells, and supports the software called Colleague System.
Encumbrance – Refers to purchase order encumbrances or requisition encumbrances. Purchase order encumbrances are commitments of funds for goods on order. These are reversed when goods are delivered and vouchers are created. Requisition encumbrances are never posted. They are reversed when a purchase order is created.
Financial System (Colleague) – The accounting segment of the Colleague system that consists of the following financial modules: Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable/Cash Receipts, General Ledger, Pooled Investments, Budget Management, Fixed Assets, Inventory, Facilities Management and Projects Accounting.
Function – The second component of our account number structure. It represents the purpose of the account, such as Instructional, Public Service, Research, etc.
Fund – The first component of our account number structure. It represents the source of funding, such as General Revenue, Agency, etc.
General Ledger (GL) Account Number – In Colleague, an account number consists of a combination of four main components: Fund, Function, Unit, and Object. Each account number must contain these four components. Account numbers may be referred to as ledgers. Please refer to the Account Number section for a thorough explanation of the GL account number.
Ledger – Another word for the General Ledger (GL) account number.
Memo – Refers to the current business day’s transactions that have been entered into the system, but these transactions have yet to be fully processed. They are not available for reports and they have not been entered into or "posted" to the General Ledger (GL).
Module - The smallest identifiable functional unit within Colleague. Some examples from the Financial system are Budget Management and General Ledger.
Object – The fourth component of our account number structure, sometimes called an object code. It represents what the account is used for, in other words, the various categories of Assets, Liabilities, Fund Balances, Revenues, or Expenses.
Parameters – Colleague variables that are set to one of a number of valid values. Changing parameters will cause a Colleague module to function differently, and allow an institution to set up controls and options to meet their individual needs. Parameters may be referred to as flags or switches. An example of a parameter from the General Ledger module is: "Force Budget Journals to Balance?" The valid values for this parameter are "Y" (yes) or "N" (no). In the client/server mode, clicking on the parameter response box would put an "X" in it, meaning yes. Leaving the box blank means no.
Poolee Accounts – General Ledger (GL) account numbers that are linked to an Umbrella account for budgeting purposes. See Pooling below.
Pooling – A budgeting concept in Colleague that allows a reporting unit to have one overall budget for multiple account numbers. An "Umbrella" account number is established and is linked with multiple "Poolee" account numbers. The Umbrella account contains the total budget, and the Poolee accounts spend against that budget. Expenditures are charged to the Poolee accounts only. The Poolee accounts are not individually budgeted. The University uses this concept to be able to keep track of State of Illinois expense categories for appropriated funds, such as Commodities, Contractual, etc. It can also be a valuable tool for non-appropriated units who have no need to budget at a very detailed level. At this time, Colleague only allows one level of pooling between linked accounts.
Posted – Refers to the actual revenue and expense transactions, or purchase order encumbrances, that have been fully processed (and are therefore available for Datatel reports). These transactions have been entered into or "posted" to the General Ledger (GL).
UI GUI – Graphical User Interface. The Windows-like interface to the Colleague Financial System.
Umbrella Accounts – General Ledger (GL) account numbers that are linked with Poolee accounts for budgeting purposes. See Pooling above.
Unit – The third component of our account number structure. It represents whose account it is, such as the Comptroller's, the English Department, the College of Education, etc.
WEB UI – The Web-based interface to the Colleague Financial System.