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Department Manager’s Accounting Module is a powerful, managerial accounting and reporting system designed specifically for department level administrators. It allows users to simultaneously manage both university-controlled accounts (funds) and user-defined cost centers for tracking internally controlled budgets or special commitments.
In addition, it supports multiple account structures for organizations needing to manage budgets that combine funds from different corporate entities or affiliates such as universities, hospitals, and foundations. When used with Department Manager’s Personnel Module, a salary and fringe benefit calculator can project and encumber personnel transactions for individual or groups of employees and accounts.
The three most important benefits of Department Manager’s Accounting Module are its reports, its reports, and its reports. They turn numbers into usable information. They are easy to generate and easy to interpret. They can be generated for individual or groups of accounts or cost centers. And, they are available in a variety of formats that are easily read by both administrators and faculty.
Department Manager’s Accounting Module is the tool for the day-to-day operation of your entire organization. It handles all fund types. Examples include: grant, state, clinical income, gift, endowments, overhead, revolving, departmental, trust, clinical trial, operating, and more. In the simplest case, the Accounting Module is an excellent tool for balancing an individual account or all of a faculty member’s research projects. From a more advanced perspective, the Accounting Module can be used to analyze the financial state of your entire organization. In any case, the Accounting Module is a valuable tool for effective management in any department.
Department Manager’s Accounting Module uses a standard Windows Interface. It contains validation code, budget, and transaction data entry screens as well as reconciliation, balance check, and numerous reporting options. A robust, multi-level security system controls system functionality and which data a user can access. On-line help and documentation is available to answer users’ questions.
Data can be manually entered or electronically imported from most systems used by the research, academic, and medical institutions. Department Manager allows users to track blanket or standing orders, soft encumbrances, as well as projected personnel and indirect cost encumbrances. A forms option can be customized for individual institutions to allow users to enter detailed information into the software and print requisitions, purchase orders, check requests, travel expenditures, and other form types on either laser or multi-page university forms.
Field labels can be modified to match local terminology such as sub-code vs. object code. User defined codes allow for the tracking of information unique to your organization.
Reports are the mechanism by which users retrieve previously entered or imported information from the database and display, print, or export it in a meaningful format. Department Manager comes with a comprehensive set of hard-coded reports that have been developed at the request of administrators from numerous major universities and research hospitals. These reports have been used by thousands of faculty, administrators, and accounting staff nationwide.
Report generation is a two-step process, criteria selection and format definition. The criteria selection step determines which records will be retrieved from the database. To complete this step, the user enters parameters on a criteria selection form to define the data that is to be selected. For example, to pull the records for a single account, an account code is entered in the corresponding field in the criteria selection form. Examples of other criteria include: date ranges, cost centers, object codes, and other user defined codes.
The format definition step determines how the selected information is to be presented. Examples of report formats include balance views that present totals by account and budget reports that summarize information by object code. Salary distributions of employees currently paid from an account can be printed with the account balance. More detailed transaction information is available in monthly expenditure tables and breakdown reports. More advanced management reports project salary & benefit costs, consolidate information from multiple corporate entities, and present profit/loss statements by department, division, or faculty.
More advanced users may develop their own report formats using MS Access or Crystal Reports. These reports may extract data from the Department Manager database via an ODBC connection or by connecting to temporary table generated by our standard user-interface.
Department Manager’s Accounting Module is a double-ledger system. It maintains accounts (funds) defined by your university or affiliated institution and user-defined cost centers. User defined cost centers allow users to perform cost accounting functions. Cost centers are codes that, like accounts, are used at the transaction level. They may be used to subdivide accounts or they may ‘cross’ accounts.
In the first case, they are often referred to as sub-accounts. In the second case, they are independent of accounts and may be used to manage special commitments or budgetary units. Examples of budgetary units may include a department’s administrative division, a facility such as a computer lab within a department, or individual faculty members. The term crossing accounts refers to cases when cost center expenditures use different accounts. An example would be when a faculty member is given startup funds.
At the time the initial commitment is made, department administrators may not know what account will be used when the actual expenditure occurs. Department Manager allows the cost center budget to be kept independent of any account budget. When future expenditures are made, the user may use any account.
Cost centers are controlled by Department administrators and are not usually part of the mainframe general ledger package used by the University. During the report generation process, users may select subsets of information by cost center or produce reports that are grouped and totaled by cost center.
The management of personnel costs has long been a centerpiece in the design of Department Manager’s Accounting Module. Considering that 70-80% of the typical budget is used to support personnel, the management of this money has to be a priority. This is accomplished via a link with Department Manager’s Personnel Module.
When the Accounting Module is used with the Personnel Module, a salary and fringe benefit projection system allows users to generate projections of personnel expenditures for individuals or groups of employees. The results of the projections may be loaded as encumbrances in the accounting transaction file or printed in various report formats. When encumbrance transactions have been created, they are available for report generation. This process makes it appear as if the personnel budget has been ‘set aside’. If the balance of the personnel object lines are negative, then the personnel budget is being over spent.
If it is positive, the personnel budget is being under spent. Because these balances are being created by the encumbrance transactions, administrators can correct these situations before they actually occur.
Additional reports can be generated without loading the encumbrances in the accounting transaction file. These reports present information in tabular formats sorted and totaled by individual or groups of accounts, cost centers, or employees. Report columns may include amounts totaled by budget period, month, or pay period.
The architecture of Department Manager’s Accounting Module (and other modules) allows users to simultaneously manage or combine financial information from multiple corporate entities. This need is sometimes found at medical research institutions where departments are managing university, practice plan, and/or hospital funds that are controlled by different corporate entities or affiliates, with each entity using a different general ledger system.
Department Manager accomplishes this task by allowing each entity to have its own distinctive account structure. A map is used to combine information from the different entities in order to generate consolidated reports. Financial information may be combined by income and expense categories (often called object codes or sub-codes) such as salary, fringe benefit, supply, travel, patient income, etc. as well as user-defined cost centers and other user-defined codes. Because Department Manager is not locked into a single fiscal year, consolidated financial reports may combine information that crosses the fiscal year of individual corporate entities.
This feature provides the flexibility needed for the management of complex clinical and research environments. An example of how Department Manager has been implemented in such an environment can found in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Customer Story.
Department Manager stores information in a secure MS Access or SQL Server database. Access to this information is controlled by a sophisticated, multi-level security system built into the Department Manager application. It allows an administrator to control the functionality as well as the data-access for each user.
The first security level controls access to menu items. This level of security controls access to data display forms, user setup screens, data transfer procedures, etc.
The second security level is used to control whether or not a user has the right to edit data or just view data. Users with view only access cannot modify data in the database.
The third security level controls which transactions a user can access. In the Accounting Module, data level security can be defined by account, cost center, or object code. When data level security is invoked, users can only access the accounts, cost centers, or object codes for which they have been given access. This level of security allows installations to use Department Manager with a decentralized accounting staff.
The fourth security level controls whether or not a user has access to the salary and fringe benefit projection system and to budget reports that list the names and salaries of individual employees. This level of security only applies to installations that have both the Accounting and Personnel Modules.
Users can be granted combinations of these four security levels. For example, a faculty member may be given view only access (tool bar level security) to only his or her accounts (data level security).
Department Manager’s system architecture is compatible with and integrates with all major financial packages developed for research, academic, and medical environments. Budget, Income, Expense, and / or Encumbrance transaction data as well as payroll data can be electronically imported from most University financial packages. And multiple import procedures may be used for a single installation, especially in cases where multiple corporate entities are being managed. These procedures can be run automatically or at the request of a system administrator.
Our import procedures validate all data before it is loaded into the Department Manager database. An Exception Processing System allows users correct transactions that contain invalid information.
"Accounting Module" is part of the Department Manager line of products, developed by Information Technology Works.