Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Office of Finance and Administration

Control Budget

What it is

Controls were put on our budgets by the university as an attempt to prevent overspending. For departments control budgets are set at the department level or division level. Administrative units’ control budget is part of an overall administrative level control budget.

The calculation is - Control budget = Expense budget – Expense actuals – Encumbrances for all expense accounts except for 88991 (build-up of reserves).

What happens if you exceed

Once you have spent your available control balance, you will not be able to enter transactions of any type. This will also hold up the university payroll journals and cause upload journals to have errors. Because of this it is important that you review your monthly report. If it appears that you will exceed your available control budget please contact your financial administrator in our office to discuss what steps need to be taken.

It is important to budget for all expenses you will incur in the current fiscal year including transfers (year end, cost share, etc.) and new chart strings. Revenue has no effect on the control calculation, so even if you receive a large gift you have to create an expense (and revenue) budget in order to spend it without it adversely effecting your control balance.

How to view

A control budget report is sent to each department monthly. This report gives a total over all control balance and detail by chart string. Although the controls aren’t on the individual chart string, this enables you to see where you may be spending too much or where you budgeted too little.

You can also look up your control balance in Budget overview. To do so, see our guide on How to Look Up Your Control Budget In Budget Overview.

How to fix