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
- The most common reasons a department exceeds controls and how to fix -A grant ends and the continuation isn’t immediately available and unbudgeted salaries hit suspense. We can temporarily have the control budget increased until the continuation is opened and the salaries are correctly charged.
- Transfers weren’t budgeted correctly. You need to do a budget journal to budget your transfers correctly. Your financial administrator can provide assistance.
- New chart strings were opened with a zero budget and spent on. If the budget is known at the time of chart string request please include the budget template with the request. Occasionally the budget isn’t completely decided when a chart field request is submitted. Submit a budget journal as soon as the budget is known.
- Occasionally you have submitted a budget journal to head off exceeding your control balance but you are still getting control errors. Budget journals post to the general ledger but control balances exist in the control ledger. The two ledgers are synced monthly and it is a manual process. We can request a sync before the monthly sync or investigate why your journal hasn’t corrected your control budget, just contact your financial administrator.