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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Office of Finance & Administration
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Control Budget

Expense controls on m NU Financials are required by the University to prevent overspending. For departments, control budgets are set at the department level or division level. An administrative unit’s control budget is part of an overall administrative-level control budget.

The calculation is:

Expense budget
- Expense actuals
- Encumbrances for all expense accounts except for 88991 (build-up of reserves)
= Control budget

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 (e.g., year-end, cost share) 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.

 View Your Control Budget

A control budget report is sent to each department monthly. This report gives a total control balance and details 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.

 

 Common Problems

If 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.

If transfers weren’t budgeted correctly, you need to do a budget journal to budget your transfers correctly. Your financial administrator can provide assistance.

If new chart strings were opened with a zero budget and spent on and 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. If that is the case, submit a budget journal as soon as the budget is known.

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. Contact your financial administrator to request a sync before the monthly sync or have them investigate why your journal hasn’t corrected your control budget.

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