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McMaster University


Glossary of Financial Terms

Chart of Accounts Terms Summary

McMaster Legacy Term PeopleSoft Terms






Department + Program


Department + Project




(e.g. in McMaster's legacy 9000s series )


Project Activity
(only for Projects)

(colloquially) Account Code ChartField String

General terms

PeopleSoft Terms McMaster Legacy Term Definition
Account Currently referred to as Subcode for revenue and expense types of transactions.  Balance sheet types of transactions are currently recorded in a separate ledger with its own unique Subcodes also called variable account control. The classification of the nature/concept of the financial transactions, Balance Sheet, Revenue or Expenditure.
Account  Subcode  
Approval Workflow Approvals  
Business Unit No current term.  E.g. McMaster, Divinity, RMA, Allergen, HAPA, HAHSO. A consolidation of accounting information for an entity.  The business unit is the basis for recording transactions, executing processes and reports.
Buyer Buyer A person who can procure goods or services.  Also known as a Purchasing Buyer.
Canned Reports eReports, Oracle Reports  
Chart of Accounts (COA)   see Account
ChartField String several names, often refered to as an account code by non-finance users replaces the 10 digit fund-account-subcode combination
Commitment Control (abbreviated as KK) Budget the part of PeopleSoft that holds budget information; do not confuse with Hyperion which is the budgeting tool
Department Currently referred to as the six digits Account in McMaster FAS.  For McMaster FAS users, this segment represents mainly the Cost Centre and in some cases a program or project.  In the balance sheet section of the FAS (ledger 0) this six digit code represents an asset or a liability. A uniquely identified responsibility unit with employees or without employees for a Special Envelopes, and; a budgetary unit that rolls up into a Budgetary Envelope, and; and a unit within the structure of the University organizational chart as defined for management reporting (i.e. by envelope).
Department + Program Account Departments can share Programs for interrelated Activities (e.g. Interdisciplinary programs). 
Department + Project Account  
EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) Direct Deposit
Encumbrance Commitment  
Fund Ledger (1st digit of account number) Fund will represent a High Level hierarchy of the source of funding for the transactions.  Fund accounting classifies Funds for accounting and reporting purposes in accordance with regulatory requirements or limitations imposed by external sponsor or donor.
Hyperion SAS/FM Budgeting tool/software
Income statement in Commitment Control Screen 32/44
Invoice Invoice An invoice gets keyed into a voucher to create a payment.
Item Commodity Code  
Journal Source   The identification of when a transaction is coming from (e.g. submodule, manual journal, interface).
Journals Transactions or data feeds.   Transactions that reach the General Ledger.  Could be transactions coming from a submodule or a manual journal.
Ledger Actuals or Budget Repository of all financial information.
nVision Reports SAS FM, Excel Reports  
P-card or Procurement Card Acquisition Card BMO Mastercard
Period 998 Adjustment period An accounting period used to store adjusting entries
Pre-Encumbrance Currently not officially recorded in FAS. In PeopleSoft, when a purchase requisition is completed a PRE-encumbrance is placed on the account, when the requisition gets approved and becomes a purchase order, the pre-encumbrance turns into an encumbrance. Once the purchase order is approved, the encumbrance is cleared and the expense applied to the account. This process includes an additional budget check at the pre-encumbrance step that doesn’t exist today. However, this check is automated and will only require users to be aware of it.
Program (e.g. in McMasters current 9000’s series) There is no specific chartfield at McMaster that identifies program; instead, McMaster has used its department or cost center (account) or in some cases, specific accounts (Subcodes) to identify programs. Programs are long-term in nature, as opposed to projects that have a defined beginning and end.  Programs can refer to Academic Programs or other non-academic programs.
Project There is no specific chartfield at McMaster that identifies projects; instead, McMaster has used its department or cost center (account) or in some cases, specific accounts (Subcodes) to identify projects.  Currently capital projects are identified as six digit accounts in the FAS ledger. Project is defined as activities directed towards the accomplishment of a set of objectives that has a defined beginning and end.  An exception will be made for endowed trusts.
Project Activity (only for projects) Subcode An Activity defines the processes or actions necessary to complete the Project.
Purchase Order or PO Purchase Order  
Queries QMF (IBM)  
Requester A person who can create a Purchase Requisition.  A person in the system that can enter a requisition. 
Requisition or Req Purchase Requisition  
RTV (return to vendor)   tool to enter a return thereby ensuring that a subsequent refund is credited correctly
Set ID No current term.  E.g. All FAS users share the same subcode list. A configuration of information to be shared by all users of the system.
Submodule No current term, but systems like PO and on-line cashiering would be the equivalent. PeopleSoft modules where transactions occur.  A/P, A/R, Grants, etc.  The transactions from these systems affect the General Ledger via ‘journals’.
Supplier Supplier  
Supplier Classification External/Employee/Student Refunds (Fed from Student Financials)  
Supplier Location   A supplier location is not a physical address.  It is a default set of rules, or attributes, that define how you do your business with a particular supplier).
Supplier Persistence One Time/Regular  
System Integration Testing (SIT)   testing stage that tests sub-system with each other
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)   Testing stage involving typical end users, follows SIT
VAT (Value Added Taxes) GST/HST  
Voucher Cheque Req., Payment Request, P.O. Invoice, Manual Cheque, Non P.O. Invoice  
Voucher Origin   Identifies a specific entry date for online or batch entry, such as department, division, company or specific user.