Financial Accounting FAQs

How do I request a new cost object?Contact your Business Center or designated business staff. They will complete the Cost Center Request on your behalf. (If you are uncertain about which Business Center serves your area, please email an inquiry to For questions regarding the Cost Center request process, contact Ben Mayeux at 472-3966. Questions concerning WBS Elements for grants or contracts should be directed to Michael Behne, Sponsored Programs at 472-6323.
How do I find the identity of a UNL sub-program and department?A list of UNL sub-programs and departments is available in SAPPHIRE to assist in identifying the department in question. The sub-program is identified by the third and fourth digits of a cost object and the department is the fifth and six digits.
The positive and negative signs seem backwards to me. How are they used?The revenues are reported with their natural sign as a negative, which indicates a credit. Expenses are reported with their natural sign as unsigned (positive), which indicates a debit. This is routine accounting procedure. If you focus on the $Variance column on the Cost Center or WBS Element Revenue & Expense Summary, an unsigned (positive) number represents budget remaining to spend and a signed (negative) number means the budget has been overspent.
How do I know what my balance is in my revolving cost center?The Revenue and Expense Summary with Prior Year Balance Forward report provides the current balance for a revolving cost center that includes any balance carried forward from prior years. The last column of the report is Total Balance and the number listed furthest to the right under Surpl/(Deficit) is your balance. This number is calculated as current year revenue - current year expense - outstanding commitments +/- prior year carryforward. If the Surpl/(Deficit) is unsigned (positive), then that is the balance that can be spent. If negative, then that is the amount that the cost center is overspent.
How do I find out what cost objects are assigned to my mail code?Directions for running the Financial Master Data Report, which lists all cost centers assigned to a mail code, are available on SAPPHIRE.
Where can I find forms, such as Visiting Personnel, Expense Voucher, IBT, Journal Entry, Affidavit, etc?Most forms are provided in SAPPHIRE. Use the Search field at the top of the screen to find the specific document. If you are having difficulty finding something, contact Accounting at 472-2881.
How do I report a non-monetary donation or gift?

Non-monetary donations and gifts (equipment, land, textiles, manuscripts, etc.) with a value of $5,000 or more that are received from outside sources need to be reported by completing the Donation/Gift Form. The value of each donation will be recorded to your department's 27 donation/gift WBS.* The donor must provide a value of the gift when it is donated.  If the donor refuses to provide a value, the department/college is responsible for obtaining an appraisal so a value can be established.  Donations cannot be valued by University staff/faculty.  The recorded gift revenue and corresponding expense will net to zero and have no effect on the balance in the provided cost object. If the value of the donation or gift meets the criteria in the capitalization policy, it will be tagged and capitalized. Departments receiving non-monetary donations directly (not through the Foundation) should provide the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Financial Services the donor contact information, description of item(s) donated, and value.  The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Financial Services will send a letter to the donor acknowledging receipt of the item(s) and thanking them for their generosity.

If you plan to dispose of the donated property within three (3) years of the date of the donation, please be aware of the IRS requirement related to Form 8282.  Such disposal may have a negative impact on the charitable income tax deduction claimed by the Donor.  If you have any questions, please contact Liwei He, 472-4316, or Ben Mayeux, 472-3966.

If your department does not have an established donation/gift WBS, please contact your Grant Coordinator in Sponsored Programs.