Commitment Accounting manages the entire process of personnel funding, starting with the initial budgeting for positions and appointments, through payroll processing, and finally the distribution of salaries, taxes, and benefits to the appropriate chartfield string in the General Ledger.

Commitment Accounting 101

We are here to help you:

UNC uses Electronic Personnel Action Request or ePAR funding forms to update funding on personnel.

UNC-CH users utilize the Payroll Accounting Adjustment Tool (PAAT) to adjust personnel funding transactions that have already posted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When I submit an ePAR or PAAT action, will it post today?
A: ePAR and PAAT actions take time to route for approval so rarely will an action submitted today, post today.

Q: How do I use override accounts in PAAT?

A: In the majority of the payroll transactions, the override account should be identical to the employee type account (511120, 512120, 513120, etc) used in the chartfield string; however, there are certain types of transactions which follow the normal payroll distribution EXCEPT the account is then updated by the override account. These transactions get a specific account (and earn code in some cases), which replaces the normal employee type account, but all other chartfield elements (fund, source, department, etc) stay the same. Override Account examples include:

  • Automated Longevity payments (where 512710 replaces the normal 512120 account used on their funding sources, but all other fields on that combo code are kept the same).
  • Overtime (where account 512210 replaces the normal 512120, 514210 replaces the normal 514120, and 514610 replaces the normal 514510).
  • The B16 (Bonus Incentive Wages) for the $750.00 bonuses given in December 2015 (where 514910 replaced the normal accounts for that employee).
  • All Deductions and taxes, where the normal funding sources’ chartfield strings are the same EXCEPT account, which would be overridden by the appropriate account for the deduction or tax, such as 515120, 515130, 515410, 515530, 515810, etc.

Q: Can I change the Earn Code in PAAT?

A: You CANNOT change an Earning Code in PAAT. Since PAAT can only re-distribute the employee’s actual Payroll (Earnings, Deductions, and Taxes) for a given period, it is not possible to move dollars across different Earnings Codes (such between REG and RNF) because the benefits / calculations may not be the same on those different earnings codes, or the type of activity paid (such as Overtime Time, Overtime Half, or Mobile Communications Devices) is for a specific purpose and cannot be mixed in with other types of earnings. Each earnings code’s changes must be balanced within that earnings code, as well as the overall difference on each paycheck must show $0.00 before the submitter can proceed.

Q: After submitting a PAAT, does a report exist to see where the action is in the approval process?

A: At this time, PAAT does not generate notifications when an action is updated or disapproved. A report is available to track these actions at: ConnectCarolina > Main Menu > HR/Payroll Menu > Payroll Acct Adj. Tool (PAAT) > Review Pending Transactions.

What is payroll suspense (511190) and how do I manage it?

Payroll Suspense refers to a chartfield string that contains the expense account 511190. It exists in ConnectCarolina as a temporary expense option when the system incurs a funding error due to an issue such as an expired funding source or incomplete funding data.

The Current Suspense Charges Report

The Current Suspense Charges Report is the report of record for suspense and is found at: ConnectCarolina > HR/Payroll > Payroll Acct Adj. Tool (PAAT) > Current Suspense Charges.

  • The suspense transactions include the total amount of earnings (salary and/or stipends) and any associated fringe (deductions and taxes.)

Tips for Using the Current Suspense Charges Report

  • The report provides a list of all outstanding suspense for a department/MOU by employee and pay cycle. Currently, the report shows all transactions since go live. Transactions older than 90 days should be moved with great care. For example, transactions from closed fiscal years being moved to state funds should likely not be moved. Transactions moving suspense to sponsored projects where effort has already been certified may not be permitted.
  • If a PAAT action has been entered to one of the suspense rows, the Adjust Amount column will show *only* the changes that the originator has keyed as an adjustment in PAAT. Most PAAT actions are “Earn (Ded/Taxes follow)”, so the Adjust Amount column will likely be the Earnings for that paycheck, but the deductions and taxes portion would happen upon distribution of that PAAT action as normal. If the PAAT action was a Deductions/Taxes Only action entered by an Advanced User, then the Adjust Amount column would be only whatever deductions/taxes entries that the user keyed in on that PAAT action itself, with the NET Total column still showing anything not keyed on the PAAT action.
  • The NET Total column is the difference between what is currently outstanding in Suspense (the Suspense Amount column) less any adjustments that have been keyed on an undistributed PAAT action (The Adjust Amount.) In most cases, a user has keyed an Earnings PAAT action to resolve the Earnings on suspense, and the deductions and taxes portions would still be listed as the NET Total for what is remaining since that amount would not have been keyed directly on that Earnings PAAT action. But once that PAAT action has been fully approved and distributed, then those deductions and taxes should follow the earnings changes and be distributed accordingly (normally resulting in the suspense for that person’s check upon PAAT distribution to be cleared to $0.00.)
  • Though not the report of record, the Labor Expense Summary Report in Infoporte can be used to see the actual suspense breakdowns to know whether a Deductions and Taxes Only action is needed instead of a normal Earnings PAAT action.
  • If a Deductions and Taxes only PAAT action is needed, an advanced PAAT user will need to submit the action. Please contact your MOU lead to determine who should submit this action.

Can I use sources 14102 or 14103 as an intentional personnel funding source?

The payroll suspense policy focuses primarily on account 511190; however, the same restrictions apply to source 14102 and 14103 as by chartfield definition 14102 and 14103 should only be used with account 511190.

Postdoc Trainees and Clinical Fellows (usually funded on account 568770 or 568780) who are paid from a FICA exempt source are considered RNF (Regular No FICA) and require extra steps on the part of the administrator submitting the action.

  • Each time an ePAR is executed for an employee that involves a stipend (adding, removing, or changing chartfields, amounts, or percentages related to account 568770 or 568780), the department needs to also submit a remedy ticket. There are some behind-the-scenes manual changes that must also be done to the employee’s “Job Earnings Distribution” and “Department Budget Table” tables to ensure the stipend (and salary, if split funding), deductions, and taxes will be posted correctly.
  • If the behind-the-scenes manual changes are not completely before the payroll posts, then it may be necessary to submit a remedy ticket to Payroll to refund any overcharged FICA.

Where can I search chartstring details like account, fund and source?

The chartfield lookup tool in InfoPorte is used to search individual chartstring elements like fund, source, account, etc.

Source Fund cheat sheet is also a helpful quick reference tool.

When reviewing accounting transactions, what do acronyms such as ERT and PAY refer to?

The Reference2 field on HR or personnel transactions refer to the source and batch of the transaction, with the first three letters representing:

PAY
Normal payroll transactions from legacy or ePARs, could also include retro ePARs submitted in ConnectCarolina that were effective for pre-conversion / legacy payroll.
PAJ
The mass corrections posted in March 2015 to fix the distributions for EPA 10/01/14-02/28/15 or SPA B08-B17 (effective 09/08/14-02/22/15)
ERT
External retro transactions from the Short Term Retro Tool (late March 2015 through most of October 2015, plus the FacPhys re-distributions posted through 01/31/16, plus reversals on 02/18/16 and 04/13/16 for checks that could not be converted into PAAT)
PAT
PAAT transactions (late October 2015 to current)

What is a combo code?

Combination codes, or combo codes, are used frequently in Commitment Accounting to add or update employee funding. A combo code is a number used to represent a specific chartfield string. You may use a combo code or enter each chartfield string individually on the ePAR or PAAT action to add funding.

How do I create a combo code?

  • When entering an ePAR or PAAT action, if a combo code doesn’t already exist, one will be created when you enter the chartfield attributes.
  • If you need a combo code for use in TIM that doesn’t already exist, you will need to submit a remedy ticket.

Should I use the same account number (or combo code) for all employees working on the same grant or activity?

The account used in Payroll is specific to the employee class, not a sponsored project. So when you are choosing (or creating) a combo code for an employee, you must be sure to use the appropriate account for that employee as established in the Empl Class Rules. And then unless the earn code itself is something that requires an override account (such as OVT, LON, B16, plus any deductions and taxes) then the override account should match the account in the chartfield / combo code. If an override account MUST be used, then the PAAT system will return an error message.

For example, the only allowable accounts that can be used in the chartfields / combo code in ePARs and PAAT for a Post Doc are:

  • 511170 EPA Non Teach Student Monthly
  • 513170 EPA Teach Student Monthly
  • 568770 Traineeships-Non Degree
  • 568780 Traineeships-Clinical Fellow
  • 511190 Suspense/Default Payroll Clear (please note – the 511190 account should only be used by the system as a default for when the normal funding sources could not be posted. This account should not be used as an intentional funding source by the ePAR or PAAT originator.)

If the transactions are normal salary for the post doc’s time spent working on a project/ activity as non-teaching effort, then the combo code would use account 511170. And if a Post Doc Trainee is being paid a stipend for their training, then the combo code would use account 568770.

A searchable list of all accounts can be found on the chartfield lookup.

Payroll publishes deadlines for the calendar year that include the payroll lockout date, payroll confirm dates, and payday. For campus users, actions have to be fully executed through workflow by noon on the payroll lockout date for the action to process in that particular payroll.

 

Human Resources also provides a processing calendar on the right side of this (http://hr.unc.edu/policies-procedures-systems/hr-systems-technical-support/) page which provides many details including Commitment Accounting (or CA) lockouts.

PAATS can be submitted at anytime EXCEPT during CA lockouts. Once fully approved, PAAT actions usually process daily at noon EXCEPT for the last two business days of the month.

Please note – users may not have access to the reports on this list, depending on the user’s role and/or the security designated to these reports.

Current Suspense Report

  • Location: ConnectCarolina > Main Menu > HR/Payroll Menu > Payroll Acct Adj. Tool (PAAT) > Current Suspense Charges
  • Description: A list of the suspense transactions (earnings + deductions + taxes) currently sitting in the department’s suspense that need to be resolved.
  • More info can be found in the Running Reports in PAAT Computer Based Training. See the Managing Payroll Suspense section.

Review Pending Transactions Report

  • Location: ConnectCarolina > Main Menu > HR/Payroll Menu > Payroll Acct Adj. Tool (PAAT) > Review Pending Transactions
  • Description: A list of all pending PAAT actions for a department, a school or MOU that have been entered but not submitted yet (“In Progress” status) or have been submitted but are awaiting approval (“Needs Approval” status.)
  • More info can be found in the “Running Reports in PAAT” Computer Based Training

Labor Expense Summary Report

  • Location: ConnectCarolina > HR WorkCenter > Labor Expense Summary
  • Location: Inforporte > HR > Payroll > PAAT > Labor & Expenses Summary
  • Description: View the final labor expenses posted for an employee, OSR project, chartfield, or pay date from payroll actuals, including retro distributions.
  • More information can be found in the “Running Reports in PAAT” Computer Based Training.

Funding End Date Notification Report

  • Location: TO BE RELEASED
  • Description: A report of the current funding sources for projects that have ended or are scheduled to end soon. The departments should submit the appropriate ePARs for the affected employees to move their payroll to new funding sources if the project truly is ended/ending or should work with their appropriate program administrators if the project is expected to be extended.

Payroll Accounting Report

Salary Funding Report

  • Location: TO BE RELEASED
  • Description: Shows the current and historical funding source information for an employee based on their executed ePARs. Does not include lump sum request information or retroactive payroll changes done via PAAT.

Suspense Analysis Report

  • Location: TO BE RELEASED
  • Description: Provides a cause and aging analysis of the transactions that are currently posted to the department’s suspense account. Analysis is based on the employee’s funding sources as established on the executed ePARs and may not include transactions retroactively posted to suspense via a PAAT action.

If you have any questions about Commitment or Labor Accounting, feedback on this webpage, or other general questions, please email CA_Payroll@unc.edu.