By Brett Kenney, University Cash Manager and Keyana Kimbrough, Accountant, Accounting Services
The Notorious B.I.G., Mase, and Sean Combs had it right when they rapped “the more money we come across the more problems we see” in their 1997 hit, “Mo Money Mo Problems”. Many departments may feel the same way as the “mo money” they come across, the “mo problems” they see, especially when it comes to utilizing cash advances to make payments to study subjects, or hosting field trips or foreign visitors.
At the end of fiscal year 2023, the University had $860,431.65 worth of cash advances that were older than 90 days and still needed reconciliation.
Reconciliation is the process of comparing transactions and activity to supporting documentation to verify that funds have been used accordingly. In our system for cash advances, this also includes moving the advance off the cash advance account and onto the final expense account to show that the cash advance was utilized to pay for study subject participation.
For example, if a University employee received a cash advance for $500.00 to make payments to study subjects and provided documentation that they expended all the money for that purpose, then they, or their finance staff, should submit a cash advance journal entry to move the advance from the cash advance account 113920 or 559510 to the study subject payment expense account 523150. This clears the advance and gives the University a better idea of how much money we have paid to study subjects to further our research and to provide more accurate financial reporting at the end of the fiscal year.
Cash Advances are a tool available to the University’s staff for limited, exceptional activities. Departments request a cash advance by submitting a campus voucher, which is paid directly to the University employee’s bank account.
Obtaining the cash and making the expenditure is critical to conduct University business, oftentimes departments overlook the last, all-important step of reconciliation. If an advance is not reconciled in a timely manner, the University has the authority to garnish those funds from the employee’s paycheck.
Departments can check the status of their cash advances by looking at their balances on 113920 and 559510 in Infoporte. You may need to ask ITS to entitle these accounts so you may view it. Additionally, there are queries in ConnectCarolina, NC_GL_OPN_ITEM_DET and NC_GL_OPN_ITEM_SUM that can show your department’s outstanding cash advances. Again, you may need to ask ITS staff to entitle you to view these queries.
Finance and Operations will work with departments to ensure all their advances are reconciled. Department Managers should also look to see if an employee has any outstanding advances before they leave university employment. If you have any questions or if you want to receive a report on your open cash advances, please email Cash_Management@unc.edu.