FAQs

General/Auxiliary Funds - Budgets

The following questions and answers were assembled to provide information to departments regarding how budgets will be managed in the SoarFin General Ledger. This document focuses on General and Auxiliary Fund Budgets (budgets with Fund Codes beginning with a 10, 12, or 13).

What are the different types of budgets in the SoarFin General Ledger?
The University of Southern Mississippi will utilize four types of budgets within the SoarFin General Ledger module: They include appropriation, organization, revenue estimates, and project/grant budgets. General and Auxiliary Funds will utilize the appropriation, organization, and revenue estimate budgets. Designated funds will utilize appropriation, revenue estimate, and project/grant budgets (depending on type of Designated Fund), and Restricted Funds will utilize project/grant budgets. This document will address budgeting only for General and Auxiliary Fund budgets.
Can a department review its budget online?

 

If departmental personnel have been to training, they can get a logon and password to the SoarFin General Ledger that will allow them to inquire online, view the status of their budgets, and see transactions that have been processed against the budget in real time. Departments will not be able to change their budget online. A Budget Revision Form with the appropriate approvals will need to be submitted to revise budgets.
How does a person get training and access to SoarFin?
Employees can sign up for SoarFin workshops at the following Web-site: https://soar.usm.edu/. For budget information, attend the SoarFin Financials workshop "View Budgets ." If you do not have your Soar password please contact the HelpDesk at 266-HELP.
What types of positions are budgeted in the salary and wage categories?
All fixed positions of the university will be budgeted in the salary category of the budget. Therefore, positions, other than miscellaneous pooled position funds, that were included in the wage and pooled position budget book reside in the budget book with all other positions. This means that exempt and nonexempt (monthly and biweekly paid) employees will be shown together. The only item that will remain in the wage and pooled position budget book will be the miscellaneous wage amount that departments use to pay student workers, overtime worked, temporary workers, and part-time faculty.
How are funds used that are budgeted in the categories called mandatory and nonmandatory transfers?
Departments may break out funds that are budgeted as transfers as either nonmandatory or mandatory. Mandatory transfer funds are committed for either debt service or grant matching requirements, and departments cannot freely use these funds, whereas nonmandatory transfer funds generally do not have restrictions. Funds budgeted in either of these categories can be transferred to other fund types, such as designated, restricted or plant funds.
Will departments have the flexibility to spend over in some categories as long as the total budget is not expended?
Yes. The university is utilizing the appropriation and organization budget features within SoarFin to accommodate this flexibility.
How will appropriation and organization budgets work in SoarFin?
A definition of an appropriation and organization budget in SoarFin will help explain these types of budgets. An appropriation is the highest level of budgeting in SoarFin. The term appropriation is a SoarFin term and should not be confused with the appropriations received by the University from the state of Mississippi. The appropriation budget is the controlling budget, and as long as funds are sufficient within the categories of the appropriation budget, a department will be able to process transactions. The appropriation budget will be displayed in two categories: Personal Services and Other. The Personal Services category will add salary (where all fixed positions, nonexempt and exempt will be budgeted) and fringe benefit categories together and the other category will combine the remaining categories of the operating budget together.

An organization budget can be linked to an existing appropriation budget or stand-alone. The organization budget will show budget categories at a more detailed level than that of an appropriation budget. Budgets will be displayed by the major categories: Salaries, Wages, Fringe Benefits, Travel, Contractual Services, Commodities, Equipment, Capital Outlay (library only), Purchases (auxiliary only), Mandatory Transfers, and Nonmandatory Transfers.

Does this mean a department will have two budgets?

 

Yes. For General and Auxiliary Fund budgets, there will be an organization budget linked to an appropriation budget. This does not mean the budget is doubled. It just means the budgets are linked, and they should equal each other in total. The only difference will be the level of detail.
Can you provide a visual illustration to demonstrate how these budgets will work?
Organization Budget
Major CategoriesBudgetPre-EncumberedEncumberedExpendedRemaining Budget
Salaries$100,000  $90,000$10,000
Wages10,000  9,0001,000
Fringe Benefits30,000  35,000-5,000
Travel5,0001,000 1,0003,000
Contractual Services5,000 2,0004,000-1,000
Commodities5,000  3,0002,000
Equipment0001,000-1,000
Totals$155,000$1,000$2,000$143,000$9,000
 
Related
  Appropriation Budget
Major CategoryBudgetPre-EncumberedEncumberedExpendedRemaining Budget
Personal Services$130,000  $125,000$5,000
Other25,0001,0002,00018,0004,000
Totals$155,000$1,000$2,000$143,000$9,000

NOTE: The Personal Services category is comprised of the budget categories of Salaries and Fringe Benefits. The Other category is comprised of all remaining budget categories. These categories include Wages, Travel, Contractual Services, Commodities, Equipment, Capital Outlay (library only), Mandatory Transfers, Nonmandatory Transfers, and Purchases (auxiliary only).

In this example, note that the department exceeded the budget amount for the Fringe Benefits and Contractual Services categories in the organization budget. In addition, this department did not even have funds budgeted in the Equipment category but had expenditures that were charged against that budget category. However, this is not a problem since the categories are combined in the appropriation budget, and the department still has sufficient funds in the related categories of Personal Services and Other.

The term budget checking is used in SoarFin. What does this term mean?
SoarFin utilizes the concept of controlled budgets. This feature is important for two reasons. First, a department should not spend money that is not budgeted. Second, the chart of accounts for the university can have numerous combinations across campuses. As such, by using the controlled budget feature, this will prevent invalid chart of account combinations from being improperly charged and keeps the financial system from having inaccurate information. Currently the controlled budget feature is used only to prevent transactions from being processed against an invalid budget or chart field combination. While the system has the capability to stop transactions that exceed budgeted amounts, this functionality is currently not being used. As such, departments can spend more than is budgeted.
Revenue estimate budgets were mentioned earlier. Do departments need to be concerned about this type of budget?
No. Departments should not be concerned about developing revenue estimates for General Fund budgets. The Office of Fiscal Planning and Analysis will develop these estimates. The revenue estimate budget for the auxiliary funds will equal total related expenditures, and should be taken into consideration during the budget and planning process.
How do I find out what my department's budget chart field string is?
The Office of Fiscal Planning and Analysis prints the SoarFin budget chart field information consisting of the Fund, DeptID, and Program, as well as the HR DeptID (ten (10)-digits beginning with a letter representing the campus location followed by 9 numbers) in the Annual Operating Budget.

All other transactions, such as requisitions, procurement card vouchers, remittance vouchers, travel vouchers, and centrally processed interdepartmental invoices should use the entire chart field values of Fund, DeptID, and Program.

Whom do I contact if I have further questions?

 Questions concerning General/Auxiliary Fund Budgets should be directed to: Office of Fiscal Planning and Analysis -(601) 266-4091 or budgets@usm.edu