’You say goodbye and I say hello’
FM analysts prepare you for fiscal year-end close
Originally Published in Statewise Summer 2009
by Barbara Neyens and Joni Sager
Forget Dick Clark and the Times Square disco ball — the real new year begins Sept. 1, at least for those of us in the fiscal management world. But kicking off the new fiscal year requires more than just party hats, confetti and a really great band.
Before you can begin fiscal 2010, you have to close out all of the financial, personnel and property transactions for fiscal 2009. The processes differ depending on what systems you use, and it all may seem overwhelming. Never fear, the motto of Fiscal Management (FM) Division experts on hand to help you is "We Can Work It Out."
FM analysts may not be cultural icons like The Beatles on Abbey Road, but they can make you feel like a star. Pictured from left to right: Gary Bryant, Al Kruzel, Eva Jordan and Irene Lee.
"The Long and Winding Road"
Everybody needs the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS) to write the state’s checks, deposit revenue collections and monitor appropriation budgets. Because what USAS does is so complex, the year-end close process starts early — June in fact.
In June, the Financial Reporting section (FRS) sends out reports on how agency profiles are set up in USAS. This gives you the opportunity to make modifications and inactivate profiles that shouldn't roll over. For all the details, see the USAS Profile Review and Cleanup Procedures manual.
The goal is to achieve correct reporting at all levels that adheres to generally accepted accounting principles. In the year-end close profile rollover programs, the targeted profiles must meet certain criteria to be created for the next year. If profiles do not meet the rollover criteria, you must manually create the profiles for the new fiscal year.
"You should review the procedures manual along with the related reports," says FRS manager Irene Lee. "Please call your assigned financial reporting analyst with any questions."
The Appropriation Control section also gets in on the fiscal year-end close act. "Any Time at All" is not the song Section Manager Joe Pacheco would sing to advise agencies on when to prepare for year-end close. In fact, he says:
- Keep your appropriation accounts accurate. Don’t wait until year-end close to make correcting entries.
- Get your budgets in as soon as possible so they can go through the approval process. Don't wait until the last minute.
USAS fiscal year-end close also requires the talents of Gary Bryant, manager of the Fiscal Analysis section. Bryant is the stage manager who coordinates year-end close activities with other FM groups and the USAS technical team.
Bryant has a tip to keep you from singing "I Should Have Known Better." He says, "Continue to schedule critical payments in USAS during the year-end close timeline. The unavailability of USAS is not a valid reason for violating the prompt payment law, and you are on the hook for interest on late payments."
On the last business day of the fiscal year, Bryant monitors the system to make sure documents are where they should be and are processing normally. Then, after the system has run through its usual daily cycle, he runs the sweep cycles that automatically transfer certain funds from agency books to the state’s General Revenue fund. The USAS technical team takes over from there, rolling forward the financial tables to the new year and creating extracts and reports for the previous fiscal year.
Then you can say "Good Morning, Good Morning" to fiscal 2010 in USAS.
"Money (That's What I Want)"
You also need an application to keep track of employee information and process payrolls so everyone gets paid. Since agencies vary in size and complexity, FM offers three options to accomplish these tasks:
- Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System (USPS)
- Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System (SPRS)
- Human Resources Information System (HRIS)
The Statewide Human Resources and Payroll Assistance (SHRPA) team is there when you call "Help!" Users have 19 SHRPA team members available to answer questions. But with 119 state agencies using USPS and SPRS, that means a flood of phone calls and emails during fiscal year-end close.
Becky Luedtke is one of the SHRPA team members who handles USPS and SPRS questions and assists agencies with the fiscal year-end process. There are four training classes in August for USPS agencies on the procedures they need to follow. USPS users also have a manual on the process.
SPRS agencies don't have as many instructions, but completing the process is just as crucial to the agencies' operations. Agencies shouldn’t run their September payrolls until the year-end close is complete. This can add to the sense of urgency that agency personnel feel when they are working through the process.
"Agencies call to ask why something hasn’t run or if they have trouble with the system," says Luedtke. "Often, they just need someone to walk through the process with them."
Her advice is to "Come Together" for a successful fiscal year-end close:
- For USPS, attend training and/or read the USPS Fiscal Year-End Close Manual.
- Also for USPS, schedule a meeting with all those involved in the rollover process and set deadlines for receiving information required for mass changes in organization codes, position numbers, PCA/index codes, etc.
- For SPRS, follow SPRS Fiscal Year-End Processing Instructions for the Rollover (FPP O.002).
"Tell Me Why"
That covers USPS and SPRS, but whither HRIS, the system for institutions of higher education?
Eva Jordan, who oversees HRIS in SHRPA, explains that this system doesn't require complicated year-end close procedures. "The old fiscal year just fades off into the sunset," Jordan says. "In HRIS, the focus is on the new fiscal year."
This is due to a fundamental difference in the way higher education institutions operate. The Texas Education Code requires all faculty members to be reappointed to their positions each year. In essence, this means every job in HRIS terminates on the last day of the fiscal year and must be re-created on the first day of the new fiscal year.
And since HRIS is a reporting system in which transactions are submitted 30 days after the effective date, the flurry of activity that accompanies the fiscal new year is delayed one month.
"In fact, 70 percent of all HRIS personnel transactions have a Sept. 1 date," says Jordan. "Everyone else is running around at the end of August, but we will be running around at the end of September."
"You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)"
"The Continuing Story of ..." not Bungalow Bill but state governmental accounting fiscal year-end close also includes the State Property Accounting (SPA) system that tracks state assets ranging from computers to real estate. This centralized system of agency property records monitors what the state owns and helps assure that state property is properly maintained.
Al Kruzel puts in a "Hard Day’s Night" as part of the FRS team for SPA. He says, "The physical inventory required by statute may be the most time-intensive task to complete before SPA fiscal year-end close. Remember that state inventory tags must include a unique ID and ownership identity."
After the final SPA processing cycle prior to the year-end closeout, SPA will accept both fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010 transactions for a set period of time. The cutoff date to close the system for entry is different for simplified or full-reporting agencies. Check SPA Year-End Close – Processing Activities for the schedule.
The effective date is the key factor used to determine if the transaction is recognized as fiscal 2009 or 2010. The transfer date and disposal date represent implied effective dates. SPA will not accept an effective date greater than the current date.
When you deem the capital asset reconciliation complete, request fiscal 2009 activity be closed for entry.
"With a Little Help From My Friends"
Luedtke had a final suggestion that applies to all the systems: "Be sure to keep up with FMX where current information relevant to the fiscal year-end process is posted. It’s always a good idea to check the website every few days to stay updated on pertinent issues."
There is no need to break up over fiscal year-end issues. You don’t have to "Carry That Weight" alone. With help from your FM contacts, it’s "Getting Better" all the time.
For more information
USAS fiscal year-end close or other questions
USPS, SPRS or HRIS fiscal year-end close or other questions
SPA fiscal year-end close or other questions
Contact your assigned SPA representative.