Supporting Documentation Guidelines for Journal Entries

Providing appropriate supporting materials for a financial transaction is an essential element of internal control. Proper documentation gives Journal Approvers adequate detail to ensure a transaction is reasonable and accurate, and helps to satisfy audit requirements.

While many journal entries are created through automatic processes, several types of journal entries are created manually. When manually creating journal entries in PeopleSoft, Journal Preparers must include the following two types of supporting information.

1. Journal Entry Descriptions

All journal entries must contain clear and concise descriptions. Descriptions should be complete enough for journal review and approval. Two types of descriptions are required for all journal entries:

  • Journal Header Description (also referred to in PeopleSoft as Long Description) describes the overall journal entry
  • Journal Line Descriptions describe each transaction line
2. Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation consists of source documents, supportive calculations, and/or other items necessary to substantiate the accuracy and appropriateness of a journal entry. Supporting documentation must be attached and available at the time the Journal Preparer submits the journal entry for approval.

Relevant supporting materials vary based on the type and purpose of a journal. Use the following guidelines to ensure journal submissions include appropriate supporting documentation for the most commonly prepared journal types.

Supporting Documentation Guidelines by Journal Source Code
Source Code 320 - Cash Receipt 535 - Financial Journal 545 - Sponsored Research Regular Cost Transfer
Purpose Used to record receipt of cash and checks from third parties for non-sponsored funds and projects Used to record non-payroll adjustments or to correct chartfields for non-sponsored funds and projects Used to transfer expenses between chartstrings when the source or target is a sponsored project
Journal Header Description guidelines
  • Clearly state whether the payment is for reimbursement, refund, or agency fund
  • Always include the cash receipt/deposit date

Indicate why the journal entry is necessary or what the entry is attempting to accomplish.

  • Examples of information to provide in journal descriptions include:
    • the purpose or nature of the transaction
    • a reference to applicable supporting documentation
  • For corrections, indicate what is being corrected and why the original transaction was incorrect
  • For transfers, indicate where the transfer is coming from and/or going to, for example:
    • Transfer from UCSF Health to School of Medicine
    • Transfer from project A to project B
    • FY18 support for Clinical Research nurse from Medical Center - March 2018 (click thumbnail for image)
      Example of Journal Header Description

Enter a description that adequately describes the purpose of the transfer.

  • Explanations indicating the cost transfer is intended to "correct an error" are considered incomplete, and additional information plus documentation is required
Journal Line Description guidelines

Must begin with the date of the transaction (mm/dd/yy) followed by the transaction type, e.g.

  • Deposits (date on deposit slip): 05/08/17 Deposit
  • Lockbox: 05/08/17 LBCR
  • ACH: 05/08/17 ACH, Customer Name
  • Wire: 05/08/17 Wire, Customer Name
Must be a clear and concise description of each transaction line Must be a clear and concise description of each transaction line
Required supporting documentation

Attached documentation should support the amounts within the journal and the chartstring used.

  • Attach all documentation before submitting the journal
  • Attach deposit slip(s) or lockbox deposit notification
  • Daily Cash, ACH & Wires Report (MyAccess login required)
  • Any relevant backup document

Attached documentation should support amounts within the journal and the chartstrings used.

  • Attach all documentation before submitting the journal
  • Examples of attachments include:
    • Net Position reports
    • excerpts from agreements or arrangements
    • correspondence with details of the transaction and purpose
    • approvals from management for the sharing of costs

For all Cost Transfers:

  • Attach all documentation before submitting the journal
  • Transaction Detail Report or other financial reports that show the credit side of the transactions
  • For expenses being allocated to more than one Award Project, an attachment showing the methodology for determining the allocation should be provided as federal guidelines require the methodology to be "proportionate to the benefit derived"

Additional Attachments For Late Cost Transfers:

  • Late Cost Transfer Exception Policy Request Form
  • You must complete Attachment E tab on the journal
    • Approvals from the PI and departmental approver are required
    • Question 2 must justify the reason the for lateness (Note that approval for an exception to the policy will generally NOT be granted for administrative oversight, staff shortage, staff turnover, staff workload, or late reconciliations of GL accounts.)
  • Include any other supporting documents that are applicable to the late cost transfer (i.e., budget)
  • Redact all personal and/or sensitive information on checks, such as address or account number(s)
  • Prepare and submit the journal entry within 5 business days of a cash deposit
  • Departmental and Control Point approvals must be completed by the second business day of the following month to allow for Controller's Office review and approvals
  • Avoid using account 57815 Miscellaneous Expenses to record cash deposits
  • Avoid combining deposits into one line as it hinders our ability to automate the matching of the journal lines (e.g., for account 10110) to the bank statements:    (click thumbnail for image)
  • Provide an explanation if the signs are unusual. Cash deposits are usually debits; for entries where the amounts are credits, please provide an explanation to substantiate: (click thumbnail for image)
  • Prepare journals for the month in which the deposit occurred. For example, the journal below for a deposit on 08/02/18 should be recorded in August rather than July: (click thumbnail for image)

Redact personal sensitive or confidential information, such as personal identification or account numbers and loan information: (click thumbnail for image)

  • All sponsored research regular cost transfer journals in PeopleSoft must use Source Code 545
  • Source Code 545 journals cannot be used to transfer:

    • Non-Sponsored Financial Activity – See the job aids Financial Journals (Source Code 535) and Recharge Journals (Source Code 555)
    • Payroll Expenses initiated in UCPath - Salary Cost Transfer Initiators use the UCPath Direct Retro process to transfer payroll expenses
    • General, Automobile, Employee Liability (GAEL), and Data Connectivity charges are a function of payroll expenditures and will be moved systematically as payroll costs are moved
    • Equipment purchases greater than $5,000 – Contact Capital Accounting for direction
  • Redact all personal and/or sensitive information in supporting documentation
For more information

All journals are created in PeopleSoft by a Journal Preparer and approved by a Journal Approver. Journal Preparers and Approvers are designated by their department and must complete training before they are provisioned their role in PeopleSoft. Not all Source Codes are available to all PeopleSoft Journal Preparers and Approvers. Read Understanding Journals to learn more about journals, including how to become a PeopleSoft Journal Preparer or Approver. Review Moving Money and Using PeopleSoft Journals for more detailed information once your PeopleSoft journal access has been approved.

If you have additional questions, please contact: