Supporting a Journal Entry

Supporting a Journal Entry

Providing appropriate support for a financial transaction is an essential element of internal control. There are two methods for supporting a journal entry:

Supporting Documentation

Journal entries affecting a Sponsored Project/Grant (with an initial fund code of 20000 or 25000) require submission of supporting documentation to Sponsored Programs. Journal entries not affecting a Sponsored Project/Grant will not require hard copy supporting documentation unless your department's internal controls require such support. It is highly recommended (required for Sponsored Programs) that supporting documents are added to the University’s Imaging system by attaching them to the journal before it is posted. Supporting documentation could consist of copies of a Statement of Activity (SOA) or SOA Voucher Detail Expense Report, and/or a memo requesting or explaining the transaction.

Help Tip:

For journal entries transferring a charge that originally appeared on an SOA more than 120 days prior to the journal entry date, Sponsored Programs requires an additional explanation for the delay in correcting the error. It is also recommended to include an explanation for transfers of charges outside of the current fiscal year for non-Sponsored Programs journals.

Journal Entry Descriptions

All journal entries are required to be supported by a complete description. The descriptions should be complete enough for its review and approval. There are 2 types of descriptions:

  • Journal Header Description (254 character maximum)
  • Journal Line Descriptions (30 character maximum)

The journal description (or long description) should completely describe the transaction being processed and should indicate why the journal entry is necessary. The text of the description should contain:

  • What is being transferred/corrected
  • Where it is being transferred
  • Why the original transaction(s) was incorrect
  • A reference to applicable supporting documentation
Help Tip:

To view the Journal Header Description for a particular journal entry, open the Journal Entry in M-Pathways, or run the "FN03 JrnlDetail Journal Detail by Journal ID and Date" report from the Public Folder UM-Maintained-Financial documents in Business Objects.


When creating a journal entry, it is recommended to use one of the following keywords to identify the type of journal entry:

Use when moving revenues or expenses to a different ChartField combination.

Use when correcting erroneous ChartField values.

Use when correcting erroneous account values.

Use when reversing a previous journal entry that was created in error.

Use when moving only part of an original SOA line item.

Journal Line Descriptions

Line descriptions provide additional information related specifically to individual journal lines. In addition, each line description must relate to the journal header description. The length of a journal line description cannot exceed 30 characters (including spaces).

The following guidance is provided to assist with preparing journal line descriptions:

Action Code + Original Transaction Reference + SOA Date + Miscellaneous

Action Codes

Action codes identify the type of journal entry correction. The commonly used action codes are:

Action Code Purpose
Use to transfer an individual transaction between ChartField combinations.
Use when correcting an error in the original transaction's ChartField values.
Use when correcting the account value of the original transaction, where the other ChartFields remain the same.
Use when correcting a previously posted journal entry that was created in error.
Use when moving only part of an original SOA line item.

Original Transaction Reference

The original transaction reference should be the Journal ID.

SOA Date

The month and year the original journal entry appeared on the Statement of Activity (SOA).


The miscellaneous section of the journal line description is optional, but is very useful for your department's SOA reconcilers. It provides another level of detail for tracking transactions. Common examples of miscellaneous information include:

  • Voucher ID
  • Department reference codes
  • ShortCodes
  • Travel Identifiers