Type of Policy
Policy No
Effective Date
Review Date
Policy Owner
Accounts Payable
Contact Name
Laura Jamison
Contact Title
Accounts Payable Manager
Contact Email
Policy Statement

Beginning with the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001, Georgia Tech adopted a new policy regarding the accounting for open purchase orders at fiscal year-end. Both state and non-state orders remain encumbered obligations of the budget year in which the orders are placed. This reserves monies to pay for the orders and at the same time it allows the Institute to account for funding in accordance with state appropriation guidelines (i.e., the funding is an obligation of the year in which the order is placed, not the year the obligation is paid).

(Note that prior to June 30, 2001, the Institute “expensed” open state funded purchase orders to obligate funding. This facilitated state budgetary reporting, but it was a violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This variance from GAAP was noted in the Institute’s annual audit. Under the new practice, this disclaimer to our financial statements will be removed.)

To better understand how the new process works, know that each purchase order placed is associated with two different “year” designations. One of these is the “budget year”. This maps expenses and encumbrances to the state’s/BOR’s approved budget for Georgia Tech. The second designation is “fiscal year”. This indicator tracks expenses for GAAP (as opposed to budget) reporting. Most management reports developed for the campus track to the “budget year” automatically, since the budget is the primary management tool in place to control spending. In most instances, the budget and fiscal years are the same for a procurement transaction; however, for carry forward orders the encumbrance and expense will be reported as obligations of the old budget year, not the current budget year.


For prior budget year orders, units should approve invoices for payment once goods are received and forward the approved invoices to Accounts Payable (AP). AP will make payment to the vendor using the prior year funding. If insufficient funding is available on the prior year order to pay the invoice, a new distribution line using the same accounting information will be added for the overage in the current budget year. If there is a remaining balance of state funds on a prior budget year purchase order after all invoices have been paid, they will be lapsed to the Institute’s unreserved fund balance (surplus). This lapsed funding is not available to the unit. If there are remaining non-state funds available on a prior budget year order after all invoices have been paid, it will be released from the budget year obligated and moved to the current budget year as available funds.

There are reports available in the Institute's Financial System for campus management to review procurement activity and funding availability. The reports recommended for prior budget year procurement management are the Open Obligation Campus - CR Report (formerly Open Encumbrance Campus - CR) and the Open Obligation by Company - CR Report. If you need assistance running reports, please forward a request for help via https://gatech.service-now.com/home.

Policy for Lapsing
Orders for sponsored sub-agreements and construction contracts may span two years without justification. Other purchase orders should be completed no later than the year following the year in which the order was placed, unless justified.