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Business Rules Governing Journal Vouchers

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Submission to VPF

Governing the use of journal documents are guidelines or rules for their submission to VPF. These include:

  • Only VPF may make changes to Employee Benefit, Allocation, Salary, and Overhead accounts.
  • VPF reviews journal documents that have certain G/L or cost objects. Rejected journal documents are returned to the originator's Workflow Inbox for modification or deletion.
  • Only completed parked journal documents are posted (or reviewed and then posted).

Not allowed

  • Posting to cost objects with termination code 2 or 3
  • Posting salary G/L accounts to cost objects with calc code 2 (e.g., fabricated equipment)
  • Posting payroll, travel, or property G/L accounts to document type SI journal documents

Entry reminders

  • Posting keys (when creating a JV in SAPgui only):
    • 40 = debit
    • 50 = credit
  • Document date:
    Must be within the cost object's begin and end date.
    • Atlas requires the document date to be within one day after the cost object begin date and one day before the end date.

Required before VPF can post

  • A completed parked journal document with:
    • A zero balance
    • Line item text (DTR text) and Extra Text with the justification
  • If the G/L account is property, a PO number is required in the line item text (column I in the JV upload).
  • If the G/L account is under recovery (800703-800704, 490318-490321, 420316), a WBS element (the WBS that incurred the F&A underrecovery) is required in the Allocation field (column J in the JV upload)
  • Only one cost object is allowed for each line item. You are not allowed to assign a line item to more than one cost center, internal order or WBS element.
  • Certain types of cost objects will not allow the use of certain types of G/L accounts.
  • Within a journal document, the balance of salaries/wages must equal zero.
  • The balance of under-recovery re-classifications in/out must equal zero.
  • No SAP errors

Operational Functionality

  • JV document types
    • Use the document type SA during fiscal year periods 1-12 
    • Use the document type FY during the closing periods 13-16
  • WBS elements for Sponsored Activity (research or fund-sponsored) cannot be used on FY documents.
  • Line item text is required for document types SA and SI.
  • Use the document type SI for internal providers. Payroll, travel, property and transfers are not allowed on SI JVs.
  • An explanation is required for document type SA.
  • If the JV has been compiled successfully, the originator of the JV is notified that either:
    • JV was sent for further approval.
    • JV was posted immediately.

Compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Government Regulations

Activity requiring either operational or compliance review will be forwarded to the appropriate office in VPF. Compliance approval is associated with complying with generally accepted accounting principles and government regulations. Operational approval is associated with the need to have a review for data integrity requirements.

Compliance Approval Required

A compliance review determines whether the journal voucher complies with government regulations and generally accepted accounting principles, e.g., journal vouchers to sponsored research accounts.

Operational Approval Required

An operational review entails ensuring internal MIT data integrity, e.g., property, payroll, and travel vouchers.

Required Information

The following information is required for specific types of Journal Vouchers.

Reclassification of charges

All re-classifications must be appropriate for the cost object or GL account being charged. If the cost object (usually a sponsored WBS element) or GL account (payroll, equipment, or travel, for example) is subject to budget restrictions or other special rules, the reclassification must be in compliance with these restrictions or other special rules.

Documents involving the reclassification of a charge to a federally sponsored cost object must provide the following information:

  • A description of the error and charges
  • Original document number
  • How it occurred
  • How it was discovered
  • Why it was not reclassified on a timely basis, if the correction is submitted more than 90 days after the original document.

Journal vouchers that alleviate an overrun require all relevant documentation to substantiate the entries.

Journal vouchers that alleviate an overrun in a sponsored project by assigning the overrun to a cost center or internal order supported by the Institute's budget or fund must use the G/L account 420314, Recorded Project overrun - No O/H. This is necessary to preserve the Research Base as required by Federal regulations.


Journal vouchers for internal meetings must include the following:

  • location, date, purpose
  • agenda
  • list of participants

Post any related alcohol charges to the G/L account 421205, alcoholic beverages.

Travel, equipment, and other fixed assets

Journal vouchers charging travel, equipment, or other fixed asset accounts must follow the Institute's underrecovery, travel, and capitalization policies.

  • Travel: Must provide the trip number that the travel office assigns and the charges must be consistent with the original charges.
  • Equipment: The Property office generates a report to validate compliance with MIT policy and assigns an MIT property number. Documents must reference the Purchase Order for the equipment purchased.
  • F&A Under-recovery: For proper reporting of Institute, school, and DLC under-recovery, funding documents must reference the WBS element incurring the under-recovery.

Journal Vouchers Workflow

The following are activities that require approval by VPF


Approval required for:

  • All Journal vouchers for self-deposit checks
  • The following Cashier G/L accounts:
    • 100530: Cashier Deposit
    • 100100-100563: Cash - various


Approval required for:

  • All current year payroll charges are processed through the payroll subsystem.
  • The following Payroll G/L accounts:
    • 400005 - 400899: Payroll - various
    • 490100 - 490103: Payroll - various


Approval required for:

  • 420065: Travel Advance & Tickets
  • 422070: Foreign Travel - for approval with WBS elements only

Reclassifications involving non-recoverable costs

Approval required for:

  • Review of costs charged to a specific unallowable G/L account (object code) within an otherwise allowable Institute cost object (cost center, internal order, or WBS element) based on the initial G/L selection of the individual initiating the charge.
  • The following unallowable G/L accounts based on government regulations:
    • 420166: Entertainment
    • 420302: Promotional Items & Memorabilia
    • 420318: Recreation Related Expenses
    • 421000: Meetings - Food & Beverages
    • 421205: Alcoholic Beverages
    • 421584: Membership and Social


Approval required for:

  • Any activities involving WBS accounts.

G/L Account Selection Tables

G/L account number 100530

For document types SA, cost objects (cost center, internal order, or WBS element) are not required for G/L account number 100530.

G/L account numbers between 400000-499999 or 800000-899999 or any combination

G/L account numbers between 400000-499999 or 800000-899999 or any combination require a cost center or internal order or WBS element. Each line item must have one assignment to complete the entry.

  • For entries with posting key 40 (debit):
    • The G/L account numbers require either cost center, internal order or WBS element.
  • For entries with posting key 50 (credit):
    • Either cost center or internal order is required but not WBS element.

Reference Guide

Reference guides and documentation sets

Last Modified:

December 10, 2016

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