Create Agency Journals

Agency Journals are a type of Actuals Journal used to record University transactions involving one or more agency chart strings. In NUFinancials, agency refers to an external organization with a chart string inside the University Chart of Accounts. Examples are Academic Journals, the Alumni Association, sororities, fraternities, and student organizations. NU holds an agency's funds in NU bank accounts to ease the agency's administrative burden.

If you are interacting or doing business with a student organization, contact the Student Organization Financial Office (SOFO) or the Chicago Organization Financial Office (COFO) for the chart string required for the Agency Journal.


Navigate to the NU Actuals Journals

Select the Agency Journal from the list of actuals journals

Consider this scenario. The Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) has an agency chart string inside the University Chart of Accounts, and the bank account is held by the University. The NAA uses the Norris Center for a catered lunch for the Board of Trustees during an NAA Leadership Symposium. The Norris Center charges the NAA $3000.00 with the Agency Journal, instead of collecting a cash or check from the NAA.

You may click Create Journal instead of Create Journal Via Wizard if you would like all data entry on one page.

Graphic: the NUPortal, Accounting tab, with the Actuals Journal Creation section on display

  1. Select Agency Journal.
  2. Click Create Journal via Wizard.

Result: the journal appears in a new window (below).

Step 1: Check the journal date

The Journal Date determines the accounting period in which the journal will post. The default is today\0x2019s date and the current period. You may backdatethe journal only if the prior period is still open. This may be the case during the first few days of each month. For example, in early September, you may change the Journal Date to August 30th. Do so only if the journal truly belongs with the prior month\0x2019s financial activity. You may future-date the journal to fall within an accounting period that is not yet open and extend the time to gather approvals. If you do, the journal will not post until the period opens.

Click Close to exit and close the journal without saving it in the system.

Graphic: page one of the Agency Journal Wizard

  1. Enter the Journal Date.
  2. Click Next. Result: Step 2 appears.

Step 2: Confirm the purpose and enter a description

Journal Purpose Options

Click Previous to navigate to the prior page.

Graphic: page two of the Agency Journal Wizard

  1. Confirm the Journal Purpose is New Agency Journal.
  2. Explain the reason for the journal in the Reason/Description field.
  3. Click Next. Page three appears.
Journal Rules

At the top of Step 3 are Journal Rules that provide guidance for completing the journal.

  1. At least one line of the journal must have an Agency chart string with a Fund in the 7XX series.
  2. Allowable account codes are External Revenue accounts in the 40000 series and Other Expense accounts in the 70000 series. The journal may record agency revenue or agency expenses.
  3. Workflow includes approval levels for projects and departments, as applicable, and a final level for Accounting Services. AGYs containing grant chart strings are also routed to Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Projects (ASRSP).
  4. If you are correcting a prior Agency Journal, refer to Correct an Agency Journal for help on that topic.
  5. Debits and credits on the journal must balance.

Finally, rules 6 and 7 make it possible for non-accountants to use the journal successfully.

  1. Use Rule 6 to increase accounts.
  2. Use Rule 7 to decrease accounts.
    •   Expense refers to accounts in the 70000 series.
    •   Revenue refers to accounts in the 40000 series.
Graphic: the Journal Rules section of the agency journal

Step 3: Enter the NU department's information

In this scenario, the Norris Center is an NU department interacting with an agency, the Alumni Association. In such cases, it may be a good practice to place the department in line 1 of the journal and the agency in line 2.

Graphic: Line 1 of the agency journal

  1. Enter the NU department base chart string.
  2. In this scenario, enter an external revenue account code in the 40000 series.
  3. In this scenario, enter the increase in revenue with a negative sign (credit).
    • Note: You are following Rule 6 To increase revenue, enter a negative amount (credit).

Step 4: Enter the agency organization's information

You may identify the agency organization(s) in subsequent lines of the journal. In this example, the agency is a buyer of space and services from the Norris Center, so the account code is an expense account in the 70000 series.

Graphic: Line 2 of the agency journal

  1. Click Insert. Result: Line 2 appears.
  2. Enter the agency organization's base chart string.
  3. In this scenario, enter an Other Expense account code in the 70000 series.
  4. In this scenario, enter the increase in expenses with a positive sign (debit).
    • Note: You are following Rule 6 To increase expenses, enter a positive amount (debit).

Step 5: Attach supporting documents

You may attach scanned electronic documents, if required from Approvers, for the transaction. For example, you may attach a bill, if it is part of normal business procedures.

Graphic: the attachment feature of the actuals journal
  1. Click Attach. Result: The File Attachment dialog appears.
  2. Click Browse. Result: A browser appears that enables you to locate the scanned file on your computer.
  3. Browse to and select the scanned file.
  4. Click Open > Upload. Result: The document is attached and the file name appears (as shown above).
  5. You may click View to see the document in a new window and verify.

Step 6: Validate the journal

Now you may validate the journal.

Graphic: the Totals section of the actuals journal

  1. Click Next. Result: NUFinancials performs two validations and displays the results (below).
    •   A 10-digit Journal ID is assigned to the transaction after the journal is saved.
    •   NUFinancials confirms that the chart string has a budget. If so, Budget Status is valid. If not, Budget Status is Error.
    •   NUFinancials evaluates the journal and the chart string itself. If the journal is valid and the chart string properly formed, Journals Status is Valid. If not, Journal Status is Error.
    •   Refer to Troubleshooting Actuals Journals for help with Error statuses.

Step 7: Submit the journal to workflow

After you submit the journal into workflow, approvers can see and act upon the journal.

Graphic: page four of the Agency Journal Wizard

  1. If Journal Status and Budget Status are Valid, click Submit to Workflow. Result: A confirmation message appears (below).


Graphic: the confirmation page of the agency journal

  1. Click Close to dismiss the new window that opened when you started the journal. OR
  2. Click Search Page to lookup the journal with your NetID.


Start on the NUPortal or in NUFinancials by selecting the journal type Agency Journal.

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