This How To provides a basic overview of journal vouchers (JVs), shares some tips about how to prevent JV entries from becoming temporarily diverted into “reject” status, and points to in-depth resources for further instruction on JV tools and processes.
What is a Journal Voucher?
A journal voucher is an accounting tool that enables administrators to track a wide range of transactions and assign costs and revenue to appropriate accounts. MIT has had a digital JV application since 2002. When first introduced, the application streamlined initial JV submission and reduced the amount of paper associated with particular types of transactions.
- See all Journal Voucher topics in the Atlas User Guide
- Review VPF rules governing Journal Vouchers
- Scan Journal Voucher FAQs
- Contact an expert on Journal Vouchers
- Share your feedback about Atlas
What can go wrong—helpful hints to avoid delays
Because auto-fill cannot anticipate every eventuality, we’ve assembled the following hints to help experienced JV users avoid unnecessary delays in the processing and approval of transactions.
- Transferring within the same project structure—If you are transferring costs within the same project structure (child to child, child to parent, or parent to child), you should indicate this on your JV.
- Transferring an unallowable cost from a sponsored cost object to a non-sponsored cost object—If you are transferring unallowable costs off a sponsored cost object to a non-sponsored cost object because the cost is deemed inappropriate to the sponsored cost object, you should indicate this on your JV.
- Meetings food & beverage—If you are transferring expenses relating to meetings food and beverage (typically G/L #421000), we recommend you select the “Expense (Cost) Transfer” category to create your JV. By selecting this option, the system will prompt you to provide the details needed to process the JV (e.g., attendees, purpose of the meeting).
- Memberships or subscriptions—If you are transferring expenses relating to memberships or subscriptions, we recommend you select the “Expense (Cost) Transfer” category to create your JV. By selecting this option, the system will prompt you to provide the details needed to process the JV (e.g., how does it benefit the project/cost object?).
- Invoices paid through Presumed Receipt—If you are transferring a cost that was processed without the approval of your department, lab, or center (DLC) (through MIT’s presumed receipt policy) and it is being transferred within the month it posted or the month after it posted, you should indicate this on your JV.
- Period of Availability—When transferring a cost, please be sure the cost you are transferring occurred within the period of availability of the cost object.
- Record Project Overrun—When recording a project overrun, you must use G/L (“general leger”) #420314 on both sides of the entry. The debit cannot be to a sponsored cost object.
- Partial Transfers—If you are making a partial transfer, you must explain how the distributed cost benefits each cost object being charged and how you determined the cost distribution (e.g., a sharing of expense between DLCs, use of an inventory cost object, proper cost object was not available at the time the expense was incurred).
- Swept credit card charges—You should move swept credit card charges (GL#420255) within 90 days.
- Over 90 days—Transfers beyond 90 days are highly scrutinized because they are not timely. For any JV that transfers an original transaction older than 90 days, you must provide an explanation for why the transfer was not completed on a timely basis.
- G/L Best Practices—The G/L account helps to classify an expense or revenue. You should only use the Materials & Services G/L for expenses that don’t fall into any other G/L category (such as payroll, equipment, or travel among others).