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Glossary of Financial Terms

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AASB / Australian Accounting Standards Board

The AASB issues Accounting Standards which Australian companies and organisations must follow in maintaining its books of account and in preparing its financial statements.


An Australian Business Number is a number allocated by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC ) to identify registered businesses.  A company or individual will have only one ABN. If a business charges or claims GST they must have an ABN and quote it on tax invoices. 


Also Referred to as "GL Account Code".  Every transaction which relates to income or expenditure is coded to an account as it is entered into NS Financials. Click here to see a list of all GL Account Codes.

Accounting Period

Accounting periods as set out on the UNSW Financial Calendar.

Accounting Standard

A document issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) which presecribes the accounting treatment which must be followed by an organisation or company established in Australia for a particular event, transaction or arrangement.


Accrual accounting refers to the accounting basis whereby transactions are brought to account as they are earned or inclurred (not necessarily when cash is received or paid) and included in the financial statements for the accounting periods to which they relate.

ACGR / Australian Competitive Grants Register

The Australian Competitive Grants Register lists qualifying, nationally competitive research schemes.  For full details for inclusion in the ACGR are listed on

Acquisition Assets

Services or goods that have been acquired means they have been purchased by the organization.  Alternatively they may have been obtained (acquired) by way of a donation or have been bequeathed.


Acquitting something is to discharge it.  Having received an advance (say to go to a conference) the process of acquittal is reporting how the money was spent.  Receipts are provided as part of the acquittal process.

ADB / Average Daily Balancing

An NS Financials term, Average Daily Balancing is a process that is run in the NS Financials general ledger.  By obtaining average daily balances it enables UNSW to obtain its financial position on a regular basis (as opposed to waiting until month end).

ADFA / Australian Defence Force Academy 

The Australian Defence Force Academy which is based in Canberra is part of UNSW.


The Australian equivalents to international financial reporting standards - in other words, the Australian accounting standards, based on international financial reporting standards (IFRS) but with various, mostly minor, amendments, by the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

AM / Asset Management

AM refers to the Asset Management Module in NS Financials.  The AM module incorporates numerous tasks that can be done using NS Financials e.g. depreciating an asset, search for an asset, add or maintain an asset etc


Apportioning the cost of a non physical (intangible) asset over the period in which benefit is obtained through the use or availability of the asset.


ANZ refers to Australia and New Zealand Banking Corporation. The UNSW currently uses ANZ for all of its banking needs.

AP / Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable has several meanings:
-  It can refer to the Accounts Payable Module in NS Financials
-  We also refer to the Accounts Payable team as AP
-  Sometimes an account We must pay (or debt) is referred to as an Accounts Payable.  the supplier or vendor We owe money to is also referred to as a creditor


A person referred to as a Financial Delegate who has the authority to perform approval of expenditure.  Most Financial Delegates also have the access to approve transactions in NS Financials, referred to as an Approver.

AR / Accounts Receivable

AR or Accounts Receivable has several meanings:
-  AR refers to the Accounts Receivable Module in NS Financials.
-  We also refer to the team working in Accounts Receivable team as AR.
-  Sometimes money due to us is referred to as an Accounts Receivable. This arises when some person or organization outside of the University owes us money.  the individual or organization owing us money is also referred to as a debtor.

ARCA / Australian Research Council Assistance

Financial Assistance provided by the Australian Government. Australian Research Council Assistance.


Filing records Archiving refers to paper based or electronic filing.

Arm's length 

Discussions/negotiations or purchases made via an independent third party (not family or friends) is an arm's length transaction.


A physical or non-physical thing or creation that embodies future benefits which can be identified and which UNSW can control the use of.. An asset can be tangible (like a building) or intangible (such as intellectual property). Refer to capitalization policy for more detailed information.

ATO / Australian Tax Office



An evaluation or assessment typically undertaken to verify the accuracy or performance of a defined subject or process. Can be either internal or external (independent).

Australian Government Financial Assistance 

Financial Assistance provided by the Australian Government under the HESA, the HEFA and the ARCA.



B2B / BluePrint to Beyond

The strategic planning document developed to communicate the aspirations of UNSW.  It is commonly referred to as B2B. 

Bad debt

A bad debt occurs when we have been unable to collect the money owed to us by an individual/organization.

Balance sheet

A summarised statement of UNSW's assets, liabilities and equity at a specific point in time. May also be referred to as a Statement of Financial Position. All events and transactions that have a financial consequence which affect USW will impact the Balance Sheet.

Bank Statement

A summary prepared by a bank of all transactions in an organisations or individuals bank account for a particular period of time.  It will include debits and credits.

BAS / Business Activity Statement

A Business Activity Statement is the electronically filed GST return for the ATO.


Comparing performance results or ratios to another measure.  Sometimes the comparison is done to evaluate financial performance within an organisation and sometimes to compare one organisation to another.  Superannuation fund managers use particular benchmarking ratios so comparisons between funds are easier and have relevance because the particular ratios will be measuring the same things.

Beneficial Fund

A fund where the capital is used, consistent with the protocol, and continues to be used until all funds, including investment returns, have been disbursed.  At UNSW these are part of restricted funding.


A gift left to an organisation or individual in someone's Will.  The bequest could be cash, shares or property and it may have special terms and conditions attached.

BI / Billing Module

BI refers to Billing Module in NS Financials.  In the Billing module we raise invoices to charge our external customers.

Book Value

The value of an asset on the books after the depreciation has been deducted.


This is a general term used to loosely describe the financial accounts.


Software used to search the internet.  Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, etc.


BSB is the abbreviation for Bank, State and Branch.  It is the six digit code used to identify banks.  The first two digits identify the parent bank e.g. ANZ is 01, the second two identify the State where the account is held and the remaining two indicate the branch.

BU / Business Unit

An organisation or a subset of an organisation that is independent with regard to one or more operational or accounting functions. In NS Financials business units differ from module to module.  In the General Ledger our primary business unit is UNSWA.  Click here for a list of all business units in NS Financials.


A forward plan that estimates the likely revenue and expenditure for the period ahead. At UNSW, the budget is set annually and remains unchanged for that period. Different to a forecast. OR NS Financials uses the term Budget as a period of time (budget period) see Accounting Period.

Budget Check

A PeopleSoft term in commitment control, the processing of source transactions against control budget ledgers, to see if they pass, fail, or pass with a warning.




The software used by the University to capture and reporting financial and non-financial data for management reporting and budgeting purposes.

CAPEX / Capitalised Expenditures

Capitalised expenditures are expenditures creating future benefits.  The costs are not fully charged in the year incurred, rather they are spread over multiple periods by depreciation.


The value after deducting all costs.  Capital is also wealth or the net worth of a business.

Capital Expenditure

Expenditure on a capital item or project.

Capital Gain

he growth in value of a business or asset after deducting the cost of the purchase.

Capitalised Assets

Capitalised Assets

Cash flow

The flow of money coming into and out of the business.


ChartField is a segment into which UNSW allocates and stores financial transactions.  A number of Chartfield segments at UNSW are used regularly e.g. Account, Department, Fund and Project.  The two additional ChartField fields of Class and Program are not used at present.  The total of all ChartFields is referred to as the Chart of Accounts. 
It is a PeopleSoft term.


The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has developed seven discipline clusters.  The funding allocated under the Commonwealth Government Revenue (CGS) depends upon the relevant cluster.

CoA / Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts (COA) is the way UNSW captures, authorises and reports on data in NS Financials general ledger.   

COFA / College of Fine Arts

COFA (the College of Fine Arts) is part of UNSW.

Commitment Control

At UNSW it is commonly referred to as budget checking.

Competitive Neutrality and Pricing

Basically it relates to the fact that the University must add a percentage to allow for overhead costs for some research grants.  For full details see the Competitive Neutrality and Pricing Policy. 


Meeting the requirements established by law or an organizations internal regulations and rules.

Consolidated Financial Statements

An amalgamation of accounts from several reporting entities into one set of statements e.g. Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet.


A non-full time employee contracted to work for UNSW who is via an external agency.


A non-full time employee contracted to work for UNSW who is paid directly by UNSW.

Consulting Services

Consulting services provided by an external company with a registered business.

Contingency A contingency fund refers to funds set aside from operating funds. The Vice-Chancellor approves the allocation of these funds and has determined that the purpose of Contingency is:
-  to grasp unexpected opportunities to advance interests of the University;
-  to preserve a particular advantage for UNSW;
-  to support very special projects or a significant development; and
-  to handle an unanticipated crisis where no other funds are available.

Contingent Asset

An asset that has particular conditions attached to its ownership. 

Contingent Liability

A liability that we may or may not have to pay depending upon whether the conditions attached to it eventuate.  To illustrate – we have suffered a loss that should be covered by insurance.  However, there is some doubt about whether the insurance company will pay the claim.  If the amount is reasonably substantial, we could show this in the accounts as a contingent liability (with an explanation) since it could become a cost we have to pay.

Contribution Margin

Contribution targets were applicable to the 2007-2009 budgets.  This represented the difference between revenue and expenses.  Faculties are no longer set a contribution target; rather they are given a budget for revenues and a budget for expenses, and are expected to manage to each as described in the Financial Management Principles.

Controlled Entities

UNSW controls a number of wholly owned entities that support the aims and objectives of the University.  Each of the Controlled Entities produces financial accounts relative to their operation, and is subject to audit by the Auditor General of NSW.

Council (UNSW)

The body responsible for all the affairs of the UNSW.  The election of members, the structure of the council and its responsibilities are defined in the University of New South Wales Act 1989 and the University of New South Wales By-Law 2005.


1. The amount of money you have available to spend i.e. a credit bank balance means you have that amount of money in your account; 

2. In accounting terms a credit entry goes on the right hand side of the ledger. Represents either a liability or equity on the balance sheet or revenue in the profit and loss; 

3. A credit could be viewed as providing a benefit to another party, either in the future in the case of a liability, or in the past or present in the case of revenue. The opposite of a debit.

Credit Limit

The total amount of credit that can be advanced i.e. credit cards have a credit limit beyond which the users transactions may be declined.  Some authorisations stipulate a maximum credit limit for particular customers and they are unable to buy any more until the account has been paid or reduced.

Credit Note

A credit or adjustment note is issued (with appropriate authority) to correct an error or when goods have been returned.

Credit Risk

A formal identification or checking process to ascertain the possibility that a debtor may (or may not) have the ability pay the money they owe or will owe e.g. before allowing a new customer to set up an account and incur charges, most companies arrange to conduct a credit check, part of which determines the credit risk.


Some person or organization the University owes money to.

CSA's Client Services Accountants

Accountants with detailed and specific knowledge of NS Financials.  For NS Financial or accounting queries, CSA's should be your first point of contact.


Is a file type meaning Comma Separated Value.  This is a way of transferring data between two different systems e.g. excel to NS Financials or vice versa.  Data transferred by CSV will be recognized by each system.   At UNSW visa credit card statements are sent from the ANZ bank directly into NS Financials using CSV.


A customer is an organisation or individual who receives a service or good(s) supplied to them by UNSW.




An accounting term which means the entry goes on the left hand side of the ledger. Represents either an asset on the balance sheet or an expense in the profit and loss. A debit could be viewed as receiving or consuming a benefit either in the future, in the case of an asset, or in the past or present in the case of an expense. The opposite of a credit.


Money an organization or individual owes to another.


Some person or organization who owes the University money.


Department of Education, Employment and Work RelationsDepartment of Education, Employment and Work Relations or DEEWR is a Commonwealth Government organization.  DEEWR has a number of roles and one of them is to administer funding to Universities under the Higher Education Support Act.


This is a monetary shortfall i.e. the income was $1,000 but the amount of money spent was $1,200 resulting in a $200 deficit (or shortfall or loss).


Department has two meanings at UNSW:
-  It is one of the fields in the Chartfields.
-  a business unit may also be referred to as a Department


An amount of money paid into a bank account.  Alternatively it refers to a sum of money paid towards (on deposit) a service or item but the rest of the price will be paid at some later time.


The systematic allocation of the depreciable amount of an asset over its useful life.  The two most common methods in Australia are straight line and diminishing value.

DEPTID / Department ID

DEPTID refers to Department Identifier.  It is a number and is part of the essential information in the Chartfields.  Note: Departments are also referred to as organizations, faculties, units, schools etc at UNSW.


Depository Financial Institution QualifierThis term is widely used in the banking system, particularly in the United States.  It is similar to BSB but the United States use DFI.  It is particularly important to incorporate the DFI details when making payments to companies or individuals in the United States.

Diminishing Value (depreciation)

The amount of depreciation is calculated on the reduced value of the asset.  That means that every year depreciation is calculated on the value of the asset after the previous years depreciation has been taken off.  Another method is Straight Line depreciation.


The formal process of divulging or advising information.


At UNSW, discretionary costs are those where there is some flexibility in the way these funds are expended.

Discretionary Grant Programs

Mainly for capital grants towards buildings or special priority funds, e.g.: CPF01, LT001, SPR01, FSF01).

Dishonoured Cheque

Acheque has been written and banked but there are insufficient funds in the bank account for them to pay the cheque so it is dishonoured.  If a cheque made out to UNSW is dishonoured, that means we do not receive payment for the account at that time and the debtor still owes us the money.  A dishonoured cheque is sometimes referred to as having bounced.


Money an organization pays to share-holders from profits.  Dividends paid out are related to the number of shares held.


An amount of money given/received for charitable purposes.

Double entry

Like the vast majority of organisations, at UNSW, we use the double entry accounting system.  For every debit there must be a corresponding and equal credit entry.  There might be just one entry on each side of the journal or ledger, or several entries might make up the totals. 

Doubtful debt

An amount receivable from another party where some uncertainty exists that the amount will be recovered from that organisation or individual.  Typically a provision (an amount allowed for) will be made for the amount that may not be received.


A document which has not been approved for use yet.


Deputy Vice-Chancellor



Economic Life

This is either a) the period over which an asset is expected to be economically usable; or b) the number of production or similar units expected to be obtained from the asset e.g. a garage roller door can be expected to open and close a particular number of times before it should be replaced.

EFT / Electronic Funds Transfer

The system by which we can transfer payments or receive money electronically using direct debit, direct credit or Bpay.

EFTSL / Equivalent Full-Time Student Load 

An equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) refers to the measurement of a student's study load.   The measure is used, in part, to allocate funding and monitor university performance.

EFTSU / Equivalent Full-Time Taught Load 

EFTSU that is taught by the teaching units within a Faculty, including service teaching.  It is used interchangeably with EFTSL.


Encumbrances and pre-encumbrances are part of the budget checking process and they are critical background processing functions in NS Financials.  Both encumbrance and pre-encumbrance have a direct relationship to budgets and accounts.  Those accounts will be either an expense or an asset.
Encumbrance is relevant in the purchasing order part of NS Financials system.  Pre-encumbrance is relevant only when using eProcurement in NS Financials. The effect of encumbrance and pre-encumbrance is to reduce the amount of available budget until the goods are received and an invoice can be issued and at that time the expense is debited.

Endowment Fund

A donation, bequest or grant where the total capital is held.  The capital amount is kept but the growth or income from the investment of the fund is used for scholarships, prizes etc.  The conditions attached to the original donation or bequest of the money will usually determine how it is used.


Usually referred to in NS Financials as the individual entering data.


An entity is an entry in UNSW’s organisational chart, which can consist of other entities; it can be big or small


An entity user is one of the two types of users in Calumo. An entity user belongs to an entity and has access to all data in that entity. Not all organisational member of an entity have to have Calumo Access.


The UNSW internet based purchasing system where buyers can purchase from suppliers directly from their site.


The value of an asset or group of assets after deducting what is owed i.e. land is purchased for $5 million but a debt of $2 million was incurred to purchase it so the equity (or ownership) is actually $3 million.

Exchange rate

The value of one currency compared to another e.g. the Australian dollar might be worth 80 cents compared to the United States dollar.  Therefore if we were paying an account of US$1,000 then it would cost AU$1,250 ($1000 ÷ .80 = $1,250).


The value of an asset or other benefit which has been used or consumed in a present or past period. For example, the consumption of a service provided by a third party is an expense incurred. The value of the consumption is the amount of money exchanged in return for the service provided.

Expense Recognition

The time period an expense is recorded in the financial system as having occurred e.g. expenses on a credit card are recognised in the departments books after the account has been reconciled.



Fair Value

The amount for which an asset could be exchanged or a liability settled, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm's length transaction.

FBT / Fringe Benefit Tax

A tax payable by an employer for providing a benefit to the employees e.g. using a car for private purposes.  It is usually a non cash benefit.


Financial Information Management System, using CALUMO software to provide management information.

Financial Control 

A department within the Finance Division.  Click here to learn more about Financial Control.

Financial Delegation

The formal process of being uthorized to initiate, approve or sign off financial transactions.  Individuals with financial delegation will be able to commit or approve University funds to particular pre-determined amounts.  Click here to learn more about Financial Delegation.

Financial Operations

A department within the Finance Division.  Click here to learn more about Financial Operations.

Financial Year

A predetermined timeframe for recording and reporting financial information.  For UNSW the financial year is 01 January to the 31st December and this is enshrined in the University of New South Wales Act 1989.


A charge or expense incurred for not obeying the rules i.e. a parking ticket is a fine. A penalty.

Fiscal Year

An accounting year of twelve consecutive months.  At UNSW the fiscal year or financial year is 1 January to 31 December.


An estimate made about the future.  A revision to the annual budget updated for YTD results and the impact of changes in budget assumptions for the remaining period.


Full Time Equivalentis a way to measure a worker's involvement in a project, or a student's enrolment at an educational institution. An FTE of 1.0 means that the person is equivalent to a full-time worker, while an FTE of 0.5 signals that the worker is only half-time. Typically, different scales are used to calibrate this number, depending on the type of institution (schools, industry, research) and scope of the report (personnel cost, productivity).


Segregates financial information for the purposeof carrying on specific activities within the Uni. Think of Funds as 'buckets' for categorising the different types of money.  At UNSW we use two funds General Fund and Non-General Fund.  Click here to see a chartfield visual of Funds and click here to see a list of all NS Financials funds.



GAAP / Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Broad term used to describe the accounting concepts that underpin Accounting Standards operating throughout the world. An expectation that financial information is prepared in accordance with the applicable Accounting Standards in force over a relevant period.

General Ledger

The General Ledger contains all UNSW financial transactions.  Information from the General Ledger is used by UNSW to analyse, report and monitor the results of our business.  The General Ledger, Chart of Accounts and ChartFields are interdependent.

Generated Load 

The load (EFTSL) that is generated by enrolments in programs offered by Faculties.

GF / General Fund

GENERAL FUND (GF) Funding for the core teaching activities of the university, including support.

GLFS / General Ledger Financial Statement

This is a project based report which allows a user to report on transactions for a specific project.


Goodwill is the value built up in a business from its reputation in the marketplace, the contacts, exclusive access to purchase from particular suppliers etc.  It is an intangible asset.  The amount paid for an asset above its fair value on the expectation that greater value can be extracted from the asset(s) when under the purchasers control.  Goodwill is not amortised but is subject to regular review for a decrease in its value (or impairment).


The total of something before deductions are made e.g. an individuals gross income is total income before subtracting any costs such as tax and Medicare.  Sometimes it's used as in "grossing up" an amount e.g. an item is quoted as $1,000 excluding GST.  To "gross it up" GST is added making the total $1,100.

GST / Goods and Services Tax

In Australia this is a 10% tax levied on many items purchased or consumed in Australia and paid to the Federal Government.  In NS Financials it is referred to as Value Added Tax or VAT. For more information see



HDR / Higher Degree by Research

Higher degree research study involves original and critical enquiry that makes a significant contribution to existing knowledge of relevance both nationally and internationally. Research students are required to produce a thesis embodying the results of independent investigation under the guidance of an academic supervisor.

HECS / Higher Education Contribution Scheme

HELP has replaced this.

HEFA / Higher Education Funding Act

The Higher Education Funding Act 1988.  It is administered by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

HELP / Higher Education Loan Program

Higher Education Loan Program this replaced HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme).

HERDC / Higher Education Research Data Collection

This is a survey whereby qualifying universities provide data to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.  The information collected by HERDC is combined with that from the Higher Education Student Data Collection and the results are used by DEEWR to rank universities.  The results also form part of the formula for calculating access to Commonwealth funding.

HESDC / Higher Education Student Data Collection

This survey is conducted by The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations collects.  HESDC collects data relating to Student Completions and Student Load.  The results are used in conjunction with HERDC to rank universities and are used by DEEWR as part of the formula for calculating access to Commonwealth funding.

Historical Cost Convention

The financial statements are prepared based on the historical cost convention, as modified by the revaluation of available-for-sale financial assets, financial assets and liabilities at fair value through profit or loss, certain classes of property, plant and equipment and investment property.

HR / Human Resources

1) Human Resources system, this is the PeopleSoft payroll system at UNSW.  The information from this system links to NS Financials and is updated each day at the close of business. 

2)  The Human Resources Department.




The UNSW Institutional Analysis and Reporting Office (IARO) provides support and advice on enrolment planning; quality improvement and performance review to the Senior Management Group, Faculties and administrative Divisions of the University.  It is a Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

IFRS / International Financial Reporting Standards

Accounting Standards operating in many countries around the world. Australian Accounting Standards are mostly consistent with IFRS.

IGS / Institutional Grant Scheme

Provides funding for general research activities of institutions.  Gives the institution considerable discretion in the way these funds are spent.

IGS / Institutional Grant Scheme

The Institutional Grant Scheme is a Commonwealth Government funding program for general research activities.  At UNSW the IGS is classified as Unrestricted Funds.


The money we earn or receive (and can use) for the general purpose of running the university.  Student fees are an example of income.

Indirect Taxes

Payroll Tax, Superannuation Guarantee Contribution, Pay As You Go Withholding and Workers Compensation.


Inflation measures the change in the cost of living over time.  It is measured by the Reserve Bank of Australia and is usually expressed as a percentage.   For more information see

Insolvent (Insolvency)

A company is said to be insolvent when it has insufficient money to pay all of its debts.  The opposite is solvent.

Intangible Assets

An asset you can't touch and feel i.e. investments like shares or superannuation.

Intellectual Property

According to the definition is Intellectual Property represents the proportion of your mind or intellect.  It can be an invention, trade mark, original design or the practical application of a business idea.


Money earned on funds invested or interest is what is charged to borrow money.


The value of assets, equipment, stationery etc.  Stock is another word for inventory.


A formal written notification detailing goods we have sold or purchased.  The ATO has specific requirements regarding the information that must be included on a valid GST invoice.  See the Tax Invoice Requirements link.

IPRS / International Postgraduate Research Scholarship

A scholarship.


When trying to recover a debt has proven impossible it is referred to as an irrecoverable debt.



Joint Venture

Two (or more) organizations join forces in ownership, resources or co-operate to do a project etc.  If combined in ownership, the shareholding can be an even or uneven percentage.


In accounting terms a journal records transactions.  At UNSW we use the double entry accounting system so there is always a (or several) debit and a credit journal entry and the total on each side balances.






A formal document which establishes the name of the lessee, the lessor, the conditions of the lease including when and how often the payments should be made along with other details.


An individual or organization has the rights to use something for a predetermined time.  The conditions are usually set out in a lease.   Photocopiers are often leased (like renting) over a predetermined timeframe.


An individual or organization with the ownership rights to offer an asset to another party usually in exchange for regular payments.


What we owe or expect to owe to another individual or organization.


A shortfall.  If the money made by an organization is insufficient to cover the cost of operating a business it's said to have made a loss.

LTPF / Learning and Teaching Performance Fund

The Learning and Teaching Performance Fund is a Commonwealth Government funding program for general research activities.  At UNSW the LTPF is a Strategic fund and is classified as Restricted Funds.



Marginal tax rate

Tax payers income is assessed on annual income bracketed in bands.  The marginal tax becomes the rate identified in the band i.e. :
Tax rates 2008-09
Taxable income:                        Tax on this income:
$6,000                                      Nil
$34,000                                    15c for each $1 over $6,000
$80,000                                    $4,200 plus 30c for each $1 over $34,000
$180,000                                  $18,000 plus 40c for each $1 over $80,000
$180,001 and over                     $58,000 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
Therefore if you earned between $34,001 and $80,000 then your marginal tax rate would be 30% or 30c in the dollar.

Match Exception(see Matching Process)

A Match Exception is created by the Matching Process when the Purchase Order does not match the Receipt and/or Vendor Tax invoice.  Match Exceptions are to be manually resolved by the buyer who should send instructions to Accounts Payable.

Matching Process

An automated process in NS Financials which runs every night and compares your purchase order to your receipt to the vendor tax invoice.  This process runs every night.  If these three transactions match the vendor tax invoice will be scheduled for payment.  If they do not match the system will create a Match Exception and stop payment of the vendor tax invoice until the buyer sends instructions to Accounts Payable.

MICR / Magnetic Ink Character Recognition

It is the coding information found along the bottom of cheques and personalized deposit slips which allows the bank to use the data to correctly allocate the money to the appropriate account.

MOA / Main Operating Account

This is the main UNSW bank account with the ANZ. 


A module is a broad group (or collection).  In NS Financials we have several modules (groups).  They are: 1. Purchasing.  The purchasing module also encompasses Credit Cards (also referred to as eProcuement or the Travel Card); 2. Accounts Payable (AP); 3. Asset Management (AM); 4. General Ledger (GL); 5. Commitment Control; 6. Billing; 7. Accounts Receivable (AR).

Month end

Month end is when the financial data (captured in NS Financials) closes for that period.  At UNSW the month end dates are not based on calendar months.  The dates vary from month to month.  Month end dates are published on the Finance Website (see also Accounting Periods).




The value remaining after deducting costs.

Net Gain

The profit (money left over) made when selling a good or service after deducting all costs is a net gain.

Net Loss

Upon sale, after deducting all costs there is a shortfall or a net loss.

NGF / Non-General Fund(also see Fund)

Relates to non teaching related activities within the university:
Commercial Activities - (GI)  Income generating commercial activities. Continuing Education, seminar Working account, Course Materials, Conferences, Facility Hire, Post Office, Parking, Unigym etc.
Accumulated Funds - Surplus monies from previous years' budgets from Commercial Activities.
External Research - (RE) Funds for contracts with external organisations for specific research. Eg: Dairy Corporation, Renewable Energy, Heart Foundation, Govmt etc
Suspense Accounts - (SU) Funds to hold monies temporarily when it is not known where they need to be allocated to.
Other - (BE & ED) Funds from beneficiaries, donations, endowments, prizes, trust monies.


The use of non- discretionary funds is usually very prescriptive and they must be expended according the requirements of the individual/organization advancing the revenue.

Not for profit 

An entity or a function whose sole purpose for existing is to donate the money they make.  Charitable institutions such as The Salvation Army etc.

NSF / NS Financials  

The University of New South Wales name for its financial accounting system.  The system is provided by PeopleSoft which is now owned by Oracle.

NSG / New South Global

A UNSW controlled entity.


The business unit code used for New South Global in NS Financials.

NSS / New South Solutions

UNSW's software collectively, NS Financials, HRMS and Student Administration,


PS/nVision is PeopleTools software that you use to design and create Microsoft Excel spreadsheet reports using NS Financials data.  PS/nVision retrieves information from the NS Financials database and places it into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, allowing the user to drill down into the database.



OBT / Online Booking Tool

The OBT is a way to book and pay for domestic travel.

Operating Funds

Explain the revenue and expenditure referred to as Operating Funds.  It is also referred to as Opex.


An allowance made to cover general indirect costs i.e. administration, a sum allowed for air-conditioning, workspace etc.

Overhead Allocations

The amount of expenditure individual faculties must budget as a contribution to the overheads of UNSW.

Overseas draft

A cheque to be presented at a foreign bank in the country specified.




After formally registering a new and unique product, method, component or process a patent gives its owner legal protection.  In Australia a standard patent gives protection for 20 years.   For more information see  International patents can also be obtained but protection times maybe different.

PAYG / Pay As You Go Withholding

The process by which taxes are withheld from the payments employers make to employees or those Service Providers who have not quoted an ABN on their invoice.  These taxes are paid to the ATO by the employer.


Portable Document Format.  When a PDF file is used, the transferred data is "read only" so it cannot be altered.  As a PDF file is smaller it uses less memory when emailed or stored. It can also be read by all operating systems.


The computer based systems used by UNSW (see also New South Solutions).  UNSW uses three PeopleSoft products:
-  NS Financials
-  Student Information Management System (SiMs)
-  People Information Management System (PiMs)
-  Critical financial information from Student Administration and PiMs is incorporated into the General Ledger of NS Financials.
-  nVision is the NS Financials reporting tool.

Per diem

An amount allocated to cover incidental daily expenses (usually while traveling).  At UNSW the per diem amount is decided upon and published annually.

Petty Cash

An amount of cash money set aside to pay for small items necessary for the business e.g. stamps, coffee etc

PO / Purchase Order

A purchase order is raised when we wish to purchase something or incur an expense.  All purchases at UNSW require a Purchase Order.

Portfolio Manager

The person managing a portfolio of projects. The portfolio manager can be the same or different person than the Project Manager. Portfolio Manager can use the Project Financials in Calumo to monitor projects under within his/her portfolio.


Pre-Encumbrance is a step in NS Financials which occurs when eProcurement raises a requisition.  See "Encumbrance".

Prior period error

An error made during a previous accounting period.


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A profit represents the benefit or gain on sale after deducting all costs or the money a business makes after deducting (or allowing for) all costs.  The opposite is loss.

Profit and Loss Account 

An overall summary of all revenue and expense accounts.


Projects are an Activity of Organisation which are defined by a specific purpose.  Revenue and Expenditure are generally booked to predefined projects within our Chart of Accounts.  Click here to learn more about projects.

Project Manager

Projects Manager is the person who manage a project.


Making an allowance or providing for an anticipated future event.  This is determining an amount of money to be included in the financial accounts to cover anticipated future costs e.g. provision for doubtful debts, provision for depreciation etc.


At UNSW we refer to a proxy as someone with the authority to act on behalf of another i.e. an individual with a credit card might have a proxy reconciler.  The person holding the proxy will reconcile the card on behalf of the card holder.

PRT / Payroll Tax

A state based tax.  It is levied on all employers and paid by the employer to the NSW State Government.  Other States & Territories may have an equivalent requirement.


PS Query is an end user reporting tool used to extract information by using visual representations of the NSF database






Reporting tool in PeopleSoft (also see PS/Query).

Quote / Quotation 

The process of getting a written price for a particular job or other proposed purchase.  A quotation is binding in law.




A ratio is a key performance indicator which is usually expressed numerically or in percentage terms.  A ratio compares one set of figures to another i.e. a Quick Ratio is current assets (cash, shares, accounts receivables and the like) less inventory divided by current liabilities.  A high number indicates the organization is financially stronger because they are able to cover the debt obligations.




A "receipt" is created for deliveries.


The process of matching and verifying information.  With a bank statement reconciliation matches and checks deposits and payments against original documentation i.e. purchase slips, cheque butts, deposit documentation.

Record Retention

The act of keeping financial records e.g. receipts, invoices, bank statements for a number of years to satisfy ATO requirements.


The act of arranging to extend borrowings at or near the expected final date for the repayment of the loan i.e. mortgage or other debt.


Paying some individual or organization back the money they have paid e.g. if an individual paid us for a particular course of study which was later cancelled, we refund the money.


he process of claiming or refunding money for expenses incurred.

Reporting Entity

A particular faculty, branch, division or similar that prepares its own set of accounts e.g. each of the Controlled Entities are a reporting entity.  However their figures, in a summarised form will end up in the annual UNSW Consolidated Accounts.

Reporting Period

The timeframe in which financial reports are prepared.  At UNSW that might be monthly, quarterly or annually.  UNSW Reporting Periods are listed on the Finance Web Site under Information Centre.


Has two meanings: 1) an eProcurement requisition or 2) a form used to provide to buyers in order to buy goods/services


An amount of money set aside out of profits for use in another financial year.  These amounts may be tagged for a defined purpose. 

Residual Value

(of an asset) 1. The estimated amount an organization would obtain (in current market conditions) for an asset after deducting the estimated costs of disposal; OR 2. The value of the asset left at the end of a lease is called the residual value.


People, money, services, assets are examples of resources.  They are something an organization can use to operate a business e.g. property is a resource, so are the people in the organization.


When the word restricted is used in conjunction with other accounting terms such as "restricted assets" or "restricted revenue" it means there are limitations on the use of the asset or revenue.

Restricted Funding

Those revenue streams that are provided to the University for a specific purpose, and are subject to specific conditions as to how they are used.

Retained earnings

Earnings kept over (retained) from the profit in one financial year to another.

Retirements or Write-offs (of assets)When assets have been identified as needing to be taken off the books (i.e. they no longer have any value in the financial system) they need to be written-off.  This could occur if they are damaged or broken beyond economic repair, obsolete, no longer required or have been stolen.


The adjustment in value of an asset (up or down) based upon a fair value valuation.  Note that the adjustment process can be different for different asset types.


Also referred to as income.  Money coming into the University.

Revenue Recognition

The time period revenue is recorded in the financial system as having occurred.

RIBG / Research Infrastructure Block Grants

Research Infrastructure Block Grants is Commonwealth Government funding earned by Universities to support research infrastructure in higher education institutions.  It is administered by DEEWR.


The rounding (up or down) of an amount e.g. 98c might be rounded to $1.00.


Royalties are a form of income paid periodically.  It might be a percentage based upon the sale of something.  Authors may receive book royalties which is an amount of money paid to them for each book sale.

RQ / Research Quantum

This is old termonology which has been replaced with RTS and IGS.


1) Research Training Scheme, Commonwealth Government funding to support research training for students undertaking Doctorates and Masters by Research; OR

2) NS Financials Purchasing Funcationality for goods Returned to Sender.




Salary On Costs

On Costs are those costs of employment which are in addition to salaries and allowances.  On Costs include: contributions to Superannuation, Payroll Tax and Workers Compensation.  They are also referred to as Indirect Taxes.

Salary Sacrifice

Foregoing some part of your salary in exchange for some other benefit e.g. nominating to pay some of your salary (in addition to your employer's contribution) into your personal superannuation fund is to sacrifice salary.  By doing so you reduce your tax liability.


SetID stores static style data in NS Financials. It's the type of information that we enter once and it is rarely changed.  After SETID has been entered it is stored for use again and again when keying in transactions.  Customer Names and Addresses, Vendor Names and Addresses, Account Numbers and Descriptions, Department Numbers and Descriptions, Project Numbers and Descriptions are examples of SETID.

SGC / Superannuation Guarantee Contribution

Superannuation Guarantee Contribution.  Refers to the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 where employers are obligated to contribute into a complying superannuation fund.

SIR / Strategic Investment in Research

Strategic Investment in Research

Solvent / Solvency

When a company or individual is able to meet all of their outstanding financial commitments (debts) they are said to be solvent.


SpeedChart is a time saving function as it fills in some data fields automatically.  It is used in the purchasing and accounts payable modules. It allows Chartfield codes such as Project ID to be linked to a Fund Code, a Class, a Program and a Department ID.  See Chartfield for more information.    SpeedType and SpeedChart do very similar functions but in a different part of the financial system.


SpeedType is similar to SpeedChart except that it is only used in GL and it allows a Project ID to be linked to a Fund Code, a Class, a Program and a Department ID.  See Chartfield for more information. 

SPF / Strategic Priorities Fund

Strategic Priorities Fund is a UNSW term for funding allocated to areas of strategic importance to the university.  The Strategic Investment in Research or SIR is an example of the type of funds in this category.  At UNSW SPF is part of the Strategic Allocations in the Funds Structure.


A set of calculations and formulas which is used to sort or manipulate data.  The spreadsheets range from very simple to highly complex.  Excel is a common spreadsheet program.


A monthly summary of all invoices issued to a customer.  A list of all invoices for goods we have purchased from a supplier.  Banks issue a statement which summarises all credit card transactions for the preceding month.  Profit and Loss Accounts are also referred to as statements.

Statutory Funds

Funds given with certain restrictions or conditions which are detailed in an Act or other legislation.  The funds can only be used for the specified purpose.

Stay in Business Capital

Capital expenditure for minor property projects / equipment purposes.


general term that might refer to items of equipment, stationery etc.  Stock is another word for inventory.


A count of all assets/equipment/stationery etc in an organization.  It must be done annually (but often more regularly).  Once the stock-take has been completed the value of stock held goes into the financial accounts as stock-on-hand.

Straight Line (depreciation)

Depreciation is based on the original purchase price of the asset.  Therefore the value of depreciation remains the same for the life of the asset.  Another method is Diminishing Value.

Strategic Allocations

Strategic allocations is a UNSW term for a specific category of the Fund Structure.  Funding in this category is to support initiative and structures related to research activities.


A person or organization that supplies/provides goods or services to the UNSW.  A supplier is also called a vendor.



Tangible Assets

An asset you can touch and feel i.e. a car or building

Taught Load

The Load (EFTSL) that is taught by the teaching units within a Faculty, including service teaching.


The formal process of inviting organizations to submit a written price for a particular job or other proposed purchase.  Specific tender documents are often used when a job goes out to tender.  The planned construction of a large building is often put out to tender.  If the University wishes to buy a large item of medical equipment suppliers may also be invited to tender etc.

Terms of Trade 

The UNSW terms of trade are 30 days i.e. the account must be paid within 30 days from the date of purchase.

TFN / Tax file number 

A TFN is a unique number used to identify individual tax payers and organizations in the ATO system.  Some (but not all) businesses will have a ABN rather than a TFN.  Sole traders may have a TFN.  See for more information.


This is a PeopleSoft term.  A tree is used to show the hierarchical structure of a ChartField in particular Account, Fund and Department/Organisation.  It is a visual representation of the relationship between information and the way that information is summarised for each ChartField. Each ChartField can have many trees and each one has its own hierarchy. Trees are designed for a particular purpose depending upon the information needed e.g. the information required for statutory reporting may be different to that required for expenditure reports for an individual Department.

Tree Manager 

PeopleSoft Trees are used for organizing data logically and or hierarchically. Trees are used in several places in SFS, primarily for reports and Chartfield combination editing.  Using Trees has several advantages. When setting up reports or combination edits and rules, it makes it easier to select values from the tree then selecting and hard coding each detail value. Maintenance is also easier. Instead of updating each report and combo rule when a new department or account is added, when it is added to the tree, your work is done.

Trial Balance 

A summary of all account balances.  We use a double entry system so the debit and credit totals in the trial balance will be equal.

TT / Telegraphic Transfer 

A Telegraphic Transfer is an instruction to a bank to transfer funds in a foreign currency to an overseas supplier to pay a debt for goods purchased from them.



Unpresented cheque

A cheque that has been raised but not yet banked by the recipient. 

Unrestricted Funds

Unrestricted Funds comprise revenues that are not restricted in nature.  They include operating and commercial revenues and investment income; expenditures are made through operating and commercial funds, strategic budgets and infrastructure and other capital expenditures.

UNSPC / United Nations Standard Product and Services Classification

This is a global standard and using numbers as references classifies products and services.

UNSW / The University of New South Wales

It includes all faculties, divisions, schools, departments etc.  It includes all of the Controlled Entities.


The General Ledger business unit code used for the University of New South Wales in NS Financials.

UOM / Unit of Measure

UOM is how something is measured.  It is used to record items on invoices. Some examples are EA = Each or BX = Box.

URL / Uniform Resource Location 

Essentially a URL is an address you can use to go to a web site.




The function of obtaining an independent value of an asset or business.

VAT / Value Added Tax 

Some countries have VAT but in Australia it is called GST -Goods and Services Tax.  Where it applies (not all goods and services have it) the GST rate is 10%.  The references to VAT in NS Financials mean GST.


At UNSW we refer to a vendor as a person or organisation that supplies/provides goods or services to us.  See supplier.


A Voucher is a NS Financials version of a Vendor Tax Invoice and is necessary to make payments to Vendors.  Vouchers are either system generated or entered directly into Accounts Payable. 



Wire Transfer

A direct deposit money transfer into a foreign bank account.

Workers Compensation

Under the Workers Compensation Act 1987, all NSW employers must have workers compensation cover to insure against work place injury claims.  Other States & Territories may have an equivalent insurance cover requirement.


The automated to-do list that PeopleSoft Workflow creates. From the worklist, you can directly access the pages you need to perform the next action, and then return to the worklist for another item.

Write-offs or Retirements (of assets) 

When assets have been identified to be removed off the books (i.e. no longer have any value in the financial system) they need to be written-off.  This could occur if they are damaged or broken beyond economic repair, obsolete, no longer required or have been stolen. A debt is said to be written off when it's deemed irrecoverable.






YTD / Year to Date 

A YTD reference will be to a specified time within a financial year.  At UNSW the financial year is 01 January to 31 December.