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Budget and Accounting Glossary

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ACCD - Agency of Commerce and Community Development
AOE - Agency of Education
Accountability - The recognition and acceptance that one is answerable for whatever happens within a particular area of activity of assigned responsibility regardless of the cause.
Accounts Payable - Amounts owed to others for goods and services received and assets acquired by the State.
Accounting Period - Any period of time designated for which financial statements are prepared.
Accounts Receivable - Amounts due from others for goods furnished and services rendered.
Accrual Basis - The basis of accounting whereby revenues are recognized when earned and measurable regardless of when collected; and expenses are recorded when incurred.
Accrue - To record revenues and expenditures when they meet the recognition of the fund type involved regardless of when the cash activity occurs.
Accumulated Depreciation - A contra-asset account valuation account used to record the accumulation of periodic credits made to reflect the expiration of the estimated useful life of capitalized assets.
ADS - Agency of Digital Services
AG – Attorney General
Agency Funds - Agency funds are used to account for the assets held by the state as an agent for individuals, private organizations, and other governments.
AHS - Agency of Human Services
Allocation - A part of a lump-sum appropriation which is designated for expenditure by specific organizational units and/or for special purposes, activities or objects.
ANR - Agency of Natural Resources
Appropriation - An authorization granted by the constitution or the legislature to make expenditures or to incur obligations for a specific purpose. An appropriation is usually limited in amount and as to the time when it may be spent, normally calendar or fiscal year.
Asset - Economic resources controlled by an entity as a result of past transactions or events from which future economic benefits may be obtained. The item may be physical in nature (tangible) or a right to ownership (intangible) that is expressed in terms of cost or some other value.
Audit - A systematic collection of the sufficient, competent evidential matter needed to attest to the fairness of management’s assertions in the financial statements or to evaluate whether management has efficiently and effectively carried out its responsibilities.
Automated Clearing House (ACH) - A nationwide banking network that provides for electronic distribution and settlement of funds.


BAA - Budget Adjustment Act
Balanced Budget - A budget in which receipts are equal to or greater than outlays in a fiscal period.
BDS - Budget Development System
BGS - Buildings and General Services
Blanket Delegation of Authority (BDA) - Authority granted by Statewide Purchasing to agencies and departments to directly purchase specific types and classes of items with limited or variable availability considerations.
Boilerplate - The language section of a bill or public act. Boilerplate can also refer to the standardized or pro forma language that is used at the front of the bill or statute.
Bond - A debt instrument issued through a formal legal procedure and secured either by the pledge or specific properties, or revenues or by the general credit of the state.
Book Value - The net amount at which an asset or asset group appears on the books of account, as distinguished from its market or intrinsic value.
Budget - A plan of financial operation embodying an estimate of proposed expenditures for a given period or purpose and the proposed means of financing them. NOTE: The term "budget" is used in two senses in practice. Sometimes it designates the financial plan presented to the legislature for adoption and sometimes the plan finally approved by that body. It is usually necessary to specify whether the budget under consideration is preliminary and tentative or whether it has been approved by the legislature. The term is also sometimes confused with the budget document.
Budget Year - The fiscal year for which the budget is being considered; the fiscal year following the current year.


Capital Asset - As defined by the state’s capitalization policy…a physical resource that costs at least $5,000 and provides future economic benefit for a minimum of two years.
Capital Lease - As defined by the state’s capitalization policy…a lease for a period of time exceeding twelve months and which meets at least one of the following criteria: (1) Title passes to the lessee at the conclusion of the lease tem; (2) Contains a bargain purchase option; (3) Term is for at least 75% of the asset’s estimated economic life; (4) Present value of the minimum lease payments (discounted at the lower of the implicit interest rate or the incremental borrowing rate) equals or exceeds 90% of the asset’s fair value at acquisition.
Capital Outlay - A disbursement of money which results in the acquisition of or addition to fixed assets, i.e., land acquisition, building and construction, addition, renovation.
Capitalization Policy - The criteria used to determine which capital outlays should be reported as capital assets on the state’s financial statements.
Carry-Forward - A portion or total of the unspent balance of an appropriation that is made available for expenditure in the succeeding fiscal year.
Cash Basis - A basis for accounting whereby revenues are recorded only when received and expenses are recorded only when paid without regard to the period in they were earned or incurred.
Cash Discount - An allowance received or given if payment is completed within a stated period of time.
Cash Disbursements - Cash disbursements are any monies (e.g., cash, checks, warrants, ACH/EFT, etc.) paid by the state during a period regardless of when the related obligations are incurred.
Cash Receipts - Any moneys (e.g., currency, coins, checks, money orders, or other negotiable instruments) received by the state during a period regardless of when the moneys are earned.
Clearance Pattern - The proportion of the total amount disbursed that is debited against the state’s bank account(s) each day after the disbursements.
Clearing Account - An account used to accumulate total charges or credits so that they can be distributed later among the accounts to which they are allocable.
Communication and Information - The fourth component of internal control; an organization must have relevant, reliable, and timely communications relating to internal and external events.
Component - One of five standards of internal control. The internal control components are the control environment, risk assessment, control activities, communication and information, and monitoring.
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report - The official annual financial report of the state encompassing all funds and component units of the state. It includes an introductory section, management's discussion and analysis (MD&A), basic financial statements, required supplementary information other than MD&A, combining and individual fund statements, schedules, and a statistical section.
Consensus Revenue Estimates - The official revenue estimates determined by the   XXX (a joint Executive/Legislative committee) which are used as the basis for the Executive Budget.
Construction in Progress (CIP) - A general ledger account that reflects that cost of construction work undertaken on capital projects, but not completed as of the end of the accounting period.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) -  A measure of the average change in prices over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services typically purchased by consumers. The CPI for all urban consumers covers about 80% of the total population.
Contingent Liability - Items which may become liabilities as a result of conditions undetermined at a given date, such as guarantees, pending law suits, judgments under appeal, unsettled dispute claims, unfilled purchase orders, and uncompleted contracts.
Control Activities - The third component of internal controls; the structure, policies, and procedures, which an organization establishes so that identified risks do not prevent the organization from reaching its objectives.
Control Environment - The first component of internal controls; it sets the tone of the organization influencing the effectiveness of internal controls and is the foundation for all other components of internal control, providing discipline and structure and encompassing both technical competence and ethical commitment.
Control Objectives - The objectives of an internal control system: (1) reliable financial reporting, (2) effective and efficient operations, and (3) compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
COLA - Cost of Living Adjustment
COSO - The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission. It consists of the following organizations: the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Accounting Association, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Institute of Management Accountants, and the Financial Executives Institute.
Current Year - The fiscal year in progress.


DCF - Department for Children and Families
Debt - An obligation resulting from the borrowing of money or from the purchase of goods and services. Debts of the state include bonds, accounts payable, and other liabilities.
Deficit - (1) The excess of the liabilities and reserves of a fund over its assets. (2) The excess of expenditures over revenues during an accounting period
Deficit Financing - A situation in which the Federal government's excess of outlays over receipts for a given period is financed by borrowing from the public.
Depreciation - The portion of the cost of a capital asset representing the expiration in the useful life of the capital asset attributable to wear and tear, deterioration, action of the physical elements, inadequacy, and obsolescence which is charged off during a particular period.
Detective Control - A control designed to discover an unintended event or result (contrast with Preventative Control).
DFR - Department of Financial Regulation
DHR - Department of Human Resources
DII - Department of Information and Innovation
Disbursement - Payment by cash, warrant, check, journal voucher, ACH, or any other technological payment method.
DOL - Department of Labor
Donated Asset - Any asset acquired by gift, donation, or payment of a nominal sum which is not reflective of the asset’s true market value.
DPS - Department of Public Safety
Drawdown - Process whereby a state requests and receives federal funds.


EAP - Employee Assistance Program
Effectiveness - The degree to which an organization or program is successful at meeting goals, objectives, and statutory mandates.
Efficiency - The degree to which an organization or program is successful at meeting goals and objectives with the least use of resources.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) - The electronic transfer of government benefit funds to individuals through the use of automated card technology and automated teller machines (ATM) and point of sale (POS) terminals.
Encumbrance - An amount of the available balance of an appropriation earmarked for paying anticipated or known obligations.
Enterprise Funds - Used to account for the business type activities of the state where the activity normally recovers all or a portion of its costs through user fees and charges to the external consumers of their goods and services (e.g., Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, Liquor Control, Lottery Commission, VT Life Magazine, etc).
Executive Budget - The one-year spending plan for the financial operation of state government prepared on the behalf of the Governor by the Department of Finance and Management. It represents the Governor's recommended appropriations for all operating funds, the proposed expenditures and estimated revenues of the State.
Executive Order - Generally, a rule or regulation having the force of law promulgated directly by the Governor under his statutory authority. Executive Orders take effect unless the legislature takes action to disapprove them within a specified period of time.
Expenditures - Payments against appropriations that reduce the cash balance after legal requirements have been met. A fiscal year's expenditures are payments actually made in that fiscal year, regardless of the state fiscal year in which the appropriations were reserved or encumbered for such payments.


FICA - Federal Insurance Contribution Act which authorizes the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax.
Fiscal Period - Any period at the end of which a governmental unit determines its financial position and the results of its operations.
Fiscal Year (FY) - A 12 month accounting period that may not coincide with the calendar year. The Sate of Vermont’s fiscal year is from July 1st to June 30th.
Fixed Charges - Repetitive expenditures of which the amounts are more or less constant. These may repeat at various intervals, weekly, monthly, annually, etc. Examples are insurance premiums, contributions to pensions, and land and building rentals.
Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Position - Full-time equivalent (FTE) position in the classified service of state government. One full-time equated position is based on 2,080 work hours (26 two-week pay periods times 80 hours).
Fund - In governmental accounting a fund may be described as representing a distinct phase of the activities of government and is controlled by a self-balancing group of accounts in which all of the financial transactions of the particular phase are recorded. NOTE: A fund is both a sum of resources and an independent accounting entity. A self- balancing group of accounts must be provided for each fund to show the assets and other resources, on one hand, and obligations, surplus, and other credits, on the other. Accounts must also be set up to permit the identification of revenues and expenditures and receipts and disbursements with the fund to which they apply. Although the General Fund is available for all legally authorized purposes, the definition also applies to it, for the fund can be used for governmental purposes only and expenditures cannot be made from it without legal authorization.
Fund Balance - The unencumbered cash remaining in a fund at the end of a specified time period, usually the end of the fiscal year.
FY - Fiscal Year.


GASB - Governmental Accounting Standards Board
Grant - In governmental terminology, a contribution to or from a unit of government for specific or general purposes.
General Fund (GF) - By statute the State General Fund covers all State appropriation, expenditure and receipt transactions, except those for which special constitutional or statutory requirements demand separate fund accounting. Most of the traditional State services are included in the General Fund.
General Ledger - A ledger containing the accounts in which are recorded, in summary, all transactions of the State.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) - These are the uniform minimum standards for financial accounting and reporting. They govern the form and content of the financial statements of an entity. GAAP encompass the conventions, rules, and procedures to define accepted accounting practice at a particular time. They include not only broad guidance of general application, but also detailed practices and procedures. The primary authoritative body on the application of GAAP to state and local governments is the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
Goal - An elaboration of the mission statement, developed with greater specificity of how an organization will carry out its mission. The goal may be of a programmatic, policy, or fiscal nature, and is expressed in a manner that allows a future assessment to be made of whether the goal was or is being achieved.


HCM - Human Capital Management 


Internal Control System - A collection of processes that support Internal Control activites
Internal Service Fund (ISF) - Used to report activities that provide goods or services to other funds, departments or agencies of the state on a cost reimbursement basis. Internal service funds are used where the state s the predominant participant in the activity.
Invoice - A document submitted by a vendor, showing the character, quantity, price, terms, nature of delivery, and other particulars of goods delivered or of services rendered.
IT - Information Technology


JFO - Joint Fiscal Office 



Liabilities - Amounts owed for items received, services rendered, expenses incurred, assets acquired, construction performed (regardless of whether invoices have been received), and amounts received but as yet unearned. The two classifications occurring most frequently are Current Liabilities and Long-term Liabilities.
Line Item - Refers to any line of an appropriations act which provides for expenditure authorization.


Management Intervention - Management's actions to override prescribed policies or procedures for legitimate purposes; management intervention is usually necessary to deal with non-recurring and non-standard transactions or events that otherwise might be handled inappropriately by the system. (Contrast with Management Override.)
Management Override - Management's overruling of prescribed policies or procedures for illegitimate purposes with the intent of personal gain or an enhanced presentation of an entity's financial condition or compliance status. (Contrast with Management Intervention.)
Mission - The fundamental purpose for which an organization exists. A mission statement establishes the basis for the goals of the organization by describing in broad terms what the organization intends to accomplish. 
Monitoring - The fifth component of internal control, it ensures that controls are adequate and function properly.


Non-Depreciable Capital Assets - Capital assets that are inexhaustible or where the useful life does not diminish or expire over time, such as land and art & museum collections.


Objective - A sub-goal identified in specific, well-defined, and measurable terms that contributes to the achievement of an organization’s goal.
Obligations - Amounts that the State may be required legally to meet out of its resources at a particular date.
Operating Budget - A budget that applies to all outlays other than capital outlays.
Operating Expenditures - All charges incurred during a fiscal period for supplies, materials, services, grants-in-aid, debt service, and capital outlay that will affect the fund surplus or deficit of that period. It is immaterial whether payment has been made. The benefits of such expenditures may extend into subsequent periods.
Organization - An entity of any size, established for a particular purpose. An organization may be, for example, an agency, a department, an office, a commission or a board.
Outlays - Obligations are generally liquidated when checks are issued or cash disbursed. Such payments are called outlays.


Periodic Inventory - An inventory system whereby the entity performs a physical count of its inventory periodically, at least annually at fiscal year end.
Perpetual Inventory - An inventory system whereby the inventory quantities and values for all purchases and issuances are recorded directly in the inventory system as they occur.
Personal Services - Expenditures for payroll, including fringe benefits and related services such as consultants, physicians, and temporary services.
Petty Cash - A sum of money set aside on an imprest basis held for making change or paying small obligations when the issuance of a formal voucher and warrant/check would be too expensive and time consuming.
PO - Purchase Order
Policy - Management's directive of what is required to effect control. A policy serves as the basis for the implementation of management directives.
Preventative Control - A control designed to avoid an unintended event or result. (Contrast with Detective Control.)
Prior Year (PY) - The fiscal year that immediately precedes the current year.
Procedure - An action that implements a policy.
Process - A series of activities that are linked to perform a specific objective.
Proprietary Funds - This category of funds includes enterprise funds and internal service funds.
Program - A narrower, more targeted focus on a specific aspect of the general objective addressed by an agency's program series. There are various numbers of programs grouped under each agency program series.
PY - Prior Year



Reasonable Assurance - The concept that internal control, no matter how well designed and operated, cannot guarantee an organization’s objectives will be met. This is because of inherent limitations in all internal control systems.
Reliable - Ahigh degree of certainty and predictability for a desired outcome.
Retained Payable - A liability reflecting amounts due on contracts where a portion of the contract price has been retained from the contractor as assurance that the specified work will be completed and/or that subcontractors will be paid.
Restricted Funds - Appropriated funding earmarked by law to finance some specific activity or group of related activities.
Revenue - The income attributable to a designated fiscal accounting period that will affect the balance (surplus) or deficit resulting from the operations of that period. Certain items earned during that period are also considered revenue of that period even though the cash is not received until a subsequent period.
RFI - Request for Information
RFP - Request for Proposal
RFQ - Request for Quote
RFR - Request for Review
RIF - Reduction in Force
Risk - Anything that endangers the achievement of an objective.
Risk Appetite - The amount of risk exposure or potential impact from an event that a department is willing to accept or retain.
Risk Assessment - The second internal control component; the process used to identify, analyze, and manage the potential risks that could hinder or prevent an organization from achieving its objectives.


SAO - State Auditor’s Office
SOS - Secretary of State
SOV - State of Vermont
Separation (or segregation) of Duties - An internal control activity to detect errors and prevent wrongful acts; it requires that different personnel perform the functions of initiation, authorization, record keeping, and custody.
Single Audit - A financial, internal control and compliance audit of a non-federal entity administering federal assistance awards including the financial statements of the entity.
Statute - A written law enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
Special  Funds - These are funds used to finance particular activities from the receipts of specific taxes or other revenue.
Sub-recipient – A non-federal entity that expends federal awards received from a pass-through entity to carry out a federal program, but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of the program. It also excludes vendors that receive federal funds in exchange for goods and/or services in the course of normal trade or commerce.
Supplemental or Supplemental Appropriations - An act appropriating funds in addition to those in an annual appropriation act. Supplemental appropriations provide additional budget authority beyond the original estimates for programs or activities (including new programs authorized after the date of the original appropriation act) in cases where the need for funds is too urgent to be postponed until enactment of the next regular appropriation bill.
Surplus - The excess of assets of a fund over its liabilities and necessary reserves. While the liabilities represent amounts owed or payable or in process of payment, the reserves are segments set aside for special use, due to constitutional or statutory provisions, or contracts and agreements with other governmental units or private grantors.
SWCAP - Statewide Cost Allocation Plan


Tax Credits - Tax credits include any special provision of law that results in a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liabilities that would otherwise be due. Tax credits may result in a reduction of tax collections or an increase in the value of tax refunds.
Taxes - Compulsory charges levied by the government for the purpose of financing services performed for the common benefit.



VISION (Vermont Integrated Solution for Information and Organizational Needs) - The Statewide accounting system.
VSEA - Vermont State Employees Association


Year-End Closing - The period necessary for all accounting transactions to be completed from the previous fiscal year until the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is audited and published.


Zero-Base Budgeting - A process emphasizing management's responsibility to plan, budget, and evaluate. Zero-base budgeting provides for analysis of alternative methods of operation and various levels of effort. It places new programs on an equal footing with existing programs by requiring that program priorities be ranked, thereby providing a systematic basis for allocating resources.