Finance Office

Accounting Policies and Procedures

The Finance Office is responsible for recording, classifying and reporting the financial data necessary for the efficient administration of our University. Our financial management system must meet the dual requirements of our institution while still being governed by the principles and concepts of institutional accounting and finance. These generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) have developed over time and gained acceptance throughout our industry allowing the consistent presentation of financial results and comparability to other institutions. Many of our policies and procedures in practice are mandated by the AICPA Audit Guide, Federal Regulations of the Office of Management (OMB) Circulars A-21, A-110 and A-133 as well as the Uniform Guidance. These basic accounting policies drive the operation of our financial management system. We recognize the need and strive for the highest level of fiscal responsibility and professional ethics in handling University funds.

General Accounting

The Finance Office is responsible for the maintenance of the University’s GP Dynamics financial system and coordinates, with the assistance of other departments, interfaces with other financial systems including CAMS, Rivier’s the Student information System. This department is also responsible for external and internal audits, maintaining adequate internal control over financial transactions and ensuring that financial transactions are recorded in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

Accrual Adjustments – Quarter end and fiscal year end accrual adjustments record unposted transactions. These generally represent revenue earned (i.e. good or service has been provided) but not received as of the period end and expenses incurred (i.e. good or service has been received) but not paid as of the period end. The most common accrual adjustments include accounts payable invoices, travel reimbursements, and biweekly payroll.

Agency Funds – Fund activities which furnish goods and services to students, faculty and staff for a fee. An examples is Student Activities Fee which is under the control of the Student Government.

Encumbrances – An encumbrance is an open item expenditure which represents a planned or obligated expenditure. The amount required to fund the item is set aside and is accounted for as an obligation.  Funds can only be encumbered during the current fiscal year.

Posting Period – Each calendar month represents a separate posting period. For example, period 1 would be July; period 2 would be August, and so on.

Fiscal Year – The 12-month period for which budgetary authority is granted and for which external financial statements are prepared. Rivier University operates on the fiscal year of:  July 1 through June 30.

The Chart of Accounts is a listing of the accounts available in the accounting system in which to record entries. The chart of accounts consists of balance sheet accounts (assets, liabilities, net assets) and income statement accounts (revenues, expenses, gains, losses). The chart of accounts is tailored to reflect the operations of the university and its various activities.

Accounts Payable

Rivier University’s is a Catholic Institution of higher educational dedicated to “transforming hearts and minds to serve the world.” All payment requests made by University programs and personnel NOT found to reasonably support this stated purpose will be denied.

The primary function of the Accounts Payable Office is to facilitate the issuance of payments to vendors.

Overview of the Accounts Payable Process

Certain transactions are subject to Internal Revenue Service documentation and reporting guidelines. The following processing is required to prepare an invoice for payment:

1. A department makes a purchase of goods and/or services, and subsequently prepares the documentation required to submit the payment request to the Accounts Payable Office.

2.  Prior to release of a payment, the payment request is reviewed by the Accounts Payable Office for compliance with IRS rules and regulations. Grant payments are reviewed and signed off by the Controller.

3.  Payments are made by check, EFT and Purchase-Card. For additional details see Purchase Card Program

4. For additional information on accounts payable policies and procedures, please see Accounts Payable Policies and Procedures.

Capitalization of Plant Assets

Equipment acquisitions will be recorded in accordance with the Rivier University’s accounting practices. Equipment shall be capitalized and maintained in the campus fixed asset inventory system. The dollar threshold minimum for campus equipment is $5,000.  Plant funds are used to purchase, construct or renovate long-life assets such as land, land improvements, buildings and equipment.

For addition information on policy and procedures, please see Capitalization of Assets.

Control of Capital Assets

All university equipment sold will be coordinated through the Finance Office. Employees, staff, or faculty shall not receive any special consideration regarding sales of capital assets. Department managers are responsible for coordinating capital asset activity. Equipment belonging to the university must be located and properly secured on the Rivier campus. It is against policy for any such equipment or property to be used by employees for their personal use or be located in their residences without proper authorizing documentation. This policy does not apply communication equipment, or other types of equipment where the normal use necessitates an off-campus location.


All leases will be recorded in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The Finance Office provides proper classification for new leases.


In order to be clear about the intent of both the University and other parties with whom the University enters into relationships, written contracts are frequently necessary. Well-executed written contracts clarify and define the agreement between the parties and protect against unnecessary risks to the University’s resources and reputation. This policy provides guidance for the development and use of written contracts, describes situations for which they are required, and identified exceptions to those requirements. The Office of the Controller is responsible for contract management and compliance with related University policies. See Contracts and Contracting.

Grant Accounting

The Finance Office is responsible for the collection of grant proceeds, the review and submission of post-award financial reports, and works closely with principal investigators to ensure that financial transactions comply with granting agency regulations.

Please visit Grant Accounting for additional information.