Line of Accounting Enhancement

» Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Business Intel/Data Mining, Business Practices, Electronic Travel Systems, Global Distribution Systems, History and Overview | 0 comments

One of the most significant projects I participated on while working with an EGOV Travel application was the planning, design, and development of an update line of accounting module.  This was an eighteen month project in which we worked in conjunction with the EGOV Travel vendor to redesign the line of accounting module.  The enhanced line of accounting  module offered several improvements over the prior module of which the most significant would include enabling travelers to more easily identify and select accounting, provide additional security by limiting accounting available to travelers, and improve the accounting conditional routing options.

The prior accounting module housed each line of accounting under a unique accounting label for each organization.  A line of accounting consists of a budget fiscal year, fund, cost center, reporting category, and project code.  Under this structure, the traveler selected from a list of line of accounting labels of every possible combination of budget fiscal year, fund, cost center, reporting category, and project code available to that traveler’s agency.  For agencies with numerous line of accounting combinations, the list of line of accounting labels could be hundreds or even thousands for travelers to sort through attempting to find the appropriate line of accounting to be used.  The line of accounting label only being 30-characters also limited the description on each label making it more difficult for the traveler to select the appropriate line of accounting.  Limiting a traveler’s accounting access within an organization was also not possible under the prior accounting module.  The conditional routing options under  the prior accounting module was also limited as an accounting label had to be set as the condition, it could not just be set for a project code or reporting category as the trigger.

The enhancement allows the traveler to build a line of accounting by selecting the appropriate budget fiscal year, cost center, fund, reporting category, and project, while limiting the traveler to only valid combinations.  The most notable benefits of this enhancement are:

  • Fewer choices and better description for the accounting elements.  Under the current accounting module, travelers must select a line of accounting from every line available to the organization. Each line of accounting currently has a label restriction of 30-characters.  The enhancement provides up to a 75-character description for each accounting element. Instead of selecting the entire line at once, the traveler will select first the cost center, then fund, etc., to create the line of accounting.  Upon selecting the cost center, the EGOV application will automatically limit the traveler’s choice of funds based on the cost center selection.  Upon selecting the fund, the EGOV application will limit the selections after that to values valid with that cost center/fund combination and so on.  After creating the line of accounting, the traveler will be able to create the label description name for that accounting combination and it will be saved under the “Previously Selected Accounting” list.
  • Retention of the ten most recent lines of accounting used under a “Previously Selected Accounting” list. This list can be easily accessed in the traveler’s future documents for quick selection of a line of accounting.  Each line of accounting will have a label that was custom named by the traveler to make it easily identifiable.  This is a very useful feature for travelers who have numerous trips to be obligated and expensed under the same line of accounting.  The EGOV application is designed to perform a validation on a line of accounting selected from this listing to ensure that all accounting elements and combinations are available and still valid.  As lines on this list can age significantly for infrequent travelers, the validation check is important as the system will not automatically remove a line if containing an accounting element or combination that becomes inactive.
  • Limiting the cost centers available to a traveler.  This feature, which is known as the Cost Center Restriction, will prevent the traveler from selecting a cost center for another office as well as shorten the list of accounting elements available to the traveler. Restricting the traveler’s accounting selections helps reduce the number for accounting corrections processed in the accounting system as well as adding additional security to an organization’s accounting codes.
  • Conditional routing being triggered by only one accounting element.  The conditional routing under the current accounting module requires that an entire line of accounting be selected before a document conditionally routes to an individual.  Under the enhancement, a single accounting element can trigger a conditional routing.  A project code, for example, can be set up to conditionally route a document to one or more individuals if that project code is selected. This is a significant improvement over the prior module as now a project manager, for example, can review all EGOV application documents under one project code for all individuals regardless of the cost center selected.

By Grant Brown

“The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.”

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