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This section lists abbreviations and terms used within the University. You will encounter them frequently so its useful to know them.


AP: Accounts Payable (Creditors) Invoice
AR: Accounts Receivable (Debtors) Invoice
CFO: Chief Financial Officer
COO: Chief Operating Officer
DVC: Deputy Vice Chancellor
EFT: Electronic funds transfer – money direct credited to creditor's bank account.
EFTS: Equivalent Full Time Student
FBT: Fringe Benefit Tax
FSD: Financial Services Division
FTE: Equivalent Full Time Staff
GL: General Ledger
GST: Goods and Services Tax
HEDC: Higher Education Development Centre
HOD: Head of Department
ITS: Information Technology Services
OU: Otago University
OUSA: Otago University Students Association
PAYE: Pay as you earn taxation
PBRF: Performance Based Research Fund
PL: Projects (Research) Ledger
PVC: Pro Vice-Chancellor
TEC: Tertiary Education Commission
TL: Trusts Ledger
UOC: University of Otago, Christchurch
UOW: University of Otago, Wellington
UPO: University Procurement Office
VC: Vice-Chancellor


Account - Basic unit for collating income and expenditure for a University department, research grant etc.

Accounts Payable - Money owed to creditors by University.

Allocation - The total amount that academic divisions are given in the budget process. This amount is calculated using the University Funding model. When entering their budgets, the academic divisions MUST agree to this amount.

Asset - An unexpired expense. A capital item which is expected to last more than one year. Items of plant and equipment with a cost greater than $2,000. Includes all items of furniture regardless of cost.

Back Order - An order, or part of an order waiting to be fulfilled. Normally the supplier will advise that your order or part of your order is on back order and will be delivered.

Chart - Holds descriptions and attributes of an account, for example:
PL - Project Name, Principal Investigator, Project End Date...
Creditors - Creditor Name, Address, GST number...PCARD - Card holder name, Department...

Commercial Activities - Any activity conducted from within the University of Otago to external clients which has the creation of a financial surplus or the reduction of costs, for the University, as its main purpose.

Cost Driver – Cost drivers are used to allocate costs. Examples of a cost driver include full time equivalent staff, research labour costs, equivalent full time students, and square meters. Building maintenance and occupancy costs are allocated using the square meter driver. The costs are apportioned based on share of total square meters.

Credit - An entry to an account which recognises a revenue or a liability, or decreases an expense or an asset. Where the operations of an activity result in a credit balance the sum of revenues exceeds the sum of expenditures. In carry forward terms a credit balance is equivalent to being in funds.

Creditor – An individual or company that is owed money by the University.

Debit - An entry to an account with the effect of increasing expenditure, increasing an asset, decreasing a liability or decreasing revenue. Where the operations of an activity result in a debit balance the sum of expenditure exceeds the sum of revenue. In carry forward terms a debit balance is an overdraft.

Debtor - An individual or company that owes money to the University.

Deficit - Results where expenditure exceeds income for a period

e-procurement - Electronic Procurement involves on-line purchasing of goods and services.

Expense - Payment for goods or services. Amount of money required to obtain an input.

International Air Travel – Destinations further than Australia and the Pacific Islands, also known as Long Haul destinations.

Ledger - Holds details about specific transactions eg dates, amounts, narratives.

These can be either the financial year Ledgers – eg 11GLA, or a perpetual ledger eg Creditors.

Liability - An obligation to another party which arises from a past event and results in a sacrifice of service potential measurable in dollar terms.

Non Reciprocal Research – Research projects that have limited or no requirements for reporting back to the funder. These projects are accounted for under the Q Activity.

Overhead – overhead costs are those costs that are not directly identified. For example, research projects will consume labour and materials directly as research is performed. These costs are the ongoing costs which cannot be attributed to a specific activity but are still necessary. Examples include lighting, repairs and maintenance, cleaning, rates, insurance, library and support services provided either in the Department or through the Service Divisions.

Overhead Rate – the total of indirect costs (overhead) divided by the cost driver. The University uses an overhead rate based on direct labour cost to recover overhead. The rate is reviewed annually.

PBRF - Performance Based Research Fund - tertiary education funding process, assessing the research performance of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and then funding them on the basis of their performance.

PCard - Purchase card or a University corporate credit card.

Project Surplus – The amount of funding remaining unspent at the conclusion of the research project. Surpluses may be transferred only if the funding contract permits and the Head of Department has approved the transfer on the project closing form.

Reciprocal Research – Research contracts requiring the reporting of research outcomes and other contractual reporting. These projects are accounted for in the P Activity and are termed reciprocal research projects.

Research in Advance - The amount of funding received from research project funders not yet earned by the University. This amount is typically the difference between funds received and expenses incurred.

Revenue - Arises from the sale of goods or services. Amount of money obtained or obtainable from the supply of a good or a service.

Short haul air travel - Travel within New Zealand, and between New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Surplus - Results from revenue exceeding expenses for a period.

TEC – Tertiary Education Commission – The TEC is responsible for managing the Government's tertiary education funding brining all forms of post secondary school education and training under one umbrella.

Variance - The difference between an actual value and a budget value.

Further information about the Glossary of Terms

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