Accounting Related Information

Accounting Cycle

The University’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. The year is divided into monthly accounting periods and financial reports are generated for each of these periods.  The month of June has the following three closings:

  • First Closing (period 12): Period for departments to process journal vouchers, expense vouchers, invoices, payroll, and other accounting entries which relate to regular June activity.
  • Second Closing (period 13): Additional time for departments and central administration to accrue any last minute June activity that was not captured in the first closing.
  • Final Closing (period 14): Period for central administration to process final accounting adjustments and transfers.

Closing calendars

Deficit Status (Monitoring for)

A grant or contract is considered to be in deficit when total expenditures exceed the authorized award.  Although there are many possible reasons for deficits, some of which may be legitimate and acceptable, deficit balances should be monitored monthly and resolved timely.  The Monitoring Funds in Deficit Status document provides guidelines on your role in monitoring a deficit.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs, also commonly referred to as Indirect Costs, are expenses incurred by the University to support sponsored activities that are incurred for common or joint objectives which are difficult to itemize and directly charge to any one award. "Facilities" is defined as operation and maintenance expenses, equipment and capital improvements, depreciation and use allowances and interest on debt associated with certain buildings. "Administrative" is defined as general administration, departmental and college administration, sponsored project administration expenses.

 F&A rates are applied to a Modified Total Direct Cost (MTDC) base using the rates established in the University's current rate agreement as approved by the Federal government. 

Financial reports

The University's financial statements are provided electronically on a monthly basis.  There are various web applications available to assist with the financial management of your award. Additionally, the GAO is available to answer transactional questions or to assist faculty and staff in determining the fiscal status of their sponsored awards. 

 The following documents provide information for mapping the general ledger's Institutional Accounts to the budget categories found within the grant financial statements. 

Master File Key (MFK)

The MFK is the 40 character key used in the University's general ledger accounting system.  Within this MFK is the WhoKey and Grant/Program (G/P) number, which are commonly used terms in the University's grant and contract world.  The components of the MFK are explained further in the U of Iowa Accounting Code Manual

The following tool can be used to find out why your account isn't allowing a transaction to post. It will validate against the University's general ledger.


The University general ledger uses the grant/program element of the Master File Key to identify a unique sponsored project. The first six characters identify the project and the last two characters can be used to identify smaller components (referred to as subcomponents, or sub-elements) of a particular sponsored project. Every sponsored project is set up with a "00" subcomponent, but additional subcomponents may be established using the guidelines found in the below document.

Last updated 12/15/2022