U.S. Geological Survey Instructional Memorandum
No. OFM 2003-09
Issuance Date: June 09, 2003
Expiration Date: June 8, 2004
Archive Date: December 2008
Reference: IM has expired. Procedures are covered in the Financial Operating Procedures Handbook, Chapter 16.3a and the Remote Data Entry Manual.
1. Background on Commitments. Commitments represent a reservation of funds. Commitments can be a useful tool in the administrative control of funds process. The Departmental Accounting Manual (2-20-10-20) states the following regarding commitments:
"A commitment transaction sets funds aside for a specific purpose. The committed amount is unavailable for obligation except for the specified purpose. Department of the Interior policy is that commitments must be used to set aside funds for planned obligations that are expected to take one or more months to execute and be for at least $25,000. A commitment must be supported by a Request for Proposal, Request for Bid, Requisition, Commodity Requisition, or other written statements of intent to obligate a specific amount for a stated purpose by a stated date. When an obligation is created, the commitment is canceled through a reversing transaction. Any outstanding committed balance is canceled and included in the unobligated balance at fiscal year end."
2. IDEAS-generated Commitments. For requisitions recorded in the Interior Department Electronic Acquisition System (IDEAS), a commitment transaction is interfaced to the Federal Financial System (FFS) as a Q$ transaction. Q$ commitments are liquidated by awards processed in IDEAS (interfaced to FFS as M$ transactions) referencing the requisition. These commitment liquidations can be partial or final, based on the coding of the award in IDEAS.
3. FFS-entered Commitments. Commitment transactions can be entered directly into FFS by remote data entry (RDE) users. Three different types of FFS-entered commitments have been established for fiscal year 2003. These commitment documents and their recommended uses are described below. It should also be noted that no commitments can be outstanding on the books for closing out a fiscal year. To facilitate this closing requirement, a requisition reversal program is run at the end of September to liquidate any outstanding commitments in FFS.
A. 8R-RDE Commitment-This document can be used for all non-travel commitments where a subsequent transaction will be entered in FFS to reference and liquidate the commitment. The 8R document commits the funds in FFS and these amounts will appear on reports and in the FFS tables in the "Commitment" field. In order to liquidate the commitment, a subsequent transaction related to this commitment must reference the 8R document when entered in FFS. Most frequently a commitment will be referenced by an obligation in the chain of accounting events. However, FFS allows for obligations, accruals, bankcard (CARD table) adjustments, or payments to reference an 8R commitment. The impact of referencing a commitment with any one of these transactions is the liquidation, in part or in whole, of the referenced commitment.
B. 8Q-RDE Lump Sum Travel Commitment-This document can be used to commit travel in a lump sum (e.g., for blanket travel orders or foreign travel expected to take a long time to finalize). For lump sum travel commitments, a special process has been developed to partially liquidate 8Q transactions for travel vouchers (e.g., T8 transactions interfaced from Travel Manager) processed in FFS. (Note-travel costs not processed on a travel voucher, e.g., airline tickets, should not be committed with the 8Q document). The travel commitment liquidation process is based on new travel types and the document number. To use this travel commitment feature, the following steps must be taken:
(1) Enter an 8Q document for the lump sum travel commitment amount into FFS with a document number format of YCCCCSSS:
(a) Y = Last digit of fiscal year
(b) CCCC = Cost center
(c) SSS = Sequential number (limited to three characters)
(2) Enter travel vouchers that will partially liquidate the 8Q commitment with the following:
(a) Travel Type of Committed Temporary Duty Limited (TDL) travel (CDL) or Committed Temporary Duty Trip (TDT) travel (CDT)
(b) A document number that ties back to the 8Q commitment. The key to the liquidation process is the document number format, where the first 8 digits are the same as the 8Q document. The travel document number format is YCCCCSSS###:
(i) Y = Last digit of fiscal year
(ii) CCCC = Cost center
(iii) SSS = Sequential number (of 8Q document)
(iv) ### = Additional sequential number of travel document
(3) A process will run in FFS every night to partially liquidate 8Q commitments for the amount of the travel vouchers processed that day in FFS.
C. 8X-RDE Self-Reversing Commitment-Some FFS users want to commit funds for future expenditures that cannot be automatically reversed by an FFS document. For example, FFS payroll transactions cannot reference/liquidate 8R commitments. For these types of commitments, an 8X document can be entered into FFS with a reversal period. The 8X document will record a commitment in FFS and will appear on reports that have a column for "Commitments." Based on reversal period entered, the entire amount of the 8X document will be reversed (i.e., the commitment will be reduced to zero) by an FFS batch process that will be run at the beginning of each month.