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Common Questions

The following information consists of common questions received by the USSGL staff.


Budgetary Related Common Questions
Can I use USSGL account 4350, “Canceled Authority,” to cancel monies when the TAFS has FACTS II budgetary reporting requirements in the following fiscal year?

No, USSGL account 4350, “Canceled Authority,” is used in a TAFS that is canceled and does not have FACTS II budgetary reporting requirements in the following fiscal year. For further information, refer to the Cancellation Scenario section found on the USSGL Implementation Guidance Web page at http://www.fms.treas.gov/ussgl/approved_scenarios/index.html.
The USSGL Division’s role is to provide accounting guidance on established budget policy. Who do I contact when I have budget-related questions that are not USSGL specific in nature?

  1. Contact the bureau budget office (if the entity is a bureau within the department).
  2. Contact the department accounting and budget offices.
  3. Contact the department budget office and ask them to contact the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) program examiner.

Note: Agency accountants should not contact the OMB program examiner or the BRD Budget Concepts Branch directly.
How does the USSGL budgetary account series (4000's) work?

In order to understand how the budgetary accounts work, one must understand that the budgetary accounts follow the budget execution cycle through appropriations, apportionments, allotments, commitments, obligations, expenditures and outlays. The budget execution process is reflected on the SF 133: Report on Budget Execution and Budgetary Resources and is supported by OMB Circular No. A-11: Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget. The Budgetary Accounting Equation is as follows:

Budgetary Resources = Status of Budgetary Resources

Budgetary resources are normally debit balances that include USSGL account series 4100 and 4200. The status of budgetary resources is normally credit balances that include USSGL account series 4400, 4500, 4600, 4700, 4800, and 4900. For more information, visit the USSGL Web site.
What is the FACTS II USSGL Attribute: "Year of Budget Authority"?

Year_of_Budget Authority is a U.S. Standard General Ledger (USSGL) attribute that distinguishes between outlays from new budget authority versus outlays from balances. It is used for no-year Treasury Appropriation Fund Symbol (TAFS). It is not used for annual or multi-year TAFS. It is also not used for no-year credit financing TAFS.

For additional information refer to FACTS II USSGL Attribute: "Year_Of_Budget Authority" - What is it?PDF File Plus 14 related questions and answers addressed.
My agency has a special and/or trust fund that receives appropriations from the General Fund of the Treasury via Treasury Appropriation Warrant. Is it okay to record USSGL account 4119, Other Appropriations Realized?

Yes, special and trust funds that receive appropriations from the General Fund of the Treasury may record USSGL account 4119; however this activity is the EXCEPTION to the rule. There are only a few specifically identified special and trust funds that receive amounts appropriated directly from the General Fund of the Treasury to the special or trust fund expenditure account (see the Web page at http://www.fms.treas.gov/factsii/SGL_Accts_4119_4114_S_and_TFunds_2.2008.pdf for a list of these special and trust funds). The more common sources of funding come from earmarked or dedicated receipts (recorded as revenue), which are then appropriated and recorded in USSGL account 4114, Appropriated Trust or Special Fund Receipts. For information on updated transactions that reflect this activity, refer to Section III of the USSGL TFM Supplement.
What is the difference in trust fund reporting requirements for expenditure versus nonexpenditure transfers?

As defined in the Analytical Perspectives of the Budget of the U.S. Government, federal funds include general, special and revolving funds. Trust funds consist of funds that are designated by law as such. Any transfer that occurs between a trust fund and any federal fund is to be classified as an expenditure transfer. Therefore, the entity transferring out is to record an outlay, and the entity transferring in is to record a receipt or collection.

As described in TFM Vol. I Part 2 - Chapter 2000, all transfers between trust funds are to be classified as nonexpenditure. Therefore, a transfer of budget authority is recorded when the transfer occurs.

Specific transactions are illustrated in the USSGL Federal Trust Fund Accounting Guide, as well as in Section III: Account Transactions (as updated).



Continuing Resolution Questions
My agency is currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR). Does the USSGL Web site provide accounting guidance to agencies under a CR?

Yes, detailed guidance discussing the continuing resolution process is located on the USSGL Web site under approved scenarios (budgetary). The scenario is entitled, Appropriations Provided by a Continuing Resolution, and provides the reader with answers to common questions while operating under a CR. It discusses the overall CR process and concerns regarding appropriation warrants, and it illustrates accounting entries and the effects on quarterly financial reporting. In addition, the scenario includes references to the Office of Management and Budget's Circular No. A-11, sections 123.1 - 123.5, as they relate to continuing resolutions.

Will my agency receive a warrant while funded by a CR?

Generally, FMS does not issue warrants until the Congress enacts the regular appropriation bill. For exceptions and further guidance, refer to Treasury Financial Manual, Volume I, Part 2, Chapter 2000, subsection 2025.20.

Note: For fiscal 2007, many agencies will remain under a CR for the entire year. FMS provided instructions for requesting warrants to agencies in a letter dated, February 7, 2007.
Until a warrant is received, is it acceptable for agencies to have a negative Fund Balance With Treasury?

Yes, although a warrant may not be issued, agencies should record Fund Balance With Treasury (FBWT) under a CR. Statement of Federal Financial Accounting Standards (SFFAS) No. 7, Accounting for Revenue and Other Financing Sources and Concepts for Reconciling Budgetary and Financial Accounting, paragraph 71, states that appropriations should be recognized in capital as "unexpended appropriations" (and among assets as "funds with Treasury") when made available for apportionment, even if a Treasury Warrant has not yet been received, or the amount has not been fully apportioned. To comply with SFFAS No. 7, the USSGL Board created USSGL account 1090, "Fund Balance With Treasury Under a Continuing Resolution," to report FBWT under a CR.

Furthermore, until FMS processes a warrant, an agency's FBWT will not be posted to FMS's Central Accounting System. The balance in USSGL account 1090 will not match the balance on the GWA Account Statement: Undisbursed Appropriation Account Ledger. However, agencies will post their normal receipt and disbursement activity using USSGL account 1010, "Fund Balance With Treasury," and the balance for USSGL account 1010 should match the balance on the GWA Account Statement.

For further guidance, refer to the approved scenario, Appropriations Provided by a Continuing Resolution, which illustrates USSGL account 1090.
While under a CR, should two different methods of accounting for Fund Balance With Treasury be used when one bureau in an agency receives a warrant and another bureau in the same agency does not receive a warrant?

Yes, in fact, agencies must determine at a Treasury Appropriation Fund Symbol (TAFS) level, which of the two accounting methods to use. Agencies should record USSGL account 1090, "Fund Balance With Treasury Under a Continuing Resolution," until FMS processes a warrant. A warrant is considered processed when the appropriation is posted into STAR, FMS's central accounting system. Warrant information is available to agencies on a real-time basis in GOALS II. Warrants post to agencies' GWA Account Statement on a next-day basis. Agencies should record a debit to USSGL account 1010, "Fund Balance With Treasury," and a credit to USSGL account 1090, "Fund Balance With Treasury Under a Continuing Resolution," in a particular TAFS when FMS processes a warrant for that TAFS. The warrant may represent passage of an appropriation or an annualized CR.



Proprietary Related Common Questions
Should capital lease liabilities be funded up front?

If a government agency has a capital lease agreement with a non-federal entity, OMB Circular No. A-11: Preparation, Submission and Execution of the Budget requires that the net present value of the capital lease liability be funded up front. For further information, see OMB Circular No. A-11, Appendix B, and the "Capital and Operating Leases" case study on the USSGL Approved Scenarios web page.
What types of employee benefit expenses should be reported in USSGL account 6400 Benefit Expense?

The title of USSGL account 6400 may seem like all benefits should be included, but it is intended to include very specific types of benefits. The original intention of USSGL account 6400 was to allow program agencies to report their contribution of employee benefit expenses, such as pension, health, life, and FECA, so that a reconciliation with the administering agencies' benefit revenue would be possible. The definition of USSGL account 6400 was then further expanded to include unemployment, Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, Social Security, Medicare, and entitlement benefit programs specifically identified in USSGL account 2160 Entitlement Benefits Due and Payable.

The final definition of USSGL account 6400 was divided into two parts: one for program agencies using 6400 "G" to report their activities, and the other for administering agencies using 6400 "N" to report their activities. Although relocation costs, transportation costs, education costs, etc. may be classified as employee benefits, they should not be reported in USSGL account 6400, but should instead be reported in USSGL account 6100 Operating Expenses/Program Costs.



Miscellaneous Common Questions
Why are there always changes or updates to the USSGL?

The USSGL is the core of financial reporting. It provides detailed information through general ledger accounts and transactions that ultimately provide information to readers of financial statements. Any changes or updates as a result of legislative enactment affect the USSGL. In order to comply with Governmental guidance set forth by bodies such as the Department of Treasury, Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and new systems requirements (i.e. Federal Agencies' Centralized Trial-Balance System - FACTS II), USSGL accounts and transactions are established to reflect new reporting requirements. Visit the USSGL Web site for detailed guidance.
Where can I find current information concerning updates and changes to the USSGL?

Visit the USSGL Web site to obtain current information on USSGL Treasury Financial Manual (TFM) releases, interim updates, approved scenarios, trust fund guidance, credit reform guidance, as well as other pertinent information. You can also subscribe to the email notification service in order to receive email notifications when substantive changes occur.


   Last Updated:  March 14, 2014