This chapter provides procedures and formats government agencies use in reporting accounting transactions to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service).
Per the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950, Treasury must prepare overall government financial reports for the President, the Congress, and the public. Each agency must provide the Secretary of the Treasury (the Secretary) with reports and information relating to the agency’s financial condition and operations as the Secretary may require for effective performance. The Secretary’s responsibilities include the system of central accounting and financial reporting for the government.
Section 1015—Principles and Features of the System of Central Accounts
Treasury consolidates all agencies’ accounting results under a unified system of central accounting and financial reporting for the government. The system of central accounting for the federal government’s cash operations releases complete and current monthly and fiscal year information on the following:
The government’s receipts, by principal sources, and its expenditures according to various appropriations and funds involved; and
Cash transactions, classified by type, together with certain directly related assets and liabilities that underlie such receipts and expenditures are released by the central accounting system. The accounting for receipts is based on collections received or deposits. Expenditures are based on vouchers paid by check, electronic payments, cash, or credit to other government accounts as no-check transactions.
The structure of the central accounts integrates, on a firm accounting basis, the following:
Published reports on receipts and expenditures and the related budget surplus or deficit (including the underlying appropriation, fund, and receipt accounts);
Changes in the accountability balances of Treasury and all other accountable officers holding cash outside Treasury; and
All other assets and liabilities directly related to the government’s financial operations.
The basis for the system of central accounts is that no single federal agency controls the receipt and payment of public funds. Instead, all federal agencies that handle government financial transactions must properly perform their function to support internal government control and the system of central accounts. For example:
Administrative agencies, which incur obligations and certify vouchers to disbursing officers for payment, must determine that funds are available, including sufficient balances in the appropriation or other accounts involved.
Disbursing officers must determine that payments are made only in accordance with properly certified vouchers in the required format.
Treasury must determine that checks presented for payment bear authentic drawers’ signatures with no alterations and no bars to payment (requests to stop payment or questions of law or fact).
Treasury and disbursing officers must ensure that payments made by Treasury agree with the payments reported by the disbursing officers and charged to their accounts.
Treasury and banks must ensure that amounts deposited to Treasury’s account agree with the amounts reported through the banking system as deposited to Treasury’s account.
Treasury must integrate, through the system of central accounts, all financial transactions reported by accountable and other fiscal officers of the government and Treasury. This integration must produce: (1) the balance of each revenue and other receipt account; (2) the unexpended balance of each appropriation and fund account, based on appropriations of the Congress and cash transactions, in terms of budget and non-budget results; and (3) the related cash assets and liabilities.
1015.10—System of Accounts
The system of accounts integrates the financial transactions reported by administrative agencies, disbursing and collecting officers, and Treasury.
The system of accounts also includes certain transit accounts. These accounts are needed because of time lags in accounting or reporting to record certain transactions on a temporary basis during a fiscal year. For example, a transaction between two different government agencies may be recorded in a transit account.
The individual receipt, appropriation, and fund accounts constitute subsidiary accounts to the general ledger control accounts for budget receipts and expenditures as well as the liability accounts for deposit funds see Volume I Part 2, Chapter 1500.
The following paragraphs summarize data consolidated in the central accounts.
Cash balances in Treasury’s accounts.
Various classes of cash assets held by government officers outside Treasury’s account.
Money assets with the International Monetary Fund.
Certain Fiscal Service expenditures that are temporarily capitalized, such as deferred discount on marketable securities.
Borrowing from the public: this consists of gross federal debt outstanding less federal debt held by government accounts.
Interest on Treasury securities.
Deposit funds excluded from the budget.
Checks outstanding and drawn on Treasury.
1015.10c—Receipts and Outlays
Receipts and outlays include:
Internal revenue; customs; and other general, special, and trust fund receipts.
All disbursements net of refunds, reimbursements, and proprietary receipts.
1015.10d—Surpluses or Deficits
Surplus or deficit includes:
The excess of budget receipts or net outlays for the current fiscal year closed annually into an account containing the cumulative excess of liabilities over assets.
The cumulative deficit (that is, excess of liabilities over assets) representing the total cumulative difference between the foregoing liabilities and assets.
1015.20—Integration of Treasury and Agency Accounting Data
Integration of the administrative accounting of the various departments and agencies with the fiscal accounting of Treasury is based on cash transactions that are mutually applicable to Treasury and the operating agency accounts.
The administrative accounting of the executive departments and agencies goes beyond this for operating purposes. It deals with the following:
Control of spending within the limits of appropriations, apportionments, allotments, and other authorizations;
Collection of receipts;
Control of inventories and other resources;
Discharge of liabilities; and
Determination of the cost of operating programs or carrying on other activities.
Treasury does not carry administrative accounting data, beyond the area of cash operations, in the system of central accounts. On the contrary, Treasury's Fiscal Service relies on the administrative accounting of individual agencies to supply data needed for central financial reporting purposes. Agencies’ administrative accounting is firmly linked to Fiscal Service through the reciprocal relationship of the accounts for cash transactions.
Section 1020—Standard File Formats
Fiscal Service accepts only electronic submittals of accounting and reporting transactions. Standard file formats for electronic submissions, enrollment, reporting requirements, and guidance are available on the Fiscal Service website for the following reporting systems:
All departments and agencies should use standard accounting and reporting formats as well as related procedures, including those approved by the Government Accountability Office, unless exempted by law or Fiscal Service.
Direct inquiries concerning this chapter to:
Department of the Treasury
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Budget Reports Division
3201 Pennsy Drive, Building E
Landover, MD 20785