Accounting and Financial Management applies teamwork to preparing Annual Financial Report

Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) is responsible for preparing the Annual Financial Report (AFR) for the university every year as mandated by the State of Texas. UT Austin’s AFR is consolidated into UT System’s report to the State Comptroller along with the reports from the other UT institutions.

According to AFM Assistant Director Marcy Lowther, the AFR is comprised of a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows as well as many other supporting and supplemental materials.

Many different groups within AFM and campus must collaborate to report the financial data for the university accurately and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Lowther says that Payroll Services, Student Accounts Receivable, Plant Accounting, Inventory, Cash Management, Federal Costing and Financial Accounting and Reporting, Office of Sponsored Projects, and the Budget Office all have a hand in preparing the AFR.

Lori Peterson, Executive Director of Accounting and Financial Management, says that completing the AFR requires teamwork.

“The AFR is a very complex puzzle that takes the cooperation of many to complete,” Peterson said. “Nearly all aspects of financial information are somehow intertwined. Tasks must be completed in a specific sequence. The various units and individuals work cooperatively to ensure that everyone has the pieces they need--when they need them--to complete their part of the puzzle.”

Describing the timeline and tasks, Lowther says that work on the AFR typically begins in the summer months leading up to the university’s fiscal year-end date of Aug. 31, with integrity checks, data, and testing of year-end reconciliations, Lowther states.

“Once the month of August closes around the third or fourth business day of September, the thirteenth month is open and year-end processing begins, Lowther said. “Many year-end entries are required to put financial data in compliance. These entries are processed within the first couple of weeks of September.”

Lowther explains that many dependencies affect the overall timeline of the AFR process:

  • The AFM team begins work on closing the accounting year for campus.
  • Payroll completes the final payment cycles.
  • Student Accounts Receivable is typically the first group to complete their AFR process.
  • Plant and Inventory units work on their schedules around the middle of September.
  • Office of Sponsored Projects and Federal Costing collaborate to close out grants.

Once all dependencies are completed, Cash Management finalizes the cash position report of cash inflows and outflows, and AFM begins consolidating the data and finalizing all of the remaining schedules.

Lowther says the final AFR reporting package is typically due to UT System on approximately Oct. 5 each year. The final AFR is available in electronic format on the AFM website around April of the following year.

“I believe the success of accomplishing this enormous task accurately and on time year after year is a prime example of the FAS portfolio’s teamwork core value,” Peterson said. “Everyone involved should be commended for their effort.”

Accounting graphic of computer with spreadsheet
Nov. 23, 2020