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Business Practices

Project and Account Codes

Princeton University uses seven digits to designate a project grant number. Chemistry is identified as department 130 -- all Chemistry accounts begin with these three digits. The last four digits of an account code are determined as follows:

  • 130-1xxx  General
  • 130-2xxx  Restricted and Non-Restricted, Non-Sponsored
  • 130-4xxx Non-Government Sponsored (eg. Industry or Foundation grants)
  • 130-6xxx  Government Sponsored
To make sure income/expenses are charged to the proper category, a 3-digit account code must be specified. Refer to the account code table for a complete list of codes and descriptions.  

Opening/Closing Accounts

4XXX and 6XXX accounts are used as designations for sponsored grants. In general, these accounts require the PI to submit a proposal via the Grants Manager and are opened upon receipt of funding from the sponsor by the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA). Once an account is opened, a Notice of Award (NOA) is sent to the PI and the Business Office indicating the award has been funded. Questions regarding the opening/closing of these accounts should be directed to the department’s Grants Manager.
2XXX accounts are used primarily for the distribution of funds which are typically restricted only by the purpose of the funding source. Examples of funding which are considered unrestricted may include gifts to a particular PI which are designated as unrestricted by an accompanying letter as well as a check or source of funding from the sponsor; funding from Chemistry or another department within the University; or an account opened by the PI with their own funding source. For additional examples of 2XXX account types, please visit the relevant page on the Treasurer’s website. Requests to open a 2XXX account must be submitted to the Business Office’s Financial Administrator and require appropriate back-up documentation showing reason for award and spending requirements/limitations as well as funding source at the time of request. Once the account is opened and a number has been assigned, the PI will receive notification that the account may be used. Questions regarding the opening/closing of these funding opportunities should be directed to the department’s Financial Administrator.
When projects reach expiration date or a PI leaves the University, steps must be taken to close the appropriate accounts/PGs. Each project is handled in accordance with the agreement from the sponsor at time of termination. In the event of a deficit balance, costs must be transferred off the account in order to establish a zero balance.
Although the Business Office monitors spending as closely as possible, overages are the sole responsibility of the PI to whom the account is assigned.  

Access to University Systems

Principal Investigators of research projects automatically receive access to their  project grants, as they are assigned by ORPA. All other personnel must submit a written request. Access to University systems (Peoplesoft Financials, Information Warehouse (IW), etc.) for Chemistry is granted via the IW Access Form. All requests must first be approved, in writing, by the professor who owns the grant. Completed forms can be signed by Business Manager or Department Manager.  
Please note: Once the initial request to access financial information is processed, additional requests must be submitted for each new account activated after that time. Requests to remove access for individuals and/or selected project grant numbers must also be completed via the IW Access Form.
For more information on the Information Warehouse, please visit the IW FAQ page.

University Credit Cards

A departmental credit card may be obtained, with approval from the Chair and Department Manager, to be used for frequent purchases from vendors who do not accept purchase orders.  An example might be frequent travel, departmental entertainment or meetings, and other University related business expenses.

Please note that the University is exempt from sales tax -- the exemption number is printed on the credit card.  Under no circumstances can University credit cards be used for personal purchases.

To obtain an application for a departmental credit card, please click here.

Verifying Transactions and Keeping a Credit Card Log

All credit card transactions must be verified via Works – this is an on-line bank statement that displays your recent activity. Verification includes stating the business purpose of each purchase, designating a project grant to be charged, and indicating the account code  that will categorize the transaction into the proper expense bucket (i.e. supplies, travel, etc). An e-mail will be sent to you to prompt verification.  It is important to include a detailed description of the business purpose on the description section of the "allocations" tab.

In the event you are unable to verify your own transactions, a proxy must be designated. All verified transactions are approved by the Business Manager.

In addition to the on-line verification of transactions, a paper credit card log must be submitted to the Business Manager, who will approve it and return it to you for your files. This log reconciles against the paper bank statement you will receive on a monthly basis. Please detail each transaction, account charged, and the business purpose of the purchase. Also, original receipts must be attached to the log. Credit card logs must be retained for seven years by the purchaser. If a transaction is charged to a sponsored account, please see the Business Office for retention policy.

The Office of Finance and Treasury website provides more complete information about obtaining and using university credit cards.

For a full list of purchasing and reimbursement methods, please visit the Office of Finance and Treasury's Buying & Paying page.

Time Collection

The Time Collection System is used to collect the hours worked by bi-weekly paid employees, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, and casual hourly employees. Bi-weekly permanent employees are entered into the system directly by Human Resources. Students and casual hourly employees should request to be set up for payment via the Time Collection system from the following:

  • Undergraduates: Undergraduate Administrator
  • Graduate Students: Graduate Student Administrator
  • Casual Hourly Employees: Financial Administrator

Note: Undergraduate/Graduate student hourly wages are determined by the Payroll Department based on years of service.

Casual Hourly employee wages shall be determined by the advisor who is requesting the appointment as well as the type of work to be performed. The hire of a Casual Hourly employee must be verified and the "casual hourly" form must be signed by the Department Manager. This form, together with the two documents below, must be filled out and taken to the Office of Human Resources for entry into the Payroll system prior to beginning work:  

A departmental payroll registration form must be completed by the undergraduate, graduate, or casual hourly employee seeking compensation. This form must be approved by the person who will be approving the corresponding time sheets and then submitted to the Financial Administrator for entry into Time Collection. Copies of the payroll registration form and blank time sheets may be obtained from the Chemistry Department’s Financial Administrator.

The biweekly pay period for Time Collection employees extends from Monday through Sunday. Completed time sheets should be submitted to the department’s Financial Administrator for processing no later than 1 p.m. on the Monday following the two-week pay period for which a person wishes to be paid.

The general payroll schedule can be found at:

The Time Collection System is here:

Note: Except in rare circumstances, working overtime is not permitted as the work week is limited to 40 hours. Any overtime requests must be approved in writing by the Department Manager.