ARC Attribute Changes

It is the policy of Columbia University to adopt and adhere to standards that are designed to ensure the integrity of its financial reporting systems and their ability to support both regulatory and management reporting needs.

Reason for the Policy

The purpose of this policy is to set forth principles and procedures that are designed to ensure that attribute changes within the University’s financial and reporting system (ARC) comply with its responsibility to provide management with financial reports that are in compliance with USGAAP and appropriately reflect management’s responsibilities within the University.

Primary Guidance to Which This Policy Responds

This policy responds to the requirements of USGAAP and University Management.

Revision History

Not Applicable

Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy applies to all University employees with financial reporting responsibilities and the University departments that provide support with respect to ARC (e.g., Office of the Controller, Office of Management and Budget, and Sponsored Projects Administration) This includes all levels of financial reporting including at the University, individual school and department level as well as financial reporting for sponsored projects.

Who Should Know This Policy

  • All persons governed by this Policy (see above)
  • Deans, Department Chairs, Directors of Institutes, Centers, and other University units
  • Departmental Administrators and other departmental staff
  • Office of the Controller staff
  • Office of Management and Budget staff
  • Sponsored Projects Administration

Exclusions & Special Situations

All changes to attributes associated with Sponsored Projects must be initiated through Sponsored Projects Administration as these attributes originate in InfoEd.

Policy Statement

I. ARC Attribute Overview

ARC attributes are utilized to provide additional information regarding individual chart strings. This information may be utilized in a variety of ways. Among other things, attributes may determine certain default values for a particular chart string, determine functional classification of a particular item for financial reporting, provide additional qualitative information for individual sponsored projects and/or provide additional information to facilitate management reporting, including MOT calculations. A complete listing of ARC Attributes is included in Appendix A.

II. Requesting an Attribute Change

A. ARC Change Request

  1. With the exception of changes to sponsored projects attributes, all attribute change requests must be submitted through a chartfield request form which is accessible from the ARC portal. Submissions will be validated and reviewed for appropriate authorization based on the authorization matrix provided by the requesting school by the Office of the Controller. Please note, all requests from CUMC must be routed to the CUMC Controller’s Office for approval before being forwarded to the Office of the Controller. The request must include the effective date of the change which may be the current date, a future date or in certain instances as prescribed by this policy, a prior date. In addition, all requests which result in a financial reporting (USGAAP or management reporting) classification change must include an explanation as to the reason for the change (policy change, error correction, etc.) as well as, if applicable, an analysis and quantification of the impact on prior quarters and prior year.
  2. Any change requests which involve a change between central/non-central funds require the prior approval of OMB. Any request submitted without this approval will not be processed.
  3. Requests which are complete and properly authorized will be processed within 3 business days from the date submitted. Requesters will receive notification once their change request has been processed.

B. ARC Retrospective Changes

  1. In limited instances certain types of attribute changes (see Appendix B) that result in a financial reporting or COB presentation change with an impact of greater than $500,000 at the school level will be applied retrospectively on a quarterly basis to the beginning of the fiscal year. 
  2. Quantification of the retrospective change (by quarter) must be included with the initial attribute change request.
  3. Retrospective adjustments will be processed in the same period as the attribute change. 
  4. For attribute changes with an impact of greater than $500,000 resulting from policy changes, presentation of prior year activity will also be adjusted in a separate ledger providing the ability to generate comparative reports if necessary.

III. Summary of Responsibilities
Below is an extract of the responsibilities discussed in this policy. Please note this is not an exhaustive list of the responsibilities for these University units.

Office of the Controller

  • Serve as the centralized resource for questions regarding the administration and processing of attribute change requests
  • Coordinate and review matters, as necessary, with the various University departments that are impacted by an attribute change
  • Provide support with respect to retrospective application of attribute changes
  • Conduct ongoing monitoring of attribute change requests
  • Maintain a schedule of attribute changes including the effective date of the change and whether or not there was a retrospective application of the change

Office of Management and Budget

  • Work with the Controller’s Office, as necessary, to confirm retrospective application is appropriate.
  • Work with the Controller’s Office to confirm amount of any retrospective adjustments related to attribute changes.
  • Work with the Controller’s Office, as necessary, with regard to the implementation of attribute changes related to University-wide management reporting changes

Sponsored Projects Administration

  • Work with the requesting department to ensure the requested attribute change is appropriate

School / Department / Institute / Center / and Other University Units (Including Deans, Department Chairs, Institute and Center Directors, Senior Business Officers, and University employees with financial, administrative and reporting responsibilities)

  • Develop and distribute to all impacted University employees, including Controller’s office, attribute change authorization matrix
  • Work with OMB to obtain approval for central/non-central fund changes
  • Work with the Controller’s office and OMB to identify and communicate proposed attribute changes in a timely manner
  • If applicable, calculate the historical impact of a requested attribute change

Detail listing of Attributes specific to Columbia University’s financial reporting system (ARC).

Attributes eligible for retrospective application