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Account Info

How to use the Account Info section of the p-card form

💰 Account Info

The account (also referred to as a cost object) is the account you are looking to charge. This often varies based on the department, the item purchased, and other things. If you are not sure which to use, please confirm with the Senior Financial Officer.


When completing the section of the p-card form that calls for the account:


1. Type in the account that will be charged, as well as the general ledger (G/L).


The G/L is used to broadly categorize the transaction and is necessary to allow MIT to properly review spending areas and manage the budget. See What G/L should I use? for a list to reference.


If you are purchasing on a research account, keep in mind that there are several specific, additional G/Ls that are unallowable for them, as well.


After you type in an account and G/L, your page will update:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

2. Depending on the account or G/L used, you may be asked to reload the page. Reload the page if the Helper Text, which is automatically filled out, asks you to, as doing so will change the fields that will display in the rest of the form:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

If QuickBase can’t find the entered account number

If you typed an account incorrectly, you’ll get a message in the Helper Text area telling you to review:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
If you know for a fact that account is correct, OR, if this is a new account that does not yet have posted charges, you can simply ignore this message. It comes up because QuickBase can only pull data from some, not all, accounts, and only after they have had at least one charge posted to them.

3. Next, type in the amount that will be charged to each cost object.


If only using one cost object, input the full amount of the transaction:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

If using more than one cost object, input that cost object on the next line and split the amount of the transaction between cost objects as desired.


4. Complete the justification:

Notion image

A justification is a brief but required statement explaining the benefit of the purchase to the institute or research project. See All about justifications for how to do this correctly—if it’s done wrong, your p-card form may be rejected.


Using g/ls related to meetings and food (421000, 421200, and 421205)

If a meeting or food g/l is used, the following fields will appear after you click the Reload button:


Complete all of these fields.

If there was alcohol, include a line in the Account Info section specifically for it that uses the alcohol GL 42105 and includes the total amount that was spent on alcohol alone.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Charging sponsored research accounts with g/ls related to meetings and food (421000, 421200, and 421205)

For expenses for a meeting (including food and beverages) to be allowable on a federal award, the meetings primary purpose must be dissemination of technical information beyond MIT, and it must be necessary for successful performance of the award. Events like group dinners, for example, are not allowed on research and should be charged on a discretionary account.


MIT’s policy on this can be found on the Research Administration Services’ website.


Charging sponsored research accounts in general

If a research account is used, the Names of person(s) transaction was purchased for field will appear after you click the Reload button:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

This field is for indicating who the items were purchased for (not who did the purchasing) in order for the finance team to determine if the person(s) receiving the benefit of the purchase have effort on the account(s) in question.

Leaving this field blank or with anything other than a name will result in your p-card form being returned to you for correction.

See Purchasing on a Research Cost Object for full details on what is counted as effort on a research account.


Additionally, make sure your justification abides to the right standards.

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