The general accounting unit maintains the general ledger for the Commonwealth and produces all central information for cash-basis
accounting, budget monitoring and Appropriation Act compliance. The general ledger computer system provides the means to enforce
state appropriation law.
The Code of Virginia establishes the basis for statewide general accounting. Principal Code direction(s) include the following.
The Comptroller shall...maintain a complete system of general accounting to comprehend the financial transactions
of every state department...all unsettled accounts on the books of the Comptroller shall be balanced on the last day of
each fiscal year, and the balances brought forward on the first day of the new fiscal year. For this purpose there
shall be a general ledger of accounts, which shall...show the balances due to or from the Commonwealth. (§2.2-802, §2.2-809)
The Comptroller shall...maintain unified accounting and control (by) prescribing what accounts are to be kept by each
agency, in addition to the system of general accounting maintained by the Comptroller. (§2.2-803)
The General Accounting unit is also responsible for overseeing, evaluating, and reporting on agency financial
accountability and compliance with Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures, with the goal of assisting agencies
in meeting their responsibilities for protecting Commonwealth resources and for supporting and enhancing the recognition
of Virginia as the best managed state in the union.
DOA's General Accounting unit also houses the state's pre-audit and post-audit activity, since it involves the
promulgation and interpretation of policies, procedures and controls governing the disbursement of public funds,
and the review of a sample of transactions prior to payment to ensure that policies and controls are being used.
This responsibility has been generally delegated to individual agencies and their performance is monitored and
reported to the Governor and Cabinet.
The Code of Virginia established the basis for statewide pre-audit. Principal Code direction(s) include the following.
The Comptroller shall...not issue a disbursement warrant unless he shall have audited, through the use of statistical auditing or other acceptable means, the bill, invoice, account, payroll or other evidence of the claim, demand or charge and satisfied himself as to the regularity, legality and correctness of the expenditure or disbursement, and that the claim has not been previously paid (§2.2-1822).
General Accounting has several subactivities.
This subactivity involves the internal control procedures used by state government to enforce compliance with appropriation
law. Following enactment of the Appropriation Act, two agencies become responsible for ensuring that appropriation law is
followed. DPB authorizes the expenditure of appropriated funds through the allotment process, while DOA enforces this
authorization through the automated edits and manual procedures that support the general ledger. This subactivity includes
the preparation of year-end reconciliations that account for all expenditures as authorized in the Appropriation Act.
This subactivity covers agencies not qualified for Decentralized Pre-Audit that are required to submit documents to DOA to support all disbursements. Centralized agencies include a few agencies that have not demonstrated the capability to manage a delegated program, and small agencies for which the cost of delegation is greater than the efficiency benefits to be gained. Finally, a few agencies, primarily those which house elected officials, are considered too sensitive to delegate.
Section 2.2-4806 of the Code authorizes the recovery of overdue debts owed the Commonwealth from amounts to be paid for procured
goods and services. This is a debt setoff program similar to that used by Tax to recover debts from state tax refunds. Since its
inception in 1991 through FY 2001 this program has recovered approximately $31 million in overdue debts owed the Commonwealth.
Since 1992, DOA has been in the process of decentralizing the pre-audit function to individual agencies under a delegation of authority from the State Comptroller. This activity includes the identification of qualified agencies, negotiation of delegation agreements, and quality control reviews that monitor delegated pre-audit performance for compliance with published policies and procedures and advice to agencies of corrective measures that may be needed.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
This subactivity increases administrative efficiency and reduces costs through the replacement of check payments
with automated transactions. Vendors, localities and state employees become EDI trading partners when they sign-up
to receive non-payroll payments from the Commonwealth of Virginia directly in their bank accounts in lieu of checks.
This subactivity involves setting up and maintaining trading partner account information; overseeing and evaluating
the EDI disbursement process; researching and resolving problems; and proposing, testing and approving software or
system changes. The program was implemented in April 1994. The Commonwealth has approximately thirty-four thousand
trading partners accepting electronic payments.
Charge Card Administration Activities
Purchase Card Program
In order to reduce the volume of accounts payable transactions, the Commonwealth implemented a statewide
small purchase charge card program on January 1, 1995. The program initially offered state agencies and
institutions an alternative payment method when making small purchases under $5,000. Since then, the program
has expanded to include a "Gold" card for making larger purchases up to $50,000. This subactivity improves
administrative efficiency by consolidating multiple vendor payments and reducing associated costs.
Travel Charge Card Program
In April of 2005, DOA assumed administrative oversight of the State's travel charge card program. While the
cards are employee liability, their use is limited by policy to expenses related to official business travel.
This program also includes agency liability charge cards for airline expenses.
General Ledger Accounting
This subactivity involves maintaining the official accounts for the Commonwealth. These accounts are recorded in the state
general ledger system (CARS). Transactions are entered by agencies on-line during the workday and computer edited in nightly
batch runs. Various accounting reports are generated for use by agency and DOA staff to reconcile the accounts each day and
identify and resolve any discrepancies that are identified. Complex problems must be researched and resolved by DOA staff.
All disbursements of public funds must be processed through the general ledger. This subactivity also includes management
of the state-aid-intercept program and a daily reconciliation of the state's cash position to the books of the State Treasurer.
Higher Education Institution Restructuring
Statutory changes necessitate unique accounting and disbursement processing for certain higher education institutions. This
initiative provides for multiple categories of financial management models that require unique disbursement and general ledger
Information Security Officer Services Program
This activity involves providing Information Security Services to Small Agencies. The objective of this program is to help
Small Agencies implement the Commonwealth of Virginia Information Technology Security Policies and Standards. Implementation
of the Commonwealth's Information Technology Security Policies and Standards requires the agency to have access to information
security expertise. The information security specialists responsible for this activity will provide the Small Agencies with
policies, templates and consulting services to ensure that small agencies meet each of the Commonwealth's Information
Technology Security Policies and Standards.
Virginia statutory and appropriation law frequently allocates interest income earned by the Treasurer to specific nongeneral
funds. This subactivity includes the detailed calculations and record keeping necessary to allocate interest and demonstrate
compliance with the related legal provisions.
The Appropriation Act provides for intra-governmental loans and lines of credit from the Treasury to support state programs
that are anticipating nongeneral funds from federal grants and contracts, bond sales, and similar situations. This subactivity
also includes the processing of state grants to nonstate agencies as authorized by the Appropriation Act and regulated by DPB.
Support Locality Revenue Deposits
DOA has general oversight for deposit reconciliation for all sources of state revenue. However, a separate subactivity
involves the processing of deposits from local governments and the court system. Given the many different administrative
environments found among local governments and the various state courts, DOA has assumed a higher level of processing
responsibility for these deposits. Each month DOA handles an average of 33,000 local deposit certificates that account for
between $55 million and $70 million in state receipts. A related responsibility is the monthly summarization and certification
of recordation taxes, a portion of which are ultimately due to localities. This subactivity also includes procedures for
refunding forfeited bail bonds as ordered by a court.