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Accounting method for serials (2 messages) Marcia Tuttle 02 Dec 1999 13:46 UTC

>From dharrell@WESTGA.EDU Thu Dec  2 08:43:56 1999
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 09:06:14 -0500
From: Deborah Harrell <dharrell@WESTGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Accounting method for serials (Susan Mueller)

We are a state institution, and our auditors make 'funny'
recommendations, too.  Our fiscal year is July 1-June 30, and we have most
subscriptions on a calendar year cycle like you.

Our auditors (so far) say that if we are paying for materials that will
come in part or whole during that fiscal year, we are ok.  Of course, that
means we can't take advantage of savings offered on multi-year
subscriptions even when we know it's something we will subscribe to
forever.  But we have no problem paying for subscriptions that won't be
'complete' during the fiscal year.

Debbie Harrell
Ingram Library, State University of West Georgia
phone: 770-836-6498
fax: 770-836-6626

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:19:46 -0700
> From: Susan Mueller <mueller@SELWAY.UMT.EDU>
> Subject: Accounting method for serials
> At my institution a few years ago, we in serials were told that we had to
> split our subscription cost in order to be paying for our subscriptions in
> the same year that we recieved them.  In other words, our fiscal year runs
> from July 1 to June 30 but our subscriptions run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, so
> half of the previous year's bill (Jan. 1 to June 30) and half of this
> year's bill (Jul 1 to Dec 31) are combined to come up with our payment to
> our major vendor.  We pay the vendor the actual amount, but on the books we
> show the two halves.  These don't equal the actual amount billed and paid
> because of inflation, change of titles, etc.  It is also very confusing
> when reconciling our local online system with the university's system.
> Does anyone else have to do it this way?  Especially state-funded
> libraries?  We were told to do this because of an auditor's recommendation.
>  If that is the case I would think other libraries would have to also.  Any
> insight would be helpful.
> Susan Mueller                   e-mail:
> Director of Technical Services          phone: 406-243-4558
> The University of Montana               fax: 406-243-2060
> Mansfield Library (MMLA01)
> 32 Campus Drive #9936
> Missoula, MT  59812-9936

>From Ltweddle@AUCEGYPT.EDU Thu Dec  2 08:43:56 1999
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 16:28:35 -0800
From: Lesley Tweddle <Ltweddle@AUCEGYPT.EDU>
Subject: Re: Accounting method for serials (Susan Mueller)

Hallo Susan,

I asked the List a very similar question about a year and a half ago,
and I got some very interesting replies, which I would be glad to
forward to you if you like.  Some US government libraries do, it seems,
ask their vendors to bill them by the month.

However, we invited our university accounts Controller and his
second-in-command over to talk with us and look at our records, and they
were persuaded that for serials operations, in which a fairly stable
list of subscriptions rolls on year after year, there was little point
in dividing every invoice according to the months of each subscription
which fall into the different fiscal years.  This would simply repeat
itself every year at the cost of great effort.

Their concern, it seemed, had been aroused when several big subscription
invoices were presented for payment in May-July 1998, almost at the end
of our fiscal year.  We wanted these charged to the 1997/98 fiscal year,
but Accounts observed that 3/4 or more of the benefit of these
subscriptions would fall into the 1998/99 fiscal year.

(They happened to be Internet subscriptions, and their late placing was
due to (a) the need to wait until the University's connectivity was
improved, (b) the time spent on research in the rapidly-developing field
of Internet resources for libraries.  They too, however, would be
renewed so should take their place in the serials picture as described

As you might expect, another main concern of theirs gradually revealed
itself to be the risk of our paying twice in error.  The fact that we
invited them to visit us gave them the opportunity to examine our record
system, and they seemed satisfied that our records of payment and
receipt of serials made it unlikely that we would pay twice in error.

Then they asked what guarantee we had that goods paid in advance would
arrive.  I said primly, "Only the probity of our suppliers, which is one
reason we use well-known dealers whenever possible".

However!  One day, when I'm swathed in free time, I'd like to air that
question more fully.  We spend more money than a good householder would,
buying replacements for things that never came, but were "out of the
claim period" or in some other way screwed up and not by us!

Anyway, I hope this helps, and if you want the replies I got from other
Serialisters, and can accept a Word attachement of about 4 pages, I'll
be happy to send them.

Best wishes,

Lesley Tweddle
Head, Serials Department
American University in Cairo Library