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KFS at Cornell Glossary


Identifies a pool of funds assigned to a specific university organizational entry for a specific purpose. Global document functionality is available for the account document. More information on accounts is available on the Accounts page.

account delegate

See delegate.

account manager

A KFS role held by the individual who is responsible for ensuring that funds are spent and managed according to the goals, objectives and mission of the organization. They ensure that the funds are being spent according to a budgeted plan and that the allocation of expenditures is appropriate to the function identified for the account.

At Cornell, the account manager is the person responsible for the account (the "account owner"). This role is maintained in  the account e-doc.

  • For sponsored and/or research accounts, the principal investigator (PI), co-principal investigator, team lead, or other faculty will be the account manager. This will facilitate tracking all research for a faculty member or PI across campus. The account manager will be the same individual named as the account project director.
  • Faculty discretionary (research, salary recovery, start-up, etc.) accounts should designate the faculty member as the account manager, so all of their funds can be grouped together in a report selection or sort.
  • For other non-sponsored accounts, a Reimagining Cornell Finance Initiative subcommittee is working on recommendations for a standard assignment of the account manager role.
account project director

A KFS role held by the individual responsible for activity in a discrete account that is associated with a Contracts & Grants award. This will be the principal investigator (PI), co-principal investigator, team lead, or other faculty having oversight responsibility, and will also be assigned as the account manager for that account. This role is maintained in the award e-doc.

Note: This individual will be responsible for effort certification for activity paid from this account.

account reviewer

An optional role that allows users to receive workflow action requests as defined by criteria that include the document type, account, dollar amount, and/or override code (expired account override, for example). A Reimagining Cornell Finance Initiative subcommittee is working on recommendations for a standard assignment of the account reviewer.

account supervisor

A KFS role held by an individual at the departmental level who oversees the management of an account at a level higher than the fiscal officer. This role will rarely receive direct requests for action from KFS. The account supervisor cannot be the same person as the fiscal officer or the account manager. This role is maintained in the account e-doc. A Reimagining Cornell Finance Initiative subcommittee  is working on recommendations for a standard assignment of the account supervisor.

accounting string

The data entered on a transactional e-doc that tells the system how to record the accounting information in the general ledger. In KFS, it consists of the chart, account, sub-account, object code, sub-object code, project code, org ref ID, and amount. Sometimes called the "transaction string."

A comparison of the current Cornell accounting string and the new KFS accounting string can be found on the KFS Accounting String page.

Accounts Payable (AP)

The functions of the Purchasing & Accounts Payable (PURAP) module that facilitate processing of vendor invoices and credit memos related to goods and services procured through a purchase order.

Accounts Receivable (AR)

The KFS module that records amounts due to Cornell from the sale of goods and services delivered, but not yet paid for.


An action in KFS workflow that requires a user to open an e-doc and confirm that it was viewed before it can be removed from the user's action list. See also, route status.

action list

A screen that displays all e-docs routed to a KFS user. An e-doc will appear in a user's action list when it has been initiated and saved (but not submitted), or when some action (approve, acknowledge, FYI) is requested, and disappear after the appropriate action has been taken. Users can change their action list preferences regarding how the action list is displayed, and set e-mail notifications.

ad hoc recipients

Individuals added to a document for actions (approve, acknowledge, FYI) in addition to the normal workflow routing. Ad hoc recipients can be either specific users and/or groups.

ad hoc routing

Workflow steps added to a document requiring action from a user or role that normally would not receive it. The routing returns to the prescribed path after the ad hoc routing is complete. See also, ad hoc recipients.


A KFS user role that allows for document approval at any route level (including ad hoc routing), which are the varying stages in a document's workflow path. The most common approver in KFS is the fiscal officer, but there can be additional approvers at various route levels.

award project director

A KFS role held by the individual(s) responsible for an entire sponsored project, irrespective of accounts. There may be multiple award project directors, one of which must be designated as primary. This primary role will be defined as the lead principal investigator, based on Office of Sponsored Programs and sponsor records.

The award project director may oversee multiple accounts (including his or her own) on an award, each of which will have their own account project director. The award project director role is maintained in  the award e-doc.



business analyst

The business analyst (BA) works as a liaison among campus stakeholders to understand the structure, policies, and operations of the organization and recommends potential solutions that enable it to achieve its goals.

For the KFS implementation, they facilitate business requirements sessions, organize overall requirements, oversee documentation, and ensure their milestones are achieved. They provide a bridge between the functional and technical teams; assist with the overall set-up of the KFS operational system; and inform reporting and interface business needs, scope, and design.



Campus Liaison

Each college or unit at Cornell has a liaison to the KFS project. This list is available on the Campus Liaisons page.

capital asset

Real or personal property that has a unit acquisition cost equal to or greater than $5,000 and an estimated life of one year or greater. Capital assets include buildings, improvements, land, land improvements, leasehold improvements, research and other types of equipment, large computer systems, art and museum holdings, library books, etc.

Capital Asset Management (CAM)

The KFS module that tracks information regarding capital assets.

chart of accounts

The information stored in KFS that defines the codes and coding structures that enable KFS to record transactions in the general ledger. These are defined in ways that enable Cornell to meet its operational, managerial, and external financial reporting needs. For more information, see the Chart of Accounts page.

confidential information

As defined by University Policy 5.10, Information Security, this is information that has been determined by the data stewards to require the highest level of privacy and security controls. Currently, any information that contains any of the following data elements, when appearing in conjunction with an individual's name or other identifier, is considered to be confidential: social security number, 
credit card number, driver's license number, bank account number, or patient treatment information. Access to data elements in this classification must be limited to people who have a documented business need for the information.

Contracts & Grants (CG)

The KFS module that allows users to record and track information regarding sponsored research program proposals and awards (at Cornell, formerly known as Grants & Contracts). The Kuali Coeus (KC) system will replace much of the Contracts & Grants module functionality once it is implemented at Cornell.




A role in which an individual is assigned by a fiscal officer to approve documents on their behalf. Fiscal officers can delegate approval authority to other users based on attributes of a transaction, such as document type and dollar amount. See also primary delegate and secondary delegate.

document (doc) search

An option that allows users to find documents. You may perform a general document search via a combination of document properties such as date, document type, or document ID. In addition, there are specialized searches for many documents, with criteria specific to each.




An electronic document in KFS that enables a user to either create a financial transaction or maintain an element of financial data (for example, account or vendor).


A workflow routing status indicating that an e-doc has been submitted and has pending approval requests.

error correction

A workflow action button available in many transactional e-docs that allows users to automatically correct a document by creating a new document that reverses the original transaction. This feature can be used only on documents that have completed the routing process and have been fully approved.



field lookup

A round magnifying glass icon magnifying glass icon found next to fields throughout KFS that allows users to look up reference table information, then see and select from a list of valid values for that field.


A workflow routing status indicating that a document has been routed and has no pending approval or acknowledgment requests. Documents in final status are considered fully approved and will impact the general ledger or update chart of accounts values.

fiscal officer

The individual who is responsible for the financial transactions of a particular account and ensuring that they are compliant with university policies and procedures. Most transactional documents route to the fiscal officer for approval.

At Cornell the fiscal officer will be a Business Service Center director. This does not mean the BSC director will have to approve every transaction; he or she can delegate the responsibility for approving certain transactions to BSC staff or others directly involved in the financial activity of the account. Fiscal officer approval delegation is set by account, and may be further defined by transaction type and/or dollar amount.


A workflow action request that can be cleared from a user's action list with or without opening and viewing the document, since it is “for information only.”

A document with no pending approval requests but with pending acknowledge requests is in processed status. A document with no pending approval requests but with pending FYI requests is in final status. See also, ad hoc routing.



general ledger (G/L)

The official repository for the university's financial and budget information, which stores account balance and budget information for multiple fiscal years, as well as detailed records of all financial transactions.


A type of maintenance document that facilitates making the same changes to multiple maintenance e-docs (for example, account, object code, account delegate) without the need to create multiple separate documents.


A KFS concept that allows the assignment of similar roles to a number of users, rather than to an individual. Documents can be routed to groups, when appropriate, eliminating the reliance on a single individual for workflow actions.




Information Delivery and Reporting. See the KFS Confluence site for ID&R terms.


A workflow routing status indicating a document has been created but has not yet been saved or submitted. A document number is automatically assigned by the system.


The person who creates or authors a document. Most documents may be initiated by any KFS user; however, for certain restricted document types (for example, Journal Voucher), an initiator may be required to belong to a specific role.


A function that allows a KFS user to query information from the database by entering selection criteria. Examples include general ledger and labor ledger balance inquiries.


An integration point between a standalone application and the Kuali Financial System that enables sending and receiving central accounting data.



KFS user

The basic role that grants users access to KFS. It gives a person the ability to initiate most documents and use inquiries and search screens. At Cornell, this role will be given to individuals whose jobs require them to initiate or view accounting transactions within KFS.

Kuali (ku-wah'-lee)
  1. A wok, a humble but important kitchen utensil
  2. The growing community of universities, colleges, businesses, and other organizations that have partnered to build and sustain open-source administrative software for higher education, by higher education. Kuali software is designed to meet the needs of all sizes of institutions, from land-grant research universities to community colleges. The members of the Kuali Community share a common vision of open, modular, and distributed systems for their software requirements. Kuali software is released under the Educational Community License
Kuali Enterprise Workflow (KEW)

Kuali Enterprise Workflow is the electronic routing infrastructure, or workflow engine. It manages the creation, routing, and processing of electronic documents (e-docs) necessary to complete a transaction. Kuali Enterprise Workflow can also be used to automate and regulate the approval process for the transactions or documents created in other applications. At Cornell, Kuali Enterprise Workflow is called Cynergy.

Kuali Financial System

"The insanely fine, collaboratively developed, modular financial information system for higher education" – courtesy of



maintenance document

An e-doc used to establish and maintain a Kuali table record (for example, account, sub-account, object code, sub-object code, project, organization, user, role, delegate, or review hierarchy). Most are accessible from the administration menu, while those specific to the Chart of Accounts module are accessible from the main menu.



organization (org)

A classification within KFS that defines all departments, units, and colleges within a financial reporting hierarchy of seven organization (org) types: University, Campus, Executive, College/Division, Group, Department, and Section. The university defines the first four org types, and each college and division defines its own Group, Department, and Section orgs. Cornell uses the College/Division org type to report the entire university’s financial picture, meaning every Group, Department, or Section reports up through a College/Division. 

For more information, see the Organizations page.

org ref ID

An abbreviation for Organization Reference Identification. This free-form field in the accounting string can be used to provide additional information about that particular accounting line.




Authorization to take specific actions within the KFS application or data warehouse. Examples of permissions are the ability to initiate or open a particular document type. One or many permissions can be granted to a role.

pre-production instance (PPI)

The pre-production instance of KFS is an early version of the system that will run from July 1, 2010, through the end of June 2011. Financial processing will still take place in the existing system, but the PPI will allow us to validate the chart of accounts and capture one year of historical monthly balances (July 2010 - June 2011). In addition, we will produce consolidated financial statements in KFS and validate them against the actual Cornell consolidated financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2011.

primary delegate

A type of KFS delegate. Documents route directly to the action list of a primary delegate instead of routing to the fiscal officer.

principal investigator (PI)

The individual designated by the university to be responsible for the scientific or technical aspects of a grant and for day-to-day management of a project or program. In addition, the principal investigator (PI) is a member of the university team responsible for ensuring compliance with the financial and administrative aspects of an award. This individual works closely with designated officials within the grantee organization to create and maintain necessary documentation, including both technical and administrative reports; prepare justifications; appropriately acknowledge federal support of research findings in publications, announcements, news programs, and other media; and ensure compliance with other federal and organizational requirements. 

The PI is also typically the project director (PD) defined in KFS. In cases where the PI is not eligible to be the PD (such as pre-doc graduate fellowship grants), the university may name a mentoring faculty member as the PD.


A routing status indicating that an e-doc has no pending approval requests but still has one or more pending acknowledgment request. Processed documents are considered approved and impact the general ledger or update chart of accounts values.


The acronym used for the KFS module that provides functionality for Purchasing and Accounts Payable.


The KFS electronic procurement and invoicing module that is used to create departmental requisitions and purchase orders. This module also supports processing of vendor invoices on payment request documents and processing of vendor credits on credit memo documents.



quality assurance (QA)

"A program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met." – Wikipedia

The goal of the QA effort in the KFS implementation project is to ensure the system is fit for Cornell's use and meets the expectations of the users. It relies on working with customers to identify these along with the goals that will be used when testing the system, and having clear testing processes.




A KFS role that refers to a user who has received an ad hoc routed document in their action list, requesting their acknowledgment or FYI. See also, ad hoc recipients.


A collection of permissions and responsibilities that are granted to users that allow them to perform their business within the KFS application or data warehouse.

route log

A special workflow function that displays the routing history of a document. Available in a tab on an e-doc, or in the doc search results, the route log displays general document information and a detailed list of past, current, and future action requests.

route status

The workflow status of a document in the course of its routing. Statuses include the following:

  • Initiated - document has been created by the author prior to routing
  • Cancelled - document has been cancelled by the author prior to routing or by a reviewer during routing; routing stops
  • Saved - document has been saved by the author prior to routing, or by a reviewer prior to action; it is then sent to his or her action list
  • Enroute - document is being routed and has pending approval requests
  • Processed - document has been approved by all reviewers, but still has one or more pending acknowledgment requests. Processed documents are considered approved and impact the general ledger or update chart of accounts values
  • Final - document has received all required approvals and has been acknowledged by all reviewers. Documents in final status are considered fully approved and will impact the general ledger or update chart of accounts values
  • Disapproved - document has been disapproved by reviewer; routing stops
  • Exception - document requires intervention by exception role; sent to the action list of each member of the exception role registered for this document type

The process of moving a document along its route path for approval and/or review.



secondary delegate

A type of KFS delegate. Documents do not route directly to the action list of a secondary delegate, but there is a simple way to access these documents if needed.

sensitive information

University management and the data stewards have deemed this information, though not classified as confidential per University Policy 5.10, Information Security, to be sensitive in nature. Access to these data elements is restricted to those who have a valid business need. An example of sensitive information is an individual's salary information.

special conditions routing

A generic term for additional route levels that are triggered by attributes of a transaction. They can be based on the type of document, the accounts being used, or other attributes of the transaction, and they often represent special administrative approvals that may be required. As examples, payments to non-U.S. citizens would route to a central tax area; transactions using a grant account require approval by a central contracts and grants processor.


The current location of an e-doc in its routing path. See also, route status.


An optional element of the KFS accounting string that allows tracking of financial activity within a particular account at a finer level of detail.


A workflow action button used by the initiator of an e-doc to begin workflow routing for that document. Submit moves the document (through workflow) to the next level of approval. After a document is submitted, it remains in enroute status until all approvals have taken place.




The process of routing, approving, and tracking electronic documents (e-docs). Also known as Kuali Enterprise Workflow (KEW), it routes an e-doc to its approvers in a prescribed sequence according to established business rules based on e-doc content.