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Group Account Info Accessible Online

By Kristen Landino

As a result of changes to the student accounting program, student group officers are now able to access all financial information for their group online.

Changes offer more accessibility

Account information including balances, activity, and Undergraduate Association Finance Board allocation information can be viewed on Athena by authorized group officers.

“This new process allows for greater control by student officers because it enables them to monitor account activity more closely than under the previous system,” said Edmund A. Jones, Staff Associate of Student Activities Finances.

The funding and reimbursement procedures for groups have been streamlined to allow for greater accessibility and control by student group officers.

In the past, a single account existed for all student groups, making it more difficult to monitor account activity. Now each student groups has two accounts: one main account and a Finboard account which consists solely of money received through Finboard allocations.

Finboard monitors accounts

These two separate accounts allow Finboard to better organize the funding process and monitor student groups’ use of funds.

For example, recent changes in the funding process have made it mandatory for student groups to place their expenses into one of four categories: capital, events, operations, and publicity. The financial board then allocates grants for each category of expenses.

“For groups that are well organized, the new on-line accounting system will provide another tool in helping groups plan and budget effectively throughout the term... the category grants will offer more flexibility to student groups; in essence, more control,” said Edgar H. Martinez ’00, Finboard chair.

The new funding process will decrease the return time for student vouchers to the Financial Board, he said.

Funding becomes more electronic

The new funding process and account maintenance techniques show a move towards a more web-based electronic process. Issues of accessibility and time are addressed by this solution.

Although vouchers are currently submitted on hard copy, a move toward a more electronic process could change this procedure.

“I think we’re trying to improve the overall accessibility and flexibility of student activities finances, and the web and other on-line systems, such as Athena, will definitely help us accomplish these goals,” Martinez said.

Individuals in MIT’s data warehouse department were responsible for helping to make the internal changes to MIT’s system of accounting.

Undergraduate Association President Matthew L. McGann ’00, Association of Student Activities President Brian T. Sniffen ’00, and Martinez were also “instrumental in the development of merging existing systems with MIT systems,” according to Jones.