Allowable Cost Matrix

 
Definition
The Allowable Cost Matrix is a tool created to assist accounting and finance staff with making decisions related to Institute expenses. The matrix provides a vehicle to determine if certain expenses are allowable on certain fund types. The matrix provides a horizontal list of all Institute fund groups across the top of the matrix and a vertical list of known expense types down the left side of the matrix.
 
When to Use the Matrix
The Allowable Cost Matrix should be used anytime an accounting of finance staff member is trying to determining if a certain expense is allowable on a certain type of fund. The user should review the “Type of Expense” on the matrix and match it up with the Fund Group to determine if the cost is allowable. For certain expenses, there are policy restrictions, state restrictions, Board of Regents (BOR), grant restrictions or other internal restrictions on the use of funds. The matrix is fairly robust as it provides explanatory text where applicable of any identified policy, state, BOR, grant or internal restrictions. This text is provided to assist the user in making a sound financial decision.
 
Expenses Not on the Matrix
The Institute did a thorough job of including all known expenses on the matrix. However, from time to time, there will be an expense that is not listed explicitly. In that case, the user should search for the expense or search for similar or like expenses. If they still cannot find the expense on the matrix, they should contact the Controller’s Office Accounting helpdesk for assistance - accounting.ask@business.gatech.edu.
 
Questions about the Matrix
When in doubt, accounting and finance staff should always stop to think about whether an expense is appropriate for certain fund groups. To do this, the staff member may want to ask himself/herself the following questions:
  • Is this an appropriate use of the particular resources or fund group (i.e. State, Sponsored, etc.)?
  • Am I comfortable explaining this charge to an auditor?
  • Am I comfortable explaining this charge to the public?
  • Is this expense reasonable?  Would a prudent person have purchased this item and paid this price?
  • Is this expense "allocable"?  Is the expense applicable to the project and fund group with a high degree of certainty?
  • Is this expense allowable? Does this expense fall within the general parameters of this particular fund group?
  • Is this consistent?  Are other expenses for similar purposes treated in the same way?
If accounting and finance staff still have questions, they should contact the Controller’s Office Accounting HelpDesk for assistance - accounting.ask@business.gatech.edu.