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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University August 4, 2003 | Vol. 32 No. 41
Financial Info System Boosts Uses

Web-based AFI expanded to add functions, accommodate new users

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The university this month launches the much-anticipated second generation of Access to Financial Information, the Web-based reporting system implemented in early 2002 to provide a user-friendly tool for principal investigators and account administrators to manage accounts more effectively.

The expanded version--set to go live on Monday, Aug. 11--will provide current and new users with access to nonsponsored accounts, historical financial data and custom date-range reporting, along with other miscellaneous enhancements.

Stephen Hinnenkamp, director of financial systems in the Controller's Office, said that the initial purpose of the AFI system was to offer researchers a direct and secure means to peruse daily updated financial summaries of all their sponsored accounts via the Web, thereby significantly reducing delays in supplying account information to whoever needed it.

With the implementation of AFI's second generation, Hinnenkamp said, others who handle financial matters at Johns Hopkins can now take advantage of the system's many capabilities, which have been tweaked and augmented during the past year.

Currently, AFI provides overview reports for all accounts belonging to a P.I. or a specific area; master account overviews summarizing the account and its allocations; summaries that show budgets, expenditures, encumbrances and the balance for a specific account; and online versions of FS910-FS912 financial statements. Each report can be generated in printable PDF format or downloaded to Excel for further analysis.

As of Aug. 11, nonsponsored accounts will be added to the AFI system, and users will be able to access endowment, general fund and discretionary accounts. A person who manages a department or office's budget, for example, can log into AFI (with a JHED ID) and retrieve expenditures and all relevant account information.

The updated system also will provide historical financial data back to July 2000, allowing users to generate financial statements for any period from fiscal year 2001 through to the present.

Based on customer demand, date-range reporting also has been added to AFI, allowing users to quickly generate reports showing revenues/expenditures for a specific time period. The system provides default selections for common reporting periods such as the current fiscal or calendar year. It also allows users to specify start and end dates for their report, with the ability to report across fiscal years for sponsored accounts.

"We feel this will be a much-used and well-liked feature," Hinnenkamp said. "For sponsored accounts, a lot of times the researcher or administrator needs to know how much was spent over a given time period."

In addition, the new AFI can give an endowment overview report that links endowment principal and payout accounts. Users can view a summary of contributions to principal accounts during the previous three fiscal years, or view statements for endowment interest accounts.

Hinnenkamp said that AFI will not necessarily replace current nonsponsored account management systems, such as AINQ, but will provide "a Web-based tool designed to streamline and simplify account management and reporting tasks."

"The biggest advantage of AFI has been giving our people the ability to use the Web to quickly generate and download reports for a P.I., area, master or single account. Now that we have expanded the system to include all accounts, and to allow custom date-range reporting, we hope users find it easier to obtain the financial information they need to manage their accounts," he said.

Fred Davidson, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Whiting School, said that he has used AFI since its inception and has found the system "extremely useful" as he no longer has to wait five to 10 days, or more, after the end of a month to be sent a report on his grant accounts.

"Now, I can look at my accounts in real time, whenever and wherever I want," he said.

Davidson said that those who manage nonsponsored accounts should find AFI a welcome addition to their JHU lives.

"I have general fund accounts, too, and the ability to pull them up online and look at them will be very nice," he said. "Presently, I don't get a statement on these accounts unless I spend money off one of them, so this will certainly be an enhancement."

AFI, which is linked directly to the university accounting system, is available in all divisions except APL, which uses a separate accounting system. It can be reached through the Controller's Office home page, or by connecting to


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