Financial Controls

 Operations Plans for State Agencies  Reporting Calendar Example
 Allotments  Postsecondary Institutions
 Expense Budgets  Non-State Agencies
 Making Revisions  Further Reading
 Performance Reports  
 






Operations Plans for State Agencies
When the various appropriation bills are enacted, state agencies are sent instructions and forms for submitting quarterly spending plans (operations plans, a.k.a. "Op Plans") for each of their authorized programs. The Op Plan package includes the following forms.

EBO Form 8 - Operations Plan--On this form, agencies outline their budgets by quarter by major object of expenditure, such as personnel costs, fringe benefits, travel, operating expenses, capital outlay, equipment purchases, and transportation costs. This form serves as the basis for allotments and expense budgets and is also used to make revisions during the year.

EBO Form 9 - Employee Staffing Plan--Agencies are required to list by employee classifications and class codes established by the State Personnel Department all employees, full-time and part-time, that will be on staff at the beginning of the fiscal year as well as those that might be added or deleted during the year. All other costs budgeted under Personnel Costs (e.g. longevity pay and termination costs) are also shown on this form. State law provides that no new or vacant positions can be filled during the year unless the position is listed on EBO Form 9.

EBO Form 10 - Performance Report--Agencies must develop and list quantitative performance indicators by quarter. For example, indicators for the Department of Public Health might include number of food service inspections, health care facilities inspections, Medicaid waiver service hours, and child health primary care visits.

Budget analysts review the operations plans and resolve any questions or discrepancies. The purposes of the review are:
  • to determine that it is consistent with policy decisions of the Governor and appropriations made by the Legislature;
  • to ensure that it reflects proper planning and efficient management methods; and
  • to ensure that appropriations have been made for the planned purpose and will not be exhausted before the end of the fiscal year.

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Allotments
Allotments based upon approved Op Plans are then entered into the state's Financial Resources Management System (FRMS). An allotment is a quarterly division of the agency's appropriation into amounts which may be encumbered or expended during a fiscal quarter. Agencies may not spend more than the year-to-date allotment amount for each fund, appropriation unit, and (in some cases) organization. If an agency does not spend all of the allotment in a quarter, the unused allotment amount will carry over and will be available for expenditure in the next quarter.


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Expense Budgets
Also contained within the state's accounting system are expense budgets, which control spending against the amount approved in the an agency's Op Plan by major object code. The annual amount budgeted on the Op Plan for each major object code within an agency, fund, appropriation unit, and (in some cases) organization comprises an expense budget line.

As transactions are processed throughout the year, the total of expenditures and purchase orders may not exceed the expense budget line. For example, $5,000 has been budgeted for Object Code 0700 (Utilities and Communication) and $4,500 has already been expended. A purchase order or expenditure exceeding $500 against object code 0700 will not process through FRMS because of insufficient budget authority.


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Making Revisions
Also contained within the state's accounting system are expense budgets, which control spending against the amount approved in the an agency's Op Plan by major object code. The annual amount budgeted on the Op Plan for each major object code within an agency, fund, appropriation unit, and (in some cases) organization comprises an expense budget line.
  • Additional dollars are received during the fiscal year which were not included in the original Op Plan (for example, additional federal grant monies).
  • Additional allotment is needed in the current or a subsequent quarter in addition to what was included in the original Op Plan.
  • Adjustments among major object codes are necessary.
  • A reduction in appropriation and allotment is necessary due to proration or a shortfall in receipts.
  • A program change is requested by the agency and approved by the Governor.
An appropriation may be revised by the Department of Finance with the approval of the Governor, either upon the written request of an agency or upon the initiative of the Department of Finance or the Governor. Appropriation revisions must be documented using an Allotment/Appropriation Revision form signed by the department head. After approval by the Governor, the current appropriation will be modified to reflect the approved change. Any change in an appropriation amount also requires a revision to the agency Operations Plan.

Allotments may be revised during the fiscal year. A revision to an allotment requires a modification to the Operations Plan (EBO Form 8) and an Allotment/Appropriation Revision (EBO Form 101).


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Performance Reports
Budget Management Act mandates that the Department of Finance report quarterly to the Governor and the Legislature on actual accomplishments to those planned for each state agency. Therefore, the Department of Finance requires a quarterly list of agency performance indicators in conjunction with the Operations Plan. At the end of each quarter, agency performance reports are posted online and can be found under the reports link on the main menu.


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A Typical Reporting Calendar
The following is an example of an annual calendar for Operations Plans, Program Changes, Performance Reports, and Management Reports.

 January 2  First Quarter Program Change letter mailed
 First Quarter Performance Report letter mailed
 First Quarter Management Reports mailed
 January 31  Due date/First Quarter Performance Reports
 April 1  Second Quarter Program Change letter mailed
 Second Quarter Performance Report letter mailed
 Second Quarter Management Reports mailed
 April 30  Due date/Second Quarter Performance Reports
 July 1  Third Quarter Program Change letter mailed
 Third Quarter Performance Report letter mailed
 Third Quarter Management Reports mailed
 July 31  Due date/Third Quarter Performance Reports
 July 31  Due date/Operations Plans received by EBO
 August 31  Deadline/all Operations Plans loaded into system
 September 30  Balance beginning of new fiscal year entries and
 close out fiscal year just ending
 October 1  Fourth Quarter Program Change letter mailed
 Fourth Quarter Performance Report letter mailed
 Fourth Quarter Management Reports mailed
 October 31  Due date/Fourth Quarter Performance Reports

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Postsecondary Institutions
Postsecondary institutions are required to submit operations plans for all funds received; however, only appropriated state funds are loaded into FRMS. State funds are then disbursed to the institutions on a monthly basis, usually one-twelfth per month.

EBO Form 20 - Postsecondary Operations Plan--Postsecondary institutions submit the following information by Current Unrestricted Funds and Current Restricted Funds:
(1) Source of Funds, including but not limited to state/federal/local funds, tuition and fees, hospital revenue, auxiliary enterprises, and balances brought forward.
(2) Expenditures and Transfers-- (a) Educational and General by these categories: Instruction, Research, Public Service, Academic Support, Student Services, Institutional Support, Operations and Maintenance of Physical Plant, and Scholarships and Fellowships. (b) Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Transfers: Educational and General, Hospital, and Auxiliary Enterprises.

EBO Form 21 - Postsecondary Operations Plan Budgeted Expenditures and Transfers Detail--Postsecondary institutions are required to submit the planned expenditures and transfers from Form 20 by major object.


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Non-State Agencies
Certain private entities that provide services to Alabama citizens in areas such as education, health, the arts, programs for children and elderly, and economic development may be appropriated monies from the State General Fund and/or Education Trust Fund. These agencies are usually required to submit audited financial statements and operations plans before their appropriated funds are released. Funds are disbursed on a monthly, one-twelfth basis upon written request from the agency.


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Further Reading
Further details on the budget process may be found in "Chapter 2-Budgeting" of the Fiscal Procedures Manual published by the State Comptroller's Office.


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