Thursday, July 15, 2010

CSA Bills and Adjustments

Issue Source: Atlas Helpdesk, Workshops

Affected Parties: Country Offices, Headquarters

Categorization: Efficiency – Office Organization/User Capacity, Efficiency – Application Usability, Policy – Process Prescription / Procedure

There is some confusion from the user community on the use of the recent CSA bill type. Many users are concerned over whether the CSA bill type is required, or whether the previous alternatives are still acceptable. If cash is exchanged, the CSA bill type is a fairly streamlined approach to billing other agencies. However, if no cash is exchanged but instead funding takes place through journal entries, the CSA appears to be burdensome, especially since the resulting pending item must be “written off”.

In the June 2006 Billing web cast on CSA bills, it was clarified that the CSA bill was most appropriate for UN agencies that pay their common services costs through cash payments, because an accounts receivable pending item is automatically created. Deposits received from the agencies would be applied to the pending item.

Where no cash is received, the CSA bill should not be used because it will create an AR pending item. If a CSA is mistakenly used, the amount from the corresponding AR item must be written off. In a meeting with OF/OPB/CBS, it was all agreed that the GLJE which is predominantly used by COs for non-cash recovery of common service costs be continued. The final agreement was as per the table below which is included in the web-cast presentation:

Given the confusion, at the BOM Regional Workshops in Africa, we noted that offices could continue using their existing system of handling CSA billing if desired. Further, representatives from OF, OPB, and the MSC agreed with the user community that CSA bills provide no benefit if offices already prepare their CSA invoicing via Excel spreadsheets or similar tool and no cash changes hands. In these situations, the GL journal must be created, and a CSA bill cannot replace the GL journal entry.

However, while this was announced in earlier web-casts and at the workshops, clear guidelines need to be distributed on the networks for all to reference.

Further, the current mandated approach for correcting finalized CSA bills can be burdensome as the user must not only create a credit bill, but must also write off the pending items for both the original bill and the reversal. The credit bill automatically reverses the original CSA bill with no data entry required from the user. However, they also have to write-off the resulting activity in the Maintenance Worksheet, or un-post both the debit and credit items. In the future, it may be better to look at matching the debit and credit bills in the maintenance worksheet, as this is considered the best practice in closing out adjusted bills in Accounts Receivable.

Automated matching of debit and credit items may also be possible in the future with the Payment Predictor tool and is currently scheduled for further investigation by the billing team.

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