Responsibilities of the Office of the State Controller: NCAS Overview
- A set of uniform accounting policies;
- A set of uniform financial accounting and reporting procedures;
- A statewide database of key financial and materials management information
- Sets of accounting related software, including the Dun & Bradstreet (DBS) suite of application software that has been integrated to support the policies and procedures of statewide accounting and the direct support for the majority of state agencies core financial processes;
- A support structure at the OSC Financial Systems and Statewide Accounting Divisions dedicated to supporting both agency and central management use of statewide accounting, including functional and technical support for the NCAS central data base and DBS applications;
- A technical infrastructure that is deployed consistently to all users of the system in accordance with the Information Resources Management Commission (IRMC) directives; and
- This Financial Systems Master Plan (FSMP) that defines both the uniform information requirements that must be met by all departments and agencies of the state, regardless of the technical applications being utilized, and the method of inclusion criteria for new and replacement agency financial systems.
The uniform accounting policies, procedures, and centralized financial information are the foundation of NCAS and allow the state to operate in a fiscally responsible and consistent manner. The uniform NCAS must achieve both legislative and central management objectives to develop, implement, and maintain integrated accounting and financial management systems from which information on assets, liabilities, encumbrances, expenditures, revenues, and financial performance can be reported to appropriate levels of management, the General Assembly, and the public.
OSC defines an accounting system as the methods and records established to identify, assemble, analyze, classify, record, and report a government's financial transactions and maintain accountability for the related assets and liabilities. The system includes the manual and automated procedures and processes employed from the point a transaction is initiated to the time financial statements and management information reports containing the data (in detail or in summary) are issued.
NCAS is the central system for the State of North Carolina. It provides control over the State's financial transactions, resource balances, and subsidiary accounts and records through a central general ledger and other uniform information databases. NCAS provides financial statements and reports reflecting the current condition of all State agency accounts and assists central managers in maintaining financial control over State government operations.
OSC, in accordance with its statutory responsibilities in G.S. 143B-426.39, determines the systems that are to be included in the NCAS. These reviews-to-date have resulted in the current NCAS environment composed of a common central database of financial and materials management information, a set of primary users (those who use the NCAS policies and procedures in combination with OSC implemented and maintained DBS accounting software modules), and a set of secondary users (those who use the NCAS policies and procedures in combination with other software to accomplish the accounting functions required by NCAS).
OSC has defined a set of criteria for inclusion of an enterprise and its related systems into the NCAS and the method for that inclusion. These criteria are detailed in the Criteria for Inclusion in NCAS segment of this section. When applied appropriately, this criteria assists in the determination of whether an entity is included in the reporting entity, whether an entity system has a financial impact, and the method of inclusion in the NCAS if the entity and/or system meets the first two criteria. These criteria must be applied to all new and replacement system projects to determine how those systems might function in the NCAS.
The State operates the NCAS in a decentralized environment in which each individual agency is responsible for the proper recording of all financial transactions. Since its creation in 1986, the OSC has sought to provide a central focus and leadership in the conduct of the financial accounting operations of the state. The OSC has additionally studied the financial requirements of State government agencies, defined the accounting policies and procedures necessary to control this major enterprise, and has implemented these policies and procedures in conjunction with the DBS software to provide the states managers with effective financial systems.
The NCAS provides an OSC centrally controlled uniform chart of accounts, which prescribes the accounts used in statewide budgetary and financial reporting. The uniform chart of accounts provides consistent terminology and classification throughout the State reporting entity. The NCAS provides and maintains the uniform chart of accounts file; the central vendor file; the central item file; central management of other key statewide data fields and system policies; a library of standard control, financial, and budgetary reports; and a set of defined system parameters that assure sufficient levels of timely, accurate information at the agency and statewide levels.
The NCAS provides primary users agency management with on-line real-time budgetary funds checking at the line item detail, provides on-line access to current and historical financial data in all modules, provides for the daily accounting for selected accruals, and provides for cash basis budgetary reporting. OSC provides central functional and technical client support for the NCAS, as well as technical systems administration.
The NCAS provides information access and reporting capabilities to all agency managers and central management authorities through the statewide database of financial and materials management information. The NCAS accomplishes this through multiple methods of information access: on-line real-time inquiries, fourth generation language mainframe report creation, mainframe on-line report viewing, and client/server based SmartStream Decision Support System tools and information views.
Agency implementations of NCAS capabilities require a specific fit of the agency's business requirements to the NCAS Model, development of any unique NCAS processes and interfaces for that agency, and the development of custom reports that meet the agency's specific management control requirements. The entirety of the NCAS Model is available to each succeeding agency as it is implemented.