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Section 2: Data and Systems Integrity

Financial Information Access and Security - DEFINE Access

Effective Date:


Approved By:

Lenora Chapman, Associate Vice President, Financial Affairs

Last Revised On:


For Assistance Contact:

Director of DEFINE Administrative Services


This guideline describes how to obtain access to DEFINE: the financial and human resource system used by UT San Antonio. It also generally describes how that system is used.



Table of Contents

A. What is DEFINE?

DEFINE is the application software used to process transactions related to accounting, budget, payroll and human resources through the DEFINE mainframe and/or UT Direct (web-based) hosted at UT Austin.

NOTE: DEFINE is an acronym for DEpartmental Financial Information NEtwork.

B. Who Can Access DEFINE?

Only current full-time or part-time employees whose job responsibilities encompass administrative authority to create or approve financial and human resource transactions will receive access to DEFINE. DEFINE access is by budget group(s) or unit code(s) (encompassing several budget groups).


There are two types of DEFINE users:

  1. Central Users – An employee whose DEFINE access is associated with performing administrative functions on behalf of the entire university, such as employees within the department of Payroll Services, Accounting Services, etc. receive access to all university unit codes and budget groups. Typically, Central Users are the final approvers of departmental initiated transactions.

  2. Departmental Users can perform specific commands and create/approve electronic documents using funds allocated to the budget group(s) and/or unit(s) to which they have been assigned authority.

D. DEFINE Access Levels

There are three different levels of DEFINE access:

  1. By Unit Code (highest level access): With Unit Code access, a user can access every budget group and all sub-accounts within the designated unit code.

  2. By Budget Group (mid-level access): With Budget Group access, a user will have access to all sub-accounts within the designated budget group(s).

  3. By Account Number (lowest level access): restrict access to individual subaccounts within a budget group. With Account Number access, a user can access only those subaccount numbers within the budget group for which he or she has been approved. It is recommended that this level of access be avoided.

E. Electronic Offices, Desks and Commands

An Electronic Office is a group of unit codes assigned to a single administrator for oversight. Each electronic office is composed of several electronic desks.

EXAMPLE: The UTSA Music Department is an Electronic Office.

An Electronic Desk is used to group individuals together who have the same administrative access to control which accounts are viewable or editable. Each electronic desk is associated with several DEFINE commands.

DEFINE commands are used to access various information within the DEFINE application.

Each DEFINE command available to departmental users contains at least one of the following authorization levels:

  1. View (V): Access to view information only for the selected command.

  2. Create/Update (U): Access to create, update and view the selected command.

  3. Super (S): Access to update where higher level access is required.

  4. NOTE: The Super (S) access level is NOT available for Departmental DEFINE Access.

Authorization levels for DEFINE commands for Central Users are pre-defined by the University Controller based on job function to assure appropriate internal control. Users cannot select the authorization level for a command. For a list of commands and authorization levels, see the Central Processing Areas Users Form and web page.

F. Authorized Signers for Departmental DEFINE Access

The Electronic Office Manager (EOM) or Unit/Account Administrator has the discretion to assign an authorized signer. An authorized signer has the authority to approve electronic documents for all accounts within a unit code.

NOTE: Authorized signers are granted access at the Unit Code level only.

An EOM or Unit/Account Administrator may use the following criteria when considering an employee as an authorized signer:

  • A review of the employee's business purpose within the department,

  • A review of the employee's role in the department,

  • The assurance of a segregation of duties and internal control. The employee should not both create and approve electronic documents.

G. Requesting Access to DEFINE

Employees requesting access to DEFINE must activate their UT EID and password prior to requesting DEFINE access. Activation is completed by attending the Activate Your EID (AM540) training class, or by appointment at the Management Reporting and Administrative Services Office.

Each department is responsible for requesting access by completing the applicable form. Once completed, the form must be approved as follows:

The completed and approved forms are forwarded to DEFINE Administrative Services for processing via campus mail, fax, or emailed (scanned copy of original for processing).

Once access has been established, a DEFINE ID will be assigned and the employee will be contacted. Activation of DEFINE requires online acknowledgement of acceptance of all terms and conditions of the Acceptable Use Policy.


  • DEFINE IDs must be assigned to an individual to grant access; however, when logging on to DEFINE, you must use your UT EID and password.

  • DEFINE IDs are automatically locked after 45 days if the system is not accessed. If an ID is locked, the user will be prevented from logging in. To unlock a user ID, contact DEFINE Administrative Services.

H. Deleting or Making Changes to DEFINE Access

Each department is responsible for requesting DEFINE access changes when an employee's job duties change or when an employee is transferred to another UTSA department.

  • If a DEFINE user is no longer employed by UTSA, the DEFINE user ID is automatically locked and manually deleted.

  • If an employee transfers to a different department within UTSA, the DEFINE ID is also deleted.

  • If DEFINE access is required in the employee's new department, a new Request for DEFINE Departmental Access Form is required. Once the form is received, a new ID and security access is processed. DEFINE access and IDs are associated with a specific department.

The Electronic Office Manager / Unit/Account Administrator is responsible for assuring that only persons with a business reason and who are appropriately trained receive access to DEFINE. They are also responsible for requesting access removal when circumstances so dictate. The DEFINE Departmental Access Form is used to request or change departmental user access.

The Central Processing Area Owner/department head are responsible for requesting, modifying and or approving central user access using the DEFINE Central User Access Form.

I. Password Reset for DEFINE and UT Direct

Employees who have forgotten their password and require an update must contact DEFINE Administrative Services for assistance. Employees will be asked security questions for validation before their password is reset.

J. Commonly Used DEFINE Commands for Departmental Users

The following DEFINE commands are most commonly used by departmental users.

Command Description


Appointment information – Used to create a new appointment or change an existing one, also used for prior fiscal years. UT Direct HRMS documents are now used for all positions and personnel assignments.


View a listing of Employee Appointment Information – Used by departments to review employee information such as salary information, job title, percent time working, etc.


Budget information processed each fiscal year to create the annual budgets for departments and accounts. These commands are available only on UT Direct.


Used by the Accounting Office to establish each account and all related accounting functions. Used by departments to view all account number information including official account name and budget categories listed for each account.


Employee Time Management – Used to view and update employee time and leave.


Account balance inquiries – Used to view account balances in a variety of methods, for example, Account Number, Budget Group, Unit Code.


General inquiry commands used to view travel per diems, vendor information, unit code details and object codes used by UTSA.


Transaction inquiries – Used to view account transactions by account number, voucher number, document ID, vendor ID, etc.


Human Resources Management System (HRMS) – Used to create and modify positions and assignments related to employees at UTSA. These commands are only available on UT Direct.


Commands used in DEFINE for Inventory review and updates. Departments use NV1 (Display by Inventory Number), NV3 (Display Unit Code) and NVP (diplays Physical Inventory by Unit/Location.


Payroll Vouchers – Used by departments to create payroll vouchers for hourly employees and employees eligible to receive approved overtime payments.


Purchasing order process for orders under $5000. These commands are only available on UT Direct.


Purchasing order process for orders over $5000. These commands are only available on UT Direct.


Purchasing order process used for State Contracts. These commands are only available on UT Direct.


Travel information – Used by departments as a Request for Travel Authorization (RTA) and is used to authorize employee travel and any necessary corrections.


Created by Disbursements and Travel Services only to process payments related to purchase orders. Departments may have View (V) access to VP1 payments related to their departments.


Payment vouchers used to request payment for goods and services.


Payment voucher used for employee travel reimbursements.


Payment voucher used for departmental purchases using a procurement credit card (ProCard).


Budget information – Used to transfer funds between accounts and budget groups within a Budget area.


Used by departments to perform interdepartmental transfers (IDT) to other UTSA departments for goods and services.

K. User Capabilities in DEFINE

Based on assigned access level and job duties, a user can:

  • Create electronic documents including appointments, payroll vouchers, payment vouchers, requests for transfer of funds, cash deposits, and IDTs.

  • View accounting transactions for authorized accounts. Transactions can be viewed by date, voucher number, purchase order number, DTN, document ID, vendor ID, and check number.

  • View account balances, either at the budget group level or the account level.

  • Update signature authority electronically, and view authorized signers for an account.

  • Maintain department contacts at the Unit and/or Budget Group level.

  • Look up Payee Identification Numbers (PINs) and object codes. PINs can also be requested electronically.

  • Make purchase requisition inquiries, either by outstanding requisitions or completed requisitions.

  • Obtain employee appointment information, including job class codes and titles, salary pay steps, and campus mail codes.

  • Calculate appointment allocation amounts, and view appointment information for individuals and accounts.

  • View personal check deduction information and calculate personal monthly payroll net estimates.

NOTE: This list is not all-inclusive. As other needs arise, new commands are added and existing features undergo constant improvement for efficiency.

L. Completing the DEFINE Departmental User Access Form

Employees requesting departmental DEFINE access must complete the DEFINE Departmental User Access Form. For more information regarding who may request Central User DEFINE access see DEFINE Users.

NOTE: The form is divided into sections, correlative with the sections below:

  1. Date and Request Type: Enter the current date and choose from the following request types:

    • New DEFINE User (create a new user ID).

    • Transfer (delete access from previous department): Used when an existing DEFINE User has transferred to a different department.

    • Transfer (setup access for new department): Used when an existing DEFINE User has transferred from a different department.

    • Update existing access: Used to make changes for an existing DEFINE User.

    • Delete (access no longer needed): Used to delete DEFINE User ID.

  2. Section I: Requestor Contact Information: Enter the requestor's contact information, UT EID, and, if applicable, DEFINE user ID. Also, enter the supervisor's name and contact information:

    NOTE: DEFINE access requires activation of the requestor's UT EID and password. See Requesting Access to DEFINE for more information.

  3. Section II: Unit Code/Budget Group/Account Number: Enter the 7-digit unit code, 8-digit budget group or 10-digit account number associated with the request.

    • To view a list of sub-accounts and budget groups within a unit, access the Search Unit Code (GG5) screen in DEFINE and search by department unit.

    • If requesting/removing access to all accounts within a budget group, enter the 8-digit budget group, otherwise enter the specific 10-digit account number.

    • If requesting/removing access to all budget groups within a unit, enter the unit code, otherwise, enter the specific 8-digit budget group.

    • If your request type is 'Update/Make changes to existing access', enter Add or Delete before entering the unit code, budget code or account number.

  4. Section III: Add or Delete Authorized Signers: Enter the full name, UT EID, unit code of the individual — including the requestor — to be added or deleted as an Authorized Signer for a unit code.

  5. Section IV – Statement of Account Reconciliation Process: If the requestor is also responsible for completing the monthly Statement of Account (SOA) Reconciliation Process, then enter the applicable unit code(s).
    NOTE: The requestor will receive an electronic copy of the unit's monthly SOA, in addition to the unit's account administrator.

  6. Section V - DEFINE Desks/Commands: Enter the desk for which the requestor will be granted access or have access removed.

    • If entering a desk, the requestor will be granted access to, or have access removed from, all commands and access levels that are currently set up on that desk.

    • If the desk is unknown, you may select the access level for each command.

    • If the requestor does not require access to a command, select N/A (default option).

      NOTE: For more information, see Commonly Used DEFINE Commands for Departmental Users.

  7. Section VI: User Acknowledgement and Administrator Authorization: Enter the appropriate signatures. The approvals must be from the appropriate individuals associated with the account, budget group or unit code requested.

    • The requestor must sign the completed form.

    • The Electronic Office Manager/ Unit/Account Administrator or the individual that is higher in the reporting chain for the department must print and sign.

  8. Send the completed and signed form to DEFINE Administrative Services via campus mail, fax, or email (scanned copy of original).

    NOTE: If requesting new access, the Management Reporting and Administrative Systems Office will call the requestor when the request has been completed.

M. Completing the DEFINE Central User Access Form

Employees requesting DEFINE Central User Access must complete the DEFINE Central User Access Form. For more information regarding who may request central DEFINE access, see DEFINE Users.

A DEFINE Central User Access Form is completed to create a new DEFINE user ID, make changes to an existing ID, or delete Central User access. The completed form must be printed and signed by the appropriate stakeholders. Send the completed and signed form to DEFINE Administrative Services via campus mail, fax or email (scanned copy of original). For urgent requests, the form can be faxed to 210-458-7434 and the original should be sent via campus mail.

  1. Date and Type of Request: Enter the current date and choose from the following request types:

    • New DEFINE User (create a new user ID)

    • Transfer (delete access from previous department): Used when an existing DEFINE user has transferred to a different department.

    • Transfer (setup access for new department): Used when an existing DEFINE user has transferred from a different department.

    • Update existing access: Used to make changes for an existing DEFINE user.

    • Delete (access no longer needed): Used to delete DEFINE user ID.

  2. User Information Section

    The User Information section will display the user's full name and campus telephone extension, UT EID, DEFINE User ID (if applicable), Job Title, and Department Name. The requestor will also need to tell if he or she supervises staff in this section. The section also includes spaces for the requestor's Department Name and Supervisor's Name and his/her campus telephone extension.

  3. Processing Areas Section

  4. The Processing Areas section lists all the processing areas pertinent to DEFINE Central User Access.

    • A requestor will need to select the processing area for which he or she is requesting access.

    • Once the processing area is selected, a dropdown section of approved desks are displayed for the appropriate selection. For more information see DEFINE Central Processing Areas.

      1. From the Central Processing Area homepage, select the applicable Processing Area Name. A list of desks associated with the selected Processing Area appears.

      2. Each desk contains multiple DEFINE commands that provide users with different types of access. To view a detailed list of commands and access levels, click on a Desk Name.

    • The Central Processing Area Owner's name and signature are required for each processing area selected on the DEFINE Central Users Form.

  5. Certification Section

    The Certification section houses the User Acknowledgement statement and requires the signature of the requesting university employee. Additionally, this section also requires the acknowledgement and signature of the Assistant Vice President for Financial Affairs and Controller.


Term Description

Account Number

An account number is a unique 10-digit number designating chart of account attributes for funding allocated by the university and assigned by the Office of Accounting.


An appointment is processed in HRMS to assign an individual to a specific position ID. The appointment contains information on each employee regarding job title, funding source, percent time assigned, period of assignment, annual salary, allocation, encumbrance, and much more data.

Budget Group

A budget group is the first eight (8) digits of an official university account number and contains, fund attributes for financial accounting purposes.

Central Processing Area Owner

The Electronic Office Manager for each Central Processing Area. For a list of central processing area owners, see Central Processing Areas.

Electronic Office Manager (EOM)

The EOM is responsible for the review and approval of everyone assigned responsibilities within the Electronic Office. The Electronic Office Manager has the authority to approve electronic signers for all units within each Electronic Office.


Human Management Resource System is a system used to maintain positions and assignments of all employees of the university. There are many functions within HRMS that allow information to be created or modified for both positions and incumbents.

Unit/Account Administrator

The Unit/Account Administrator is an individual with fiscal responsibility and decision-making authority for an account within the DEFINE accounting system. This is typically the department head for non-grant accounts and the principal investigator for grant accounts.

Unit Code

A unit code is a seven-digit number that organizes budget groups together by function for processing purposes and establishes organizational hierarchy for reporting purposes.



  1. DEFINE Central User Access

  2. DEFINE Departmental User Access


Date Description


Added NVM and OV1/OV5 commands to Section J. Commonly Used DEFINE Commands for Departmental Users.


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