Payment Obligations

Necessary Systems, Codes, and Accounts for Obligation Management

When establishing a new federal entity relationship with Fiscal Service there needs to be a new obligation management relationship established. Obligations represent orders placed, contracts awarded, services received, and similar transactions during an accounting period that will require payment during the same, or a future, period.

Confirm or Obtain an ALC

A four- or eight-digit Agency Location Code (ALC) which uniquely identifies each federal entity that reports payments and collections is required for a federal entity to obtain a Treasury Account Symbol. An ALC is like a bank account number and must appear on all documentation sent to Fiscal Service to ensure proper reporting.

See TFM Volume I, Part 2, Chapter 3300, Section 3320, for more information on ALCs

See TFM Volume I, Part 4A, Chapter 3000, for more information on payment-related activities.

See TFM Volume 1, Part 4, Chapter 6000, for information about checks symbols

Establishing Agency Relationship Make sure you have an active account or create an account

See TFM Volume I, Part 1, Chapter 2000: Financial Operations Startup Procedures For New Federal Entities

Intergovernmental Agreements – IAA, third party processing

For more about establishing an agency relationship visit the TFX Scheduling Payments page

Do Not Pay (DNP)

Do Not Pay (DNP) is the no-cost robust analytics tool which helps federal agencies detect and prevent improper payments made to vendors, grantees, loan recipients, and beneficiaries. Agencies can check multiple data sources in order to make payment eligibility decisions. Log In or Enroll in DNP

Get an Obligation and Active TAS

Fiscal Service, in collaboration with OMB and the relevant administrative agency, assigns, amends, and discontinues account symbols and titles. Treasury Account Symbols (TAS) represent individual appropriation, receipt, and other fund accounts for agencies and bureaus. Agencies post appropriations or spending authorizations granted by Congress to these accounts. They use TAS to report to Treasury and OMB.

Fiscal Service assigns account symbols and titles, fund groups, and fund account definitions per the principles and guidelines in Title 7 of the GAO Policy and Procedures Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies. See the Government Accountability Office website.

Contact OMB for approval (see OMB Circular No. A-11, section 79.4).

TFM Vol 1, Part 2, Ch 4700: Treasury Financial Manual Guidance on obligation requirements Fiscal Service provides a listing of assigned symbols and titles in the FAST Book, which is a supplement to the Treasury Financial Manual (TFM).

There is a list of valid BETCs available on the Fiscal Service Reference Data website.

See TFM Vol I, Part 4A, Ch 2000: Anti-Deficiency Act

Set Up Payee Relationship

Federal entities should uniformly follow TFM rules in connection with the designation of the payee or payees of government payments.

TFM Vol 1, Part 4a, Chapter 2000: Payee Information

For more about setting up a payee relationship, visit the TFX Payee Setup and Maintenance page.

Federal Financial Management Standards

Functions and Activities

Obligation Management (FFM.030.020)

Record commitments (if applicable);

Record obligations for both procurement and non-procurement purchases;

Includes decommitments/ modifications, liquidating commitments, deobligations/ modifications, and liquidating obligations;

Includes capturing obligation information as required to support the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act);

Includes verifying the validity of the undelivered orders balance

Federal Financial Management System Requirements (FFMSR)

Establishing Payables (2.2.1)

Capture federal government unique recipient information [for example, federal vendor registration attributes, such as Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and the type of relationship with the U.S. Federal Government, grant recipient information] consistent with that required to support the payment management and invoice processing activities defined in 5 CFR 1315, 48 CFR Federal Acquisitions Regulations System (FARS), and the TFM.

Capture federal government unique payment information (for example, appropriation and fund) to support payment reports consistent with the TFM.

Determine proper payable amount and other payable information consistent with FASAB Handbook, 48 CFR Federal Acquisitions Regulations System (FARS) and as specified in the TFM.

Provide payable data required to post GL transactions consistent with USSGL transaction codes, transaction categories (for example, disbursements and payables), and transaction subcategories (for example, payments/purchases) as defined in the TFM.

Issuing Payments

This page was last updated on July 27, 2023.