The act of accepting by an authorized representative; an indication of a willingness to pay; the assumption of a legal obligation by a party to the terms and conditions of a contract.

Accessory Item (Noncomponent)

An item which facilitates or enhances the operation of plant equipment but which is not essential for its operation, such as remote control devices.

Accounts Payable (AP)

Accounts Payable, a VPF Business Unit responsible for paying the Institute's bills for goods and services.

Accounts Receivable (AR)

Accounts Receivable, a VPF Business Unit that manages billing and collecting for MIT and supports internal departments and groups who handle cash and check transactions.

Actual Cash Value

Replacement cost less depreciation.


An addition or supplement to a document; e.g., items or information added to a procurement document.

Additional Insured

An entity, other than a named insured, who is protected under the terms of an insurance policy of the named insured. Additional insureds are usually added by endorsement individually, or on a blanket basis, to protect their interest with respect to a particular situation or specific property. On a liability policy, a lessor may be added as additional insured with respect to premises leased, equipment leased, or vehicles leased. On a property policy, a party with financial interest may be added to protect it's financial interest in the property insured.

Administrative Officer (AO)

A job position held in many departments, labs, and centers, an AO is responsible for the general administrative functions of their DLC and is a key contact with central administrative areas including MIT Human Resources, VPF, IS&T, and others.

As of summer 2023, AO positions across the Institute have changed to Director, Administration and Finance (DAF).


Advance Payment (Procurement)

A deposit made prior to the receipt of goods or services. An advance does not increase the net cost of a product.

Advance Payment (Sponsored Accounts)

An agreement in which the sponsor pays MIT based on a schedule that is not tied to outlay of expense dollars. Arrangements of this type are less common, and may be referred to as Letter of Credit. VPF Sponsored Accounting insures that advance payments are tracked in the same way as cost reimbursable accounts to avoid missed payments.

After Receipt of Order (ARO)

A term of payment that refers to the length of time between the receipt of order and when the payment is due.

Agency Funds

Amounts held as custodian or fiscal agent for affiliates such as alumni and student organizations.


A duly executed and legally binding contract; the act of agreeing.

Allowable Cost

A cost that is allocable, reasonable, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Appropriations Among Funds

Authorized transfer of resources between fund groups.


Agreements given by authorized individuals to enable action on behalf of MIT usually provided as a written signature or electronically through a certificate based process.


The individual responsible for approving all charges against the cost object associated with the MIT Travel Card.


Anything owned by an individual or a business, which has commercial or exchange value. Assets may consist of specific property or claims against others, in contrast to obligations due others. (See also Liabilities).


MIT’s self-service one-stop administrative systems hub, Atlas provides an entry point for accessing the Institute’s financial systems and tools. Employees can use Atlas for a wide range of financial transactions including updating personal information and benefits, downloading paystubs and W-2s, setting up direct deposit, filing or approving time sheets, setting tax withholding allowances, and requesting and tracking reimbursements.

Authorized Signature (Accounts Payable)

Approval on an order, invoice or request for payment authorizing payment by VPF. The person approving the payment must be authorized to do so in the Roles Database for the cost object(s) to be charged.

Authorized Signature (Procurement)

In Approval on a contract or purchase order (PO) by an individual with delegated authority for the amount of the contract/PO.

Authorized Total

The maximum funding that is available to be spent in a given time period under a sponsored agreement.

Automated Purchase System

A secure, authorized online requisitioning, purchase order creation and selective invoice processing system. MIT uses SAP for this process.

Automobile Physical Damage

Loss of or damage to an automobile. Automobile physical damage coverage is provided by comprehensive and collision coverage in an auto policy. Comprehensive provides coverage for losses caused by an event, other than a collision, including fire, theft, vandalism, and windstorm. Collision provides coverage for losses arising from a collision with another vehicle or object.

Auxiliary Activities

An MIT term for the operations of Dining, Housing, the MIT Press, Technology Review and Endicott House.

Auxiliary Item (Noncomponent)

An item without which the basic unit of plant equipment cannot operate, such as a motor for a pump or a machine tool.

News and Announcements

The VPF Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) team has updated the list of all&nbs