Transparent Utah Help
Welcome to Transparent Utah
Utah has been a leader in government transparency for over a decade with a commitment to making it easier for the public to get detailed financial information about state and local government spending. This section, provides an overview of how the new website functions.
A new “mobile friendly” streamlined version automatically loads if you access the Transparent Utah site using a phone or tablet. The mobile version makes it easy to search for employee or vendor pay. If you would like the desktop interface on your mobile device, just click the “desktop” link.
Quick Search Bar – Detailed search for Employee Pay or Vendor Pay
At the top of the Transparent Utah page, just below the title bar, you will see the Quick Search bar. Use the drop down menu on the left to select your search topic, then type the appropriate name on the search bar. This is the quickest way to search for an individual employee or vendor. Use the drop down menu on the left to choose between the search bars.
The ability to match a specific name, or partial name matches is very powerful and Transparent Utah includes that ability to help you in your searches.
For more details about using the search bar to refine your search, visit the Quick Search Help page.
Guide to Available Information
There are 9 Information Sections on the Transparency home page, 8 that point to different types of state and local government information available to you, and a link to this Help Section. Below is a breakout of each section and a link to a detailed help page.
Helpful Overview of Transparent Utah
It is important to remember that the State of Utah and most local government entities, also called “political subdivisions”, such as cities, counties and school districts, have a fiscal year that is not the calendar year.
The State’s fiscal year starts on July 1 and ends on June 30th. So fiscal year 2019 started on July 1 2018 and ended on June 30, 2019. Some local government entities have the same fiscal year as the State and others may have a fiscal year that matches the calendar year, or a completely different fiscal year.
So when the system displays “2019” data for the State of Utah, remember it started in July of 2018! Also, when comparing different entities, data from “2019” may include an entity with a calendar 2019 year, and one with a fiscal 2019 year (such as the State’s described above). So one entity may include January-December data and the other may include July-June data.
How to Search the Transparent Utah Database
On most of the pages in Transparent Utah, you will see selection menu on the left hand side. On these pages, a default search example will display as soon as the search is done (the system is searching on a LOT of data so please be patient!).
The default example search here is set to look at years 2014 to 2020 for State Government Data. Once the example has displayed, you can easily change the years or the entity. You can search multiple years and ONE entity or ONE year and MULTIPLE entities.
For example, you can look at data for several counties for a single year, or the data for one county, for multiple years.
To see other entities click on the text, for example click on “Counties” and a list of all counties will drop down. You can select all counties by selecting the checkbox next to “Counties”, or uncheck the “select all” box and select just one or several counties from the drop down list. Be sure to “uncheck” the box next to State Government.
Please note that there are a LOT of cities and towns and also many districts and sometimes these searches will take a while. Usually a search completes in 30 seconds, but searches involving a large number of entities, such as all cities or districts, may take several minutes.
Highest Paid Employees
This section provides a table of the top paid employees in the state or selected entity. By default the system displays a table of the State’s top paid employees (2014-2019) sorted by highest wages.
For details about this section, visit the Highest Paid Employees Help page.
Highest Paid Vendors
By default this page provides lists of the State of Utah’s vendors based on either Largest Single Payment or Largest Payees (by fiscal year). To get more details about this page, please visit the Highest Paid Vendors Help Page
The entity overview page is sometimes referred to as the “Open Checkbook” or “Entity Checkbook”. It shows the revenue and expenses of one or more entities and one or more years.
For more details visit the Entity Overview Help page.
Detailed Search – Employee Pay
The State and other government entities provide a variety of public goods and services. Behind these efforts is a professional workforce of thousands of individuals working on a variety of issues and opportunities, from keeping the public safe to helping aid the poor while moving millions of us around efficiently. To get more details about this page, please visit the Detailed Search – Employee Pay help page.
Detailed Search – Vendors
How much do government entities pay vendors? On this page you can find out! Different government entities may use different names for what seems to be the same vendor. “Office Depot/Office Max” may include the city name, the store number, or just one of the two names. The same rules apply to vendor names as to employee names (see the Quick Search above for details).
For more details, visit the Detailed Search-Vendors Help page.
Where Does State Money Go?
This section helps you see where State money goes.
For more details about this section, visit the Where Does the State Money Go Help Page.
Where Does the Money Come From?
This section help identify the sources of funding for theState of Utah which totals 10’s of billions of dollars.
For more details visit the Where Does the Money Come From help page.
Help and FAQ’s
You are currently visiting the Help page.
When you customize a search, at the bottom of the table, there will be a “save data” button. To download the data to your local computer, simply click that button. You can then import the data into a spreadsheet or database to make your own charts or graphs or other analyses.
Transparent Utah also integrates data browsing similar to earlier versions of the Transparent Utah website. For those who are used to searching for a specific transaction, this capability is available under Transaction Details.
To learn more about the Transaction Details function, please visit the Transaction Details Help Page.
Other sections of the Transparent Utah Home Page
Visit the Other Sections Help Page for more details. Clicking on the Beehive (upper far left) provides a menu of resources from the main “Utah.gov” state site and takes you away from both the Transparent Utah site and away from the website of the Office of the State Auditor.
Glossary of Terms
Transparent Utah provides access to financial data. If you drill down in a graph or table to see further details you may see column titles that are “accounting” titles. This glossary provides a brief description of some of the most common terms.
Please note that these terms are accounting terms that have been adapted to the Transparent Utah environment.
- Cat The category which identifies the grouping or type of revenue or expense to which the transaction was recorded.
- Contract Description A brief description of the nature of the contract between the vendor and the entity. This description may be helpful when looking up a contract on an entity’s purchasing website.
- Contract Number The number assigned by the entity which identifies the specific contract between the vendor and the entity. This number may be helpful when looking up a contract on an entity’s purchasing website.
- Entity Describes an individual governmental unit such as the State of Utah, a higher education institution, or other political subdivision that is required by statute to participate in the transparency initiative.
- Entity Transaction ID The document number by which the transaction is tracked in the entity’s accounting system.
- Fiscal Period An accounting period of 12 months. The State of Utah operates on a fiscal year basis running from July 1 to June 30 each year. Local entities may have a fiscal period the same as the State of Utah or may use a calendar year period.
- Fnct An abbreviation of the term Function which describes a way to group expenditures and revenues by a type of activity.
- Fund A self-balancing set of accounts recording assets, liabilities, and equity. A fund is used to segregate financial information for carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives. For the State of Utah entity, most individual funds are created by statute, although a few were created for administrative accounting purposes. At the highest level, funds for the State of Utah are grouped by fund type according to governmental accounting standards.
- Org An abbreviation of the term Organization which defines the way an entity is organized functionally, starting at the top level and drilling down to lower levels. Each entity defines its own organizational structure. For example for the State of Utah entity, the top level of organization represents agencies and departments. The second level of organization represents the line item of appropriation (legislated spending authority) and the third level represents each program within the line item of appropriation.
- Posting Date The date the transaction was recorded within the entity’s accounting system.
- Prog An abbreviation of the term Program which is a plan of activities and procedures designed to accomplish a predetermined objective or set of objectives.
- Total Calculates the total of the amounts returned by the website for a particular search.
- Transaction Description Describes the nature of the transaction.
- Transaction Detail Specific information pertaining to each transaction including amount, vendor, fund, category and organization.
- Tran The Transaction Detail which includes specific information pertaining to each transaction including amount, vendor/payee/customer, fund, category and organization.
- Type The Transaction Type. Transparent.utah.gov contains five types of transactions: Expense or monies spent from government coffers; Revenue or money received by the government entity; Employee Compensation showing salary and total employer paid benefits related information by specific employee; Stimulus Expense or monies spent under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA); and Stimulus Revenue or monies received under ARRA.
- Name Used to represent the name of the Vendor/Payee/Customer. For the Expense transaction type, this is the name of the business or individual the entity paid. For the Employee Compensation Transaction type, this is the name of the employee. For the Revenue transaction type, this is the name of the business or individual who remitted money to the government entity. At this time, the State of Utah and most local entities are not displaying names for Revenue transaction types due to privacy concerns.
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