Departmental Financial Controls

Each organizational unit should have processes and procedures in place to ensure financial control and management in compliance with University guidelines and policies. Financial Control includes internal controls, delegation of authority procedures, segregation of duties, system access controls, and document filing and storage procedures.

Internal Controls

Internal control is a process of checks and balances designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives relating to operations, reporting and compliance:

  • Reliability of financial data - Financial information on reports should be accurate, reliable, and complete.
  • Compliance - Financial transactions should be compliant with applicable laws and regulations as well as University policies.
  • Operational effectiveness and stewardship - Financial activities should be efficient and effective while ensuring that University resources are properly safeguarded.

Delegation of Authority

Managers with approval authority may delegate that authority under various circumstances, e.g., for backup purposes, for periods of absence, due to a large volume of transactions, etc. Managers who delegate authority must ensure that the delegate understands the approval responsibilities as outlined in the Transaction Review section.

While it may be appropriate to delegate approval authority, the delegator is ultimately accountable and responsible for the decisions of the delegate. Managers who delegate authority should monitor the activities that have been delegated through an appropriate review and monitoring process.

Segregation of Duties

A good system of checks and balances necessitates that the following business processes be performed by different individuals in the department:

  • Processing transactions (e.g., creating requisitions, preparing expense reports, journaling, etc.)
  • Authorizing transactions
  • Monitoring activities (e.g., review and reconciliation)
  • Physical custody of assets (e.g., equipment, cash, etc.)

In small work units, full segregation of critical duties may not be possible. In these circumstances, departments should segregate duties as much as practical in consultation with the Financial Service Center.

System Access and Review

In each department Financial Managers should determine appropriate system access for individuals in their departments. Periodic reviews of system access and security should be conducted. Learn more about Financial Systems.

Financial Document Record Retention

Each department may have specific record retention practices to support operations. Learn more about Financial Record Retention.