Fund Stewardship Guidelines

As a department manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that compliance requirements are being met at the individual fund level. If a department assigns monies from a restricted endowment or a gift fund to another department, the following best practices should be followed. Fund review should take place on a regular basis, and at least monthly. 

Process for reviewing funds, described below

Receive Funds and Review Restrictions

  • Review Reports Regularly: Review Spendable Balance and other Financial Management Reports on a regular basis. When new funds are assigned, use the Fund Restriction / Designation reports to review specific Endowment (E) and Expendable Gift (B) Fund restrictions.

  • Share Stewardship Responsibilities: Since we rely on Departments to steward restricted Funds, this responsibility and accountability should be shared across Department staff.

  • Manage Balances and Restrictions: Knowing the balances and restrictions on your department’s funds will help you plan ahead.

Expend Funds

  • Charge Appropriately: All buyers should know applicable restrictions and the availability of funds. It is best to charge an expense to the right place the first time.

  • Spend Restricted Monies First: When an expense meets multiple funds’ restrictions, spend the most restricted fund balances first. This will help ensure the less restricted money is available for a variety of expenses at a later date.

  • Spend Endowment and Expendable Gift Funds First: When restrictions are met, be sure to spend your Endowment (E) & Expendable Gift (B) Fund money first. This will help ensure Advancement can report back that donor money is needed and being utilized. Departments may need to accumulate funds in anticipation of future needs. When this accumulation occurs departments should have a clear, documented plan which outlines the anticipated future use.

  • Post to the Fund: Post reasonable and prudent expenses directly to the fund.  

Review Balances

  • Review Balances Regularly: Review spendable (remaining) balances on a regular basis to avoid overspending and monitor fund spending.  

  • Share Information: Send spending / accounting reports to the originating department if required.

  • Manage Restrictions: Review activity for appropriateness against fund restrictions, University policy, and the department’s financial plan. Specific procedures include:

    • Review recorded transactions and investigate those that you don’t recognize or appear unusual; Compare transactions to source documents as needed

    • Review infrequent transactions

    • Investigate and resolve issues of concern. It is the University’s expectation that any compliance concerns be brought to the attention of the employee’s supervisor, an employee in the University office that has oversight authority for the policy or law, or the director of academic management for academic department issues

Assess and Address

Careful fund monitoring will ensure that deficit balances only occur in rare situations. 

  • Return Balances: If spendable balance remains, with no plan for further spending, return monies to originating departments when necessary (e.g. for one time events where not all assigned money was needed).

  • Review Restrictions: When spending cannot occur on a fund because of a narrow restriction, such restrictions should be reviewed by the department administrator. Gift and Endowment Accounting should also be contacted to assist in determining what options are available. F&T will contact the Office of General Counsel (OGC), Office of Advancement, and Provost offices for assistance as needed.

  • Manage Deficit Balances: Carefully review funds that have deficit balances. Reclass expenses to another fund or request additional assignment of funding if appropriate.

Important Note for Department Heads

As a department head, you are responsible for the implementation of this review within your area. Reviewers should have a good understanding of:

  • Initiating Source or Event: What action(s) are causing the transaction and who are the appropriate initiating individuals? 

  • Expenditure Type and Purpose: Understand the type of expenditures and the related business purposes that generally occur.

  • Timing: Understand the frequency of expenditures and the recurring or non-recurring nature of the transaction.

  • Unusual or Exceptional Transactions: Understand what activity would constitute an unusual or exceptional transaction that might require additional review or special handling.

  • Transaction Risk: Understand the financial, compliance, and operational risk of the business activity. Consider the source of the funding, compliance requirements for the type of transaction, department or management expectations, past history, or knowledge of potential problems.

  • Restrictions: Remain aware of all fund restrictions, University policy, and the department’s financial plan.