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Objective and Responsibilities

Introduction to Objectives and Responsibilities

Communication of Policies and Procedures

Office Procedures

Financial Planning

Financial Reporting

Administrative Staff Recruitment and Training

Computer Controls

Delegation of Authority

Operating Budget

Cash and Banking

Accounts Receivable

Inventories/Supplies

Purchasing

Accounts Payable and Disbursements

Reimbursement of Expenses

Capital Assets

Payroll

Research and Other Restricted Funding

 

Introduction to Objectives and Responsibilities

Objectives and Responsibilities is intended for use by administrators in both academic and administrative departments. This section sets out the objectives of financial management within a framework of relevant functions. The distribution of related responsibilities may vary from division to division and department to department. It is hoped the distribution presented herein will provide useful guidance to new administrators undertaking the task of organizing their units for effective financial management. For all administrators this document can serve as a benchmark in evaluating the financial administration of their departments and a guide in making improvements where appropriate.

To assist in ensuring that all faculty and staff with financial and administrative responsibilities have a continuous awareness of their most important financial responsibilities, the University has developed administrative accountability reports which are completed annually by administrators who have financial or administrative responsibility for a budgetary unit, research grant, or contract.

 

Communication of Policies and Procedures

OBJECTIVE(S)
To ensure complete and effective communication of all policies and procedures which impact on the discharge of the financial responsibilities of faculty and staff.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that all personnel, with financial responsibilities, have readily available all reference materials required to meet their responsibilities including: materials issued by the central administrative departments and those developed in the faculty/division.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops a procedure for the distribution to appropriate departmental staff of all directives from the head of the faculty/division and the faculty finance officer, which impact on the performance of their responsibilities.
  • Establishes a structured communication for identifying and communicating the need for additional guidance or directives.

Head of Department

  • Obtains assurance that all departmental faculty and staff, with financial responsibilities, have readily available all reference materials required to meet their responsibilities including: materials issued by the central administrative departments, the faculty and those developed in the department.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Ensures that all reference materials identified throughout this document are available and accessible and maintained up-to-date.
  • Ensures timely and appropriate distribution of all correspondence and all communications concerning new policies and procedures and changes to existing policies and procedures.
  • Identifies those areas which require additional directives or guidelines and communicates needs to the appropriate level: the head of the department, the faculty finance officer or the appropriate central administrative department.

 

Office Procedures

OBJECTIVE(S)
To accomplish paperwork and online processing in the most efficient and economic way with appropriate attention to the principles of sound internal control such as segregation of duties and proper authorizations and approvals.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that administrative resources are being used efficiently and use is consistent with the principles of sound internal control noted above.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Establishes guidelines in this area for use throughout the faculty/division; consults with departmental finance administrators on these matters and, generally, obtains assurance that the departments are discharging their administrative responsibilities efficiently.
  • Areas of particular concern include the following:
    • handling of incoming mail to prevent tampering by unauthorized third parties, and to ensure mail is properly distributed and procedures for the handling of cash and cheques are being followed;
    • outgoing mail is distributed in the most economical fashion and returned mail is referred to the attention of senior personnel;
    • appropriate consultations are obtained before purchasing office equipment;
    • work simplification principles are applied: elimination of unnecessary tasks, combination of similar or related tasks, streamlining of procedures and steps, redesigning systems, procedures or forms to achieve objectives more effectively and economically.

Head of Department

  • Obtains assurance that administrative resources are being used efficiently and use is consistent with sound internal control.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Consults the guidelines issued by the faculty/division office and, where required, consults with the faculty finance officer directly to ensure that the department is being administered in the most effective and economical way.

 

Financial Planning

OBJECTIVE(S)
To ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the most effective use of funds available to carry out activities and that there is adequate provision made for reviewing results and adjusting plans throughout the budget period.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that the above objects of financial planning are met.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops standards and, where necessary, detailed procedures for sound financial planning with regards to the use of operating funds, grants and trust funds. Reports from the departmental finance administrator provide the basis for monitoring progress toward this important objective.

Head of Department

  • Obtains assurance that standards of sound financial planning are established and followed throughout the department and applied equally to the use of operating funds, grants and trust funds.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Follows faculty/division directives with respect to financial planning and supplements those directives with directives specific to the operations of the department. Ensures these directives are documented and communicated in an effective manner to faculty and staff.

 

Financial Reporting

OBJECTIVE(S)
To ensure that all transactions are completely and accurately recorded in the accounting system as the basis for effective reporting of financial results.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Establishes the importance of accurate reporting of all financial transactions in accordance with the established criteria and obtains assurance that this objective is being met.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Communicates to departmental finance administrators the importance of accurate recording in the accounting system of all financial transactions and obtains assurance that departments are meeting this objective.

Head of Department

  • Establishes the importance of accurate reporting of all financial transactions in accordance with the established criteria and obtains assurance that this objective is being met.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Ensures that all transactions are accurately coded in accordance with established criteria. Codes applied to transactions are designed to provide the financial information necessary for the effective conduct of the University’s financial affairs.
  • Ensures that financial reports are reviewed and checked for accuracy against departmental records.

 

Administrative Staff Recruitment and Training

OBJECTIVE(S)
To ensure that staff with responsibility for financial administration are qualified to carry out the responsibilities assigned to them.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Ensures that the faculty finance officer has the qualifications and training necessary to carry out all assigned responsibilities. Accordingly,
    • involves the Chief Financial Officer or designate in the review and selection of candidates for this position;
    • ensures an up-to-date job description exists;
    • conducts a performance review at least once a year;
    • identifies training needs and consults, as necessary, to identify optimum methods of meeting these needs.
  • Establishes and communicates to heads of departments the role of the faculty finance officer with respect to hiring and training of departmental finance administrators.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • In accordance with the parameters established by the Head of the Faculty/Division supports the heads of departments in their responsibility to ensure that the departmental finance administrators have the qualifications and training necessary to carry out all assigned responsibilities. Accordingly, may be requested to:
    • assess the need for on-the-job training and additional educational programs;
    • review postings for the position of departmental finance administrator;
    • interview candidates and discuss recommendations with the head of the department;
    • communicate to the head of the faculty/division any concerns with the selected candidate.
  • Pursues training and educational programs which are required to carry out these responsibilities and in that regard makes appropriate requests to the head of the faculty/division.

Head of Department

  • Ensures that staff with financial responsibilities are qualified to discharge those responsibilities and in that regard:
    • establishes an appropriate contact with the faculty finance officer with respect to identifying knowledge or skill deficiencies of departmental staff;
    • consults with the faculty finance officer before finalizing the selection of a departmental finance administrator;
    • conducts performance reviews at least once a year, obtaining appropriate input from the faculty finance officer.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Ensures that subordinate administrative staff in the department have the qualifications, training and supervision necessary for the effective discharge of responsibilities.
  • To meet this objective, the departmental finance administrator ensures that:
    • all job descriptions are up-to-date and available to staff;
    • performance reviews are carried out at least once a year;
    • areas of knowledge and skill deficiency are identified and appropriate remedial action taken.
  • In addition, in respect to his/her own responsibilities the departmental finance administrator pursues training and educational programs required to carry out responsibilities and in that regard consults with the faculty finance officer.

 

Computer Controls

OBJECTIVE(S)
Ensures that the confidentiality and integrity of software and data are maintained and protected.

Note: Desktop personal computers and servers are categories of capital assets. Please refer to the section on “Capital Assets” for details on controls over this class of assets.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Ensures there are adequate controls in place to:
    • prevent unauthorized access;
    • protect confidentiality of information;
    • physically protect data;
    • comply with software contracts and licenses.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops divisional procedures which will provide the necessary controls to achieve the stated objective.
  • Ensures that procedures are followed.

Head of Department

  • Prevents unauthorized access by:
    • granting access to employees only for the functions and accounts against which they should enter transactions or inquire;
    • immediately withdrawing access for any employee that terminates or transfers;
    • ensuring that employees follow university policies with regard to the confidentiality of User l.D.’s and passwords;
    • ensuring that controls are in place to physically prevent unauthorized access (i.e. personal computers/servers are in physically secure locations, devices are logged off when not in use, system documentation is accessible only to authorized employees).
  • Ensures controls are in place to protect the confidentiality of information:
    • Confidential reports should be locked up when not in use and shredded when no longer required.
  • Ensures that:
    • employees are trained to use the system and have system manuals available;
    • only authorized employees enter transactions;
    • no unauthorized software is used on University computers.
  • Ensures controls are in place to physically protect data:
    • sensitive files are protected by a data security system or stored on media which can be removed from the computer and physically stored in a locked location;
    • controls are in place to comply with software licenses and contracts.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Develops departmental procedures which will provide the necessary controls to achieve the stated objective.
  • Ensures that procedures are followed.

 

Operating Budget

OBJECTIVE(S)
The development of a divisional/ departmental budget is multi-faceted and, conceivably, quite complex. It is part of a very important process the primary function of which is to effectively allocate scarce resources amongst various program plans. In so doing, anticipated expenditures are itemized and authorized for a given period and serve as a control mechanism to match anticipated and actual revenues and expenditures for the period.

Once the budgets are established the primary functions are to monitor and control the budgets throughout the year. This is accomplished by the preparation and review of periodic forecasts and by adjusting the budgets as circumstances dictate.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Ensures budget-related information is available (i.e. enrolment plans, retirements, scheduled leaves, complement and workload plans, impact of inflation, etc.) and assimilated in a manner that facilitates budgetary decisions.
  • Is conversant with the budget policies and procedures and aware of how these policies and procedures might impact on his/her division.
  • Develops divisional budget plans in concert with the Provost.
  • Reviews divisional income budget before submission to Planning and Budget Office.
  • Reviews budgets before submission to Planning and Budget Office.
  • Reviews divisional forecasts and implements remedial action if required. Ensures forecasts are forwarded to the Financial Services Department when requested.
  • Is familiar with budget change policy and delegates authority in keeping with this policy.
  • Reviews and approves budget changes in keeping with policy.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Directs the preparation and coordination of the divisional budget. Is knowledgeable about the budget policies and procedures.
  • Reviews divisional budget for accuracy and completeness and for compliance to established policies and procedures.
  • Develops format for forecasts and provides guidelines pertaining to department methodology.
  • Establishes forecast schedule for division ensuring that this schedule factors in the divisional reporting requirements to central administration.
  • Co-ordinates and consolidates departmental forecasts for presentation to division head along with recommendations for courses of action to be taken.
  • Is fully conversant with budget change policy.
  • Reviews and approves budget changes in keeping with policy.

Head of Department

  • Ensures budget-related information is available (i.e. enrolment plans, retirements, scheduled leaves, complement and workload plans, impact of inflation, etc.) and assimilated in a manner that facilitates budgetary decisions.
  • Is conversant with the budget policies and procedures and aware of how these policies and procedures might impact on his/her division.
  • Reviews departmental internal budget before submission to faculty finance officer.
  • Reviews budgets before submission to faculty finance officer.
  • Develops departmental budget plans in concert with the dean and the faculty finance officer.
  • Establishes forecast schedule for department.
  • Reviews departmental forecasts and implements remedial action if required.
  • Is familiar with budget change policy and delegates authority in keeping with this policy.
  • Reviews and approves budget changes in keeping with policy.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Compiles information pertaining to departmental budget (e.g. forecasts current year expenditures and compares to budget, determines impact of inflation, legislation, etc. on departmental finances).
  • Prepares departmental budget in consultation with department head.
  • Analyzes financial records and prepares forecast for the department.
  • Prepares budget transfer forms as circumstances dictate.
  • Reviews and approves budget changes in keeping with policy.

 

Cash and Banking

OBJECTIVE(S)
To protect and deposit cash immediately into the University’s approved bank accounts and correctly record it in the University’s accounts.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • With a procedure for regular reporting from the faculty finance officer, the head of the faculty/division obtains assurance that:
    • all cash received in the division is being promptly deposited and correctly recorded in divisional accounts;
    • the need for and security of petty cash funds and imprest expenditure bank accounts has been adequately assessed and there is adherence to the expenditure limits established for these funds in line with the objectives of the University’s purchasing policies;
    • no bank accounts have been opened by members of the faculty or administrative staff to conduct university operations except as authorized by the Chief Financial Officer;
    • all problems and concerns have been identified, reported and appropriate action has been taken.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Has detailed knowledge of all policies and procedures related to cash and banking and develops reporting procedures to assess compliance with these throughout the faculty/division. To that end the finance officer:
    • maintains records on imprest expenditure bank accounts held by the departments: purpose, amount and signators;
    • maintains records on petty cash funds held by departments: amounts and custodian.
  • Advises the head of the faculty/division of any concerns with respect to departmental cash funds such as:
    • non-compliance with University policies and procedures including procedures related to accountability;
    • necessity for such funds;
    • inadequate security of funds.

Head of Department

  • Cash Receipts:
    • Provides organizational controls for the security of cash:
      • The person who receives and endorses cheques should not be the person who prepares the deposit form;
      • The person who receives and endorses the cheques should prepare a list which should be checked periodically against the completed deposit form.
  • Petty Cash/Cash Float:
    • Ensures that controls are in place and operating effectively to provide reasonable assurance of adherence to University policies and procedures with respect to cash funds and banking:
      • at the beginning of the term of office, obtains information on the amount, custodian and provisions for security of the petty cash fund and arranges for a count and reconciliation of the fund by someone other than the custodian;
      • throughout the term of office obtains the assurance that the fund is being managed in accordance with University policies and procedures with emphasis on adherence to the expenditure limits set within the context of the University’s purchasing policies.
      • If the finance administrator is the custodian of the fund, the head of the department approves all reimbursement requests.
  • Imprest Expenditure Bank Accounts:
    • At the beginning of the term of office, the head of the department obtains information on the amount, purpose and signators for all imprest expenditure bank accounts held by the department and assesses the need for changes, if any, with careful consideration of the need for such accounts.
    • Throughout the term of office, establishes reporting mechanisms to obtain assurance that these accounts are being used in accordance with University policies and procedures with particular emphasis on accountability and adherence to established expenditure limits.
  • Bank Accounts
    • Ensures that no bank accounts are opened except as authorized by the Chief Financial Officer.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Has detailed knowledge related to cash-handling and banking.
  • Ensures that cheques are restrictively endorsed immediately (for deposit only to the account of Governing Council of the University of Toronto) and deposited promptly.
  • Maintains detailed listing of receipts and accounts to be credited and agrees to the monthly statement of account to ensure that all receipts are accurately recorded.
  • Petty Cash/Cash Float
    • Maintains petty cash fund at minimum required level;
    • Locks petty cash box and restricts access to the custodian. Outside of business hours keeps petty cash box in a safe or locked desk;
    • Counts petty cash periodically and verifies against records by someone other than the custodian;
    • Maintains accurate records of receipts and disbursements and original receipts for all disbursements;
    • Ensures that reimbursement requests are prepared in accordance with procedures.
  • Imprest Expenditure Bank Accounts
    • Submits requests for imprest expenditure bank accounts only when necessary and in the minimum amount to meet requirements;
    • Restricts access to blank cheques to account signators;
    • Maintains accurate records of receipts and disbursements and original documents to support all disbursements;
    • Ensures that reimbursement requests are prepared in accordance with procedures, and reconciliations of bank accounts are prepared and forwarded to Accounting Services of the Financial Services Department as required.

 

Accounts Receivable

OBJECTIVE(S)
Keeping the average collection period as short as possible by ensuring that no credit is allowed where there is a high risk of non-payment and by ensuring that billings are issued promptly, and accurately.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that the faculty/division incurs no commitment to deliver goods or services without adequate assurance that the full invoice price of delivery will be collected in a reasonable time.
  • Ensures that contracts are referred to the appropriate University officer for execution (signing) in accordance with the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Has a detailed knowledge of all procedures which relate to Accounts Receivable and of the University Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.
  • Develops guidelines with respect to the review and approval of contractual commitments within the faculty/ division, ensures these are effectively communicated to the departments and that there are mechanisms in place to monitor compliance with these guidelines and approve exceptions where required.
  • Obtains assurance that adequate credit checks are carried out on prospective customers, invoices for the delivery of goods and services reflect the full cost and are issued promptly, and reports from the Financial Services Department which identify overdue accounts receive prompt attention followed by appropriate action.
  • Reports to the faculty/division head within established parameters on collection problems and follows up until resolved.
  • Establishes parameters for approval of certain write-offs of uncollectible accounts identifying those which should be referred to the head of the faculty/division for approval.

Head of Department

  • Ensures that the faculty/division incurs no commitment to deliver goods or services without adequate assurance that the full invoice price of delivery will be collected in a reasonable time.
  • At the beginning of the term of office obtains information on all services or recoveries which are currently invoiced, the pricing policies in place and the invoicing schedules and assesses whether:
    • the pricing policy adequately covers all costs;
    • invoices are issued promptly and controls are in place to ensure that billings are complete and accurate.
  • Ensures that contracts are referred to the appropriate University officer for execution (signing) in accordance with the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.
  • On an ongoing basis obtains regular reports from the finance administrator on collection problems and action taken to secure collection.
  • Establishes parameters for approval of credit invoices.
  • Reviews and approves all write-offs of uncollectible accounts and ensures faculty requirements are followed.
  • Approves sales of goods and services to all new customers after obtaining assurance that adequate credit checks have been carried out.
  • Obtains assurance that provision has been made to obtain further approvals when required under the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Has detailed knowledge of:
  • Takes responsibility for:
    • investigations into credit-worthiness of customers, consulting with faculty finance officer where necessary;
    • appropriate pricing of goods and services to ensure that all costs including administration are covered, consulting with faculty business officer and the Financial Services Department where required;
    • preparation of invoices in accordance with procedures;
    • prompt review of reports from the Financial Services Department on outstanding receivables; appropriate action on overdue accounts;
    • developing procedures for expediting slow collections;
    • detailed checking of monthly statements of account against departmental copy of invoices to ensure complete and accurate recording. Prompt follow-up of errors or omissions;
    • reporting problem collections to head of department and faculty finance officer;
    • maintaining appropriate documentation and records of authorization of credit invoices.

 

Inventories/Supplies

OBJECTIVE(S)
Stocks of supplies and equipment are fairly easily converted to cash and often subject to theft, losses and pilferage. Thus, they represent assets that need to be protected. Since they also represent funds tied up, quantities should not be any larger than absolutely necessary and inventories should not remain on hand for so long that they become obsolete.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains sufficient information on the nature and need for inventories throughout the faculty/division to adequately assess whether the investment in inventories is justified.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops policies and procedures with respect to approval of departmental supply inventories to protect against unnecessary duplication within the faculty/division.
  • Provides guidance to departments on security, costing, and record keeping with respect to inventories.

Head of Department

  • Because of the potential for obsolescence and loss or pilferage, ensures that inventories are kept at the minimum required for operations.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Develops procedures with respect to inventory security, costing, preparation of invoices and record keeping; consults with faculty finance officer in this regard where required.
  • Maintains detailed inventory records including records of “ins” and “outs”.
  • Where inventories are “sold” or “charged out” ensures appropriate and documented pricing.
  • Arranges for periodic inventory counts (at least once per year) by someone who does not have access to the inventory, and compares count to detailed records.
  • Investigates reasons for differences between inventory counts and records and takes appropriate action. Ensures University accounts accurately record these events and reports to head of department and faculty finance officer.
  • Performs detailed checking of monthly statements of account against departmental copies of invoices to ensure inventory sales/recoveries are completely and accurately recorded. Promptly follows up errors and omissions.

 

Purchasing

OBJECTIVE(s)
The main objective when buying goods or services is to purchase them at the right time and at the most advantageous price and with proper tax and duty if applicable. This is best achieved by local procurement for smaller requisitions and channelling large requisitions through a centralized purchasing group.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that faculty and staff are following the University policies and procedures with respect to purchasing, specifically:
    • Purchases are made through the Procurement Services Department except as specifically exempted;
    • Ensures that contracts are referred to the appropriate University officer for execution (signing) in accordance with the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents;
    • Where the Procurement Services Department is asked to place an order with a specified supplier, the person who originates the request discloses any potential conflict of interest with respect to the supplier;
    • Employees of the University are not using the University’s purchasing facilities for personal reasons.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Has detailed knowledge of University purchasing policies and procedures.
  • Develops the reporting procedures necessary to provide the head of the faculty/division with the required assurances that University policies are being followed.
  • Informs the head of the faculty of significant instances of non-compliance.

Head of Department

  • Obtains assurance that faculty and staff are following the University policies and procedures with respect to purchasing, specifically:
    • purchases are made through the Procurement Services Department as required;
    • ensures that contracts are referred to the appropriate University officer for execution (signing) in accordance with the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents;
    • where the Procurement Services Department is asked to place an order with a specified supplier, the person who originates the request discloses any potential conflict of interest with respect to the supplier;
    • employees of the University are not using the University’s purchasing facilities for personal reasons.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Ensures adherence to University policy requiring purchasing through the Procurement Services Department and, accordingly, approves all exceptions, allowing exceptions only after obtaining the approval of the Procurement Services Department and head of the department. In this regard the Procurement Services Department is to be advised if any member of the department holds a financial interest in the supplier.
  • When dealing directly with suppliers, ensures the reliability of the supplier has been investigated and that terms of payment do not put the University at risk. Advance payments are made only on the recommendation of the Procurement Services Department and, in the case of little-known suppliers substantial advances are made only after an investigation into the financial strength of the supplier.
  • Ensures adherence to the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents, in the rare case where it is necessary to enter into a contract with the supplier.
  • Ensures that purchases are made only for University business and not for personal use.
  • Ensures restricted access to on-line requisition function.
  • Reviews all purchase requisitions, regardless of funding source, on the following basis:
    • Need:
      • Is the purchase necessary for the stated purpose?
      • If supplies or equipment, can requirements be met by currently available equipment and supplies?
    • Funding:
      • Are there sufficient funds to cover the purchase?
      • If the purchase is funded from a grant, is it allowed under the terms of the grant?
    • Related Costs:
      • Are there related costs i.e. once-only costs, such as renovations for accommodation of equipment, and ongoing costs of operation, and has there been adequate consideration of these costs and the funding of these costs i.e. particularly if purchase is funded from a research grant?
      • Service contracts are maintained in central records so that major repairs can be authorized in the context of such contracts or warranties.
  • Has a detailed knowledge of University procurement procedures and ensures they are followed.
  • Ensures Procurement Services Department reviews leases with purchase commitments (capital leases).
  • Confirms orders immediately by purchase requisition.
  • Approves all purchases within the parameters of delegated authority.
  • Performs:
    • a detailed review of the departmental copies of purchase orders to ensure they agree with the related requisition;
    • a detailed review of monthly statement of accounts to ensure that amounts encumbered agree to the departmental copies of purchase orders;
  • ensures requests for service are made only with full knowledge and appropriate reference to all service contracts and warranties;
  • for purchasing charge cards issued within the department, ensures that cardholder individual billing reports are reviewed regularly for propriety of use.

 

Accounts Payable and Disbursements

OBJECTIVE(S)
When paying bills it is important to have evidence that the goods or services have actually been received or carried out by the vendor. If there is any dispute, the Financial Services Department should be notified immediately in order to withhold payment. Under the present arrangements, all invoices are sent directly to departments by suppliers where they are immediately processed for payment. Cheques are produced and mailed by the Financial Services Department.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that departments are following the University policies and procedures with respect to payments.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops the reporting procedures necessary to provide the head of the faculty/division with the required assurances that University policies are being followed.
  • Prepares the required reports to the head of the faculty/division and takes the follow-up action requested.

Head of Department

  • Approves all charges against departmental accounts.
  • Ensures that University policies and procedures with respect to authorizing payments are followed.
  • Arranges for appropriate segregation of duties:
    • The person who approves invoices for payment should not be the person who actually receives the goods or services.
  • Where authority to approve payments is delegated to an administrator, ensures that:
    • appropriate parameters and instructions are provided to the administrator;
    • delegation is documented and is updated as required for employee transfers or terminations.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Has detailed knowledge of University procedures with respect to the receipt of goods.
  • Prepares goods receipts in accordance with procedures including the authorizing signature.
  • Where purchase orders have been used, matches the charges in the accounts to the purchase order and goods receipt or packing slips.
  • Where purchase orders have not been used, reviews the supplier’s invoice in detail to ensure that charges are appropriate, enters invoice payment in the accounting system, retains the original copy of the invoice in the department, and compares against the charges in the monthly statement of account.
  • Maintains appropriate and orderly records of all purchase orders and packing slips, or copies of invoices if no purchase orders.

 

Reimbursement of Expenses

OBJECTIVE(S)
University faculty, staff and visitors may incur expenses which are eligible for reimbursement by the University. The objective is to ensure that prompt reimbursement is made for eligible expenses which are documented and which have been approved by one level of signing authority higher than the claimant.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that funds entrusted to the faculty/division are used only for purposes consistent with the conduct of the University’s academic and research programs and activities in a cost effective manner. This applies also to disbursements made to reimburse faculty, staff and visitors for out-of-pocket expenses incurred to meet the approved objectives.
  • Obtains assurance that there is an objective and adequate assessment of the need for the expense prior to authorization and of the subsequent reimbursement request prior to approval.
  • Approves expense claims of the heads of departments in the faculty/division. This responsibility cannot be delegated.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Has detailed knowledge of the University regulations and procedures with respect to the reimbursement of expenses.
  • Places emphasis on assessing the need for an expenditure, the reasonability of the amount of the claim and compliance with all terms and conditions attached to grants and trust funds which are being used to fund the expenditures.
  • Encourages departmental finance administrators to consult with the faculty finance officer in this area by the establishment of guidelines and parameters for consultation.
  • Ensures that requests for reimbursements from heads of departments conform in all respects to the regulations before they are presented to the head of the faculty/division for approval.

Head of Department

  • The majority of expenses for which reimbursement is required relate to travel. In accordance with University regulations, it is recommended that approval be obtained prior to making travel arrangements. Considerations in providing approval:
    • does travel represent the most economical means of accomplishing the stated objective?
    • if the proposed travel is to be funded from a research grant, does the travel relate to the purpose for which the grant was given?
    • with respect to proposed travel arrangements has appropriate consideration been given to the most economical arrangements?
  • Prior to approval of all other out-of-pocket expenses of faculty/administrative staff and visitors, obtaining assurance that:
    • the expenditures were for university business and the amounts are reasonable;
    • the claim conforms to requirements in all respects;
    • if the expenses are being funded from a grant or trust fund, all applicable terms and conditions are met.
    • This approval cannot be delegated.
  • Approves requests for Accountable Advances from faculty and administrative staff in the department and obtains assurance from the finance administrator that the amount of the request is reasonable and that it is clearly not feasible to apply the more cost effective alternatives such as use of a credit card.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Has detailed knowledge of eligible expenses and procedures for claiming reimbursement.
  • Ensures that there are procedures in place for the proper review of expense claims for compliance with University regulations and, if funded from a research grant or trust fund, all applicable terms and conditions of the sponsor or donor, are met.
  • Ensures that requests for reimbursement are not presented to the head of the department for approval until they conform in all respects to the regulations. Informs the head of the department of difficulties in this regard.
  • Ensures that requests for Accountable Advances are not presented to the head of the department for approval until they have been reviewed against the following considerations:
    • it is not feasible to use a more cost effective alternative such as a credit card;
    • the requester has presented a budget which clearly supports the amount of the request;
    • the requester has no currently outstanding Accountable Advance;
    • if the advance is being charged to a grant or trust fund, the planned expenditures conform to all terms and conditions.
  • Ensures prompt accounting for advances and reports problems to the head of the department.
  • Maintains appropriate records of reimbursement requests in the department and matches these to the charges in the monthly statements of account.
  • Arranges for appropriate segregation of duties:
    • the person responsible for distributing the reimbursement cheques should not also process the request for reimbursement.

 

Capital Assets

OBJECTIVE(S)
Capital assets include furniture and equipment of all kinds, including computer equipment. Special control reminders with respect to computer data and security are covered under the section on “Computer Controls”. The control objectives for capital assets are to ensure that acquisitions and disposals are properly authorized and recorded, to know what assets we have, and to protect them from loss or pilferage.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Obtains assurance that departments are following the University policies and procedures with respect to the disposal of capital assets, and transfers between departments, faculties or to other institutions.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Develops appropriate reporting procedures to provide assurance to the head of the faculty/ division of adherence to University policies and procedures with respect to the disposal of capital assets, and transfers between departments, faculties or to other institutions.

Head of Department

  • Ensures adherence to all policies and procedures with respect to purchasing assets.
  • Ensures proper planning with respect to purchases of capital assets to ensure adequate time to consult with groups such as Procurement Services or Computing and Network Services to ensure the correct choice of suppliers and optimum use of volume discounts.
  • These same groups should be consulted with respect to retirement, replacement or transfers of capital assets.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Has detailed knowledge of procedures related to capital assets.
  • Performs detailed verification of capital asset reports from Financial Services.
  • Safeguards all departmental assets:
  • Arranges for physical inventory periodically by someone who is neither the custodian of the asset(s) nor the person responsible for the accounts.
  • Ensures that University procedures with respect to disposals and transfers of assets are followed.

 

Payroll

OBJECTIVE(S)
Salary and benefit costs represent the largest element of the University’s budget and it is important to ensure that payments to individuals providing services to the University are made accurately, on a timely basis, are properly authorized and comply with legislative requirements, University policies and collective agreements.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Approves all payroll forms in accordance with the University’s approval policy.
  • Ensures employment contracts are made by authorized individuals in accordance with University policies, procedures and granting agency requirements.
  • Ensures that University policies and procedures are applied when contracts are negotiated.

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Recommends for approval all payroll forms in accordance with the University’s approval policy.
  • Ensures that adequate segregation of duties exists at departmental levels.
  • Has detailed knowledge of the appropriate University policy and procedure manuals and ensures that this is applied for all contract negotiations.

Head of Department

  • Approves all payroll forms in accordance with the University’s approval policy.
  • Ensures employment contracts are entered into by authorized individuals in accordance with University policies, procedures and granting agency requirements.
  • Ensures that adequate segregation of duties exists within the department.
  • Ensures that all payments made are authorized.
  • Ensures payments made are consistent with contracts and services and that they are performed in accordance with the terms specified.
  • Ensures adequate funds are available to cover salaries before entering into agreements. For payments from grants and trust funds, available funds must cover both salaries and benefits.
  • Fully understands, or consults with the Payroll Department as required, and applies the principles of the University’s Income Tax Guide – Employee or Independent Contractor when negotiating contracts with individuals to ensure they understand their relationship with the University for tax purposes. Ensures that payments to individuals deemed under the Tax Act to have an employment relationship with the University are processed through the payroll system.
  • Reviews payroll distribution monthly.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • Prepares all payments made on payroll forms in accordance with established University procedures.
  • Ensures all payments are made through the payroll system (except those that may be made through the Imprest cash fund.)
  • Checks to ensure that all documents resulting in payments have been authorized and that the services have been performed, e.g.,
    • time sheets are authorized by the foreman;
    • guest lectures have been performed.
  • Checks all payments made against supporting documentation e.g., turnaround documents
  • Reconciles payroll distribution to the financial records on a monthly basis and ensures all payments made are accurate. Checks the calculation of encumbrances to ensure commitments have been made for the correct period. This should be done by someone other than the individual who prepares the pay forms.
  • Investigates errors and takes corrective action. Advises the Payroll Department immediately of any errors or irregularities.
  • Ensures that the correct tax treatment of payments in accordance with University policies and procedures.
  • Exercises control over cheques:
    • distributes promptly;
    • has employees sign for cheques;
    • keeps unclaimed cheques in a secure place.

 

Research and Other Restricted Funding

OBJECTIVE(S)

  • To allow University staff members the opportunity to proceed with research programs.
  • To ensure that the funds entrusted to the University by sponsors and donors are used for the designated purposes and with adequate attention to cost effectiveness.
  • To ensure compliance with all terms and conditions imposed by sponsors and donors.

Head of Faculty/Division

  • Ensures that controls are in place and operating effectively to provide assurance that University policies and procedures and the terms and conditions set by sponsors and donors are being followed with respect to all grants and trust funds held by the faculty/division.
  • Accordingly, makes provision for effective reporting by the faculty finance officer on the nature of problems in this area and the ramifications of these problems. Documents instructions to the faculty finance officer in this regard and monitors resolution of problems.
  • Ensures that members of the University administration are informed of these problems when the situation warrants.
  • Communicates the requirement to obtain approval prior to requesting outside funding in order that adequate consideration is given to the following concerns:
    • are personnel and other resources available to meet the obligations anticipated under the funding agreement?
    • have all University protocols been followed?

Faculty Finance Officer

  • Ensures effective reporting from all departmental finance administrators of trust funds held by the departments in order to have the assurance that the trust funds are being used for the designated purpose, that they are being managed effectively and that the signing authority is as prescribed under the terms of the trust.
  • Ensures effective reporting from departmental finance administrators to obtain assurance that adequate controls exist within the departments to ensure that grant expenditures do not exceed the funds available, that funds are used for the specified purpose and that all obligations under the terms of the funding arrangement are discharged as required.
  • Ensures there are procedures in place to ensure prompt notification and resolution of any problems or potential problems with respect to the financial management and use of grant and trust funds.

Head of Department

  • Ensures that organizational controls are in place and operating effectively to provide assurance that University policies and procedures and the terms and conditions set by sponsors and donors are being followed with respect to all grants and trust funds held by the department.
  • Accordingly, obtains information on the following:
    • all grant and trust funds held by the department: the purpose and signing authority;
    • procedures in place to ensure that all terms and conditions are met;
    • the details of delegated authority;
    • outstanding issues and problems;
    • assesses the adequacy of procedures in light of the currently existing conditions, recommends changes where required and ensures that changes are incorporated into departmental procedure documentation;
    • confirms in writing changes in the delegated authority or approval of the existing status and ensures all affected areas of the University are properly informed;
    • provides clear and documented instructions to the finance administrator on the handling of outstanding issues and problems;
    • clearly establishes that the primary fiduciary responsibility with respect to grants and donations rests with the recipient of the award but that the head of the department and the departmental finance administrator also have a responsibility to ensure that transactions against grant and trust accounts comply with the terms and conditions governing these awards and with University policies and procedures.
  • Throughout the term of office, effectively communicates the requirement to obtain approval prior to requesting outside funding in order that adequate consideration is given to the following concerns:
    • are personnel and other resources available to meet the obligations anticipated under the funding agreement?
    • have all University protocols been followed?
  • Ensures that provision is made for regular and effective reporting from the finance administrator on the status of grants and trust funds with particular emphasis on reporting of problems and potential problems.
  • Ensures that sponsor requirements for research reports are submitted on a timely basis, particularly where instalments or invoice payments are being withheld pending submission of these reports.

Departmental Finance Administrator

  • University financial policies and procedures apply equally to the University’s operating funds and to all grants and donations entrusted to the University. The departmental finance officer ensures that procedures are in place to ensure this occurs in practice.
  • Has detailed knowledge of terms and conditions on grants including:
    • purpose of the grant;
    • budgets;
    • restrictions on expenditures, type or dollar value;
    • restrictions on budget transfers;
    • sponsor’s carry forward policy with respect to unspent funds at the end of the fiscal reporting period for the grant or contract;
    • grant/contract period.
  • With the exception of some of the major research granting councils of the Federal Government, administrative documents are prepared by the appropriate central administration office on all grants and trust accounts. The departmental finance administrator ensures that copies are maintained in an orderly and accessible manner for easy reference.
  • For those research grants for which no internal administrative document is prepared, a copy of the award notice and a copy of the most current edition of sponsor guidelines is maintained.
  • Ensures that the approval of the principal investigator or trust fund signing authority is obtained for all transactions and that where this person has delegated signing authority to the finance administrator, this delegation is documented, the parameters are clearly established, and there is a procedure for regular reporting to the signing authority on the status of the accounts.
  • Establishes a regular reporting procedure to bring to the attention of the head of the department any concerns with fulfilling the responsibilities imposed by the University and sponsors and donors including disagreements with principal investigators and trust fund signing authorities on requirements.
  • The coding of transactions to grant and trust fund accounts is designed to meet both University reporting requirements and those of the sponsors and donors. The finance administrator ensures that all coding is complete and accurate before processing a transaction.
  • Has procedures in place to ensure that all non-financial reporting requirements of grant and trust accounts, as identified in the administrative document, are completed and submitted as required and that the head of the department is kept fully informed of problems in this area.
  • Ensures that a detailed annual financial plan is prepared by the signing authority for all trust funds which identifies all income to be received, all planned expenditures and the purpose of the expenditures. The plans should be discussed with the head of the department with particular emphasis on how the plans conform to the objectives for the fund. The head of the department should approve the final plans and a regular procedure should be established for reporting to the head of the department on the progress toward the planned objectives with emphasis on forecasting financial results and adjusting plans where required.
  • In respect to grants, obtains detailed financial plans from the principal investigators and reviews them to ensure that planned expenditures do not exceed funds available and that expenditures conform to the purpose of the grants.
  • As the grant year progresses, a regular procedure of reporting to the principal investigator is in place with emphasis on financial forecasting and provision for promptly notifying the principal investigator where the forecast indicates that plans will have to be revised to bring expenditures in line with budgets.
  • In order to ensure complete and accurate reporting to the sponsors, it is important that careful attention is paid to grant reporting dates to ensure that all transactions are processed prior to these dates. In particular, there is a clear understanding of the status of funds remaining at the end of the grant and if these funds cannot be carried forward, steps are taken to ensure that all expenditures are reflected in the final report or invoice. In these cases the Research Accounting section of the Research and International Relations should be promptly notified of unavoidable problems with meeting this objective.

Last revision September 2006