Go to Main Content

Source Documents and the Audit Trail

The University is required by statute to retain documents which support the financial transactions recorded in its accounts. This requirement imposes a responsibility to ensure that the recorded transactions can be traced back to the source documents. The ability to trace a transaction from the books of account back to the original source documents is commonly referred to as maintaining an audit trail.

The University is also required under statute to have an annual audit of its financial statements performed by independent auditors. The University’s independent, i.e. external, auditors are engaged to express an opinion on whether the University’s annual financial statements fairly present the University’s financial results for the year. In carrying out their verification procedures, the external auditors make extensive use of document numbers and user-ids to lead them to the source documents which support the financial records.

For the internal user, the document number serves as a useful reference back to the source documents and the more detailed information therein.

For the above reasons, the original document should be easily retrievable.

This section covers the following topics:

The Document Number and Document Type

Methods of maintaining supporting documentation for transactions

Records Management, Archiving and Destruction of Records
This section summarizes the requirements with respect to records and document retention, archiving of documents and when it is appropriate to destroy records.

Imaging of Financial Documents
This section covers the policy and issues surrounding the scanning / imaging of original paper documents and attaching these electronic documents to SAP transactions.

The Document Number and Document Type

The document number is made up of ten (10) numerical characters beginning with two digits that are associated with the document type. Several document types can have the same document number prefix, so it is necessary to examine the FIS document header to precisely determine the document type. The remaining 8 characters are assigned sequentially by the system.

A document number is assigned to each update to an accounting record and this number is stored both with the accounting record and with the input source, whether a document or a batch feed. The AMS user-id of the person who input a document is also saved in the system document header along with the document type.

A summary of all document types, the significance of the first two digits of the document number, and the corresponding FIS number ranges, please refer to the page AMS and FIS Document Types.

Methods of maintaining supporting documentation for transactions

The following is a list of transaction types and the recommended supporting documents for each type. Minimum procedures for each type are also provided.

Transaction type Supporting documents Recommended procedures
Journal entries (formerly called debit memos) Supporting documents are required except when reference is made to the original document number.
Personal expense reimbursement Original receipts must be kept on file to support the claim. Receipts must be accessible to the approver. Attach (to the completed form) individual supporting receipts or the envelope containing receipts with the total of the claim written on the envelope.
Payments without invoices processed through FIS Supporting documents are required except for postage meter and subscription renewals. Supporting documents should be filed by FIS document number and be accessible to the approver.
Petty cash/imprest expenditure reimbursement Same as Personal Expense Reimbursement. Same as Personal Expense Reimbursement.
Petty cash – request for new fund/fund increase Supporting document is required unless approver is on-line. A screen print or form is required if approval is not on-line.
Request for cash float Supporting document is required unless approver is on-line. A screen print or form is required if approval is not on-line.
Certified invoices The supplier invoice is the supporting documentation. Invoice can be filed numerically using the document number. When an attachment is required to be sent with the cheque, use the Alternative Payee function to redirect the cheque to you for mailing.
Credit memo The vendor’s credit memo is the supporting document. Credit memos for an OTA vendor should not be accepted by departments as the funds may never be recovered. A cheque should be requested from infrequent vendors instead of a credit note.
Invoice on a purchase order Supporting documents consist of:

  1. Supplier invoice
  2. Goods receipt

Documents may be filed numerically or goods receipt may be attached to invoice.

The goods receipt can be entered by the individual receiving the goods. If not done on-line, a goods receipt document must be completed and forwarded to the individual processing the invoice.
Internal cash receipt The internal cash receipt form showing the document number, total amount of the deposit and the cash detail by bills should be completed. The journal entry section of the Internal Cash Receipts Deposit form should be processed in FIS by the department and the document number noted on the form. The form with the document number should be brought to the cashiers office with the cash.
Deposit report

(Cash already deposited)

The deposit report form showing the document number, total of deposit and department’s deposit number, (if the department uses its own numbers as a reference). A copy of the Banking Report – Direct Bank Deposits Only form should be forwarded to the Banking clerk.
Quartile commitment of funds
  1. Print out a copy of the fund status. (FC or Fund report showing funds available at the beginning of the investment quarter and the amount invested) or
  2. Commitment (Release) of funds for EFIP form
Increase or decrease level of EFIP commitment on-line based on supporting documentation.

Last Revision October 2023