Units have the responsibility to ensure financial transactions are processed in the month they relate to. Processing should be kept up to date. Some units may review financial reports for transaction accuracy on a monthly basis while other units may conduct a review on a daily or weekly basis.
Account holders are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of their reports, which includes responsibility for errors and omissions and a responsibility for ensuring the posted transactions are in compliance with University policies and procedures and sponsor/donor terms and conditions.
Research and special purpose account holders are accountable for reviewing their reports. This cannot be delegated.
Accountability - Account Holder (all funds)
Account holders are responsible for reviewing their financial activity to ensure the accuracy of the posted transactions. Financial Services and other central services units generate or provide access to reports for this purpose. Financial information must be reviewed on a routine and regular basis (at a minimum monthly). Any errors or omissions must be reported immediately to the appropriate individual/unit.
Review and Verification Procedure
It is important to be able to demonstrate that a process is in place for transaction/report review and verification and that it is followed.
While a complete review and verification provides the best results, at a minimum, units should:
- Review monthly nVision reports including FSGLV12 (operating fund) , FSGLV14 (research funds and special purpose) and FSGLV16 (endowment funds)
- Review aged invoice query to view status of external billing collections for invoices generated by their unit
- Ensure errors or omissions are corrected immediately
- Ensure reconciliations are up-to-date where units use asset and liability accounts
- Review salary reports to ensure that all staff on the payroll are recognized.
Where central services units retain original source documents (e.g., accounts payable invoices), units may choose to keep copies for transaction verification purposes.
Where source documents are retained in the unit, the original supporting documents must be retained for six years plus the current year. Units may wish to take a copy of the original source document for transaction verification, keeping original documentation in journal "jackets" while using the copies for transaction verification purposes.
Financial Services Recommendations
- Verify research, special purpose, restricted endowment, and Access funds
- Holders of restricted funds (research projects, special purpose funds, and endowment funds) are required to follow these steps as these funds are subject to external donor and sponsor audits.
- The project or endowment holder (e.g., principal investigator, Chair, or Director), or their financial assistants, should perform the following:
- For each transaction processed retain copies (as appropriate) for checking against reports
- Once available, print a copy of the unit's monthly nVision report including a list of transactions for each transaction type obtained by using nVision drills.
- Check off each transaction that appears on the nVision drill report.
- Attach the copy of each "checked off" transaction to the nVision drill report.
- Investigate any transactions that were processed before month-end cut off date/time that are not reflected on the nVision drill report.
- Carry forward transactions that missed the month-end cut off date/time for review in the next month.
- Verify salary reports to ensure accuracy of payroll for those staff members paid by the project or unit.
- File the monthly financial report, plus copies of the transactions, until the end of the project. As reports for endowment funds remain available online, units may wish to only retain the March 31 fiscal year-end reports for two fiscal years.
- Reports do not need to be saved by the unit for audit purposes, however the units may wish to establish their own retention requirements.
Verify Operating Funds
Small Volume Units
Units with a relatively small volume of monthly transactions may wish to adopt the processes outlined for research, special purpose and endowment funds above.
Large Volume Units
Larger units with a significant level of transactions, or those units that cannot accommodate the above processes, should consider the following suggestions to undertake a financial review:
- Perform a reasonability review by looking at each account on the unit's financial report.
- Compare actual to budget figures
- Investigate any large variances
- Review large dollar ($5,000 or greater) transactions
- File copies of source documents for large dollar transactions in a separate file and check these large amounts against monthly fnancial reports
- Look for month-over-month changes to financial reports that would represent larger transactions
- Compare salary figures on salary reports to nVision reports. Investigate variances to ensure payroll costs were coded correctly and represent all staff members. Confirm all the individuals paid are valid.
- Randomly sample five to ten transactions per month to ensure they tie into the unit's monthly financial report. Segregating the responsibility for data entry and review will improve the quality of the review.
- Pick certain months of the year and check all transactions. These reviews may coincide with the calendar cycles (e.g., quarterly) or with a significant event (staff turnover or major conference) or business cycle (peak or low periods) within the unit.
As financial reports for March 31 are retained online, units may destroy the previous year's monthly reports after the year-end close (i.e., end of April). Original source documents retained by the unit, such as Travel & Expense claims processed by the unit, must be kept for six years plus the current fiscal year.
Not to be confused with transaction review and verification, reconciliation refers to a process of validating data originating in one system to the data captured in the general ledger. For the most part, central services units undertake these reconciliations; however, some units may also perform reconciliations for activities such as locker deposits which are tracked in a manual system and later compared to the revenue reported in the general ledger.