Financial Controls at USU

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Keep This in Mind

  • Stewardship of the University’s financial resources is the responsibility of all employees.
  • The public rightfully expects University personnel to meet high standards of ethics and integrity. 

Danger Zone

  • Expenditures that are solely for personal benefit, or any purpose other than those that benefit the University, are prohibited. All University accounts, regardless of their funding source, represent public funds that may be used only as allowed by University policy.
  • University equipment may only be used for approved purposes.
  • Time and effort reporting must accurately reflect the work performed—reporting time spent on personal business or other activities as work time is not allowed.
  • (See also “Problems” below.)

What to know:

Financial Manager:

  • For every financial activity or project, a faculty or administrative person is designated as the “financial manager” or “principal investigator.”
    • This individual assumes primary responsibility for maintaining financial accountability and control for funds under his/her jurisdiction.
    • Such responsibilities include:
      • Learning, following, and upholding financial policies established by the University and external agencies
      • Preparing and using budgets based on a thorough analysis of need that conforms to University budgetary guidelines and processes
      • Establishing basic internal controls to ensure that transactions are appropriately executed and recorded, including segregation of duties to maintain appropriate checks and balances
      • Being alert to control weaknesses that can lead to waste, misuse, misappropriation or destruction of assets (including data and data integrity) and taking action to correct such weaknesses
    • The financial manager has authority to expend University funds to accomplish assigned responsibilities, and is accountable for all transactions recorded in his/her activities/projects. This includes ensuring that transactions are:
      • Reasonable and necessary
      • Consistent with established University policies and practices
      • Consistent with sponsor and donor restrictions


Review and Approval:

  • A key element in the University’s system for maintaining control is review and approval of the monthly accounting statements.
    • The statements should be reviewed and approved by a person with supervisory responsibility for the individual(s) who initiate and reconcile transactions.
    • The financial manager should not delegate this function. Do so only when there is no practical alternative.
    • If review and approval authority must be delegated, it is imperative that the financial manager remain sufficiently involved to be knowledgeable about financial matters and exert meaningful oversight.
  • The person who completes the review must sign and date it, which shows that it is approved.
  • Complete the approval within one month of receipt of the finance monthly reports, except in unusual circumstances.
  • Approval indicates agreement that:
    • Transactions are accurate, or that necessary corrections are in process;
    • Expenditures are reasonable, necessary, and are for legitimate University business;
    • Expenditures and other charges are allowable and consistent with donor or sponsor restrictions;
    • Supporting documentation exists and is retained by the department for possible review by internal or external auditors.


Indicators of Problems:

  • There are several indicators of possible problems that supervisors and employees should be alert to:
      • Poor attitude or example by those in authority.
      • Indifference to or disregard of official University policies.
      • Lack of effective oversight.
      • Use of University resources for personal purposes.
  • All employees are encouraged to report suspicious activities to their supervisor, or directly to a higher level, if the supervisor is involved.
  • If you suspect a crime has been committed, you should report it immediately to University Police (797-1939). The University Internal Audit Department (797-1084) may also be contacted.
    • The University is committed to protect employees who, in good faith, report suspected improprieties or illegal activities.
    • It is unlawful in Utah to discharge, threaten or otherwise bring a personal action against an employee who reports a violation of law or waste of public funds, property, or manpower unless the employee knows the report is malicious, false or frivolous.



Last Updated on 03/18/2011