Purpose: To provide information about administering departmental finances. This section notes significant policies and procedures, provides an overview of internal control, gives suggestions for getting organized and ready to work, and provides a checklist of periodic tasks to complete.

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Pertinent Policies

Departmental and organizational unit fiscal management is achieved in accordance with University of Colorado system and Boulder campus policies. The following guidance is foundational to understanding the expectations for sound fiscal management:

  • Fiscal Roles and Responsibilities (APS #4014) establishes the duties associated with key levels of management personnel, so that the fiscal activity of university operations is planned, controlled and accurately accounted for in the university’s financial records.
  • Fiscal Code of Ethics (APS #4016) discusses the fiduciary responsibility of every university employee to fulfill the university’s overall mission in compliance with applicable policies, laws, regulations, rules, contracts, grants and donor restrictions. 
  • Propriety of Expenses (APS #4015) provides guidance for the appropriateness of expenses made using university funds, including the processing and approval of expenses, effective restrictions, and the personal responsibility each employee carries when entrusted with the management of university funds
  • Fiscal Certification (APS #4022) Fiscal Certification sets forth university requirements for university officers to certify annually their financial accountability, responsibility, and representations
  • Internal Controls section of the Accounting Handbook sets forth university requirements for the key components of internal controls, emphasizes the importance of preventive controls such as segregation of duties and compensating controls that can be used by an organizational unit when adequate segregation of duties is not present

In practice, an organization’s fiscal principal often delegates responsibility for transaction processing, record keeping and financial monitoring to another employee within the unit. This individual is frequently an administrative assistant, program assistant or office manager. Since the minimum qualifications for these job classes may not include accounting or budgeting, staff that are asked to assume responsibility for a unit’s finances often have little or no formal education and/or professional experience in these areas. Therefore, this chapter of the Guide addresses the expectations, activities and responsibilities associated with any position having financial duties. The remaining chapters of the Guide provide practical procedures that all employees shall follow to ensure proper stewardship of the university’s funds and reputation.

Internal Controls

Internal controls is defined as a process or group of processes designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the following categories (from 2CFR200.61):

  • Effectiveness and efficiency of operations;
  • Reliability of reporting for internal and external use; and
  • Compliance with applicable laws and regulations.