Fiscal Responsibility and Approval Queues
All employees are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving university resources and using those resources in a prudent manner for their designated purposes, as prescribed by policies, laws, regulations, and rules and well as contract, grant and donor restrictions.
Dependent on their job duties and responsibilities, employees at the University have the ability to view financial transactions in Banner Finance or on Insight Reports, and may also be given the responsibility to sign off or approve financial transactions on behalf of their department and the University. Both viewing and posting abilities within Banner Finance, and signature authority are set up by obtaining Banner Finance Security access, and filling out an Approval Queue.
Employees who are entrusted with signature authority at UNC certify to the Financial Responsibilities designated to them each time they sign a payment document such as a check request, purchase order, department purchase order, University Visa purchase-card transaction, or journal entry.
General Fiscal Responsibilities
The process to carry out fiscal responsibility is referred to as financial management and this is described in the general Financial Responsibilities Document. Financial management involves each and every employee. Good financial management involves:
- Planning, controlling, and accurately accounting for the fiscal impact of university operations in Banner
- Complying with applicable policies, rules, procedures, and laws
- Setting up Internal Controls to accomplish the above
Financial Responsibility –Approvals
- Financial responsibility stems from laws, and regulations and policies, and (when applicable) contract, grant, and donor restrictions that govern the University and each employee of the University. The basic Financial Responsibility Approval Document should be understood by any employee who is accepting authority to approve transactions on behalf of the University.
- Fiscal responsibility also requires continuous and careful assessment of the effectiveness of the University’s financial management process and of each person’s role therein. The University has rules and procedures that help employees understand the University’s financial management process.
- Finance and accounting provides trainings to help employees understand their roles and responsibilities as it relates to financial accountability at the University. Individual training is always available from the accounting and finance staff upon request.
Banner Approval Queue Form and Instructions
- Approval Queues are an electronic signature manual that is maintained at UNC to allow employees access to view information in Banner fund/organization combinations. These approval queues authorize employees to approve pay documents related to the fund/organization combinations they have been granted authority on.
- Banner Finance Security access must be set up before an employee can be set up with viewing and/or approving authority on an approval queue. Instructions on how to fill out the form are written directly on the form.
A number of Insight reports have been created to easily find out who has access to fund/organization combinations and also who has approval authority on fund/organization combinations. (Please note that you will need Insight Security in order to view these reports. See instructions below). Those reports are as follows:
- FIN040 Banner ORGN Access Lookup by ORGN code
- FIN041 Banner ORGN Access Lookup by User Name
- FIN045 Banner Fund Access Lookup by Username
- FIN046 Banner Fund Access Lookup by Fund Code
- FIN047 Approvers by Fund Orgn
- FIN048 Approvers by Name
- FIN049 Approvers by Queue ID
Grant Approval Queue Procedures
- Approval queues for sponsored programs grants (3XXXXX funds) have additional procedures that must be followed due to compliance and oversight requirements related to grants. Please contact that Office of Sponsored Programs for more information.
Insight Security Form
- Within Insight there are many different Views. Each view corresponds to different areas on campus, for example, the Finance View contains Financial information; the Student View contains student data information.
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- University and Academic Views are automatically given to each University Staff member who requests Insight access, and do not require additional authorization. Other employee types including, but not limited to, Student Employees, University Aides, Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Assistants do not have any automatic access to Insight but have the ability to request views following Data Steward approval. See the Data Steward guide for more information on who must approve your request.
- In order to be granted access to view Insight forms outside of the University View, you must fill out and submit an Insight Security form. If you have questions about which Insight View you should be asking for, please contact your supervisor or business manager.
A cost transfer moves expenditures from one university fund (FOAP) to another. This process can be done on a Journal Entry or FUPLOAD form for non-payroll expenditures; and with a labor redistribution form for payroll expenditures.
The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for the management of sponsored programs that are awarded to him/her. These include federal, state, and private grants and other sponsored agreements. In addition to technical compliance, the responsibility for budgetary compliance rests with the PI. This includes staying within the total program budget and project period and staying within specific budget limitations that may be required by the award terms and conditions. Each PI is responsible for ensuring that charges made to a particular research fund are allowed by the funding source and are directly related to the project or activity supported by that fund. The PI should carefully consider whether an expense is an allowable, allocable and reasonable cost on a given fund before the expense is incurred. In addition, the PI is responsible for reviewing expenditure reports in Insight, and time and effort reports supplied by the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Cost transfers are sometimes necessary and unavoidable; however, they should not be used as a method for routine funds management. They may be used to correct an error or to allocate expenses between closely related projects, if the projects benefit directly from the expense. Cost transfers should not be requested simply to avoid an over expenditure in one research fund by transferring expenses to another research fund, nor should they be used as a method to spend money because a project is nearing its end.
When initiated, cost transfers must be timely, well-documented and properly approved. Unallowable or inappropriate charges that appear on a sponsored project fund must be moved to an appropriate fund within 45 days.
To request a cost transfer for non-salary charges involving a 3xxxxx fund, a Journal Entry or FUPLOAD form must be completed, reviewed for accuracy, signed by someone with FOAP approval authority, and forwarded to the Sponsored Program Accountant. See Financial Services website for a copy of the form.
Cost transfers submitted later than 45 days from the date in which the charge first appears on the fund or submitted later than 30 days after the end date of an award are not considered timely. Cost transfers not submitted in a timely manner must also include:
- A memo from the department dean or area vice president with an explanation on why the cost transfer was not made in a timely manner.
- An explanation of the delay in processing the cost transfer that includes information on the steps being taken to prevent this from happening in the future.
- Additional documentation if expenses are to be charged to another 3XXXXX fund (see Well-Documented, below).
In addition to providing information on the original posting in Banner, including a Banner or Insight report print screen, a cost transfer request on sponsored project funds must include:
- A full explanation of how the error occurred. For example:
- Why the expense was originally charged to the fund from which it is now being transferred.
- What is known now that wasn’t known at the time of the original charge.
- For transfers other than simple corrections of account codes, movements within sub funds of the same project, and that involve moving an expenditure to a 3XXXXX fund, also include:
- How the expenditure directly benefits the fund receiving the charge.
- A generic statement such as “to correct error” is insufficient and will not be accepted.
The direct cost portion of over expenditures in sponsored project funds, per approval of the provost, may be moved on a journal entry by accounting staff to the research incentive fund of the dean of the college where the grant resides. The indirect portion of the over expenditure will be reversed automatically once the direct cost expenditure is removed from the sponsored project fund.
The authorized signatory on the FOAP’s approval queue (normally the PI or PI designee) must approve cost transfer requests before they are submitted to general accounting for processing.
- The signature certifies the entry was properly reviewed, appropriate, and correct.
- Cost transfers that are not timely also require the approval of the department dean or area vice president.
Salary Related Cost Transfers
To request a cost transfer for salary-related charges involving a 3XXXXX fund, the appropriate payroll form must be submitted. There are several methods for redistributing salary charges, depending on the type of employee or student. The most common methods are the payroll re-distribution form for faculty and staff paid monthly and the graduate student payroll authorization forms.
Please contact the Payroll Office for assistance with the appropriate method to use for needed changes. Additionally, labor charges are subject to effort reporting requirements. The Office of Sponsored Programs can provide additional information on the time and effort reporting process.
The General Accounting Office will contact the department if additional information is needed to approve the cost transfer request. If the cost transfer cannot be approved, General Accounting Office will notify the department via email of the reason for the action or return the original document to the department with the reason for the action.
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