Finance

Account Reconciliations

Reconciliation is the process of comparing the local unit's financial transactions to the general ledger. Reconciliation reduces the risk of inaccurate financial reporting. Local units should reconcile all transactions each month including payroll, web voucher, PCard, accounts receivable, cash receipts and journals. Monthly reconciliations should be documented and reviewed and approved by local unit management.

Cash Receipts

University Policy

  • Cash and check receipts are subject to misappropriation if not adequately controlled. Checks and check copies are High Risk Confidential Information (HRCI) under the University’s Enterprise Information Security Policy http://policy.security.harvard.edu/home since they contain name and bank account information. Accordingly, it is best practice to maintain checks in a secure location for a limited amount of time prior to deposit. Check...

Read more about Cash Receipts

PCard Best Practices

PCard Policy
The Purchasing Card (PCard) program was implemented in 1997 as a cost effective method to purchase and pay for small dollar transactions. The intent was to pay vendors faster and reduce University administrative costs.

Risks commonly associated with PCard:

  • Inappropriate use of the PCard, including non-University business purchases
  • Incorrect financial accounting for transactions

...

Read more about PCard Best Practices

Petty Cash

University Policy
The purpose of a petty cash fund is to provide cash to business units sufficient to cover minor expenditures. The use of petty cash funds should be limited to reimbursement of staff members and visitors for small expenses, generally not to exceed $50, such as taxi fares, postage, office supplies, etc. Wherever possible,...

Read more about Petty Cash

Preparing for an External Audit

These tips are specifically for sponsor audits or other external audits, but they may also be used for guidance to prepare for an internal audit.

Planning & Preparation

  • Designate an audit liaison person within your organization who will act as the auditors’ main contact. This should be an experienced person with strong project management and communication skills.
  • Send a general communication to faculty and staff stating that if the auditors contact them directly, they should notify the liaison.
  • Have the liaison develop a list of contacts who...
Read more about Preparing for an External Audit

Restricted Current-use Gifts Processing

Establish New Funds

  • Obtain written terms signed by the donor
  • Review gift terms by school finance office
  • Review gift criteria for FASB 117 flag
  • Review gift for gift vs. grant criteria
  • Review Chart Security Maintenance Application (CSMA) new fund request form for accuracy
  • Timely submission of documents and forms to Central and RSO for fund set up
  • Maintain donor terms in central school/tub file
  • Distribute gift terms to departments responsible for spending

Safeguard Check Receipts

    ...
Read more about Restricted Current-use Gifts Processing

Student Organizations - Finance

Student organizations are responsible for establishing controls surrounding their financial processing.

Budgeting

  • Prepare budget at beginning of term
  • Set realistic targets; budgeted income should equal or exceed expenses
  • Document assumptions used to determine budgeted income and expenses
  • Format should be consistent with financial reporting format
  • Obtain approval of the final budget from management and board

Financial Reporting

  • List income and expenses by major category
  • Format should be...
Read more about Student Organizations - Finance

Travel & Reimbursement

University Policies
Employee travel and reimbursement transactions must be managed to meet operational needs and compliance requirements. Travel expenses must comply with University policies and procedures. These policies should be applied consistently to all travelers.

Employee reimbursement transactions must also comply with IRS accountable plan rules regarding substantiation and timing. Certain expenses are personal in nature and are not reimbursable or are reimbursable only when specific criteria are met and...

Read more about Travel & Reimbursement