The Office of Grants Administration is responsible for coordinating all audit matters relative to sponsored activities of the University. All federal, state and public firm auditors are requested to make their initial contact with the Grants Administration Office when making audits of such activities. Subsequent contacts by auditors with other University departments will be preceded by advance notice from the Grants Administration Office. The purpose of the advance contact is to identify the auditors, outline the general purpose of the visit and facilitate the audit. Should there be any question concerning the official status of an auditor, the Grants Administration Office should be contacted.
Depending upon the nature of the audit or subject matter, the Grants Administration Office may elect to be represented in audit discussions at the departmental level. Should departmental personnel deem guidance necessary at any time, the Grants Administration Office should be contacted without hesitation. The Grants Administration Office will participate in and coordinate audit exit briefings as deemed necessary by the significance and nature of the audit findings and recommendations.
Under the legal terms of grants and contract awards, auditors have the right of access to all official University records associated with an award. The University is obligated to make such records readily available for examination.
Audit visits to a department will generally be concerned with reviewing documentation on file in support of department-initiated expense transfers or departmental invoices charging an award (as well as documentation supporting cost-sharing and certification of effort discussed in additional statements). It is essential that reasonable documentation be maintained to demonstrate that personnel and non-personnel charges assessed against an award were relevant and reasonable. Any intra-departmental allocation process for such items as postage or common supplies should be based on reasonable samples of actual usage and should not be arbitrary in nature, such as basing distribution on fund availability, rotating certain monthly charges from one account to another, etc.
The auditor's objective is to consider all pertinent facts and available information in developing findings and recommendations. It is essential that University representatives provide only accurate and factual information. Personal conjectures or opinions relative to audit matters are not acceptable substitutes for facts or official University policy.
At the conclusion of an audit and prior to issuance of the formal report, auditors normally conduct an exit conference. The purpose of this meeting is to review audit findings and tentative conclusions, exceptions and recommendations. At this meeting, the University has an opportunity to comment on the audit findings and to provide additional information where appropriate.
Upon issuance, the audit report is routed through the sponsor agency to the University for official written response, normally required within 30 days. Input will be requested of departments or schools as deemed necessary. The Grants Administration Office should be notified of any anticipated delays in providing such input so an extension of time can be requested.
Responses to an audit report must be factual, complete and constructive. The Grants Administration Office must be provided relevant and factual information to support the University's position. Where the nature of a finding indicates a procedural or control weakness, appropriate corrective measures should be initiated, if not already begun, and this fact noted in the response. Under no circumstances should a department or individual initiate a direct response to an audit. The University response must be coordinated through established channels.
Established University policy is that financial responsibility for audit disallowances which may be ultimately sustained rests with the department or school having primary responsibility for the project on which costs are questioned. Personal liability may be considered and assessed should circumstances sustain that an audit disallowance stemmed from gross negligence or malfeasance on the part of an employee or staff member.