Proper Accounting

Sound business practice calls for each member of Tufts’ faculty and staff to assume responsibility for safeguarding and preserving the assets and resources of the University.  The following policy statements pertain to all business activities of the University and are applicable to all members of the faculty and staff.  It is the responsibility of all supervisors to ensure that their staff is aware of and familiar with these policy statements.

  1. All revenues generated by University activities and all expenditures for goods and services must be recorded and accounted for within Tufts’ (PeopleSoft) financial records system.
  2. The University financial system consists of the general ledger and all subsidiary systems (manual and automated) that serve as the basis for ledger entries.  All transactions, whether recorded directly into the general ledger or entered through a subsystem, should be transcribed in a way that allows for the preparation of financial statements in conformance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP).  The Finance Division is responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and overall management of the University’s financial system and should therefore be consulted on any matters relating to accounting policies and procedures.
  3. The recording of all financial transactions must be timely, accurate and clearly identify the true business nature of the transaction.  Specific guidance pertaining to the timely posting of transactions for fiscal year-end is provided in a memorandum to all departments from the Office of Financial Services in May of each year.
  4. No transaction, whether recorded directly into the general ledger or through a subsystem, nor any supporting documentation, shall be deliberately left incomplete or distorted. No payment made by the University should be approved with the understanding that any part of such payment is for any purpose other than that described in the supporting document(s).
  5. The use of University funds or assets for any unlawful or improper purpose is prohibited.  For further guidance on the allowability of particular expenses, please refer to the University’s Business Expense Guidelines, as found within the Finance Division’s website.
  6. No bank accounts or services are to be established by individual schools, departments, units, or others acting on their behalf for the purpose of funding, or to assist in funding, any University activity.
  7. Each DeptId or Project Grant in the University’s financial records system has been assigned a "responsible person" – usually a department chair, principal investigator or designated administrator.

    It is the responsibility of every employee responsible for an account, DeptID or Project/Grant to:

    • Assure in a timely manner that periodic financial reports are reviewed to determine that all charges and entries are accurate and complete.
    • Verify that all entries made to each account have been properly allocated, representing expenses for activities that pertain to the purpose of the DeptId or Project/Grant.
    • Take appropriate action to correct any improper charges allocated to a DeptID or Project/Grant by notifying a Finance Division staff member (either General Accounting or Sponsored Programs Accounting for grants).  Specific guidance for reviewing DeptId or Project/Grants and for making any necessary adjustments is provided within the Finance Division’s website.
    • Ensure that all charges to government and other restricted sponsoring agency Grants are appropriate and allowable under the sponsor’s regulations.
    • Ensure that all expenditures are within the available funding limits and budget established in each DeptId or Project/Grant.

  8. All budget projections provided by those responsible for a DeptID or Project/Grant must properly reflect activity posted to the (PeopleSoft) financial records system and accurately represent all known activity being recorded through any subsidiary system.

Questions & Answers

Question: Although I have been designated the "responsible person" for a particular University DeptId or Project/Grant, time constraints prevent me from reviewing account activity in detail. Is it acceptable for me to assign this task to a staff member?
 Answer: Yes, it is acceptable to assign the task.  You do, however, remain responsible for ensuring that that person carries out the task in an accurate and timely manner.

In the process of providing input based on departmental expense reports to my school’s budget projections, I overlooked the fact that some revenue would not be realized due to a cancellation of an order. Does this constitute a violation of the policy?

 Answer: No.  Neglecting to report an event that was unknown to you is not considered a violation.  Intentionally failing to factor this event into your projections once known, however, would be regarded as a violation.

In order to provide for certain recurring needs, my department has recently opened a checking account. Is this permissible?

 Answer: No.  Your department should consult Financial Services in order to develop a system that will both address your needs for handling miscellaneous or program income and expenses and ensure that activity is being properly recorded in the University’s financial system.