Proper Accounting

Sound business practice calls for each member of WPI’s 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 WPI’s (Banner) 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 Principles (GAAP). The University’s Controller 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 and accurate, clearly identifying 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 University’s Controller in May of each year.
  4. No transaction, whether recorded directly into the general ledger or indirectly from a subsystem, nor any supporting documentation, shall be deliberately left incomplete or distorted. No payments made on behalf of the university are to be approved with the understanding that any part of such payment is for any purpose other than that described on its supporting documents.
  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 Policy," as found on the Division of Finance and Operations’ website.
  6. No unrecorded or undisclosed bank accounts are to be established by individual departments, or others acting on their behalf for the purpose of funding, or to assist in funding, any university activity.
  7. Each fund in the university's financial records system has been assigned a "financial manager" - usually a department head, principal investigator or designated administrator.
    It is the express responsibility of every employee responsible for an account, or Project/Grant to:
    • Assure that periodic reports of account activity 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 account.
    • Take appropriate action to correct any improper charges allocated to an account by notifying a staff member in the Division of Finance and Operations.   
    • Ensure that all charges to government and other restricted sponsoring agency accounts are appropriate and allowable under the sponsors’ regulations.
  8. All budget projections provided by those responsible for an account must properly reflect activity posted to the (Banner) financial records system and accurately represent all known activity being recorded through any subsidiary system.


Questions & Answers

Q.  Although I have been designated the “financial manager” for a particular university account, time constraints prevent me from reviewing account activity in detail. Is it acceptable for me to assign this task to a staff member?
A.  Yes. It is acceptable to assign the task. You do, however, remain responsible for ensuring that that person carries out the task accurately.

Q.  In the process of providing budget projections, I overlooked the fact that $2,500 of revenue would not be realized due to a cancellation of an order. Does this constitute a violation of the policy?
A.  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.

 
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