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Principles of Financial Accountability

I. Policy 

The Chancellor delegates the accountability for the financial management of UCLA resources to functional units on campus. Each campus unit is accountable for managing its own financial resources.

The head of each unit will normally delegate the overall financial management responsibility to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The CAO is responsible for developing an appropriate structure for handling the unit's financial resources. This will involve delegating a variety of tasks to employees within the unit.

Each unit head shall be responsible for developing an accountability structure that adheres to the following principles and responsibilities.

II. Principles

Principle 1: A person cannot delegate greater accountability than he or she has.

Principle 2: Tasks shall only be delegated to people who are qualified to perform them.

A qualified person must:

  1. be actively involved in the tasks being performed,
  2. have the appropriate knowledge and technical skills to perform those tasks, including knowledge of relevant regulations and policies, and
  3. have the authority to carry tasks out without being countermanded.

Principle 3: A person delegating tasks is responsible for ensuring that those tasks are being properly performed.

Principle 4: A person who delegates tasks must keep a secure, up-to-date record of those delegations as well as modifications to them. A Department Security Administrator (DSA) should be enlisted to maintain this record.

Principle 5: A second person shall be assigned to review each financial transaction to ensure that the preparer has properly fulfilled their function.

Principle 6: The head of each unit, or the CAO, must periodically:

  1. review the official record of who is accountable for the various financial functions, and
  2. ensure that each person assigned tasks that involve financial accountability is performing their duties with competency and honesty.

Principle 7: Each unit head is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the accountability structure.

III. Responsibilities 

Section 1: Maintaining and Securing an Effective Accountability Structure


An effective structure for the delegation of accountability includes provisions that:

  1. Only one person (normally the unit head or CAO) should be responsible for managing the accountability structure of a unit. That person is responsible for ensuring that the structure clearly defines all areas of responsibility.
  2. If that person chooses to delegate financial management tasks within the unit, the tasks must be clearly defined and assigned to qualified people. A qualified person is someone who:
  1. does not have conflicting duties,
  2. fully understands what is expected of them,
  3. has sufficient training to complete the tasks successfully,
  4. has the knowledge and experience to make sound judgments concerning each task, and
  5. knows who to contact, or what action to take, if problems arise such as a person of higher authority attempting to override compliance with requirements.
  1. Ensuring that there is a reasonable distribution of workload in accordance with the available resources.
  2. Informing involved individuals of their assigned roles, and training them when necessary. 

  3. Designating a Department Security Administrator (DSA) responsible for keeping a secure, up-to-date record of accountability delegations, which includes:

  1. Recording the initial delegation of tasks to people in the unit, and subsequent changes to those delegations,
  2. Updating the Distributed Administrative Computing Security System (DACSS) to grant access to Prepare, Review, or inquire against on-line systems, and
  3. Ensuring that the record is secured from unauthorized changes.
  1. Reviewing the official record of accountability delegations kept by the DSA on at least a quarterly basis to ensure that the record kept by the DSA is accurate, complete, current and secure.
  2. Monitoring the effectiveness of the Accountability Structure on a regular basis through the use of exception, summary, reconciliation, or other reports, and reviewing selected transactions.

For further information, contact Information Technology Services. 

Section 2: Preparing and Reviewing Budgetary and Financial Transactions

Both a Preparer and Reviewer must be involved in each budgetary or financial transaction. Specifically:

  1. A Preparer must understand all relevant regulatory requirements, UCLA systems and policies as well as the purpose of each transaction in order to:
  1. enter accurate data into all fields on a transaction document or application system screen,
  2. record an accurate and thorough explanation of each transaction,
  3. ensure that the proper Full Accounting Units (FAUs) are entered,
  4. ensure that any new account and fund linkages requested are appropriate,
  5. be aware of basic policy, regulatory, and other requirements,
  6. resolve any questions which come to mind during the completion of the transaction, or are raised via on-line edits and related messages, and
  7. forward the completed transaction, with any supporting documents, to a Reviewer.
  1. A Reviewer must:
  1. review all transactions within two working days of receipt,
  2. inspect each transaction to ensure the Preparer properly fulfilled their responsibilities,
  3. ensure that each transaction complies with policy, regulatory, and other requirements,
  4. resolve all questions that arise with a transaction, or ensure the transaction is reversed until the questions are resolved,
  5. notify the DSA if they will be absent from work for two or more business days, so another Reviewer can be assigned, and
  6. notify the DSA when they are returning to work from an absence of two or more business days.

For further information contact Information Technology Services.