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FISCAL OFFICER ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The principal investigator/project director of a grant usually serves as fiscal officer of the project. The principal investigator/project director must be familiar with institutional procedures and the granting agency requirements applicable to the specific grant. Responsibility for the expenditure of grants and contract funds rests with the fiscal officer. Over or improper expenditures of funds could result in embarrassment to the fiscal officer and the University. The Office of Research and Projects Fiscal Management works closely with the principal investigator/project director regarding expenditure of grant or contract funds.

The duties and responsibilities of the Fiscal Officer include providing daily oversight on how the funds are spent and managed. This oversight includes ensuring funds are budgeted, where appropriate, that they are spent according to fiscal policy, that funds are spent in alignment with the account purpose, that processes and controls are in place, that assets are safeguarded, that transactions are recorded and reported properly, that the account is reconciled on a monthly basis, and that either the expenditures are in conformity with the budget, or appropriate budget changes have been made to reflect a change in the original budget. Signature authority on all financial transactions rests with the Fiscal Officer, and the Fiscal Officer is the only person who can delegate signature authority on an account. Because of signature authority, Fiscal Officers are required to utilize SIUE’s Administrative Information System (AIS).

The Fiscal Officer is a person who is delegated by his/her unit head for the purpose of providing fiscal, policy, and internal control management of all funds in a unit. They are responsible for ensuring that processes and related controls have been established to achieve the mission and objectives of their organization(s) and externally sponsored grants and contracts.

Signature authority of the Fiscal Officer or Fiscal Officer Delegate is the signature that is required to process a financial transaction and is required prior to proprietary reviews by ORP.

When approving documents, the Fiscal Officer is responsible for verifying or having processes in place that verify the following:

  1. Charges to the account correctly represent materials received or services rendered;
  2. Charges represent activities which are established, and comply with the fiscal plan that is established for the account;
  3. Funds are available in the account to cover authorized charges
  4. The transaction in the account complies with all relevant internal or external regulations, policies and procedures.
  5. The transaction is accurate, timely and completely recorded

The Fiscal Officer in concurrence with the Principle Investigator/Project Director is responsible for establishing a budget for their unit and for grant program(s). The budget, which provides orderly execution of the needs related to the account, serves as one of the control mechanisms to compare planned receipts and disbursements with the actual fiscal activities. For contract and grant accounts, the budget is established through a proposal and award process which should be a joint process between the Principal Investigator/Project Director and the Fiscal Officer and/or Fiscal Officer Delegate.

The Fiscal Officer of a grant account is responsible for understanding and ensuring compliance with university, federal or sponsoring agency regulations, policies, and procedures. Guidance can be obtained from various administrative offices that share in these responsibilities including and not limited to Purchasing, Human Resources, Risk Management, Administrative Accounting, Accounts Payable, Facilities Management and the Office of Research and Projects.

Most original copies of financial records are retained by Administrative Accounting Office to satisfy federal and state regulations, legal, and audit requirements. A Fiscal Officer is responsible for retaining copies of those documents as well as all other original documents such as attendance records, payroll vouchers and supporting documentation for activity such as resolving fund checks and P-cards. The University publishes the retention schedules for various documents. Those schedules are located here

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