Principles of Accountability

Policy

The Chancellor delegates accountability for the management of UC Davis resources to the leadership of functional units. Each Unit Head is accountable for managing his/her own resources.

The Administrative Official is responsible for developing an appropriate structure for handling the unit's resources. This will involve delegating a variety of tasks to employees within the unit. The Administrative Official of each unit will normally delegate the overall management responsibilities.

Each Administrative Official shall be responsible for developing an accountability structure that adheres to the following Principles and Responsibilities:

Principles
  1. A person cannot delegate greater authority, responsibility, and accountability than they have.

  2. A person delegating taks is responsible for ensureing those tasks are being performed properly.  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 laws, regulations and policies.

    3. Have the authority and responsibility to carry out tasks without being countermanded.

  3. Each Administrative Official is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the accountability structure.  The Administrative Official must periodically:

    1. Review the official record of who is accountable for the various functions.

    2. Ensure that employees’ assigned tasks that involve accountability are performing their duties with competency and honesty

Details on accountability principles may be found in the UCD PPM Financial Management and Services and the UC Business and Finance Bulletins.

Responsibilities Maintaining An Effective Accountability Structure

An effective structure for the delegation of accountability includes the following areas of responsibility:

  1. Ensuring that only one person (normally the Administrative Official) is responsible for managing the accountability structure of a unit and ensuring that the structure clearly defines all areas of responsibility.
  2. Clearly defining delegated duties and assigning those tasks to qualified personnel. A qualified person is someone who:
    1. Does not have conflicting duties.
    2. Fully understands what is expected.
    3. Has sufficient training to complete the tasks successfully.
    4. Has the knowledge and experience to make sound judgments concerning each task.
    5. Knows who to contact, or what action to take, if problems arise such as a person of higher authority attempting to override compliance requirements.
  3. Ensuring that there is a reasonable distribution of workload in accordance with the available resources.
  4. Informing involved individuals of their assigned roles and training them when necessary.
  5. Designating a person in the unit, as appropriate, who is 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 accesses granted to prepare, review or inquire against on-line systems.
    3. Ensuring the record of delegations is secured from unauthorized changes.
    4. Keeping a backup copy of the record in a physically separate location from the original.
  6. Reviewing the official record of accountability delegations at least quarterly to ensure that the record is accurate, complete, current and secure.
  7. 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.
Responsibilities Preparing And Reviewing Budgetary And Financial Transactions

Both a preparer and reviewer should be involved in budgetary and financial transactions. Specifically:

  1. A preparer must understand all relevant regulatory requirements, UC Davis systems and policies, and the purpose of the transaction to:
    1. Enter accurate data into all fields on a paper form or on-line system screen.
    2. Record an accurate and thorough explanation of each transaction.
    3. Ensure that the account and fund cited are appropriate.
    4. Be aware of basic policy, regulatory, contract/grant and other requirements.
    5. Resolve any questions that rose during the completion of the transaction or via on-line edits and related messages.
    6. Forward the completed transaction, with any supporting documents, to a reviewer as appropriate.
    7. Understand and follow department procedures for arranging for a back-up preparer when absent.
  2.  A reviewer must:
    1. Review selected transactions in a timely manner.
    2. Inspect transactions to ensure that the preparers properly fulfilled their responsibilities.
    3. Ensure that transactions being reviewed comply with all requirements -- policy, regulatory, etc.
    4. Resolve all questions that arise with a transaction, or ensure the transaction is reversed until the questions are resolved.
    5. Understand and follow department procedures for arranging for a backup reviewer when absent.
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