Financial Authority

Operations and General Administration

Responsibility: Provost and Vice-President Academic
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Jun 19, 2017

Purpose

The Board of Governors (“the Board”) is responsible for overseeing and directing the management, administration and control of all University of Saskatchewan financial affairs. The purpose of this policy is: to clearly establish where financial authority for financial resources resides and to what degree that responsibility can be delegated; to clarify financial accountability for the utilization of financial resources; to provide the Board with control to reclaim, reallocate or repurpose financial resources when it is in the university’s interest to do so.

Principles

This policy is guided by the principles and values outlined in the university’s mission, vision and values statement and balances the need to manage, administer and control financial resources with the commitment to support teaching, research, scholarly and artistic work. 

  1. Governance: aligns financial authority with governance responsibilities and is delegated, by the Board, to academic and administrative leaders within the governance framework.
  2. Stewardship: ensures financial resources are used to best advantage and for the intended purposes.
  3. Timeliness: promotes the use of financial resources in a reasonable timeframe.
  4. Comprehensiveness: extends financial authority across all financial resources within the university’s comprehensive consolidated financial statements.
  5. Consistency: incorporates into the university culture a standard approach to the management, administration and control of financial resources, to support decision making at all levels.
  6. Accountability: entails that those given responsibility for financial actions provide assurances and are answerable for the appropriate utilization of financial resources.
  7. Equity: ensures the provision of services to current and future students through financial sustainability.

Definitions

Governance: at an academic institution is:

A collective effort, through smooth and suitable process, to take actions that advance a shared purpose consistent with the institution’s mission (Chait, Holland and Taylor, 1996).

Governance Framework: the entity in which authority resides to advance the shared mission, and includes: the Board, President, Vice Presidents, Deans and equivalent.

Financial Authority: the right to control and manage financial resources, balanced with the requirement to be answerable for commitments and expenditures, and is aligned within the governance framework.

Chief Executive Officers: the senior administration of the university, including the President and Vice-Chancellor; Provost and Vice President Academic; other Vice-Presidents, Deans and the equivalent.

Delegation: entrusting the right to commit resources.

Financial resources: the sources of funding available within the scope of the consolidated financial statements, and utilised in support of the university mission.

Responsibility centres: the planning units responsible for the use and deployment of financial resources entrusted to them.

Funds: record financial transactions within the university’s financial system against the appropriate source of funding, and have a clear line of accountability to a chief executive officer.

Fund Managers: individuals responsible for stewarding the financial resources entrusted to them.

Financial Accountability: entails being answerable for financial actions.

Financial Approval: the consent to proceed with a financial activity.

Scope of this policy

This policy applies to all financial resources within the university’s consolidated financial statements including: all colleges, schools, centres and administrative units that use the university’s financial resources.

This policy covers all fund types, including those restricted through the university’s contractual obligations. Research awards, provided to individual principle investigators, and administered in compliance with relevant funding agencies and particular university requirements are also included.

This policy has been developed in the context of, and complementary to,

  • Existing university policies and regulations, particularly those governing management, administration and control of the university’s financial affairs including: University of Saskatchewan Act, 1995; Board of Governors Bylaws; financial reserves; research administration; eligibility to apply for, hold and administer research funding; institutional costs of research; centres; use of university property and services; fundraising priority setting
  • Collective agreements
  • Guidelines for Academic Conduct

Policy

The University is committed to ensuring financial sustainability through the control and management of financial resources in support of planning, reporting and decision making across the institution. The primary means of controlling financial resources is by ensuring financial authority aligns with governance at the university.

Delineating financial authority, within the governance framework, ensures financial resources are deployed and managed in support of teaching, research, scholarly and artistic work, for the benefit of students, faculty and staff; and promotes a culture of financial governance, while strengthening financial sustainability and equity. 

Authority over the university’s financial assets and resources rests with the Board. This authority is delegated and entrusted to those who occupy Chief Executive positions within Responsibility Centres. The Provost is responsible for overseeing the preparation of the University’s budget and is entrusted with allocating financial resources to the Chief Executive Officers of Responsibility Centres. The Provost’s authority is exercised in conjunction with the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning (PCIP). All financial commitments made on behalf of the Board, including in-kind commitments, must be ultimately approved by the Board. Authority to repurpose, reclaim and reallocate financial resources, when in the university’s interest, is retained within the governance framework, subject only to the university’s contractual obligations.

Chief Executive Officers have financial authority delegated from the Board and are responsible for the operational management of responsibility centres. They may delegate financial authority to: Vice Provosts, Associate and Assistant Deans, Department Heads, and Associate Vice Presidents or the equivalent.  Authority to repurpose, reclaim or reallocate financial balances, in the interest of the responsibility centre’s mission, is retained within the governance framework, subject only to the university’s contractual obligations.

Those to whom financial authority has been delegated are answerable for assuring financial resources are used to their best advantage and intended purposes. This includes accountability for accumulated and deficit balances. They may assign operational management responsibility to individuals who undertake financial duties and activities, while retaining financial accountability for the use of delegated financial resources.

Those to whom operational management responsibility has been assigned are accountable for financial duties and activities, and for providing assurances through regular financial reporting mechanisms.

Responsibilities

All University staff and persons acting on behalf of the University share in the overall responsibility for the sound stewardship of university financial resources; each holds responsibility to be aware of, and to comply with related university policies, control procedures and practices.

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs): have authority delegated to them by the Board, for the management, control and administration of financial affairs in their respective responsibility centre. They set the tone and influence the culture for sound financial stewardship by deploying financial resources in support of strategic missions and operational goals. CEOs maintain oversight, offer assurances, and are accountable to those from whom authority has been delegated. They demonstrate commitment to prudent fiscal management and sustainability; and provide annual financial reports, with quarterly updates. They control the financial accounts, and responsibility for accumulated and deficit balances, within their area of responsibility. CEOs determine when financial resources may be repurposed, reclaimed or reallocated for the benefit of programs and activities, subject to contractual obligations.

While CEOs have financial authority over all financial resources the management of day to day financial duties and activities is normally delegated.

Those to whom authority has been delegated: are accountable for sound financial stewardship; are answerable for providing assurances through regular financial reporting and are accountable for accumulated and deficit balances. They are required to follow the related policy procedures and standard reporting methods. Delegates manage and approve revenues, expenditures and interfund transfers. They provide operational management expertise, knowledge and support for financial planning and decision making.

Research Investigators: are responsible to ensure that research funds are administered in compliance with the terms and conditions of research agreements and in accordance with university requirements.

 

Non-compliance

Instances of non-compliance may result in reallocation of financial resources or other measures deemed appropriate by those with authority within the governance framework.

Financial balances may be repurposed, subject to contractual obligations, when proposed plans are not executed through the effective and timely deployment of resources.

If there is reason to suspect that laws or university policies have been or are being violated, access to university financial resources may be restricted or withdrawn.

Procedures

Procedures and practices to support this policy have been or will be developed, documented and made available online.

Related Documents

There are no other documents associated with this policy.

Contact Information

Contact Person: Provost and Vice-President Academic
Phone: 306-966-8489
Website: http://www.usask.ca/leadershipteam/provost/