Surviving an Audit
SO YOU ARE GOING TO BE AUDITED
NUMBER ONE RULE – don’t panic! The Office of Research Administration can help you through the process. Here are some considerations:
The project director is usually the first point of contact when an audit is announced. Through correspondence or conversations with the auditor, determine the scope of the audit.
- What is the grant number of the award to be reviewed?
- Is the award under federal or federal pass through funds?
- Is the award cost reimbursable or fixed price?
- Is it a financial/fiscal audit or a program review, or both?
- Will the auditor be reviewing costs or completed tasks/deliverables?
- What is the time period to be covered by the audit?
- Will there be an on-site visit or are we just submitting documentation to the auditor (desk audit)?
- If on-site, what accommodations are needed by the auditor – office space, equipment?
- Do we have a detailed list of documents required by the auditor?
- What is our deadline for submitting documents to the auditor?
- Does equipment need to be physically viewed?
- What is the anticipated time needed to complete the audit?
If an on-site review is required, the department will set up an entrance meeting with the auditor. Other participants should include the Project Director, Director of Sponsored Research, Campus Fiscal Officer, departmental administrators/delegates as needed, the Office of Research Administration ACE manager, and the Grants Services consultant and reporting analyst.
Hold the auditors to a time schedule. If they said it would take 3 days, hold them to that timeline. If a desk audit is being completed and nothing is heard from the auditors within two or three weeks, follow-up with them. Request an exit meeting to include all parties. Request a final written audit report. We are required to share all audit results with IU Internal Audit and with the Indiana State Board of Accounts if the award being audited is under federal or federal pass through funds.
If findings are stated, work through the issues. We have the right to dispute findings, but if they must be accepted, accept gracefully and work to correct errors as soon as possible. A refund to the agency may be required from grant funds.
Audit Checklist for Project Directors
Before the Internal Audit, the department with the assistance of the Grants Services consultant and reporting analyst will collect copies of documents required by the auditor for testing. These may include:
Copies of monthly operating statements covering the time period being audited
Signed effort reports— http://researchadmin.iu.edu/GrantContract/gc-ace/ace_effort_reporting.html
What: The A-21 Effort Certification Document is created and electronically distributed in the Financial Information System (FIS) by the Office of Research Administration and serves as the certification documentation required under the OMB Circular A-21.
The fiscal officer, account delegate or A-21 delegate (electronic document recipients) may approve the FIS document only if they have a suitable means of verification or can personally verify the activity of the employee.
Time and payroll records- Time and Effort Sheet documents all personnel costs to be reimbursed with the grant or claimed as matching funds. ALL individuals whose time/salaries are being counted towards the grant shall complete this form for each pay period. Record the number of hours spent on the grant tasks on the Time and Effort Sheet. After both the individual and supervisor sign the form, file it with your grant records and then submit it with the reimbursement request. Volunteers may also use a variation of this form.
Vendor invoices or payment back-up information- http://www.fms.iu.edu/newkb/kb-302.asp
When all Indiana University Accounts Payable functions shifted to Financial Management Services in University Administration in Bloomington with the goal of paying vendors timely and accurately. POs in advance of goods and services, PO#s on invoices, and invoices delivered directly to IU AP will benefit the payment process. Vendors should contact AP with questions about billing and disbursement.
Copies of invoices to the agency and back up reconciliation of expenses claimed for payment –Copies of Invoices that would have been sent to your funding agency for payment is applicable.
Receipts of income
Cost share documentation, if a condition of the award
Subcontract documentation including signed agreements, progress reports and invoices - http://researchadmin.iu.edu/GrantContract/gc-ace/ace_sub_monitoring.html
(Your department organizational chart)
Fringe and retirement rates covering the time period being audited
Travel policies and rates
Website link to IU Financial Policies
IU Annual Financial Report
Annual federal A-133 Audit Report
ORA website address