by Tyler Neal, CGA
As part of the rebranding of the Audit and Compliance Group (see “Finance's Financial Management Transformation” article for more details), the workflow for all expenses was evaluated to ensure that CGA is reviewing financial transactions on RC accounts in the most efficient and effective manner. We believe that the following two major changes to these workflows will have a positive impact from both an internal CGA perspective and externally for campus.
The first change made was to the workflow surrounding salary cost redistributions submitted in SAP. As a reminder, the most common SAP transaction that routes to CGA is the retroactive transfer of salary onto an RC account, but this workflow also includes other transactions, such as faculty overload and backdated summer school, graduate, or faculty appointments and amendments. CGA reviews these transactions when they are moving expenses onto an RC account and the related pay is greater than 60 days in the past. The Audit and Compliance Group was originally responsible for the review, but as of September 1, 2022, the Awards Group is responsible for the review.
One of the most common, but also most complex issues related to cost redistributions is how the salaried employee's Effort Report is affected by the change. Frequently, the most recent Effort Report is impacted, which may cause the redistribution to be disapproved, as it isn't supported by the effort documentation, or in rare situations, the Effort Report may need to be revised. The process for this is managed by the Effort Report team in the Awards Group (email@example.com) and more details on this process can be found here – Effort Reporting Overview and FAQs. Moving the review of cost redistributions to the team that also handles Effort Reports will reduce instances where administrators may be referred back and forth between CGA groups. For the more complex salary transfers, this will greatly reduce CGA's review time and corrections to Effort Reports can be made in a timelier manner. This change will provide better service to campus and will reduce duplication of effort related to pay on sponsored program accounts.
The second change involves the workflow for international travel in Concur. The approval workflow for these expenses previously required CGA approval (specifically by the Audit and Compliance Group) for any international travel transactions that will be placed on an RC account. However, this workflow no longer requires CGA approval.
CGA's review often included duplication of effort, as compliance with many of the same travel policies is also reviewed by MSU's Accounting Department. Therefore, the additional approval step is often unnecessary and may delay reimbursement to MSU employees.
Does this mean CGA will no longer look at any international trips on sponsored projects? Of course not! We will, however, be looking at these from a post-audit perspective instead of pre-auditing them. This will allow us to focus on trips that have higher audit risk, such as those that are federally funded or contain non-travel expenses, or travel on awards with additional restrictions, such as required prior sponsor approval. This should address risk areas more efficiently within CGA, while reducing the turnaround time for employee reimbursement. This audit will typically occur the month after the trip has been finalized in Concur and posted to the related account's operating statement. Campus will not receive any notifications if your trip is selected to be post-audited unless CGA requires additional information. If it is determined that a travel expense is unallowable or is inadequately supported on the RC account, it will need to be moved to a departmental account at the conclusion of the post-audit process. It is, of course, always recommended that you email the Audit and Compliance Group (firstname.lastname@example.org) before traveling to confirm a trip's allowability or to ask any other questions you may have regarding this post-audit travel process.