Common Audit Findings

Below is a list of concerns or problems Internal Audit may encounter during a review. We are providing these examples to help faculties and services identify their own areas for improvement.

Non-compliance with University of Ottawa policies and procedures. Employees need to acquaint themselves with all University policies and procedures, and follow them.

Lack of written procedures. All aspects of faculty or service operations should be clearly documented in an up-to-date procedures manual. Written procedures are an important training tool for new or temporary staff and for current employees who fill in when colleagues are sick or on vacation. Written procedures thus help units continue to operate without disruption. Procedures must also comply with University policies.

Inefficient and ineffective processes or procedures. Faculties and services benefit from reviewing their administrative processes to avoid, for example, improper duplication of responsibilities in job descriptions and cumbersome processes with useless, time-consuming steps.

Improper use of General Ledger accounts. Employees need to ensure they are coding expenses to the proper General Ledger account. Only very exceptionally should expenses be allocated to the Miscellaneous General Ledger expense account.

Individual paid either as an employee (through Payroll) or as an independent contractor (through Finance). The University has to assess these relationships properly, because, as all employers, the University must, on the one hand, deduct income tax, Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums and, on the other, make employer contributions for all individuals deemed to be employees.

Insufficient documentation to support travel claims. Boarding passes to support flights taken, copies of conference programs and registration receipts are required when employees attend a conference. Credit-card or debit-card receipts are usually insufficient to support restaurant expenses, so they need to be accompanied by the original bill.

Petty-cash policies are not being adhered to. Invoices must be brought to the petty-cash custodian within 30 days of the purchase date. Claimants need to sign and financially code the invoices submitted for reimbursement. Moreover, petty cash is not to be used to reimburse travel expenses.

Miscalculation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) receivable. The University can claim a portion of the GST paid on its purchases. Faculties and services may want to refer to Financial Services to know and understand specific GST requirements and calculations.

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