As the name Finance Outreach and Compliance (FOC) implies, the office has a two-fold mission to provide both outreach/training to University personnel and compliance assurance for the institution. While these missions are distinct, they are interrelated. In order to be successful, a compliance program must clearly communicate requirements and provide tools that assist stakeholders in meeting compliance objectives. The most effective way to do this is through publishing concise informative policies and procedures and providing training that incorporates both theory and practice. Once clear expectations have been set individuals can and should be held accountable for their actions. In much the same way that training is critical to compliance program success, training programs can be greatly enhanced by incorporating knowledge gained through compliance program monitoring activities, internal and external audits, or peer review programs.
Currently, FOC has three compliance programs:
- Export Controls;
- Effort Reporting; and
- Financial Compliance.
Brief descriptions of these programs are provided below but please use the navigation links provided to access additional information.
Due to the broad applicability of export and sanction regulations, a separate website has been created for the export controls program to provide access to the regulations, background information, policies, procedures, associated forms, on-line training, and work aids. The Office of Export Controls is the group within FOC that is dedicated to helping faculty, staff and students comply with the export and sanction regulations that relate to the conduct of University activities. There are currently two fulltime employees supporting the export control program.
FOC is responsible for maintaining and administering the University's effort reporting and certification system (Effort@ UVa) to assure compliance with the terms and conditions of federally funded sponsored programs. The purpose of effort certification is to assure federal sponsors that the labor costs being allocated to federal awards are appropriate to the work being performed in support of the project goals/aims. As part of the ongoing process improvement and efficiency efforts within the Finance area, FOC is partnering with the Office of Sponsored Programs, University Comptroller's Office, and other central and unit offices to re-evaluate our internal policies, procedures, processes and systems that make up our internal control environment and support the institution's fiduciary and compliance responsibilities to our various internal and external stakeholders.
Financial compliance is a catch-all term that includes, but is not limited to, the various activities performed by FOC to assure compliance with funding source restrictions, University financial policies and procedures. The review and approval of labor distribution (LD) adjustments and other than personnel services (OTPS) cost transfers, both timely and retroactive (>90 days), involving sponsored programs is one of these activities. Other activities include developing and monitoring corrective action plans in response to deficiencies noted on the annual Internal Controls Questionnaire, and validating that required training has been completed prior to authorizing individuals to have new responsibilities in the integrated finance (procurement, accounts payable, grants accounting/management, and general ledger) and student financial aid modules of the integrated system (Oracle).
In addition to compliance monitoring and operational activities, FOC is assisting with the review and update of Finance policies and procedures. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that the policies reflect current requirements, procedures are streamlined and up-to-date with respect to central timelines and expectations, and unit requirements are consistent with and no less restrictive than those established centrally. We will also be working with unit financial employees to make sure that all aspects of University policies and procedures are clear and provide them with the support necessary for them to enact and enforce them within their units.
FOC is working with the Managerial Reporting Project (MRP) to develop reports that will assist in monitoring key performance metrics with the goal of eventually replacing certain central review and approval processes with monitoring and quality assurance processes. FOC will also be supporting MRP as they begin to roll out training for the Qlik business intelligence platform, data warehouse, and associate governance structures. As the MRP builds new reports, tools, and dashboards for use by the University community, FOC will incorporate them into current and future training programs for University finance professionals.