UCR Principles of Financial Accountability


It is required that each budgetary and financial transaction be processed within an authorized Accountability Structure.

An adequate system of internal controls requires a reasonable segregation of employee duties so that no one employee has total control of a transaction without a timely subsequent review by another employee. Such a system reduces the risk of inappropriate actions or uncorrected errors. The Accountability Structure design provides for a minimal level of segregation of employee duties through the required involvement of at least two employees in each transaction.

An Accountability Structure can be established within a single department or within an administrative cluster or through other organizational arrangements, as set forth in the Financial Accountability Policy.

Explicit roles and responsibilities are established within the Accountability Structure:

  • Entity Head
  • Financial Manager
  • Systems Access Administrator
  • Transactor
  • Reviewer
  • Inquirer

Roles and Responsibilities

Entity Head or Financial Manager

The Entity Head (EH) or Financial Manager (FM) is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness and integrity of the Accountability Structure by:

  • Delegating roles within the Accountability Structure to trained and qualified employees.
  • Establishing a reasonable distribution of workload in accordance with the available resources.
  • Ensuring that all employees be informed and trained for their assigned tasks.
  • Continually monitoring the effectiveness of the Accountability Structure.

Systems Access Administrator (SAA)

Under the direction of the EH or FM, the SAA controls access to financial system applications by:

  • Establishing a user profile for employees designated as Transactors, Reviewers and Inquirers.
  • Ensuring that these employees have valid Logon-IDs, on the financial system, issued by Computing and Communications before granting access to financial applications.
  • Maintaining an updated file of the Accountability Structure delegations.
  • Ensuring that the roles and responsibilities that form the Accountability Structure are being accomplished.
  • Ensuring that a back-up SAA is available to perform the duties of the primary SAA in his/her absence.


The Transactor is given authority by the EH or FM to process budgetary and financial transactions for which he/she is qualified. The Transactor must understand all relevant policies and regulatory requirements as well as the purpose of each transaction since these will be processed directly into the financial system without additional authorization.

The Transactor responsibilities include:

  • Gathering the supporting transactional information.
  • Applying relevant policies, meeting regulatory requirements and considering the appropriateness of the transaction to be processed.
  • Entering complete and accurate data including the assignment of appropriate FAU (i.e., Account/Fund) distributions.
  • Entering an accurate and thorough explanation of each transaction.
  • Resolving questions during the preparation of a transaction as a result of online edits and related error messages.
  • Completing the transaction and updating the financial system.
  • Providing additional information and/or supporting transactional documentation requested by the Reviewer.
  • Reversing and correcting any erroneous transactions.
  • Notifying the SAA of work absence so that an authorized Back-up Transactor may be set up and assigned.
  • Notifying the SAA upon return from absence.


The Reviewer is given authority by the EH or FM to review budgetary and financial transactions for which he/she is qualified. On a post audit basis, the Reviewer’s examination should include for:

  • overall appropriateness
  • completeness
  • accuracy
  • compliance with policies, regulations, and other requirements

The Reviewer must perform a timely review (within 2 business days), since the transactions have already been posted to the financial system and audit file.

A Reviewer is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that his or her questions raised as to the validity of a transaction are either resolved within 2 business days of the transaction date or the Transactor reverses (via a reversing entry) the transaction.
  • Notifying the SAA of work absence so that an authorized Back-up Reviewer may be set up and assigned.
  • Notifying the SAA upon return from absence.


The Inquirer is given authority by the EH or FM to view transactions only on a read only basis and only for University business purposes and in compliance with Privacy laws.

Accountability Performance Expectations

Accountability Structure

When the roles and responsibilities that form the Accountability Structure are not being accomplished, management will take action that ensures these roles and responsibilities are being performed.

Depending on the circumstances, this action can include providing consultation, additional training opportunities, or other assistance. Action may also include reconstructing the Accountability Structure. This reconstruction can occur, resources permitting, within a single department or within an administrative cluster or through other organizational arrangements.

User Access Privelege

Access to the various financial application means that a user has been given the privilege to use the system to conduct University financial business. This privilege is established by the FM/SAA after a user signs the Computer Security/Use Agreement and agrees to use the system in accordance with the Financial Accountability Policy. This privilege is on condition that a user obtains application and financial accountability training at the first available opportunity.

A user’s ability to operate the system in accordance with policies and procedures will be monitored. To eliminate a risk or threat to the University’s financial resources, it may be necessary to immediately suspend a user’s access privilege when irregularities are detected.

The application/data owner, in consultation with other appropriate parties, may suspend or reinstate a user’s access privilege. Access privilege can be denied, suspended, or permanently revoked when it is determined that a user is incapable of complying with or disregards or circumvents policies and procedures.

Ethical Issues

Entity Heads or FMs should ensure that professional standards of integrity are adhered to by all employees within the Accountability Structure. Management must demonstrate control consciousness and a genuine interest and concern for internal controls that should be further conveyed to all employees. They must set a tone that encourages and supports employees contacting the appropriate officials or offices when suspicious of irregularities. Operating personnel should be made aware that they have stewardship responsibility for safeguarding University assets under their purview. A number of features of the UCRFS (e.g. distributed authority to enter transactions, "real-time" based system, reviews done after the fact (post audit), non-hierarchical review, etc.) may bring about higher risks of misuse and abuse of the system. The front line of defense within the UCRFS is the accountability and alertness of its users.

Employees' responsibilities to address these issues are as follows:

  1. In cases wherein the Reviewer reports directly or indirectly to the Transactor, the Reviewer is given the authority to question and examine any transaction initiated by the Transactor.
  2. Employees must be aware of who to contact, or what action to take in situations where a person of higher authority is attempting to override compliance with policies or mandatory guidelines. The employees must use their professional judgment in determining the appropriate superiors or offices to report to. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Employee's Immediate Supervisor
    • Entity Head or Financial Manager
    • Appropriate Dean's or Vice Chancellor's Office
    • Accounting Office
    • Audi & Advisory Services
    • Campus Ombudsman
    • Human Resources - Labor Relations
    • Campus Police
  3. All employees have the responsibility to report any improper activity, as defined in the "Reporting of Improper Governmental Activities Act" in accordance with the "Whistleblower" policy.
  4. Any employee may not directly or indirectly use or attempt to use the official authority or influence of his or her position of office for the purpose of interfering with the right of another employee to file a report as described above.

When a known or suspected misuse or misappropriation of resources by an employee is reported, investigative procedures in accordance with UC Business and Finance Bulletin G-29 may be performed.

More Information

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