We are sharing the below communiqué that was sent Friday, December 18th, to all McGill faculty members, academic and senior leadership.
This message is sent on behalf of Michael Di Grappa, VP Administration and Finance and Rose Goldstein, VP Research and International Relations.
We have informed you over the last three years of the need to update and strengthen our practices and procedures as they relate to the management of research grants, following recommendations resulting from the 2010 Tri‐Agency monitoring visit. We have now received confirmation that we will be undergoing our next monitoring review in February 2016. Tri-Agency will be assessing the effectiveness of institutional control measures by reviewing policies and procedures as well as verifying supporting documentation for transactions that occurred during the 2015 calendar year.
Important changes continue to take place to ensure that Principal Investigators (PIs), or their confirmed Delegate(s), authorize all expenses charged to grants - a critical Tri-Agency requirement. To this effect, the following measures will take effect in December:
Quarterly Purchase Order-Invoice Variance Report
PIs will be asked by their department research finance officer to review and authorize quarterly PO-invoice variance reports when invoice payments exceed PO quotes (excludes variances due to shipping, freight, refrigeration, custom fees, taxes).
Internal Central Services Report
(Includes fees resulting from central service providers such as Network and Communications (NCS), Printing Services, Mail/Courier, Parking, Telecommunications, Faculty Club, etc)
As these types of transactions do not go through an authorization queue that allows us to easily document PI/Delegate approval before they are posted to research funds, department finance officers will seek PI approval on quarterly reports for such expenses when applicable.
PI/Delegate Approval of Procurement Card (PCard) Reconciliations:
As was recently announced, PCard transactions reconciled by individuals other than the Fund Financial Manager (FFM)/PI or their Delegate must now be authorized by FFM/PI or Delegate.
As you are aware, local Financial Service Teams (FST) and Administrative Excellence Centres (AEC) play a key role in providing research administration services, guiding PIs through internal policies and procedures as they apply to the management of research funds while also ensuring compliance with the requirements of external sponsors.
We take this opportunity to remind the community that the FSTs and AECs are mandated to review transactions for compliance, completeness, and appropriateness of supporting documentation and authorization. We expect PIs to support the FSTs and AECs by providing the information needed to comply with both internal and external requirements and to meet with them periodically to review monthly financial statements as well as overall standing across all funds. Please draw on their knowledge, by seeking out their input and following their guidance.
We acknowledge that compliance measures take effort on the part of researchers. We are nonetheless confident that we can rely on all faculty members and administrative staff to meet the highest standards of stewardship of grant funds and compliance with Sponsor requirements.
We invite you to contact either of us with any comments or suggestions for improvement.
Due to the important nature of this message, it will be sent via different distribution channels. We apologize in advance if you receive this message more than once.
[Message sent out over the FIS listserv]