unit logo
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Internal Controls and Quality Assurance
  4. Internal Controls
  5. Internal Control Fundamentals
  6. Documentation

Documentation

Directive Statement

In the context of internal controls, paper or electronic documentation which supports the completion of a transaction’s lifecycle meets the criteria for documentation.  Anything that provides evidence for a transaction, the person who has performed each action related to a transaction, and the authority to perform those activities are all considered within the realm of documentation.

There must be an audit trail for each financial transaction.  If documentation is attached to the transaction in myUFL, it is part of the official accounting record.  Departments must comply with all applicable records retention requirements.

Reason for Directive

Documentation must be aligned with internal controls and the level of risk, therefore, required documentation for transactions depends closely on the level of risk associated with the transaction.

Documents provide a record of each event or activity, and therefore ensure the accuracy and completeness of transactions.  This includes expenses, revenues, inventories, personnel and other types of transactions.  Proper documentation provides evidence of what has happened, as well as provides information for researching discrepancies.

Who must comply?

All University Departments.

Overview

Millions of financial transactions are recorded annually in the University General Ledger.  Required documentation is not the same for each transaction.  For example, an adjustment to an expense between account codes within a department is not as critical from the perspective of internal controls and risk as processing additional pay for an employee in the human resources system.

Some transactions that require increased documentation include:

  • Large dollar amounts
  • Part of a legally binding contract
  • Related to a purchasing card (PCard) purchase
  • Part of the procurement process
  • Pertain to personnel actions

Key Concepts and Best Practices

Key Concept Best Practice
Format of source documents:

Well-designed documents help ensure the proper recording of transactions.

Whenever possible, the use of templates provides a standard format for supporting documentation.  Consider creating templates for activities such as:

  • Email approvals
  • Departmentally created support documentation
  • Reimbursement logs
University ownership of documents:

Documents used to support University business transactions are University property, not the personal property of employees.

Whenever possible, do not allow employees to take University-owned records home.  If business needs required University records to be taken home, communicate to employees their responsibility to keep documents secure.  This is particularly important for employees that have telecommuting agreements.
Documenting changes:

Changes made subsequent to approval of documents should be clear and concise.

  • Use attachments or footnotes to document the reasons for corrections/adjustments to any records.

Make the time/date and the approval of such corrections/adjustments clear and evident.

Retention:

Retention policies exist for all types of supporting documentation.  Always keep documents for the appropriate retention period and have a process in place for record retention and purging after the retention period has passed.

Be aware of record retention responsibilities.

Establish a process for purging documents that have reached the end of their retention period.

Document who, when, and how each record type should be purged.

Last Reviewed

01/31/2020: reviewed content

Resources

UF Record Retention Schedules

Training

PRO303 – Internal Controls at UF

Contacts

General Accounting & Financial Reporting: (352) 392-1326

University Controller’s Office: (352) 392-1321