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Policy 2.113
Institutional Fiscal Responsibility Framework

Responsible Official: Vice President for Finance/Chief Finance Officer
Administering Division/Department: Institutional Fiscal Responsibility Framework
Effective Date: September 01, 2011
Last Revision: September 14, 2011

Policy Sections:


This policy statement establishes the fiscal responsibilities of university faculty and staff (“Fiscal Employees”). It provides additional clarification and guidance regarding the framework within which financial management occurs. Sound financial management practices require the University to implement a fiscal responsibility framework that:

  • Advances the University mission within a framework of fiduciary responsibility;
  • Reasonably ensures the fiscal activities of University operations are administered within approved resource allocations, and accurately accounted for in the University's financial records;
  • Reasonably ensures fiscal transactions comply with applicable policies, laws, regulations, and rules; contracts, grants, and donor restrictions; and generally accepted accounting principles; and
  •  Requires an internal control environment to accomplish the above two objectives.


All faculty and staff are expected to:

  •  Understand and carry out  their institutional fiscal responsibilities and roles;
  •  Complete, within a reasonable time frame, applicable training programs provided by the University on appropriate types of fiscal roles and responsibilities as defined by University policy;
  • Review all policies related to Fiscal Transactional Roles and Responsibilities and
  •  Conduct University business with adherence to all University policy statements.


This policy applies to all funds at the university, regardless of source, and applies to all university schools, operating units, faculty, and staff.

Policy Details

The figure below illustrates the related structure of Fiscal Employees’ roles within University management, all tied to institutional responsibilities. This is intended to encompass the major categories of faculty and staff for purposes of the fiscal responsibility framework and not for all discrete University activities. 



Trustees of the University maintain ultimate responsibility for the well-being and longevity of the University. Their responsibilities include fiduciary ones, and accordingly, are the highest fiscal authority for the institution.



The President is the chief executive officer of the University responsible and accountable for all University academic, fiscal, operational, and compliance matters, as well as all policies, laws, and regulations.

Officers of the University

Officers of the University are entrusted with high-level fiscal and operational responsibilities and are expected to act with the highest institutional integrity. They are accountable to a superior (another Officer) or the President for their assigned organizational units and/or their functional area of responsibility. These professionals hold the title or interim/acting title of secretary, executive vice president (EVP), or senior vice president (SVP).

School and Unit Fiscal Leadership

School and Unit Fiscal Leaders have senior fiscal responsibility for one or more units, functions, or schools. They have specific functional reporting responsibilities and lead operations across the various missions of the university. They are expected to maintain integrity and oversight in these capacities, accountable to the President, an Officer, or another appropriate supervisor.   These professionals hold the titles of vice president, associate vice president, vice provost, associate vice provost, associate university counsel, school/unit chief business officer (CBO), or deans (or equivalent center directors) of the schools, colleges, applicable centers, and libraries.

For unit and school CBOs, the following also apply:

  • School and Unit Chief Business Officers (CBOs) are charged as the lead financial officers for their respective units, responsible for fiscal conduct within their unit.
  • They are expected to embrace and adhere to the institution’s financial and risk management policies and approaches.
  • The CBOs are further expected to serve as “Risk Liaisons” to the university’s Risk Management office, as directed in that capacity by that office.
  • CBOs must be familiar with and abide by the University policy, Unit Chief Business Officers’ Roles and Responsibilities.

Department and Program Fiscal Leadership

Assistant Vice Presidents, Assistant Provosts, and Assistant Deans are considered Department and Program Fiscal Leadership of the university, each accountable for the business functions within their school, unit, or function. Chairs (or equivalent position titles) are the principal administrators of school or unit’s departments and are accountable to the Deans. Directors (non-Dean equivalent), or equivalent position titles, are the principal administrators of specific organizational units, such as institutes, certain centers, divisions, and administrative departments, accountable to a School or Unit Fiscal Leader or an Officer of the University.  With these appointments, Department and Program Fiscal Leaders are entrusted with fiscal responsibility for their assigned organizational division.

Sponsored Projects have an identified Principal Investigator (PI), typically a faculty member, charged under federal and/or sponsor regulations with the responsibility for the administration and fiscal oversight of the Sponsored Project.  With these appointments, PIs (or other faculty members) are entrusted with fiscal responsibility for their assigned Sponsored Project. To emphasize the fiscal responsibility of these positions, these positions are designated as Department and Program Fiscal Leaders, accountable for project-related expenditures on University accounts, regardless of funding source. Fiscal Responsibility for a Sponsored Project includes full adherence with all sponsor and university fiscal policies and procedures.

All Faculty and Staff not covered in the above

Many other University faculty and staff are involved in University fiscal transactions, including but not limited to initiating purchases, receiving cash or other negotiable instruments, entering or reviewing transactions in the University's financial accounting system, monitoring contractors, or verifying compliance.  In addition, in approved instances, certain employees of Affiliate organizations are authorized to conduct University financial transactions and are expected to adhere to all applicable policies.

Additional Expectations of All Employees

Regardless of position, all University faculty and staff of Emory University are expected to understand their institutional responsibilities and exhibit the highest-levels of institutional integrity and fiscal responsibility related to the use of institutional funds, regardless of funding source and carrying out fiscal responsibilities accordingly.

All funds within Emory University are considered to be University funds, regardless of sponsor, funding source, or expected user. Employees are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving University resources and using those resources in a prudent and appropriate manner for their designated purposes, as provided by policies, laws, regulations, and rules, and contracts, grants, and donor restrictions, and approved signature authority (Contract Approval and Signature Authority Policy)

If a faculty or staff member believes that he/she has been asked to perform a fiscal activity or approval that may be inconsistent with University or Sponsor (as applicable) policies or requirements, the employee is expected to seek confidential consultation from their CBO, Internal Audit, the Office of the Vice President for Finance, and/or the Office of General Counsel.

All faculty and staff should understand the attached Appendix to this Policy.

Related Links

Forms and Attachments

  • Chart of Insitutional Fiscal Responsibilities : download

Contact Information

  Chief Business Officer     
  Office of the Vice President for Finance     

Revision History