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Sponsored Project Audit Support

Index

Introduction

Types of Financial Audits

External Investigations

 

Introduction

The University is subject to a number of financial and operational audits with respect to sponsored projects at the federal, state and county level.  In addition, the University can be subject to sponsor mandated audits.  The majority of these audits that are financial in nature are hosted and supported by Sponsored Projects Accounting but some can require the support of the Department Administrators as well as the PIs.  Certain aspects of sponsored project activity are also periodically reviewed by Internal Audit at the School, Department, Institute or Center level.

 

Types of Financial Audits

Financial Statement

 

The University is subject to an annual Financial Statement Audit required by a plethora of federal, state and local financial and legislative regulations and requirements.  This audit is hosted and supported primarily by the Office of the Controller, occurs annually and typically commences in May and is due to be completed by early September.  The Financial Statement Audit is conducted by the University’s public accountants.  This audit can require the support of the Department Administrators in providing certain supporting documentation, variance analysis, responding to audit inquiries and exceptions, and responding to audit findings.  The audit is typically supplemented by audit resources from the University’s Internal Audit Department.  Once the audit report is completed, it is approved by the University’s Board of Trustees.  Copies of the University’s Financial Statement Audit Report can be obtained by clicking on the Resources section of this website, then on the Audited Financial Statements section.

 

Federal

 

The University is subject to an annual Single Audit required by the OMB Uniform Guidance (UG).  (This audit was formerly called the A-133 Audit as it was required by OMB Circular A-133).  This audit is hosted and supported primarily by Sponsored Projects Accounting, occurs annually after the University Financial Statement Audit is completed and typically commences in October and is due to be completed by March 31st.  The Single Audit is conducted by the University’s public accountants.  The Single Audit can require the support of the Department Administrators in providing certain supporting documentation, variance analysis, responding to audit inquiries and responding to audit findings.  This audit is typically supplemented by audit resources from the University’s Internal Audit Department.  Once the audit report is completed, it is approved by the University’s Board of Trustees.  The Single Audit is then uploaded to the Federal Clearing House for national distribution by the University Controller and its public accountants.  Copies of the University’s Single Audit Report can be obtained by clicking on the Resources section of this website, then on the Single Audit Report section.  A copy of the University’s audited Financial Statements always appear as the first section of the Single Audit.

 

Federal Site Visits

Federal site visits can occur at any time and be sponsored project specific, or agency specific.  Typically these site visits can encompass operating as well as financial aspects of a specific sponsored project, or universe of agency awards during a particular fiscal year or series of fiscal years.  Accordingly, these site visits require the support of the PI, Department Administrators, Office of Research and Sponsored Projects Accounting.  These site visits can be recurring.  The reports are provided to the program directors and senior executives of the University.  Examples include the periodic HRSA federal site visits of the Mid-Atlantic Aids Education and Training Center in GSPH and the periodic DHHS Administration for Children and Families federal site visits of the Early Head Start program in the Office of Child Development under the University School of Education.  A site visit of the entire University was conducted by the NIH in July 2004.

 

Federal Desk Reviews

Federal desk reviews can occur at any time and are sponsored project specific.  Typically these reviews encompass mainly financial aspects of a specific sponsored project but can encompass operating aspects as well.  Accordingly, these desk reviews not only require the support of and are hosted by Sponsored Projects Accounting but can require limited support by the PI, Department Administrator and the Office of Research.  The reports are typically provided to the PI and the Authorized Institutional Official (Office of Research) of the University.

 

Federal Contract Closeouts

Federal contract closeouts are rarer, apply only to federal contracts over a certain dollar magnitude and are limited to DoD agencies and NASA.  Typically these audits are on site, mainly financial in nature and are requested by federal contracting officers.  They are performed by the DHHS, Office of the Inspector General, Region III based in Philadelphia.  The University has had only two federal contract closeout audits in recent history.  The reports are provided to the agency contracting officer and a copy can be requested by the University.

 

State

 

Although there is no University-wide audit required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the University is subject to a number of sponsored project specific contract audits that appear in audit clauses in the NOA.  These audits are typically required by a limited number of Commonwealth agencies and are subject to a certain dollar threshold.  These agencies include, but are not limited to:

  • PA Department of Health
  • PA Department of Community and Economic Development
  • PA Department of Public Welfare

These audits are conducted by a public accounting firm other than the University’s public accounting firm that performs the Financial Statement audit.  There is a separate audit fee associated with these audits, and the Department Administrator should include this audit fee in the pre-award budget for the project when possible so that the audit fee is recovered from the Commonwealth.  The current amount of this audit fee to be proposed in the pre-award budget can be obtained from your Sponsored Projects Accountant.  These audits are hosted and supported primarily by Sponsored Projects Accounting.  The sponsored project specific audits can require the support of the Department Administrator in providing certain supporting documentation, variance analysis, responding to audit inquiries, and responding to audit findings.  These sponsored project specific audits can occur year-round.  Once the audit reports are completed, the results of all audits are reviewed annually by the University’s Board of Trustees.  The audit reports themselves are forwarded to the requester at the Commonwealth agency by Sponsored Projects Accounting.

           

Allegheny County

Certain sponsored project funding provided by Allegheny County is subject to program specific audit described below:

 

MAPS Audit

 

The University receives Allegheny County funding that represents funds that originate from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and require an annual audit.  This program is embedded in the University’s School of Education and is the Maximizing Adolescent Potentials (MAPS) program.  The MAPS program is a research, public service, and training program dedicated to the prevention of youth drug and alcohol problems.  The audit is conducted annually on site at the University by the Allegheny County, Department of Human Services audit department.  The audit is hosted by Sponsored Projects Accounting and supported by Sponsored Projects Accounting and the performing Department.  This audit report is forwarded to the University Director of the MAPS program.  No other areas of the University are impacted by this audit.

 

Provider Audit

 

The University is also subject to an annual Provider Audit that typically is required by a limited number of Allegheny County Department of Human Services agencies and are subject to a certain dollar threshold.  These agencies include, but are not limited to Allegheny County Department of Health:

  • Mental Health
  • Mental Retardation
  • Drug and Alcohol
  • Homeless
  • Hunger
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • Office of Community Services
  • Aging
  • Administration

 

The Allegheny County Provider Audit Guidelines govern the performance of this audit that is conducted by a public accounting firm other than the University’s public accounting firm that performs the Financial Statement audit.  This audit is hosted and supported by Sponsored Projects Accounting.  This audit report is forwarded to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services audit department by Sponsored Projects Accounting.  No other areas of the University are impacted by this audit.

 

Other Sponsoring Agencies

 

Other sponsoring agencies of the University can require that an audit, site visit or desk review be performed by an independent audit firm or performed with their own internal personnel.  Typically these reviews can encompass operating as well as financial aspects of a specific sponsored project during a particular fiscal year or designated project period of performance.  Accordingly, these reviews require the support of the PI, Department Administrators, Office of Research and Sponsored Projects Accounting.  These reviews can be recurring.  The reports are provided to the program directors and senior executives of the University.  Examples of sponsoring agencies that can require these reviews include PCORI and Health Resources, Inc.

 

Internal

 

The University’s Internal Audit Department conducts a number of school, department, institute or center audits that can include sponsored projects or financial areas that can impact sponsored projects.  These audits are hosted and supported by the school, department, institute or center.  Sponsored Projects Accounting is rarely involved.  Internal audit reports are reviewed by the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees, and are issued to the Dean, Director or Department Chair of the respective school, department, institute or center.

 

External Investigations

On very rare occasion, the University can be subject to a sponsored project related investigation by a law enforcement agency.  Investigators are not auditors.  Auditors carry computers, investigators carry guns.  If you are contacted by an external investigator related to a sponsored project or other matter that is sponsored project related, direct the investigator to the Campus Police who have detectives/investigators on staff that will serve as the liaison on the investigation.  Don’t work directly with an external investigator unless authorized by the AVC of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Campus Police or the Office of General Counsel.