What is my role as department head?
If your department has any responsibility for receiving cash from students/faculty/outside organizations, this is an area that is very important to document and control. Many departments have income from delivery of educational services or specific course related events, and as department head, you are ultimately responsible for the management (stewardship) of these monies.
If an event or activity is related to a course/class, all monies must be deposited to the bursar. A separate (off-campus) bank account is not allowed. If you are aware of any off-campus bank account that may not be appropriate (relates to a university course), advise your dean or internal audit and compliance, so that the necessary steps may be taken to close the account and transfer the funds to the university.
As an example, a for-credit course related event is held to showcase the department’s activities and to sell art to the public in order to raise money for scholarships.
Cash and checks (no credit cards) are accepted, and the event will be on a Saturday. This fund-raising event may clearly be a justifiable activity to raise money – however the ‘cash trail’ can be easily lost.
Ways to control an event or activity
- Ticket reconciliation to cash/checks received. Ideally event tickets should be bought for the attendees at the event, and the individual tickets should have sequential numbering and prices. This way you can account for all blocks of tickets given out to students/employees to sell. Ensure the party receiving a block of tickets signs off that they received these, and are aware that for internal control purposes, you have to account for all tickets and reconcile to cash received. Either the department head or your designate should keep records of the event. Records must be maintained of the total numbered tickets, and a reconciliation of all these numbered tickets must be made to the cash received, voids, and unused/returned tickets. This will allow you to see if any cash shortages exist, and you can then resolve with the party that sold the assigned block of tickets. Each block of tickets issued should be compared to tickets returned by the party who signed for them, and cash/checks. The party signing off for the block of tickets is responsible for the cash due. Any cash shortage should be questioned and resolved.
- List and track the inventory of goods being sold. If sales of art or products occur, an inventory of the items should be listed prior to the sales event, and records of all sales should be maintained. In this case, it is likely that tickets may not be issued, as this is a sale of goods. Therefore it’s important to have a sequentially numbered receipt book and record of all cash/checks received. In this case, a record of inventory and of receipts should be maintained during the event. At the end of the event, any shortage of cash or inventory can be tracked.
- Segregation of duties between cash receipts and accounting. Ideally, there should always be segregation of duties between the person receiving the cash (handing out the receipts) and the person handling the deposit of cash to the Bursar's office.
- Know how and when to deposit cash/checks to the Bursar’s office. Policy states that at the point where cash/checks received total $50 or more, a deposit should be made. Keep a record of the deposit form given the bursar, as the bursar's office will mail an actual receipt a day or two after the deposit. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the front of any checks received.
- Never use any of the cash on hand. Collect it and deposit it. Don’t allow any of the cash fund to be used to be “paid back” by the custodian at a later date. This is not acceptable and is always an audit exception to be reported.
- Never use an ‘off-campus’ bank account for university expenditures/deposits that are related to a for-credit course. Never deposit university payments to a non-university account.
What policies and procedures are available?
Credit card transactions
In certain colleges, an organization may provide educational services on an ongoing basis and offer to receive payments via credit cards. For example, College of Business' Management Development Institute receives credit card payments.
If you are currently receiving credit card payments you must use the bursar’s credit card process. If you are not secured through the bursar’s office, please contact the bursar immediately. Minimally, you will require an assigned credit card machine.
In addition, a number of regulations apply regarding identity security, and practices must be compliant with university policy and law.
Under no circumstances should a department receive credit card information over the phone or email, or via ‘mailers.’ Nor should a department write down/store credit card information.
If you have any question regarding your process and compliance, contact Robert Martin, information security officer, at 417-836-5226. His office can assist you in ensuring full compliance with university policy and regulations.
On a practical basis – what should I do?
- Ultimately, the department head is accountable for controls over cash receipts regardless of who actually receives the monies.
- Make sure the event (record keeping) is well planned. Be sure departmental faculty and staff who are handling cash understand their responsibilities.
- All checks should be stamped/endorsed on the back of the check for Missouri State University.
- Make sure you have segregation of duties between cash handling/collection and deposits/accounting.
- Confirm all revenue (per receipts records) to deposits. Use a receipt book, sequentially numbered, so that a record is in place of all receipts. For ticketed events, account for sequential tickets in reconciling cash that should have been received and deposited.
- If receipts by credit card are planned for the first time, contact the bursar’s office.
- If you have any concern about security over transactions, contact Robert Martin, information security officer.
What if I have questions?
Contact the bursar’s office: firstname.lastname@example.org