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Principal investigators coordinate all audits of sponsored grants and contracts through Research Services. If an auditor contacts you directly, please refer them to the Director of Research Services.

Representatives of the sponsor will conduct periodic reviews to

  • Assess the effectiveness of policies, systems and internal controls within the University
  • Confirm that the university fulfills its research grant funds management responsibilities
  • Ascertain the level of confidence that research funds are used in accordance with sponsor requirements
  • Share and disseminate information on guidelines and expectations for the continuous improvement of research fund management


Roles and responsibilities


  • Can request an audit on the fund anytime during the lifecycle of an award


  • Requests a list of expenses incurred during the period being audited
  • Picks a sample selection from the list to audit

Research Accounting

  • Liaises with the PI, the department and other central units to collect all supporting documents for the sample selection
  • Coordinates with and provides auditor with supporting documentation


Best practices for surviving audits

  • Exercise due prudence when making a purchase.
  • Conduct transactions at arm's length; did the buyers and sellers of a product act independently and in the interests of their institutions?
  • All costs incurred must benefit the project directly and be necessary for the completion of the project.
  • All costs incurred must be consistent with policies, regulations, and the terms of the contract.
  • Document the business purpose of each transaction adequately.
  • When questions arise about a particular cost/transaction, department administrators must communicate with principal investigators to determine and record a detailed justification.
  • Whenever questions arise please work with Research Services to understand the specific terms and conditions of your project


Audit tips

  • Research Accounting and Research Services are responsible for collecting information and pulling records for the auditors.
  • Answer questions honestly, directly, and succinctly.
  • Refrain from providing unrequested information.
  • Do not tamper with or manufacture records. If you have no records, say so. Fabricating and/or altering records is fraud.
  • Be alert. Auditors may not know the regulations applicable to your project as well as you do.
  • Be courteous, cooperative, and professional when dealing with the auditors.