Financial System Accountability

Accountability is often used in reference to financial systems, such as KFS, and is defined as "being answerable and willing to explain or furnish a justifying analysis for your actions."

Private corporations are accountable to their stockholders, but to whom are we accountable? As a public institution, we are accountable to everyone having an interest in the university — our stakeholders. Our money comes from many sources, including federal, state, and local governments; tuition and fees; teaching hospitals (both human and veterinary); sales and services; and private gifts, contracts and grants. While that is quite a list, these sources actually get their money from you – the taxpayer, customer, parent, student and philanthropist. You, as a UC Davis employee, are accountable to yourself as a stakeholder.

To be accountable is to know and support the intent of the policies that relate to each type of transaction; to not give the appearance of conflicts of interest; to not misstate account balances; and to avoid “working around” required procedures. While a workaround may seem easier and quicker, it is likely to have side effects and long-term consequences that are not readily apparent. You may be subjecting the university to the risks of losing funding or paying fines and penalties (e.g., income, payroll and sales tax; and the Federal False Claims Act).

Our financial system provides us with a means to be accountable. The objectives of our accounting program are to meet our stewardship responsibilities by properly and accurately processing all receipts and disbursements of funds; providing a complete picture to our stakeholders; and providing financial information for planning, budgeting, and other purposes.

Our accounting program easily costs tens of millions of dollars a year when you consider the number of people performing accounting duties in the departments and central offices. The integrity of our accounting, however, rests on the attention and care each of us takes in performing our duties regardless of whether we authorize, prepare, approve or review a transaction.