University departments with asset or liability account balances on Stanford’s Statement of Financial Position (also known as the “Balance Sheet”) are responsible for reconciling and reviewing the account balances. Verification of asset and liability account balance reconciliation is a key control over financial reporting at the university.
Purpose of Balance Sheet Account Balance Reconciliation Attestation
The purpose of Balance Sheet account balance reconciliation attestation is to verify that the Attestation Owner has reviewed account balance reconciliations for all asset and liability accounts under their authority, and that to the best of the Attestation Owner’s knowledge, the following conditions have been met:
- All activity within the awards in this account is appropriate and reasonable for the purpose of the accounts.
- Appropriate controls are in place for the awards within the accounts listed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of the reconciliation.
- If unusual activity was found, the Attestation Owner has noted and reported it as requiring further review.
- The reconciliation is complete.
- The account balance is accurate and appropriate (or adjustments have been identified and will be made in the next accounting period).
- The Balance Sheet account balance reconciliation is supported by appropriate documentation.
Attestation Process and Procedure
Account balances on Stanford’s Statement of Financial Position are certified quarterly. During this process, Attestation Owners certify asset and liability account balances under their authority by responding to an email survey with the subject: Your Attestation is Due.
For further information on Stanford’s reconciliation and attestation process, refer to:
- How To: Review Balance Sheet Account Balance Reconciliations and Submit Attestations
- Resource: Balance Sheet Account Balance Reconciliation and Attestation Roles and Responsibilities
- Resource: Balance Sheet Account Balance Reconciliation and Attestation Schedule
- Administrative Guide Policy 3.8.1: Account Balance Reconciliation and 3.8.2: Account Balance Attestation.
FMS Independent Review of Department Balance Sheet Account Balance Reconciliations
Each quarter, Financial Management Services (FMS) selects a sample of Balance Sheet account balance reconciliations to review for compliance with university policies. University departments are required to submit the selected reconciliation(s) to FMS.
FMS will review the selected reconciliations for certain criteria, including verifying that:
- Reconciliations were completed and reviewed on a timely basis.
- Reconciliations were supported with sufficient documentation.
- A quarterly Attestation Form was submitted to FMS for the selected account balance(s).
At the conclusion of the review, FMS will provide a report summarizing the results of the review to each selected university department.