Control of Financial Resources
The University has a comprehensive budgeting process as part of its strategic planning process, and all budget decisions are based upon items identified within the strategic plan. It is the Budget Director's responsibility to prepare a balanced budget each fiscal year once final recommendations are approved by the budget committee, which includes the President, all the vice presidents, the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Budget Director. In the event there are mid-year adjustments required by changes in state appropriations and/or changes in self-generated revenue, the Budget Director works in concert with the President and the vice presidents in order to keep the budget in balance. The University has been fortunate in recent years as there have not been any mid-year reductions in state appropriations since 1992; all mid-year adjustments have been due to the allocation of additional resources. Additional resources are allocated in the same manner as the original budget is developed, adhering to the strategic goals of the University, as outlined in its strategic plan.
In 1984, Southeastern designed and implemented an integrated accounting and budgetary control system known as Financial Information System (FIS). In fall 2000 the University replaced its outdated COBOL administrative system with the enterprise-wide PeopleSoft software. This web-based system includes a comprehensive human resources/payroll module, as well as a comprehensive student information system. The Human Resources/Payroll modules are the backbone for providing appropriate control over the University's financial resources relating to personnel services.
The budgetary control system implemented in 1984 incorporates budgeting, requisition encumbrance, purchase order encumbrances, and expenditures. Budgets are entered by department, at the appropriate character and object level of accounting. Once established, each expenditure account maintains funds available for expenditures. As requisitions are submitted and entered into the system, a validation check is made to verify that the account code has sufficient funds in order to process the transaction to the next level. If sufficient funds are not available, the department is requested to take corrective action before the transaction continues. Departments have the capability to make budget adjustments, which the system controls, ensuring the budget remains in balance. The use of personnel savings or increases in budget must receive approval of the appropriate vice president, as well as the Vice President for Administration and Finance. All account information is available electronically, allowing the department access to real time budgetary/expenditure data involving its accounts.
The implementation of PeopleSoft gives the University a true position-control function within its Human Resources system. This allows the University to exercise additional budgetary control over the personnel section of the budget. Since personnel costs are the largest portion of the University's budget, additional controls have been put in place in order to ensure that only approved positions, at appropriate salary levels, are advertised and filled. The University is required to complete a Certification and Justification Form for each unclassified/professional/faculty position before it is advertised. As indicated in the University's employment procedures, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Provost, and the President must approve the request, and the University of Louisiana System staff provides an additional approval before advertisement begins.
Financial Statements (2001, 2002, 2003) are prepared annually by the University and are audited by the Legislative Auditor's Office of the State of Louisiana as a major component unit of the University of Louisiana System (State of Louisiana Single Audit, 2003, University of Louisiana System Basic Financial Statements and Independent Auditor's Report, 2003, University of Louisiana System Basic Financial Statements and Independent Auditor's Report, 2002). As with most audits, the Legislative Auditors do not make positive assurances with respect to internal controls regarding the safe guarding of assets. However, should the auditors identify weaknesses in the internal control system, it is so noted in their report. In the 2003 University Management Letter, the external auditors reported that the University's Financial Statements disclosed no reportable conditions relating to internal control over the financial reporting.
Southeastern maintains a strong internal audit function. The Office of Internal Audit has one director and two staff auditors. The Director reports directly to the President and work closely with the University of Louisiana System Internal Auditor. It is the responsibility of this office to conduct routine audits and reviews of campus operations, focusing primarily on internal control and managerial functions. As required by the University of Louisiana System Internal Audit Charter, the Internal Auditor is responsible for creating an Annual Audit Plan with input provided by the President, Vice Presidents and the System Internal Auditor. Both the Audit Plan for the 2003-2004 year and
the results of that Plan are available for review. The Audit Plan for the 2004-2005 fiscal year has been developed and is also available for review. Documentation of all internal audits may be found in the Office of Internal Audit and these documents are reviewed by the Legislative Auditor as a part of the Auditor's annual engagement.
Southeastern's capitalization level for movable property such as furniture, laboratory equipment, information technology, etc. is $5,000 for financial statement purposes. However, the University maintains control over all non-consumable movable property with an original acquisition cost of $1,000 or more, as required by state regulations administered by the Louisiana Property Assistance Agency (§307). The property control officer for Southeastern reports to the Vice President for Administration and Finance through the Director of Purchasing and Property Control. It is the responsibility of this department to inventory and record all such property within 60 days of receipt of goods on campus. Southeastern's policies and procedures regarding property management are published on the Property Control web site. In addition, the Louisiana Property Assistance Agency provides approval of the Certification of Annual Property Inventory regarding moveable property.
Control of Physical Resources
Southeastern maintains accountability control over its land and buildings with an inventory-monitoring system through the State of Louisiana, Division of Administration, Facility Planning and Control. The University's Department of Facility Planning works in conjunction with the State office to ensure that all land and buildings are appropriately accounted for within the State system. In addition, in 2000 Southeastern contracted the services of T.C. Spangler, Jr., a local civil engineer, to conduct a review of all the University's property records (Historical Research of Physical Development of Southeastern Louisiana University) maintained in Tangipahoa Parish. This was to assist the University in confirming the accuracy of the inventory maintained by the state, as well as the possibility of identifying any encumbrances on those lands, i.e., servitude, right of ways, etc.
The University maintains, electronically, a facilities inventory as part of its PeopleSoft systems database. This information is reported annually to the Louisiana Board of Regents. The building data summary reference provides additional facilities information including building construction and/or renovation dates, gross square footage, net assignable square footage, building cost, and types of space maintained within the building. In order to ensure that the University uses its facilities in an optimal manner, a Space Management Policy was created.
The day-to-day maintenance and repair of University facilities and grounds are the responsibility of the Physical Plant Department. In order to assist with the appropriate accounting of repair and maintenance to facilities, the University uses a software system known as MP2. MP2 allows Physical Plant to follow-up on current contracts with various service organizations; track and issue standing preventative maintenance work orders; and accept individual work orders from students, faculty, and staff via the telephone or through an online work order entry system.
In addition, the Director of Safety and Hazardous Materials Management, working in conjunction with the Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, has designated building coordinators for each building on campus. Building coordinators assist in completing Quarterly Building Inspections in order to identify and report any problems to Physical Plant personnel and the campus safety officer for corrective action. Repairs identified as the correction of safety problems, continuity of utility services, and operational requirements are given first priority by Physical Plant. Preventative maintenance work orders are scheduled and completed by Physical Plant when resources are available. Other maintenance, repair, and minor new construction projects that cannot be facilitated by the Physical Plant (due to limited resources) may be outsourced and completed by contract.
The State Department of Facility Planning and Control administers all new construction projects over $350,000. The Facility Planning Department on campus works closely with the State Department to ensure that all new construction activities are in accordance with the appropriate plan and contract documents. The University's Office of Facility Planning coordinates construction, planning, and specifications with Physical Plant, the University of Louisiana System, the State Department of Facility Planning and Control, and the State Fire Marshal to ensure that the plans meet fire safety and building code requirements, as well as the standards put in place for construction by the University.
The Office of Safety and Hazardous Materials Management administers a number of safety programs including fire safety, hazardous chemical storage/labeling, disposal, radiation safety and other regulations which may be outlined by the city, state, or federal compliance agencies. This department is also responsible for publishing the University's Safety Manual, conducting periodic inspections of campus buildings and facilities through the building coordinators, maintaining a reference library for various safety and environmental regulations, as well as coordinating routine safety training and driver education training, as required by the Office of Risk Management.
The University Police Department is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all persons and property on the Southeastern campus. This includes, but is not limited to, crime prevention, traffic and parking control, criminal investigations, and first response to all emergency situations that occur on campus. Routine building checks are conducted after normal business hours to ensure all buildings are secure for the evening, and entries of these checks are recorded in the Building Security Check Log maintained by the Department's dispatchers. The Department is composed of a Director and 24 police officers (including a criminal investigator), commissioned by the State Department of Public Safety. Additional personnel include four radio dispatchers, three clerical personnel, and three parking enforcement officers.
Building security is further maintained by the three locksmiths employed by Physical Plant. It is their responsibility to make, issue, and track all building keys for the University. Recently, Physical Plant received funds for a pilot project to roll out a card access control system.