Frequently Asked Questions

Internal Audit adds value by responding to internal control questions. You may call the Internal Audit Department direct at 517-355-5030 if you have a specific question and we will either answer your question or refer you to the proper department to answer your question.

Listed below are some frequently asked questions we have received:

1. How long should I keep accounting records?

Answer: The Internal Audit Department does not make record retention decisions. We refer you to the University Archives and Historical Collections website. When internal audit performs an audit of an area, we typically look at the last 18 months of activity; however, this is not a record retention period since there are regulatory, legal, and operational reasons for maintaining records for longer periods of time.

2. What is meant by segregation of duties?

Answer: In order to help protect the University from fraudulent activities, an appropriate level of segregation of duties should be instituted. This means separating the responsibility for key processes between multiple individuals to maintain some checks and balances. An example of this would be to have different people receive, deposit, and record cash.

3. What is the process for travel approvals and reimbursements?

Answer: All University Travel should be preapproved by someone administratively senior to the person who will be traveling. Each reimbursement should be appropriately documented. This would include a copy of the conference agenda, an original lodging receipt, and appropriate business meal receipts (identifying attendees and purpose). For additional information see the Business Procedures Manual.

4. How should fund ledger reconciliations be documented?

Answer: Appropriate evidence (such as initials, check marks or other marks) indicating the fund ledger has been reconciled to appropriate documents should exist. Follow-up should be conducted for any unusual items.

5. How many hours can students work?

Answer: Any electronically approved timesheets need supporting detail of the hours worked. U.S. citizens and permanent residents cannot work over 29 hours per week, while International students cannot work over 20 hours per week. Students may work up to 40 hours per week during summer semester, periods between semesters, registration week and finals week. Refer to the Student Employment Manual for more details.

6. How do I acknowledge a conflict of interest?

Answer: A conflict of interest is a relationship (meaning connection between persons, hereinafter referred to as "relatives," by blood, marriage, adoption, domestic partnership, or other personal relationship in which objectivity might be impaired) to another individual employed by the University. A Conflict of Interest in Employment form is required when “relatives” are under a single Common Unit Code or under the same supervisor. A Conflict of Interest in Employment form should be received and approved by the appropriate Human Resources office prior to a job offer and updated annually with any changes. If the relationship develops after employment occurs, a Conflict of Interest in Employment form should be completed. In addition, "relatives" should not participate in roles which have the potential for influencing employment decisions, e.g., peer review.

A conflict of interest is any financial interest or other opportunity for tangible personal benefit that may compromise, or reasonably appear to compromise, the independence of judgment with which the employee performs his/her responsibilities at the University. The circumstances should be disclosed to their supervisor, Purchasing and the Faculty Conflict of Interest Information Officer, if applicable.

7. What can I do to safeguard my assets?

Answer: University assets should be appropriately restricted. This would include locking up cash and providing limited access to computers and the information contained therein. Access should be removed upon termination.

8. What should I do to backup my computer?

Answer: Multiple technology solutions are available for backing up systems and data; users should work with their technology departments to develop a process that ensures critical data is recoverable in the event of a disaster or primary data loss. The process should include a regular backup schedule, off-site storage, backup data being readily available, and recovery testing. Backup data should be stored at a location not adjacent to the original site.

9. What should I do if I suspect an employee is committing fraud or violating MSU policies and procedures?

Answer: Internal Audit recommends first notifying a supervisor if possible, and then calling the Internal Audit Department, or the University’s external hotline. Refer to the MSU Manual of Business Procedures Misconduct Guidelines for more information on the hotline.

10. What is MSU’s process for handling cash?

Answer: Section 15 of the MSU Manual of Business Procedures explains the process for cash deposits. This manual can be found at Cash should never be held for more than two weeks.