Campus Foundations

Audit Guidance

State University of New York
Office of the University Auditor
Audit Guidance
Campus-Based Foundations

This list of items, along with the SUNY Campus-Related Foundation Guidelines, should be used to ensure the foundation’s internal controls are adequate.

Governance – The foundation board should meet regularly and maintain minutes showing the items discussed and actions taken.  The board should approve the foundation’s strategic plan, annual budget, periodic fiscal reports, audited financial statements, and charges to the president’s discretionary account.

Written Policies and Procedures - Policies and procedures should be developed and kept current for all key business functions including cash receipts and disbursements, investments, payroll, purchasing, inventory, accounting and reporting, conflict of interest transactions, etc.

Allowable Expenses – Examples of expenses that are permissible, including those from the president’s discretionary accounts, should be clearly communicated in the foundation’s policies.  For any allowable expense, a brief description of how these types of expenses are for the benefit of the campus should be provided.

Approvals – Foundations must clearly document the approval process for expenses.  In addition, the foundation should consider establishing a threshold amount when expenses require the approval of the board or a committee of the board.

Documentation and Record Keeping - Records must be maintained to document the business purpose or benefit to the campus for each expense. Documentation for food and other expenses for meetings, luncheons, dinners, conferences, and fundraising events should include an original detailed invoice, the names of attendees, the business or campus related purpose, and a copy of the flyer or agenda for the event.  In addition, detailed receipts and invoices must be maintained to support all expenses on the monthly credit card statements.

CPA Management Letter - As part of the audit of the financial statements, the foundation should require the independent auditor to provide a management letter outlining any recommendations for improvements.

Required Reporting – Foundations should file all required reports in a timely manner including Forms 990, 1099, W-2, and 941 (Internal Revenue Service), CHAR500 (New York State Attorney General), and any other required reports.  The foundation also needs to ensure certain benefits such as personal use of an automobile are properly accounted for and recorded.

Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) Compliance – Foundations that are writing CGAs must register with the NYS Insurance Department as required by Section 1110 of NYS Insurance Department code and must also meet the annual filing requirements in certain cases.

For additional information, please contact the Office of the University Auditor at 518-320-1533 or or SUNY System Administration’s Internal Control Officer at 518-320-1439.

Expenses That Should Be Addressed in the Foundation’s Policy:


University Policies and Procedures

NYS Attorney General - Internal Control and Financial Accountability

NYS Education Department – Statement on the Governance Role of a Trustee or Board Member

NYS Insurance Department – Charitable Gift Annuities

University Audit