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The Accountability Document (AD) is completed so that specimen signature(s) of all grant/contract appovers and delegates are documented for audit purposes. The AD outlines the responsibilities of all relevant parties involved in the financial administration of research grants/contracts, as outlined below.

Responsibilities of Research Grant/Contract Stakeholders

Cost Centre Owner/Principal Investigator

  • Overall financial management of their research projects.
  • Initiate and approve all transactions related to their research projects.
  • In cases where researchers may draw remuneration in conformance with the terms and condition of the grant or contract, the Employee Transaction Form must be approved by a dean or Office of the Vice President, Research and Innovation.
  • Ensures that all expenditures comply with University policies and procedures (including ethics, procurement policies and procedures, reimbursement of expenses, and human resources policies and procedures) as well as funding agency requirements, policies and procedures, ensuring all expenditures are in accordance with funding agency requirements.
  • Monitor and review on a regular basis (at least monthly) all financial transactions that have been processed through their research grants and contracts, and communicate discrepancies or errors to Research Accounting, Payroll, General Accounting or Accounts Payable immediately.
  • Ensure that sufficient funds are available to fund all expenditures (supplier invoices, payroll charges, claims for reimbursement of expenses, and all other expenses associated with the project).
  • Demonstrate accountability and responsibility for all deficits resulting from over-expenditures, expenses deemed ineligible by the research sponsor and for failure of the researcher to comply with the rules and regulations of the funding agency and/or York policies.
  • Ensure that the research project is undertaken consistent with the contractual terms of the grant or contract.

Research Accounting

  • Creates cost centres upon authorization from the Office of Research Services (ORS)
  • Provides financial consulting services and assists in resolution of financial issues associated with various grants and contracts
  • Prepares all financial reports and invoices for submission to funding agencies
  • Liaises with funding agencies to obtain clarification and resolve issues

Procurement Services

  • Manages the University's procurement process
  • Ensures acquisitions are compliant with internal and external procurement policies and legislation, including granting agency requirements
  • Issues Purchase Orders upon receipt of authorized purchasing requisitions
  • Reviews all requests for non-competitive procurement and validates fair market value in advance of issuing a Purchase Order
  • Reviews conflict of interest declarations and presents recommendation to Vice-President Finance and Administration, for consideration

Accounts Payable

  • Reviews and processes claims for reimbursement, accountable advances and payments to vendors to ensure compliance with agency and York policies and procedures
  • Processes payments and issues cheques


  • Processes time sheets and Employee Transaction Forms (ETF) submitted by the dean's office of the hiring Faculty
  • Approves all tolerances in the event that an over commitment of funds is necessary (prior written approval from the dean's office is required)

Delegated Signing Authority

The Principal Investigator has overall financial oversight of the grant/contract. For operational efficiency the PI may choose to delegate signing authority to other full-time University staff to approve expenditures against a grant or contract, with the exception of travel claims that require one over one approval. In addition, all travel claims regardless of who travels require sign off by the dean or chair.

To assign a delegate to a cost centre the PI is required to:

  1. Have the individual read and complete an Accountability Document (AD)
  2. Sign and remit the AD to Research Accounting who then adds the delegate to the research cost centre

The delegate does not have fiduciary responsibility of the funds, this remains with the PI. In addition, delegates are not permitted to sub-delegate any authority.

It is the responsibility of the PI to advise Research Accounting of any delegation which is to be cancelled/added. Notification of new delegates must be accompanied with a new signed Accountability Document.