Audit News

This is the ninth in a series of newsletter abstracts of audits to bring you up to date with what is happening in the Federal audit arena. Please note that there is a considerable lag between when an audit occurred and when the audit report is published.

Brandeis University Audit – September 6, 2007

Audit Agency: DHHS-OIG-Region I

Title: Review of Administrative and Clerical Costs at Brandeis University for Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005.

Objective: To determine whether the University claimed clerical and administrative costs and other direct costs under the terms and conditions of the HHS grant and contract awards and applicable Federal regulations.

Awards: A variety of awards and records were reviewed in a judgmental audit covering the period July1, 2003 through June 30, 2005.

Findings: Generally, the University claimed administrative salaries and wages in accordance with Federal and University requirements. However, it misclassified a total of $31,303 ($24,958 in other direct costs and $6,345 in related F&A costs) to NIH grants for books, subscriptions, and public relations costs that should have been included in its F&A charges. Although the University had appropriate policies for charging grants for direct and F&A costs, these procedures were not always followed or adequate, which resulted in the overcharge of $31,303. The costs disallowed were subscriptions to trade journals ($14,107),  text and reference books ($13,400), and other supplies used for parties to thank volunteers ($3,796).

Significance of Audit: As a judgmental audit, the results could not be applied to all of the awards for the period. It is difficult to tell if this was an isolated instance that applied to one department or administrative area or was widespread.

Lessons for Emory: The Federal government continues to audit secretarial and clerical salaries and wages and general administrative costs (section F (6) b of OMB Circular A-21). With the attention to these costs, Emory needs to be vigilant about what we charge to our grants and contracts.

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