Learn about Roles and Responsibilities
Staff managing international activity from the U.S. or in the host country have financial responsibilities, such as:
- Planning for expenditures (i.e., preparing budgets) in conjunction with the finance staff;
- Monitoring expenditures against program budgets;
- Ensuring that program expenditures are allowable and are allocated to the correct line items and project codes; and
- Ensuring that personnel expenses, as documented in effort reporting, are charged to the appropriate funding sources.
The assignment of individual duties related to these responsibilities should be determined by the size and type of the program and the financial risks involved.
Overarching financial responsibilities must also be integrated throughout the structure that supports any international operation including host country management, university departments, and central resources in New York.
Staff based in the host country have the responsibility of understanding and complying with all applicable policies and procedures and for notifying the appropriate staff (their supervisor, their respective administrative staff, or central University staff) regarding questions, barriers to compliance, or administrative areas that appear to be missing guidance.
In general terms:
- Overall responsibility for the financial management of the international program rests with the in-country Project Director or Country Lead, who serves as Chief Administrative Officer (CAO);
- Individual programs are managed by the Principal Investigators (PI), coordinating with the CAO on financial management processes; and
- The CAO and, as applicable, the PI must ensure appropriate handling of the funds although the CAO and PI may delegate responsibility for the day-to-day financial management of a particular grant, gift, or other funding sources to others within the international program.
The first point of contact for host country-based staff will most commonly be the department's U.S.-based administrative staff. Procedures should clarify and confirm communication protocols.
Administrators based in the U.S. directly supporting the international activity are also responsible for understanding and complying with applicable policies and procedures and play a key role in facilitating communication and feedback between the host country and U.S. based staff. Administrative staff will often have a role in authorizing certain transactions and in these instances should be clear on requirements for providing authorization.
Please refer to the Departmental Authorization Function (DAF) Policy for further details.
Columbia central administrators are responsible for assisting units in the development, updating, and circulation of program procedures for adherence to University policy.
Please note: Department or international program policies and procedures can be stricter that University policies, but never less strict.