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Policy 205

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Vanderbilt University - Office of Financial Affairs
Policy 205: Responsibilities of Division Fiscal Officers


To describe the role and responsibilities of Division Fiscal Officers related to University Central cost centers.




A Division Fiscal Officer is a person designated to have delegated budget and fiscal monitoring responsibility for a major University division such as a college. For example, within an academic area, the fiscal authority typically is delegated from the Chancellor to the Provost and, in turn, through the respective Dean to a Division Fiscal Officer (DFO). This general structure, however, would not prevent fiscal authority remaining solely with the Provost or a Dean if he or she were to so choose.

Key to this designation is the term "division." A division is a high-level grouping of related cost centers, e.g., a college, that in many (though not all) cases equates to all of the cost centers having the same second and third digits of the M&D general ledger cost center number. In the exception cases, a finer "cut" has been made such that the same division code (second and third digits of the M&D cost center) is "shared" by multiple divisions.

Even if the aforementioned exceptions did not exist, there is no mechanism within the University's present general ledger accounting system to easily record information on who (e.g., names and contact information) is assigned as DFO for a particular division.

Therefore, the Office of Accounting presently maintains a manual listing of DFOs. The most recent listing of DFOs (Excel file) is available by calling the Office of Financial Affairs. Over time, this listing of DFOs may be integrated into a "top down" organizational approval hierarchy established for web access to labor data application.

Besides general fiscal and budgetary oversight, the Division Fiscal Officer has specific responsibility to:

  1. If so desired, explicitly designate an individual, known as Center Fiscal Reviewer, to be conduct a periodic review (at least monthly) of paper or electronic ledger reports of one or more applicable cost centers (i.e., those within the division) to ensure the propriety of transactions and balances.

    The DFO remains responsible to ensure this review is regularly conducted.
  2. Specify which individuals have selective authority to approve individual expenditure-related transactions on a regular, ongoing basis, e.g., sign documents such as purchase requisitions, demand check requests, Position Management Forms (PMFs), Personnel Action Forms (PAFs), etc. Persons receiving such delegated authority are known as Additional Authorized Signers.

In the case of an academic unit, for example, the Division Fiscal Officer, as well as the Provost and applicable Dean, all retain implicit authority to also approve fiscal transactions for applicable cost centers within the unit.


  1. The Division Fiscal Officer may (but does not have to) designate a Center Fiscal Reviewer for each cost center in the division. Documentation for such designations is maintained by each DFO.
  2. Vanderbilt's accounting and information system capabilities presently also allow for designating additional information:
    1. "Send to" name and address information to facilitate physical delivery of monthly paper ledger reports, e.g., to go directly to the Center Fiscal Reviewer; and
    2. Up to four VUnet IDs for individuals to be granted security to access electronic financial data (reports) via the World Wide Web.
    The DFO may communicate updates / changes in the (a) "send to" designation for applicable cost centers in the general ledger and/or (b) VUNet IDs for electronic access via an e-mail to the Office of Financial Affairs.
  3. The Division Fiscal Officer designates Additional Authorized Signer(s) by applicable area on Form 205-2 (Designation of Additional Authorized Signers).

Cross References

Policy 211 provides information on roles responsibilities of Authorized Signers.
Policy 215 provides information on roles responsibilities of Center Fiscal Reviewers.

Related Forms

Form 205-1 Not used.
Form 205-2 Signature Authorization Delegation for University Central.

Effective Date

Effective: June 2002 Last Revised: July 2002