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Entering an Invoice Requiring Supplemental Approval

By Earl Alexander,2014-05-16 04:20
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Entering an Invoice Requiring Supplemental Approval

    SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVAL

The University’s Travel & Business expense policies apply to employees, students and

    non-employees in all Schools and Departments around the University. From time to time,

    certain business needs and special situations may necessitate departure from the

    guidelines provided by policy. When there is a business purpose for the expense and a

    legitimate cause for departure, currently, departments must write detailed formal

    exception memos for approval by Accounts Payable. Accounts Payable must judge the

    circumstances surrounding the departure or exception and deem its appropriateness to the

    University’s Travel & Business expense policies.

For a specified list of common circumstances, Accounts Payable will now rely on the

    approval from an individual designated as the “Supplemental Approver” to authorize the

    exception. To further streamline payment processing, Accounts Payable will rely on this

    approval when reviewing the voucher. The individual requesting exception would

    document the circumstances surrounding the policy departure and provide the

    department with sufficient explanation for the Supplemental Approver to evaluate the

    situation. The Supplemental Approver would evaluate the situation and either approve

    or deny.

All policy exceptions not listed as eligible for Supplemental Approval, or any requests for

    exception of amounts that exceed the thresholds allowable for Supplemental Approval

    (i.e., meal that are more than 50% over the policy guideline), still require a formal written

    exception request for evaluation of approval by Accounts Payable.

BACKGROUND

The revised Travel & Business expense policies (effective October 1, 2006) were

    developed in collaboration with administrators from schools, academic departments, the

    Medical Center and central administrative departments. Their feedback during these

    sessions indicated two issues:

    - An abundance of exception memos submitted to AP with Travel & Business expense

    vouchers.

    - The lack of authority of senior officers within Schools/Departments, with knowledge

    of the situation and financial concerns, to approve or deny these expenses, and the

    lack of visibility of these exceptions to this group.

It may be that the nature of an expense, the location of a purchase, or a circumstance

    outside the employee’s control contributes to a reasonable and necessary request for

    exception. The formal exception memo often states the obvious, requiring additional

    time from the employee, departmental processor, the approver and AP, and not adding

    value to the process. In addition, the current system relies on AP to make judgment

    about these types of situations. This authority should appropriately reside in those

    leading a School/Department, having close understanding of their employees, business

    needs, financial health and budgetary constraints.

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    The Supplemental Approver now retains this authority, and AP will rely on this when reviewing payments. As the Supplemental Approver is a more senior financial officer of the department, it also increases visibility to these policy departures to allow these officers to better monitor and manage these exceptions.

DESIGNATING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVER

Supplemental approvers represent a small group of senior officers of a

    School/Department. They are responsible for the administrative and financial leadership of their academic or administrative unit and can determine the appropriateness of expenses and exceptions in compliance with policy.

    Supplemental Approvers may include a Dean, VP, Associate Dean or other Senior Financial Officer, as delegated. This may vary by School or Department, depending the size and organizational structure.

    When approving transactions, individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all cases responsible to verify the business need for the exception and the propriety of the exception in compliance with the Supplemental Approver and Travel & Business expense policies. Individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all instances ultimately responsible for the approval decision.

Supplemental Approver authorization may only be delegated by the DAF/FFE

    Administrator to senior officers of a School or Department, considering what is necessary within the scope of the employee’s responsibilities, and ensuring that they meet the

    intentions as set for in this guide.

    The authority for Supplemental Approvers will be maintained in the DAF file. AP/CAR will present the appropriate departmental supplemental approvers based on this information.

    Initially, Accounts Payable will work with Schools/Departments to identify the Supplemental Approvers. Accounts Payable, in concert with Financial Reporting and Operations, will have the designated Supplemental Approvers set up in the DAF file. Any future requests for addition, modification or deletion of this access can be submitted on the DAF form. Once Schools/Departments are handling their own administration of DAF authorization, “Supplemental Approval” will be an option for the DAF/FFE

    Administrator to select.

CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRING SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVAL

    As designated by the Travel & Business Expense Policies, Accounts Payable will rely on the Supplemental Approver’s signature for approval of the items listed below.

    All policy exceptions not listed as eligible for Supplemental Approval, or any requests for exception of amounts that exceed the thresholds allowable for Supplemental Approval

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(i.e., meal that are more than 50% over the policy guidelines), still require a formal

    written exception request for evaluation of approval by Accounts Payable.

    Reminder: Departments may have policies that are more restrictive and take precedence. Also, segregation is still required as indicated by the Travel & Business Expense policies.

Transportation/Travel

    ? First or business class travel by air (flights in excess of 5 hours or medical need).

    ? First or business class travel by rail/bus (not including Amtrak’s Acela train).

    ? Lodging exceeding the thresholds ($350 per night domestic and $400 (US dollars)

    per night international) by no more than 50%.

    ? Appreciation given for lodging in a private residence.

    ? Short-term rental accommodations.

    ? Reimbursed travel extended beyond the minimum days required for business

    purposes.

    ? Required travel by an employee’s spouse, significant other and/or dependent

    (Note: May be taxable)

    Meals

    ? Meals exceeding the per meal thresholds ($25 breakfast, $35 lunch, $50 dinner)

    by no more than 50%.

    ? Meals (fundraising, recruitment, speaking engagements) involving external

    parties exceeding the per person threshold of $100 (excluding tips and taxes) by

    no more than 50%.

    ? Use of per diems on non-grant accounts.

    ? Meals that require attendance by an employee’s spouse, significant other, and/or

    dependent.

    ? Expenses for meals or entertainment conducted in private homes.

    Entertainment

    ? Expenses for meals or entertainment conducted in private homes.

    ? Entertainment expenses to be reimbursed in excess of $1,000.

    ? Rental of clothing for an event.

    ? Entertainment expenses for employee events in excess of $500.

    Gifts

    ? A business performance or “de minimus” gift to an employee exceeding the gift

    threshold of $100 by no more than 50%. (Note: Item is taxable)

    ? A years of service/retirement gift to an employee exceeding the gift threshold of

    $400 by no more than 50%. (Note: Item is taxable)

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    ? A gift to a non-employee exceeding the gift threshold of $600 by no more than

    50%. (Note: Item is taxable)

    Other

    ? Purchases of emergency supplies, books, equipment in excess of $500.

    ? Issuance of a second travel advance before the first one has been reconciled.

    ? Reimbursements submitted more than 120 days after the date of the expense or

    after the end of the fiscal year (whichever is sooner). Please note that supporting

    documentation must include legitimate circumstances contributing to late

    submission in order to evaluate whether this is a taxable event.

    ? Missing receipt for expenses of $75 or more ($25 for meals), all lodging. Please

    note that supporting documentation must include missing receipt documentation

    to comply with IRS standards for reimbursement. This documentation may be a

    missing receipts form as provided by AP on our website or explanation of the date

    of purchase, vendor/location, items purchased, total purchase, and, if travel,

    origin/destination or class of travel.

THE ROLE OF ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

Accounts Payable will monitor the Supplemental Approval authority lists, and will

    review a weekly listing of employees that were newly created with this authority, to

    ensure the appropriate delegation of this authority in compliance with the policy.

Accounts Payable will monitor and review the types and frequency of the Supplemental

    Approvals on the Travel & Business Expense vouchers. In addition, if Accounts Payable

    identifies a possible taxation issue or if there are any circumstances that appear

    problematic for a non-profit organization, we may discuss with the appropriate

    departmental approver.

PROCESSING AND APPROVING IN AP/CAR

AP/CAR has been enhanced to accommodate the approval of the Supplemental Approver.

    This section provides detailed instructions for the processing and approval of vouchers in

    AP/CAR that require Supplemental Approval. It is organized in the following sections:

    ? Entering a Voucher Requiring Supplemental Approval

    o Electronic Approval

    o Manual Approval

    ? Approving a Voucher Requiring Supplemental Approval

    o Electronic Approval

    ? Rejecting a Voucher Requiring Supplemental Approval

    ? Additional notes if approving as both the Supplemental Approver

    and DAF

    ? Manual Approval

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    ? DAF Approving a Voucher Requiring Supplemental Approval

    o Additional notes for the DAF and processor if a rejection requires editing

    of the Supplemental Approval reasons

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Entering a Voucher Requiring Supplemental Approval

    Once logged into AP/CAR, on the “Pending Invoices” screen, select Invoice, and from that drop down list, select “New Invoice”.

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Create a new voucher for the Travel & Business Expense payment.

    ? Select a vendor that is set up for payment of Travel & Business Expenses.

    ? Enter the Invoice Number, Gross Amount, Invoice Date.

    ? If necessary, select any of the special handling options on the right side of the

    screen.

    ? Click on the “Account Distributions” tab, select “Add” to allocate the total

    voucher expenses to the proper FAS account(s).

    ? Enter the FAS account number and subcode and the amount of the voucher that is

    being allocated to that account distribution. Select “New” to add FAS

    accounts/subcodes.

For further details about entering a voucher, see the AP/CAR Users Guide at:

    http://www.finance.columbia.edu/procurement/ap/processing_payments/entering_invoice

    .html

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Select “Designate Approver”. A pop up box will appear asking whether the voucher

    requires Supplemental Approval.

If the voucher does not require Supplemental Approval, answer “No” and you will

    continue with the designation of the DAF approver.

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If the voucher does require Supplemental Approval, answer “Yes” and the next screen

    will require you to identify the reason(s) that are eligible for Supplemental Approval in

    accordance with the policy.

At this point, if you determine the voucher does not require Supplemental Approval,

    deselect (uncheck) the box next to “Require Supplemental Approval” and click “Close”.

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If the voucher does require Supplemental Approval, you should select the reason(s) that

    pertain to the expense report. To select one or more reasons, double click on the small

    box on the left hand side, which will then place a check mark in the box (later will

    change to an asterisk as you select more than one). Once you have selected all reasons,

    click “Close” to proceed to designate a Supplemental Approver.

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