Accounts Payable Frequently Asked Questions
REQUISITIONS AND CONTRACTS
When is a Requisition needed?
Requisition (REQ) is needed in GMS for purchases over $500 in order for a purchase order (PO) to be issued. Requisitions are also required and must be approved before any contract can be approved and signed.
Who can sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Contract on behalf of the University?
Contracts that involve GU and another party are to be signed by the University VP Finance, the Chief Procurement Officer OR the VP for Tax. Please see University policy #FA127A. There are no authorized signatories at the Law Center.
When is a contract required and when can I just use my ProCard?
The general guidance for when a contract is required is summarized in the Procurement Matrix located on the main campus OCFO website. Please review periodically as there may be updates. As a general best practice, the ProCard should be used for small dollar value purchases that do not require financial approval and would have little impact or risk to the University if the goods are defective and/or not received. On a ProCard the money is essentially “spent” when the card is swiped, it is very difficult for the University to recover funds or withhold payment once the transaction is posted. If you are dissatisfied with your purchase, there is more leverage for recourse when goods and services are procured via the contracting process.
Is there a way to speed up the contracting process?
Contracts are reviewed and approved by main campus for the entire university through a centralized process and are typically processed in the order that they are received. Planning ahead is one step to assist with a smooth and expedited process. Another way to prevent delays in the process is to be sure that the contract submission is complete and accurate. Although not required, you are encouraged to use University contract templates. University templates ensure a more expedient process as the terms do not need additional legal review. Supplier terms may require a more stringent review, which can add to the review and approval timeline.
How do I submit my contract package for signature and what should be included?
Contract packet should be saved as a .pdf and emailed to email@example.com. Please include the following:
- Cover/Instruction sheet
- Terms (University’s or vendor’s) – when using the University terms, please be sure to fill out the Overview of Services, the contract dates and the total contract amount.
- Invoice or Statement of Work
- Certificate of Insurance listing the University as an additional insured or insurance waiver (if applicable)
Bids (if applicable) or in limited situations a Sole Source justification
- Other documents, depending on the contract type – Tax Questionnaire, UIS Checklist, Customer Information Addendum, Transportation Addendum, etc.
When do I need a contract Amendment and when should I request one?
A contract amendment is required if you are increasing the amount, extending the length or changing the current scope of work of an existing contract. The amendment must be submitted before the existing agreement ends or you will have to initiate a new contract.
Can I submit an expense reimbursement request for a personal expense?
No, personal expenses are not reimbursable by the University. Please review the University Travel and Expense Policy and be sure that all charges submitted are allowable and eligible for reimbursement.
Can I prepare an expense report for a colleague or supervisor?
Yes, if you have been delegated the expense preparer role in GMS by that individual. Please verify that you are creating the expense report for the proper person in GMS (Self) – by selecting “create expense report” or as a delegate for someone else – by selecting “create expense report for worker”.
Are there different types of expense reports that should be submitted in GMS?
Yes, there are three. The expense report type will be determined by the method of payment as noted below. For clarity in the review process, please do not combine expense reimbursement requests with University credit card or ProCard expense reconciliation reports.
- Expense Reimbursement – out of pocket cash or business expenses paid with a personal credit card should be submitted within thirty days of being incurred.
- University Credit Card Reconciliation – Travel related charges billed to the University “ghost card on file” should be submitted within thirty days of the last day of travel or the conference/meeting end date.
- ProCard Expense Reconciliation – Allowable business expenses that are incurred during the monthly ProCard billing cycle. The cycle ends on the 20th of the month and should be submitted as one, per card holder per billing cycle.
What is the difference between the “Expense Report Date” and the “Expense Line Date”?
The “Expense Report Date” is completed in the expense header and should always be the last day/date the expenses were incurred (if covering several days). This determines the period in which the transaction will be posted on the University’s financial reports. The “Expense Line Date” is completed at the transaction level and must reflect the date the expense was incurred and match documentation that is provided.
What is a detailed University business purpose for the expenses?
Your detailed university business purpose must answer the questions, who (first and last name), what, when, where, why. The purpose should provide enough details to the casual reviewer to justify the expense as an allowable business expense.
What is an acceptable receipt for expense reimbursement or ProCard reconciliation?
Please submit a legible, itemized receipt that includes proof of payment with the last four digits of the credit card. Order confirmations, which do not show proof of payment are not acceptable. If the receipt is not available, please include the credit card statement for reimbursement requests or a supervisor signed missing receipt form for ProCard reconciliations.
Can I use a ProCard or be reimbursed for home office supplies and technology purchases?
Yes, some purchases to improve your ability to work from home are allowable and reimbursable; however, please see specific guidance for purchasing office supplies, technology items and furnishings below. If you are not sure if the expense is allowable, please consult with Financial Affairs prior to incurring the expense.
- General office supplies should be purchased through the University Amazon and Staples punchout in GMS. If the punchouts are not used and items are purchased from these suppliers with a ProCard or personal credit card, a written approval from Tom Clark is required.
- IT hardware and software purchases require IST approval for system security and University asset tracking purposes in many cases. Financial Affairs has worked with Law IST to create an IST Purchase Approval Matrix. Although some items can be purchased on a ProCard or reimbursed, please review this approval matrix and consult with the IST Help Desk prior to purchasing any technology related items.
- Staff home office furniture purchases are not permitted, please obtain prior written approval from David Mao if there is a business need for the purchase.
What is required for mileage reimbursement calculations?
A Google Maps print out that shows the originating point and final destination should be included for mileage reimbursement requests. The current federal mileage rates are preloaded into GMS and will be calculated automatically based on the mileage entered. For monthly travel within the DC, MD and Northern VA jurisdiction a mileage log found here can be submitted.
What is covered as part of a travel per diem rate for meals and incidentals expense (M&IE)?
If you opt for reimbursement at a per diem rate the daily amounts vary per travel location and cover your meal and incidental expenses. This includes all meals, gratuities, fees, snacks and miscellaneous expenses incurred while on travel. You are not able to collect the daily per diem amounts and reimbursement for actual expenses.
What happens if my expense report is not submitted within 60 days of the expense being incurred?
Per the University Accountable Expense Reimbursement Policy and IRS guidelines, expense reports must be completed within 60 days to prevent tax being applied. Expense submissions or ProCard reconciliations will be returned to you by the Tax Department and you will be required to make a statement acknowledging the Policy.
INVOICES AND PAYMENTS
How can I make a vendor payment or pay an invoice?
In order for the University to make a payment, the payee/vendor needs to be registered as a supplier in GMS. All payments are made from the main campus accounts payable department.
Where should the supplier send the invoice?
All vendor invoices must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the PO number CLEARLY referenced on the invoice. For awareness and prompt receiving, we encourage you to be copied on all invoices sent to the main campus by your suppliers.
The goods and services have been received and the invoice has been sent. Do I need to do anything else to ensure prompt payment?
Yes, receipts must be created after the goods or services are received and match (or exceed) the invoice amount being submitted. Please remember to “receive the item” in GMS to trigger the payment of the invoice.
The vendor that I am using is registered in GMS as a university supplier, can I pay the invoice with my ProCard?
No, invoices from registered suppliers should be paid via a direct payment from the University with an approved requisition (REQ) and Purchase Order. This will minimize the likelihood of a duplicate payment and overpayment to the supplier. The University ProCard should be used for small dollar, point of sale and online transactions that do not necessarily require financial approval up front.
What causes a match exception in GMS?
A match exception occurs when the invoiced amount and the received amount do not match in GMS or the receipt has not been created. In most cases, the match exception can be resolved by creating a receipt in GMS. Clearing the match is required for a payment to be approved and initiated from the system.