Policy and Procedures for Purchasing and Payments During the Campus Shutdown

University P-Card
Wherever possible, the university encourages the use of your university p-card to make any necessary purchases.  If you have questions regarding the use of the p-card, please feel free to contact either Robin Kenefick (kenefickr1@southernct.edu) or Cynthia Shea-Luzik (shealuzikc1@southernct.edu).

Purchase Requisitions
The Procurement Services Department will still be accepting, and processing, purchase requisitions during this time.  In order to assist us in processing your request, please scan and e-mail your completed purchase requisition to Cynthia Shea-Luzik.

A Note about ACH Enrollment for Direct Deposit Payments
Direct Deposit is available for vendor, faculty, staff and student payments, e.g. reimbursements processed through Accounts Payable.

**This does not apply to Students Refunds. Students may sign up for Direct Deposit of their refunds through the MYSCSU Banner Web portal**

During the University closure, it is increasingly more difficult to process payments by check.  To help expedite payments through AP, we encourage all faculty, staff, students, and vendors to sign up for ACH (Direct Deposit) for all AP payments.  ACH is a safe, convenient method of payment by which funds will be automatically deposited into your bank account giving you faster access to your money.  By completing the enrollment form, authorization is given to SCSU to electronically deposit payments through the ACH process. All terms and conditions should be thoroughly reviewed. Confirmation of any payments made will be sent via a password-protected email. Funds will be available 1 to 2 business days after confirmation is received.  Once completed, the form should be sent to Accounts Payable by email to accountspayable@southernct.edu. Any questions can also be directed to this same email, which will be monitored closely.

The ACH form may be found on the Accounts Payable website by following this path or clicking this link -- https://www2.southernct.edu/offices/accounts-payable > Forms > ACH Payment Enrollment

Accounts Payable
This policy and procedures document is being issued to codify existing procedures related to the receipt of invoices and approvals received via email, and the expansion of these procedures during the Coronavirus campus shutdown.

Since the Office of the State Comptroller released Memorandum 2016-10, “Acceptance of vendor invoices submitted by email for payments against purchase orders”, the Accounts Payable Department has gradually accepted invoices from vendors via email if a vendor requested to do so. Likewise, scanned documents with handwritten approval signatures and some electronic signatures have been accepted from known individuals where other communication provided confirmation. These are allowed under State statutes, policies, and procedures; however, the University has not yet developed the technology to institute these protocols on a widespread basis.

Given the campus shutdown to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are expanding the use of online submission and approval of invoices.  Employees will be teleworking from home and the work of the university must continue. Once in place, it is expected that portions of the procedures stated here will be able to continue as a way of streamlining workflow. 

1.    Receipt of Vendor Invoices –
a.    Vendor invoices may be sent via email to the Accounts Payable mailbox at accountspayable@southernct.edu. These invoices will be forwarded to the appropriate approver for an approval reply.
b.    When vendor invoices are sent via email to another email address, the original email should be forwarded to Accounts Payable by the approver with their explicit approval in the accompanying email. Alternatively, the invoice may be printed, signed for approval, scanned, and reattached to the original email for forwarding.
c.    Paper invoices received via other methods may be signed for approval, scanned, and emailed to Accounts Payable. If the paper invoice and approver are not in the same physical location, the invoice may be scanned and sent to the approver, who will add their approval and forward the email to Accounts Payable.
d.    When a vendor invoice is received via email, Accounts Payable will consider the vendor invoice received on the date the email is received.

2.    Approval of Vendor Invoices for Payment –
a.    Invoices for services and projects without a Receiving Record in Banner or receiving documentation require an approval. (See Item 3 for information about receiving.) Invoices with Receiving documentation may be paid without a specific approval.
b.    Invoices may be approved with a manual signature, electronic signature, or email approval if there is enough specific information to link the approval to a specific invoice (e.g. vendor invoice is attached to the same email, an image is in the email, or the identifying information is typed in the email).
c.    As a reminder, existing policy does not allow for approval authority to be delegated by an Organization Financial Manager; the approval authority goes up to the appropriate VP when an approver is not available. If the division VP is not available, then another VP, EVP Rozewski, or the President may approve the invoice.  Additionally, all invoices and purchase requisitions over $5,000 will still require Provost/VP approval (as defined in the Essential Purchase Policy.)
d.    The requirements for when a purchasing document (i.e. purchase requisition, honorarium, PSA) is required are not being altered during this time. For questions pertaining to purchasing policies and procedures, please contact Cynthia Shea-Luzik.  A quick summary of requirements include:
i.    Honorarium – required for personal services up to $3,000.  
ii.    Personal services agreement – required for personal services above $3,000.
iii.    Purchase order – if it isn’t an honorarium or a personal services agreement, if you can’t buy it with your p-card, and if the personal reimbursements section below doesn’t apply to your circumstance, then a purchase order is required.  
e.    To avoid adding additional delay to the payment process, please ensure the proper purchasing process has been followed. Accounts Payable will still return invoices or contact the approver if an appropriate purchasing document does not exist to support payment.

3.    Receiving Documentation – Receiving information is required for purchased goods. In the event a Receiving Record cannot be entered in Banner, confirmation of receipt must still be provided before payment can be issued. For confirmation, any shipping/receiving documents should be scanned and emailed to Accounts Payable, preferably with the vendor invoice. If documents are not available, the responsible person must certify the goods have been received in an email to Accounts Payable. All payments for services require an approval with an invoice or on the Voucher/Disbursement Form to confirm receipt of services.

Temporary Expansion of the Reimbursement Policy
Given the campus shutdown to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus, an expansion of the Reimbursement Policy is warranted and required. Employees will be teleworking from home and the work of the university must continue. The administration acknowledges this situation may require employees to expend personal funds to accomplish official business in an unusual way.  

1.    Whenever possible, use your p-card instead of your personal funds.

2.    The Reimbursement Policy is posted at https://www2.southernct.edu/offices/accounts-payable/policies/out-of-pocket.html and remains in force aside from the exceptions described below.
a.    During the period of campus shut down the $100 cap for out-of-pocket expenses will be lifted.
b.    Amounts greater than $100 will be reimbursed without it being considered a policy violation provided written approval is obtained from the Org Financial Manager.  To ensure reimbursement, please obtain the approval before making the expenditure.
c.    Further, the purpose of the expense may be any legitimate business expense as long as the expense is not on the list of specifically prohibited items.  Technology purchases require IT approval before the purchase is made.  For all purchases, it is strongly advised to get advance approval from your org financial manager to ensure that your purchase will be reimbursed.  The org financial managers do have the authority to approve or deny purchase reimbursements.
d.    For any questions related to purchasing policies and procedures, please contact Cynthia Shea-Luzik.