When approving transactions, you must review documents for compliance with university policies and procedures, external regulations, and terms and conditions of agreements.
In addition, an approver:
- Confirms the expenditure serves a necessary business purpose or benefit to the university.
- Confirms the expenditure is appropriate, reasonable, cost effective, and in accordance with the best use of university funds.
- Reviews the document to make sure there is sufficient information to support the transaction. For example, the Description and Explanation fields, as well as the Notes and Attachments tab should be detailed so that someone viewing the transaction in the future would be able to understand why the transaction occurred.
- Verifies the funds are available and that charges or credits are appropriate for the funding type (e.g., that no income, alcohol, social club memberships or direct fundraising activities are charged to state general funds). Consult the sponsor's terms and conditions, if needed.
- Verifies the use of appropriate object codes. See Using the Correct Object Code page for more information.
If the above conditions are not met, the approver works with the initiator to resolve the problem. For example, if information is missing, the initiator or approver can add a note to the document; the approver can edit parts of the document; or the approver can disapprove the document with a note to the initiator to redo or copy it. If the expenditures on the document are not in compliance with policies or regulations, you must cancel the document. Do not approve transactions that violate policies or regulations. If you are unsure whether a transaction violates policy, discuss your concerns with your supervisor or contact either Accounting & Financial Reporting, Controls & Accountability or the Chief Compliance Officer.
Common Approval Types
All the transactions you approve should meet the above requirements. In addition, a few items you should pay closer attention to when approving these types of transactions are listed below.
- Disbursement Voucher (DV)
DV is used to make payments in specific situations (identified in the Payment Reason Code field) where a Purchase Order does not exist.
> Reimbursements should be the "exception" not the "rule;" regular purchasing practices include Purchasing Card, AggieBuy, or KFS Requisition.
> If an employee reimbursement exceeds $500, additional approvals from Department Head and Dean or Vice Chancellor are required and should be electronically attached to the DV document.
> State funds may not be used for payment of honoraria per UCOP Accounting Manual D-371-35.
> Academic Appointees: The honorarium paid for presenting lectures or similar services may be subject to negotiation, but may not exceed $1,500 per event, which may include several related activities which take place during an employee's visit per APM UCD-666.
For information on what qualifies for an honorarium, please see UCD PPM 380-76.
Memberships - Per BFB-G-43:
> Memberships in airline and airport clubs are prohibited.
> Memberships in social organizations may not be paid with State General funds.
> State funds may not be used for membership in organizations that discriminate.
Please review UCD PPM 330-75- University Payment of Membership Fees for additional restrictions and approvals required.
Research Study Payments
> Must have a valid Institutional Review Board (IRB) number.
- Distribution of Expenses (DI)
DI document reallocates income and expenses from one central account to another.
> You cannot use a DI to transfer expenses to a federal account.
> The DI document should not be used in place of a budget transfer. It is not appropriate to transfer lump sum amounts from one account with a particular fund source to different fund source. The DI should be used to reallocate actual expenses or income charged to your accounts.
When approving entertainment expenses, keep in mind the restrictions on state and federal funds and whether it is an allowable expense in that fund source. Alcohol or tobacco may not be charged to state funds.
In addition, entertainment expenses requiring additional approvals or on an exception basis may not be charged to State Funds; these include:
> Expenses at rates in excess of policy guidelines;
> Entertainment of guest's or host's spouse or equivalent;
> Tickets to entertainment or sporting events;
> Employee morale functions (e.g., employee retirement or separation reception, employee recognition reception, department picnics, holiday events). Also note, no university funds may be used for employee birthdays, weddings, anniversaries or for farewell gatherings for employees with less than five years of service.
For more information please see UCD PPM 330-80 and BFB-BUS-79.
- General Error Correction (GEC)
GEC is used to correct inappropriate or erroneous accounting string data for general ledger entries generated from other financial transactions.
> When approving a GEC, make sure that the expense is allowed on the fund where the expense is being transferred to. For more information on fund restrictions, visit the UC Funds page.
> If you will be transferring expenses from an Agency Account to another fund source, you must contact General Accounting before you initiate the transaction.
> For more information on expense transfers for Contracts & Grants, visit the Cost Transfer page.
- Payment Request (PREQ)
PREQ is used to make payments against a Purchase Order. When a valid Purchase Order number is entered on this document, all of the information from the original order is brought forward.
Before approving the PREQ document fiscal officers should:
> Verify payment to vendor is appropriate and reasonable.
> Verify goods and services have been received.
> Verify the document attachments have sufficient information to support the transaction.
> Verify that charges or credits are appropriate for the funding type.
> Verify there are sufficient funds in the account that is being charged.
Fiscal Officers should understand purchasing polices including UCD PPM 350-10 and UCD PPM 350-22. For more information on making purchases, visit the Before You Buy and How Do I Buy pages.
- Procurement Card Document (PCDO)
PCDO is system-generated (document initiator displays the name of the cardholder) for each Procurement Card transaction.
Before approving the PCDO document fiscal officers should:
> Verify purchases are appropriate, compliant, accurate and properly received.
> Verify amount paid matches vendor receipt.
> Verify vendor receipt has been electronically attached to the PCDO.
> Verify object code has been changed to reflect the purchase.
> Take or recommend corrective action when purchasing cards have been used inappropriately.
Fiscal Officers should understand purchasing polices including UCD PPM-350-22. For more information on what is an allowable/unallowable, purchase visit the Procurement Card page.
When approving travel, keep in mind the restrictions on state and federal funds and whether it is an allowable expense in that fund source. Also remember the following:
> Travelers are reimbursed for actual meals and incidental expenses up to the per day limit. Incidental expenses include low value fees and tips.
> Alcohol is not allowed on state funds.
> First or business class travel - state funds may not be used to pay for the additional cost of first or business class travel unless it meets federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-21 requirements, including adequate justification. See BFB G-28.
> Spouse or domestic partner travel expenses may not be charged to state funds. Contract and grant funds may only be used to reimburse spouse or domestic partner travel if the special provisions of the contract or grant are satisfied. Various non-state funds controlled by the university may be used to fund spouse or domestic partner travel, but only within the restrictions, if any, governing the use of the fund and within the policy set forth in BFB G-28.
> Travel expenses, along with all necessary backup documentation, must be submitted to Accounts Payable within 45 days of the completion of the trip. (see exceptions).
Frequently Asked Questions
- Where can I find approval information specific to me?
Use the following FIS Decision Support (DS) queries:
> FIS User Responsibilities (FIS214) - Identifies your KFS responsibilities, including approval roles
> Document Approval Workload (KFS) (FIS384) - Provides a list of all the KFS documents you approved during a specified date range
- Can approvers modify KFS documents?
- Fiscal Officers can make limited modifications during routing of an Automatic Purchase Order, Requisition, Disbursement Voucher, Entertainment Expense Voucher, Travel Expense Voucher, and Payment Request. In addition, the fiscal officer can modify account information on any of the Financial Documents, provided they are the fiscal officer or delegate for all accounts cited on the document.
- How do I determine if a fund source has restrictions?
- For information on restrictions by Fund Category, please review the UC Funds page.
- How do I determine the fund on my account?
- In KFS, you can determine the fund by selecting Account under the Main Menu and entering your account in the Account Lookup. In Decision Support, you can use the Account Lookup report (DS 11) for more information on the account.