Internal Control Practices | Honoraria

People invited by UC Davis to give lectures, seminars, or concerts may be paid an honorarium instead of reimbursement for travel expenses or other fees.

Be sure that these guests are paid through a Payment Request Form and processed in Aggie Enterprise. Payments made to other UC employees must be paid through a Temporary Intercampus Appointment/Intercampus One-Time Payment form and requests are submitted through AggieService.  For UC Davis academic employees refer to APM-666.

If you pay honorariums to guest speakers, learn these best practices.

  • Separation of duties
  • Assign duties associated with handling honorariums among different people. A key step your unit can take to ensure a proper payment process is to have different people involved in the process.

    Best practice is to have different people:

    > Prepare honorarium payments.
    > Approve honorariums.
    > Review and reconcile financial records.

    Potential consequences if duties are not separated:

    > Excessive costs incurred
    > Unauthorized or unnecessary payments made
    > Improper charges applied to account/funds
    > Loss of future funding

  • Accountability, authorization, and approval
  • Remember that honorariums paid to non-university employees must be processed using a Payment Request Form. University employees providing special services must be paid through the payroll system.

    Best practices:

    > Determine recipient's eligibility status.
    > Provide accurate information about the recipient.
    > Consult with Tax Accounting about visa requirements and documentation.
    > Obtain pre-approvals.
    > Review signature authorizations/delegations periodically and update as needed.

    Potential consequences if accountability does not exist:

    > Unauthorized, unnecessary, or fraudulent payments.
    > Unauthorized special events conducted.
    > Improper charges to incorrect accounts/funds.
    > Incorrect method of payment used.

  • Security of assets
  • Be sure to keep payments in a safe place and protect your guest's private or personal information. Secure information in a safe location and restrict access only to designated employees who need the information to perform their job functions.

    Best practices:

    > Follow up with Accounts Payable regarding check status.
    > Assure that payment has been sent.
    > Secure personal information in a locked or password protected location.
    > Limit people who have access to personal information.

    Potential consequences if your assets have not been secured:

    > Lost or stolen checks
    > Identity theft

  • Review and reconciliation
  • Your reconciliation activities confirm that honorarium activities have been approved and billed correctly. Perform monthly ledger reconciliations to catch improper charges and validate transactions.

    Best practices:

    > Review the operating ledger to ensure honorarium payments are properly classified and recorded.
    > Review contract and grant terms and other fund restrictions to ensure expenses are allowable.
    > Perform monthly reconciliations of operating ledgers to assure accuracy and timeliness of expenses.
    > Assure daily honorarium limits are applied correctly.
    > Assure payments comply with UC Davis policy.

    Potential consequences if review and reconciliation is not performed:

    > Improper charges made to your department budgets
    > Disallowances resulting from costs charged to incorrect accounts/funds
    > Payments made for items or services not provided
    > Inaccurate financial reports




For questions on honoraria, contact Accounts Payable
For questions on internal control practices, contact Controls & Accountability.