Financial Procedures Manual

I. Introduction 

The purpose of the University at Albany Financial Procedures Manual is to provide persons who administer State Purpose and/or Income Fund Reimbursable accounts with a reference source for processes and procedures associated with those funds.

This manual is to be used as a guide to determine the established policies and procedures associated with the University's fiscal transactions and should address the majority of questions raised by persons administering the funds.

However, as with any large, complex organization, there are times when specific transactions require extra-ordinary processing. In those cases or when the standard processes do not appear to address a particular situation, the Accounting or Purchasing Offices should be contacted to determine the most appropriate way to meet those specific needs.

The manual represents the contributions and cooperative efforts of many staff members as well as colleagues in offices across the campus who read drafts, asked questions, and offered suggestions.

Readers' comments on the usefulness of this manual, as well as suggestions for future changes or additions, are welcome.

1. Commonly Used Terms

Following are definitions of key terms used throughout this manual.

Account Manager: First signatory listed on the authorized signatory list for a particular account.

Administrative Overhead: An assessment against revenues in IFR accounts to recoup the indirect administrative and other indirect cost associated with operating an IFR program. The assessment is reflected in the individual IFR accounts as a reduction to the uncommitted cash balance.

Allocation Transfer: Movement of allocation from one account or object to another account or object. Transfer of allocation from an account decreases the account's uncommitted balance. Transfer of allocation into an account increases the account's uncommitted balance.

Authorized Allocation: The level of funding available to the account for its operations. Allocations are assigned by object.

Authorized Signatory: Person(s) authorized to approve transactions associated with a particular account. There can be up to three authorized signatories per account.

Carryover Period: Allocations are assigned to accounts and intended for use during the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Often transactions started during the fiscal year are not completed by June 30. For example, an item ordered in April may not be delivered by the vendor until August. The University's carryover period begins July 1 and continues into September. The actual dates for processing are noted in the annual Allocation Letters.

Cash Disbursement: Issuance of a check to a vendor as payment for goods or services. All cash disbursements are issued by the State Comptroller's Office.

Committed Funds: The total of all outstanding encumbrances and expenditures in an account.

Encumbrance: A commitment of a portion of an account's allocation to purchase a particular good or service (e.g. purchase orders).

Equipment Funds: Funds assigned to an account to purchase items defined as equipment. Usually such allocations are based on the expected cost of the item(s) to be purchased.

Expenditure: A transaction that indicates the approval to issue a check. The transaction could be liquidating an encumbrance or be a direct payment out of uncommitted funds.

Expenditure Transfer: Movement of expenses incurred in one account to another account. Transfer of expenditures from an account increases the accounts uncommitted balance. Transfer of expenditures into an account decreases the account's uncommitted balance.

Fiscal Year: The time period used to monitor financial activity. The University's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

Fringe Benefits: An assessment against temporary service and personal service charges in IFR accounts to recoup the costs of fringe benefits. The assessment is made against all temporary service charges, except students and honoraria, regardless of whether the individual receives the University's entire fringe benefit package.

Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR): A self-supporting account that operates on revenue generated from its operations. These accounts are considered a special type of State funds.

Maintenance Operations Overhead (M&O): An assessment against revenues in IFR accounts to recoup the indirect costs associated with the facilities used by an IFR program. The assessment is reflected in the individual IFR accounts as a reduction to the uncommitted cash balance.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): An agreement between two State agencies specifying work to be done by one agency and the method of payment and amount to be paid by the other agency for the services rendered.

Object Codes: Numeric codes representing distinct categories of funds within an account; e.g., Personal Service, Temporary Service, Supplies and Equipment. Also see Sub-Object Codes.

Pending Items: Transactions which have been initiated, but have not yet completed the entire transaction process.

Personal Service Funds: Assigned to accounts to support persons paid with State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable appropriated funds. Positions are normally controlled via line items through the annual budget process.

Procurement Card: In December 1999, the University joined the NYS Procurement Card Program to help streamline the campus procurement process for goods and services. The program enables campus personnel to charge general supplies and equipment using a credit card charged to their University State Purpose, Dormitory Fund, or Income Fund Reimbursable Account.

Project Director: First signatory listed on the authorized signatory list for a particular account. Used interchange-ability with Account Manager when associated with Income Fund Reimbursable accounts.

Purchase Order (PO): A document specifying the description, quantity, price, and related information for goods and services ordered from a vendor. An issued purchase order is a contract between the University and the vendor, not to be altered without the approval of the Purchasing Office.

Purchase Requisition: A request to order goods or services by a department. Most requisitions are sent to the Purchasing Office for action. Requisitions for direct vendor payments, such as subscriptions, advertising, utilities and freight charges, are sent directly to the Accounting Office.

Receiving Report (AP-102): A document to be prepared by department staff when goods or services are received. The report provides a description of the goods, quantity, and date received, as well as other relevant data. A properly completed receiving report is required for the Accounting Office to pay vendors.

Recharge Funds: Funds assigned to an account to record the expenses incurred for University provided goods and services. The recharge areas include telephone, mail, photocopying, printing, and the Educational Communication Center.

Revenue Contract: A contract between the University and another entity wherein the University is to provide a good or service. The revenue contract specifies the good or service, applicable time period(s) and the amount to be paid to the University.

State Purpose Funds: State appropriated funds provided to the campus to operate University programs.

Sub-Object Codes: A more detailed structuring of expenses within the object codes. For example, the object code supplies can be further detailed to classroom, office, or cleaning.

SUNY: State University of New York.

Supply and Expense Funds (S&E): Assigned to accounts to fund departmental operating expenses for such items as supplies, contractual services, or travel.

Temporary Service Funds: Assigned to accounts to fund expenses for hourly or non-permanent employees and honoraria.

Three Way Match: Purchase Requisition, Invoice(s) and AP-102.

Uncommitted Balance: The allocation remaining and available for use in the account after deducting all outstanding encumbrances and expenditures from the authorized allocation.

University: State University of New York at Albany.

Vendor's Invoice: A document issued by vendors specifying such items as the description and quantity of goods and services delivered, price, freight costs, cash discount terms, and the billing date. This essential document is required for payment to be made. Invoices should be sent directly to the Accounting Office by the vendor.

Vendor Statement: A statement prepared periodically by the vendor indicating the beginning balance, billings, collections, and ending balance. These statements are the vendor's representations of activity for the period and cannot be substituted for vendor invoices as a basis for payment.

Voucher: A control document required by the State Comptroller's Office to issue a disbursement. 

2. Frequently Used Acronyms






Civil Service Employee Association


New York State Division of Budget


Education Communication Center


Equipment Management Office




Honorarium Request Form


Income Fund Reimbursable accounts


Maintenance and Operations Overhead


Memorandum of Understanding


Minority or Women Owned Business Enterprise


Office of the State Comptroller


Property Central System


Public Employees Federation


Purchase Order


Personal Service Regular Funds


Remittance Advice


Rapid Copy Center


Purchase Requisitions


Research Foundation


Supplies and Expense Funds


Temporary Service Funds


University Auxiliary Services


United University Professions



3. Summary of Fiscal Controls

The University enjoys funding from multiple sources. Each funding source has its own set of accounting and fiscal controls. The fiscal year for each funding source is the same (July 1 through June 30). 

The following is a brief description of the primary aspects of each funding source.  

  • State Purpose Funds: These funds are appropriated annually by the New York State Legislature through the State budgetary process. All activity is monitored by the New York State Comptroller's Office. 

  • Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR): This mechanism allows departments to operate certain funds that collect revenue in support of those functions. Examples include photocopy services, research grant cost recovery and conferences. Like State Purpose funds, IFR funds are appropriated annually by the State Legislature and all payments are approved by the New York State Comptroller's Office. 

  • Research Foundation: The Research Foundation of the State University of New York serves as the conduit for all grants and contracts awarded at SUNY institutions. The Research Foundation provides basic administrative support to the campuses. The University is responsible for ensuring that expenditures are made in accordance with Research Foundation, sponsor and campus guidelines, and that sponsor billings are timely and accurate. 

  • University Auxiliary Services - Agency Accounts: University Auxiliary Services (UAS) is a not-for-profit corporation operated to provide auxiliary services to the University pursuant to a contract with the University and SUNY Board of Trustees. UAS also provides bookkeeping services for specific operations through agency accounts, as allowed by SUNY policies. Agency accounts are established and monitored based on University Controller guidelines and approval. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: The University at Albany Fund is a not-for-profit corporation created and operated to receive and administer gifts and donations for the campus. Monies are held as restricted or unrestricted in a fund account and are made available to departments in accordance with gift or donation specifications. 

I. General

A. Account Establishment

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Accounts are approved by the Budget Office and SUNY Central Administration and established by the Accounting Office.

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Accounts are established and activated by the Office for Research.

  • UAS Agency: Accounts are authorized by the campus controller and activated by the UAS Controller's Office. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Accounts are authorized by the UAF Controller and executive director (based on Board policies) and activated by the financial operations staff.

B. Categories of Expense

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: The Purchasing and Accounting Offices have issued detailed charts of accounts and character and object codes for use on payment documents based on State Comptroller guidelines.

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: The Research Foundation (RF) has established a standard set of object codes that are used by all grants and contracts. 

  • UAS Agency: Standard object codes established by UAS.

  • University at Albany Foundation: Standard object codes established by UAF.

C. Expenditure Review

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: OSC has ultimate approval authority for any payment request. Also, all funds received by University must be deposited to an OSC authorized account. Regulations, rules, policies, and procedures established by SUNY, OSC, State Division of Budget (DOB), and other state or federal agencies.

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: RF Central Office reviews all expenditures over $25,000. All expenditures over $5,000 are reviewed by the Sponsored Funds Accounting Unit Head. Standard consultant agreements are reviewed by Campus personnel. Sponsor rules and RF guidelines dictate allowability and classification of expenditure items.

  • UAS Agency: Payments are reviewed by the Accounting Office and approved by the UAS Controller's Office after verification of proper authorizing signature.

  • University at Albany Foundation: UAF Controller approves all payments.

D. Signature Authorizations

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: An account may have up to three signatories, who may authorize any expenditure. Special approval processes are sometimes required to meet certain purposes.

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Project Director determines signatories assigned. Can also specify types of transactions for which individuals may be authorized. 

  • UAS Agency: Account Manager identifies signatories, who may authorize any transaction.

  • University at Albany Foundation: Foundation Manager is authorized to sign and to designate alternate signatories, if desired.

II. Account Monitoring 

A. Allocation 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Set through the budgetary process, established by object. Deficit overrides approved by the Accounting Office. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Set through negotiation process between the Office for Research and sponsor. Multiple Sponsor account allocation is equal to cash available. Only payroll overrides are possible, and they are monitored by the Accounting Office. 

  • UAS Agency: Account can be expended up to cash available. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Non-endowment accounts can be expended up to cash available. Endowment account principal may not be spent; restrictions against spending quasi-endowment account principal. 

B. Deficit Control 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Personal Service (for IFR's only), Temporary Service and Other Then Personal Service deficits are reviewed and approved by the Accounting Office. Deficits may also result from contract carryover commitments or excess use of a recharge service. The Purchasing Office will not process a purchase requisition unless adequate funds are available or the Accounting Office authorizes a deficit. The Accounting Office annually draws general supply and expense funds to cover recharge deficits. IFR accounts are monitored on both a cash basis and an allocation basis. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Sponsor rules dictate. If required, budgetary categories can be over-expended only with approval from the sponsor. Multiple Sponsor accounts can spend only up to the revenue level, but exception will be made for Personal Service. Periodic reviews are done by the Sponsored Funds Accounting and Personnel Offices to monitor payroll deficits and initiate corrective action. 

  • UAS Agency: Deficit condition prohibited. Only funds in the account may be spent. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Periodic review of current balances, as well as a balance review prior to payment processing to prevent a deficit condition. 

C. Movement of Funds 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Funds can be moved between accounts or agencies by allocation or expenditure transfers, revenue transfer or by a billing. Transfer of allocation between Temporary Service and Other Than Personal Service requires vice presidential approval. Transfers are made within monetary limits specified in the New York State Finance Law and monitored by the Accounting Office. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Treated like a disbursement. 

  • UAS Agency: Treated like a disbursement. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Transfers are effected via journal entry. 

III. Departmental Administration 

A. Reports 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Monthly consolidated expenditure report, IFR reports, accounts receivable and cash reports. Specialized reports are developed and issued as necessary. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Monthly account expenditure reports. Specialized reports developed and issued as necessary. 

  • UAS Agency: Monthly revenue and expenditure detail report. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Quarterly detail reports of income and expense. 

B. Access to Accounting System 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Real time via SUNY. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Real time via Research Foundation. 

  • UAS Agency: None. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: None. 

C. Dissemination of Information 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Accounting manual, memoranda directives, attachments to monthly reports. All Funds Reporting system. At least two seminars each year. Special seminars as needed. Meetings with asst. vice presidents to discuss changes in policy and items of particular interest. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Memoranda directives, attachments to monthly reports. At least two seminars each year. Special seminars as needed. Meetings with asst. vice presidents to discuss changes in policy and items of particular interest. 

  • UAS Agency: Memoranda. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Memoranda, including dissemination of Board policies. Attachments to reports. Periodic informational seminars. Activity presently coordinated at the dean or department head level. 

IV: Revenue 

A. Billings 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Student billings issued by Student Accounts. IFR invoices issued by account manager. Memoranda of Understanding set forth payment terms. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Grants and contracts are billed by the Accounting Office. Multiple sponsor billings are done by the project director. 

  • UAS Agency: Issued by account manager. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Billings are generally not made, other than chargebacks for institutional services. 

B. Collections 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Student revenue collected by bursar, deposited to local depository. IFR revenue collected by departments or bursar, deposited with the bursar. All funds are distributed semi-monthly by the Accounting Office to appropriate funds and accounts. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Grant and contract billing and follow-up are done by the Accounting Office, funds are remitted directly to the Research Foundation. Multiple Sponsor collections are done by the project directors, who then submit the funds to the Accounting Office, which forwards collections to the Research Foundation. 

  • UAS Agency: Collection by account manager, deposited with UAS Controller for credit to appropriate account. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Collection by foundation manager, deposited with UAF controller for credit to appropriate account and deposit in foundation depository. 

C. Special Revenue Reports 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: SUNY Uniform Revenue Accounting System reports, as well as specific IFR collection and receivable monthly reports. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Funds received information is provided to project directors via monthly account status report. 

  • UAS Agency: Revenue and expenditure reports issued to account managers monthly. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Revenue is reported simultaneously with expenses and is itemized by type of income. Ad hoc reports are provided as well. 

V: Payment Processing 

A. Documentation 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: All payments require: 1) authorized purchase order or, for direct payments, an honoraria form or travel request; 2) vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts; and 3) notification from authorized employee that goods were received in suitable condition and payment is authorized. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: All payments require: 1) authorized purchase order or, for direct payments, a requisition, consultant/lecturer form, or travel request; 2) vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts; and 3) indication from authorized employee that goods were received in suitable condition and payment is authorized. 

  • UAS Agency: All payments require: 1) disbursement request form signed by an authorized individual (UAS); 2) vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts; and 3) Accounting Office approval of disbursement. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: All payments require: 1) disbursement request form signed by an authorized individual; 2) original vendor invoice detailing items purchased and amounts; 3) additional information required for meals and any obvious personal expenses; and 4) Social Security or federal ID numbers. 

B. Recharge Area Payments 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Payments to units that provide University-wide services, such as Mail & Rapid Copy Services, and ECC, are done by journal transfer of expense from the unit providing the service to the unit receiving the service. Prices of services are based on analysis done by the Accounting Office. Major recharge areas are shown as separate categories in each departmental report. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Internal requisitions are used to obtain services. Recharge areas bill grants that receive services. The charge is reviewed by the project director and by the Accounting Office and payment is made via a check from RF to the appropriate IFR account. 

  • UAS Agency: Accounts are billed directly by the various recharge units for services provided. UAS issues a check to make payment. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Foundation managers submit recharge unit bills with other requests for disbursements. UAF issues a check from the appropriate account to make payment. For recharge units with a UAF account, a chargeable journal is used. 

C. Petty Cash 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: None. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Central fund held by the Accounting Office. No limit on single expenditure amount. Used sparingly since RF voucher payment turnaround time is short. Over $250 needs unit head approval. 

  • UAS Agency: None. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: None. 

D. Voucher Payments 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Paid through OSC. State law requires payment to be made within 30 days of the date of receipt of either the merchandise or the invoice, whichever is later. Process used for vendor payments, honoraria, consultants, and travel costs. Data is input via the SUNY network, sent overnight to OSC, and a check is issued from the New York State Treasury. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Payment reviewed and approved by the Accounting Office. Input via RF System. RF issues check to vendor. Also used for travel reimbursements, consultants, etc. 

  • UAS Agency: Disbursement request results in check issued from UAS bank account. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Payment reviewed and approved by UAF accounting supervisor and/or controller; checks are signed by executive director or controller; two signatures required for checks over $5,000. 

VI: Travel 

A. Rates 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Standard federal rates. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Standard federal rates but may be exceeded under certain circumstances. 

  • UAS Agency: No special policies, processed like other payments. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Currently treated like other disbursements, paid based on actual receipts. Excess over authorized rates (State, RF, or Federal) must be verified. 

B. Forms 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Specific forms and procedures promulgated by OSC and University. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Standard forms and policies issued by RF and University in accordance with OSC policy. 

  • UAS Agency: No special forms, processed like other payments. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Standard disbursement forms used. 

C. Documentation 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: Expenses must be documented. Travel advances allowed up to $400 unless individual has been issued a travel credit card. DOB policies regarding in state and out of state travel as well as airplane use within certain distances. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Expenses must be documented. Advance allowed up to 80% of estimated cost unless sponsor guidelines and circumstances warrant higher advance. Out of state/out of country travel requires prior approval under certain sponsor guidelines. Travel encumbrance and approval prior to trip if advance is requested. 

  • UAS Agency: No special documentation, processed like other payments. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Disbursement form contains instructions on documentation of disbursements. Travel advances to non-students are not allowed unless costs are expected to exceed $500. Original receipts are required. 

VII: Other Assets 

A. Investments 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: OSC invests State funds. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: Research Foundation invests sponsored funds. 

  • UAS Agency: Investments managed by UAS general manager and UAS controller. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Long-term investments managed by Sanford Bernstein of New York City. Short-term investments managed by UAF controller. Various policies provide fund investment guidelines. 

B. Fixed Assets 

  • State Purpose and Income Fund Reimbursable: SUNY Equipment Inventory Management System is linked to purchasing system to record all equipment purchased. Tagging of new items and annual physical inventory of all University equipment is done by the Office of Asset Management. 

  • Research Foundation/Sponsored Funds: RF Inventory Management System is linked to a purchasing system to record all equipment purchased. Tagging of new items and annual physical inventory is done by the Office of Asset Management. RF requires that all requisitions over $10,000 be screened to prevent asset duplication. 

  • UAS Agency: No provision for recording purchased equipment; however, unrecorded equipment encountered during the University's annual physical inventory cycle would be recorded at that time. 

  • University at Albany Foundation: Most fixed assets have been transferred to the State. Remaining UAF assets are maintained on the State Equipment Management System. 

II. Receiving and Payment 

This section of the manual describes the University's receiving and payment process and provides information on areas having special processing needs.

The receiving and payment process ensures that the University receives the proper items, in good condition, at the best price and that vendors are paid promptly and accurately for their goods and services.

The Purchasing Office is crucial in this process as it is normally involved in establishing a purchase order with a vendor to obtain a good or service. The purchase order contains various accounting information as well as identifies the good or service to be provided, price of the good or service and any particular terms regarding delivery or payment. A purchase order is a contract with the vendor and, therefore, any variations from the terms of the purchase order will not be honored without prior approval by the Purchasing Office.

The University strives to pay vendors as expeditiously as possible. However, the account being charged must have sufficient funds to pay the charge, otherwise, the Accounts Payable Office will reject the item and notify the account manager. Payment will not be made until adequate funds are assigned to the account. Any interest charges accrued as a result of insufficient funding, or failure to properly notify the Accounts Payable Office that goods or services have been received, will be assessed against the account.

1. Receiving & Payment Process

After an item is ordered, a copy of the purchase order is sent to the account manager. It is the account manager's responsibility to review the purchase order when received from the Purchasing Office to ensure the information on the purchase order fulfills the department's needs. Since the purchase order is actually a contract with the vendor, it is important that the Purchasing Office settle any issues with the vendor as soon as possible.

Goods can be received through the University loading dock or directly by departments.  Departments should examine items received to ensure the items are in good condition and to verify compliance with the purchase order.  If the items are in order, a Receiving/Payment Authorization Form AP-102 (found in our forms section in the left menu) should be filled out by the department and submitted online to the Accounting Office.

The purchase order directs vendors to send invoices to the Accounts Payable Office, MSC 309. When an invoice is received from a vendor, it is matched to the purchase order and to the AP-102. Assuming that all information agrees, payment will be issued to the vendor by the State Comptroller's Office. It is essential that the payment process be initiated by departments as soon as possible after acceptable goods or services are received to ensure vendors are paid on time.

All information required on Form AP-102 must be provided for payment to be processed by the Accounts Payable Office. Forms not fully completed will be returned to the department.

The Accounts Payable Office will not pay purchase orders for goods specifying an installation or testing period until directed to do so by the department or unless specified in the purchase order. If an item requires installation or allows for a test period, such arrangements should be clearly specified on the face of the purchase order. The Accounts Payable Office will rely on the purchase order to determine if an installation period is provided. If not stated in the purchase order, it will be necessary for the department to obtain a written statement from the vendor specifying the allowed installation or testing period.

Freight will only be paid when it is specifically identified on the purchase order. When departments obtain quotes and recommend a vendor and price to the Purchasing Office the requisition should specify that freight is or is not included in the price so it can be noted on the purchase order.

The following wording will be used by the Purchasing Office regarding the payment of freight: 

  • “Freight included in item price” means that Accounts Payable will only pay the purchase order amount. 

  • “Freight to be prepaid and added” means that Accounts Payable will pay freight based on invoice and reasonableness of charge. 

  • “Estimated freight charges” means the Purchase Order will state a dollar amount for encumbrance purposes. Accounts Payable will pay based on invoice and reasonableness of charge. 

2. Timely Vendor Payment

Vendors have a right to be paid in a timely manner for goods and services provided to the University. Departments play a major role in the payment process because payments will not be made until the department notifies the Accounts Payable Office that the item has been received in proper condition.

To give agencies added incentive and vendors restitution for untimely payment, New York State prompt payment legislation specifies that if a check is not issued to a vendor within 30 days from the date either the good or service or an appropriate invoice is received, interest will be paid to the vendor. The actual percentage applied is dependent on current interest rates. The legislation provides that late payment checks will be issued to vendors only if the total interest is $10 or more. Lesser interest charges are not assessed.

The legislation applies to payment for goods and services charged to the supply and expense or equipment category. It does not apply to payroll or payments made to certain State or State-related agencies. If there is a question as to whether interest should be applied to a particular transaction, contact the Accounts Payable Office ([email protected]).

The prompt payment guidelines dictate the circumstances under which the University will pay interest. Therefore, vendor policies specifying different rates or late payment fees do not apply to the University.

Interest payments will be charged directly to the respective account sub-object number 5799 thereby increasing the cost of the good or service to the department and University. Because payment of interest is an unnecessary expense, departments should ensure their receiving procedures are adequate to avoid incurring the charges.

Reasons for Not Paying Interest

The legislation provides certain circumstances that allow interest to be waived.

  • a. Vendor did not fully meet purchase order terms. 

  • b. Items received were unacceptable to the University. 

  • c. Vendor not eligible for interest (other State agency, related agency). 

  • d. Invoice received from vendor inadequate for making timely payment. 

    • Invoice information was incorrect or incomplete requiring follow-up or clarification. 

    • The purchase order directs vendors to submit invoices to the Accounts Payable Office MSC 309. If the vendor sends the invoice to other than the Accounts Payable Office, the time period for interest accumulation does not begin until the invoice is received in the Accounts Payable Office. However, if the department directs the vendor to send the invoice to a location other than the Accounts Payable Office, the invoice is considered received when delivered to the place directed by the department. 

  • e. Vendor Notification

    Prompt payment legislation is very specific regarding vendor notification if there is reason to delay payment because of vendor nonperformance. To ensure such vendor notification is done in accordance with legislation requirements, it is suggested that all vendor notices of inadequate fulfillment of the purchase order be coordinated through the Accounts Payable Office. However, departments are allowed to have direct contact with vendors if they wish. When direct contact is made, the department should note the following:

    • 1. Vendors must be notified that the good or service is not acceptable within fifteen days from the date the good or service is received by the University. This period includes the time used for the good to be transported to the department from the dock. 

    • 2. All vendor contacts should be documented with written correspondence. The Accounts Payable Office has developed a form letter (AP-101) for notifying vendors of the most common reasons for not paying an invoice. Telephone contact or verbal exchanges with vendors are not adequate to support an exception from interest payment requirements.

    • 3. Reasons for not accepting the goods or services must be specific and state clearly the reasons why the item is not acceptable.

    • 4. A copy of the correspondence should be forwarded to the Accounts Payable Office MSC 309 to ensure the office is aware of the dispute and to prevent a payment being issued by mistake. 

  • f. Reversal of Interest Charges 

    Interest charges are assessed by the State Comptroller's Office based upon delivery and acceptance information provided by the University. Interest charges are listed as object number 5799 in the "SUB OBJ" column of the department's monthly accounting report. No separate notification of late charge assessments is sent to departments. 

    The Accounts Payable Office coordinates all University interest charge appeals. If a department believes a late charge is inappropriate, it should notify the Accounts Payable Office (518-437-3826) as soon as possible so action can be taken to reverse the assessment. 

    To overturn an interest assessment, it is necessary to identify the circumstances relating to the receipt and payment of the goods and services to document that the interest charge was not appropriate. Based on the information provided by the department, a decision will be made as to whether the appeal is justified. If there does not appear to be a reasonable basis for the appeal, the request will be returned to the department. 

    When departments use the Accounts Payable Office to notify vendors that items are not acceptable, the Accounts Payable Office will have all the information needed to resolve the interest matter. However, if the department deals directly with the vendor, the Accounts Payable Office will need copies of all vendor correspondence to document the situation and initiate an appeal. 

    The Accounts Payable Office will contact the vendor and/or the Office of the State Comptroller as appropriate. The results of the appeal will be reported to the department and, if appropriate, an adjustment made to the department's account. 

    If an interest charge is levied against an account due to an Accounts Payable Office error or because of circumstances outside the department's control, the above information should be provided to enable the Accounts Payable Office to withdraw the interest charge from the account.

3. Non-procurement Payment

The following items are considered non-procurement in nature and, therefore, do not require Purchasing Office review or approval. Departmental approved requisitions for these types of items should be sent directly to the Accounts Payable Office, MSC 309, to be matched to the vendor invoice and paid.

  • Fellowships & Stipends 

  • Charge backs to Other University Accounts

  • Travel

  • Postage

  • Moving Expenses

  • Utilities

  • Tuition & Fees 

4. Bookstore & Computer Store Purchases

If an item is listed in the Central Stores Catalog, it should be purchased from the Central Stores operation. However, at times, it may be necessary to use the campus bookstore or the Computer Store to obtain an item quickly. To purchase items from the bookstore or the Computer Store use your procurement card.

5. Confirming Purchases

At times (such as emergencies) it is necessary to quickly obtain an item and it is not possible to follow the standard purchasing process. In those cases, persons obtaining the item may either pay for the good, or request that the University be billed by the vendor.

  1. When an individual uses personal funds to pay for an item, upon returning to the University, an approved requisition with written justification as to why it was necessary to circumvent the standard purchasing process must be submitted to the Purchasing Office, together with the paid invoice and cancelled check or other proof of payment. The Purchasing Office will review the transaction and determine if it is an appropriate expense. If acceptable, the Purchasing Office will forward the documents to the Accounts Payable Office, which will pay the individual. 

    Please note that when an individual uses personal funds to pay for an item on a confirming basis, he/she risks absorbing the charge if the Purchasing Office determines it is not an appropriate State charge, or justification is not adequate, or for some other reason. 

  2.  form to the Purchasing Office, indicating that the item has already been received. Purchasing will review the requisition and related circumstances to ensure it is appropriate. If appropriate, the Purchasing Office will forward the documents to the Accounting Office to be matched to the vendor invoices. 

    The vendor should send the invoice directly to the Accounts Payable Office MSC 309, which will then match the approved requisition and AP-102 with the invoice and pay the vendor. Under no circumstance should the individual return to the campus with an invoice and submit it to the Accounts Payable Office. Submitting invoices in this manner may result in a refusal to pay by the Accounts Payable Office.

6. Alterations

Alterations are defined as "charges for items of work involving any change to the physical plant."

Alterations include converting a space from one function to another, such as classroom to laboratory; additions to building systems, such as installing outlets or lighting fixtures; and major grounds improvements, such as additional sidewalks or landscaping.

Alterations do not include repair or replacement of a facility in kind even if the item results in an improvement (except for carpet installation and replacement, which the University considers an alteration). The Plant Department charges for all alteration work regardless of dollar amount, as the Plant Department is not allocated funds to absorb such project costs.

The expenditure transfer process is used to charge accounts for alterations. When a department requests an alteration, an estimate of the total cost (materials and workers directly assigned to the project) is prepared by the Plant Department on the Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) Estimating Data Sheet. The Plant Department also prepares a MOC Transfer Request Form for the estimated cost of the project and submits it with the estimate form to the appropriate account manager.

The account manager signs both forms and returns them to the Plant Department. This provides adequate documentation for the Plant Department to do the work and for the Accounting Office to transfer expenses equal to the project's estimated cost. The transfer will be from the Plant Department Alterations account (State 860660, IFR 900655) to the departmental account indicated on the Alteration MOC Form. All transfers will be done within the supply and expense object using sub-object number 3567.

Transferring the expense frees allocation in the Plant Department alteration account for reuse by the Plant Department and places the alteration expense in the departmental account. The Physical Plant's State account will be used when the project will be paid with State funds and its IFR account for all other funds. Under no circumstances should an alteration project be undertaken until the Plant transfers the estimated cost from the alteration account to a departmental account.

7. Contract Liquidation

Departments enter into multi-payment contracts for many reasons, such as equipment maintenance, rent, supplies, or other services. The Purchasing Office encumbers the account for the estimated full annual usage and the encumbrance is liquidated based on invoices received from the vendor.

By monitoring the monthly departmental accounting reports, account managers can determine the current status of the contract. The report shows each payment and the remaining balance of the contract is shown as an outstanding purchase order.

It is important to monitor contract activity to ensure charges are appropriate and to ensure adequate funds have been encumbered against the contract to match the account's annual needs. This is particularly true for contracts that provide for different periodic payments.

It is also important to review contract activity to ensure excess encumbrances are not outstanding at the end of the year, as this would result in account funds being unnecessarily committed when the contract encumbrance level could have been reduced and funds made available for other account needs.

8. Reimbursements for Lunches & Receptions

Often, University employees meet with persons during a meal, conference, or reception where the employee may purchase food or beverages in consort with the activity.  State Comptroller regulations specify that employees can be reimbursed for the costs of food and lodging (within prescribed limits) while in travel status. However, the State Comptroller's office will not pay for reimbursement of internal meetings, lunches, or seminars, based on the presumption that the employees would have to purchase food or beverages regardless of the meeting, etc. and that the State will not pay for employee meals, etc. while the employees are not in travel status.

When recruitment is the reason for the meeting, the candidate's and his or her spouse's travel and meal costs will be reimbursed, as well as the meal costs for faculty or University staff involved in the recruitment process.

To decide if reimbursement can be made, functions are divided into two types: those that are open to off-campus public and those that are primarily University activities. For purposes of this policy, if an activity is announced outside the University, the activity is considered an off-campus public activity. Conversely, if the activity is not announced off campus, the activity will be defined as on-campus activity.

The meal per diem in place for the location of a reception, whether held locally or while in travel status, represents the maximum that can be spent per person under any catering contract.  The total cost of the contract must be used to determine the cost per person.  Reception costs in excess of the meal per diem must be reimbursed from other than state funds.

Sodexo has exclusive rights to cater events on campus unless a waiver is approved by Sodexo.

Type 1: Activity Open to Off-campus Public

Food or beverage costs associated with lunches, receptions or conference meals advertised to the off-campus public are allowed. The following documents will be required upon audit:

  1. List of attendees. 

  2. Copy of function notification and agenda. 

  3. Memo of justification. 

Type 2: Activity Attended Primarily by University Personnel

Food or beverage costs for activities advertised only to the campus community will not be allowed.

However, some accounts provide allocation (because of their unique nature) for payment of lunches, dinners, etc. for the participants of a program, as well as counselors, etc. These accounts will be allowed to make such expenditures upon submitting the information noted above for TYPE 1 expenditures.

Alcoholic beverages will not specifically be paid by the Comptroller under any circumstances.

Also, please note that Sodexo has exclusive rights to provide food services for functions held on campus and should be contacted for such services when functions are being planned.

Sodexo Invoicing and Payment Process - Effective January 17, 2017

  1. The campus department will review the policies and procedures pertaining to Reimbursement for Lunches and Reception above to ensure that the event can be paid for from State funds. 

  2. The campus department pay for events under $5,000 on a procurement card.

  3. If the cost of the function is $5,000 or more, Sodexo will submit an invoice directly to the department. The department will submit the Sodexo invoice, list of attendees, agenda and justification, if necessary, to the Accounts Payable Office MSC 309 for review before payment is processed on a voucher.

9. Sub-object Codes

Funds are allocated to departments at the major object level (Personal Service (IFR's), Temporary Service, Supplies and Expense, Equipment, and for each of the Recharge Areas). Within each of these objects, a coding scheme is applied to each transaction to provide additional information regarding the nature of the transaction. This coding scheme is referred to as sub-objects.

Sub-objects provide information on what is being purchased with account funds. The University has established standardized sub-objects for most items which may be purchased. Specific needs for additional coding should be brought to the attention of the Accounting Office.

Usually sub-objects are assigned by the Purchasing or Accounting Offices when transactions are processed. However, departments with special coding needs should insert the code when preparing the requisition. The Purchasing or Accounting Office will not change a sub-object code assigned by the department unless it conflicts with the overall University coding structure.

Supplies & Materials

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Office Supplies


IT Supplies


Typesetting & Design


Labeling & Inserting


Printing Supplies


AMEX Charge Card Purchase


Classroom Supplies


Lab Supplies


Tank Gas


Hazardous Chemicals


Radiation Film Badges


Athletic Supplies


Medical, Dental, Lab Supplies


Medical Waste


Lab Supplies


Hazardous Chemicals


Radiation Film Badges


Drugs - Prescription & Other


Facility/Residential Supplies


Food and Beverage


Books and Periodicals


Fuel for Buildings


Motor Equipment Supplies


Supplies and Tools for Maintenance/Repair


Fuel for Motor Vehicles


Farm & Garden


Materials for Manufacturing


Clothing and Footwear


Employee Travel & Moving

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Travel - Other


Travel - Amex Charge Card Purchase


Rental Cars


Per Diem - Unreceipted Travel


Meals Non-taxable


Meals Taxable




Air Fare


Train Fare


Personal Car Mileage


Business Travel Account (BTA)


Employee Moving Expense

Note: The Accounting Office will assign all travel expense objects as vouchers are processed. For encumbrance purposes, all estimated travel expenses will be encumbered against Sub-object Code 4200. 

Leases, Maintenance & Repairs

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Leases - IT Equipment


Leases - Other Equipment


Leases - Vehicles


Equipment Maintenance/Repairs - IT


Equipment Maintenance/Repairs - Other


Equipment Maintenance/Repairs - Vehicles


Equipment Maintenance/Repairs - Communications


Leases - Real Property - Base Rent


Leases - Real Property - Tax Escalation


Leases - Real Property - Operation Cost Escalation


Leases - Real Property - Utilities


Leases - Real Property - Construction


Leases - Real Property - Other


Building Repairs



Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Other Utility Services


Natural Gas










Telephone Charges & Services

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Telephone Services


Mobile Telecommunication Services


IT Telecommunication Services


Telephone Recharge


Rapid Copy Center


Postage, Shipping & Printing

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Postage and Shipping


Mail and Messenger Recharge


Printing Services


Inter-agency Printing Services


Contractual Services

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Conference/Training Services


Subscription Services




IT Software/Licenses


IT Software Installation/Integration


IT Consultant - Design/Develop


IT Software Maintenance


IT Hardware Maintenance


IT Services - Other


Client Services


Jury Services


Laundry and Linen Services


Building/Property Services


Security Services


Clerical Services


Highway Maintenance Services


Interest - Lease Purchase


Late Contract Interest


Interest - Late Payment (NPS)


Tuition Waivers


Accessory Instruction


Student Aid Payments




Manpower Services


Critic Teacher - Stipend


Critic Teacher - Waiver


Grad/Teach Assistant Stipends


Banking Services


Medical/Clinical Services


Advertising Services


Accounting & Auditing Services


Legal Services


AMEX Charge Card Purchase


Equipment Purchases (Other Than Capital)

Sub-object Code

Sub-object Name


Library Books


Library Serials


Library Audiovisual Materials


Library Electronic Info Resource


Library Document Delivery/Interlibrary


Library Hardware


Library Software


AMEX Charge Card Purchase


Other Equipment




Vehicles - Lease Purchase


Office Equipment


Office Equipment - Lease Purchase




Furniture - Lease Purchase


Medical Equipment


Medical Equipment - Lease Purchase


IT Equipment - Other - Lease Purchase


IT Equipment - Other




Communications Equipment


PCs - Lease Purchase


Communications Equipment - Lease Purchase


Other Equipment - Lease Purchase


Printing Equipment


Printing Equipment - Lease Purchase


IT Printers


IT Printers - Lease Purchase


Heavy Equipment


Heavy Equipment - Lease Purchase


AMEX Charge Card Purchase Equipment

10. Honorariums & Independent Contractors

Lecturers, guest speakers and performing artists providing up to $2,500 in services of a short duration (less than six consecutive days) may be paid through the honorarium process without a contract. When the amount to be paid is over $2,500, a contract is required. The Purchasing Office coordinates issuance of the contract.

Step 1: Determining Status

When a someone's services are to be obtained through the honorarium or independent contractor process, it is necessary to ensure that an employee relationship is not in fact being created. This determination requires examination of a number of different factors regarding the work situation.

Internal Revenue Service rules dictate the situations under which persons must be hired as employees. A W-9 is required before an honorarium can be processed.  Once the W-9 is processed, additional payments will not require a second submission of the W-9.  The following questions establish guideposts to clarify the relationship between the University and the individual to determine if an employer/employee relationship exists.

  1. Does the worker provide the same or similar service to others? 

    Members of a distinct trade, business, or profession who offer services to the public, but are not under control of those seeking benefit of their training or experience are generally independent contractors. 

  2. How is the worker paid? 

    An independent contractor usually receives one sum for the entire engagement, whether in a lump sum or installments. 

  3. At what location will the services be performed? 

    If work is done on premises other than those of the University, it may be indicative of an independent contractor relationship. 

  4. Are materials supplied by the worker? 

    Independent contractors are generally not provided with supplies and materials. 

  5. Is a license, certificate, professional degree or special skill required for this service? 

    A person hired to do work not in the usual course (or specialization) of the University's business, may be an independent contractor. 

  6. Will the worker receive close supervision or instruction? 

    An employer/employee relationship usually exists when the University has the right to direct and control the individual in the way he/she works, both as to final results and as to the details of when, where, and how the work is to be done. 

  7. Will training be provided to the worker? 

    Normally, independent contractors are not trained, but rather hired for their expertise in a field. 

  8. Will the worker be expected to follow daily or weekly schedules, etc. established by you (as opposed to complying with completion dates)? 

    Normally, an employer/employee relationship exists for those persons who have established working hours and must perform certain tasks at certain times. They are paid a regular amount at stated intervals and can be discharged or have the right to terminate a relationship without incurring liability. 

  9. Do you have the ability to direct or change the methods used by the worker? 

    Generally, employees perform services for someone who has the right to control the desired result or direct the method of accomplishing those results. Conversely, an independent contractor usually works without direction or control and is only responsible for the completed job or result. 

  10. Will the worker be working full time or nearly full time on this project? 

    Generally, employees work full time for an employer, while independent contractors work when and for whom they choose. 

  11. Does the worker have a significant investment (capital, equipment, licensing, etc.) in his/her business? 

    Typically, employers provide employees with facilities, tools, materials and other equipment. When the worker invests in these assets, there is a tendency to indicate independent contractor status.

Step 2: Honoraria

If the person is determined to be an independent contractor (based on the above), the services are of an academic nature, and the amount to be paid is less than $2,500 in a fiscal year and less than six consecutive days, the honorarium process can be used.  When amount of honorarium will exceed $2,500 in a fiscal year, the recipient must sign a CONTRACT prior to rendering services (Call PURCHASING at 518-437-4570 for further details).  All persons serving more than five days, regardless of organizational connection or amount, must be appointed through normal Personnel procedures and be placed on the payroll.   

The University Honorarium Request Form must be submitted to the Accounting Office to initiate an honorarium payment. Please visit the Forms page for required forms and related instructions.

The following are key points regarding processing of the form:

  1. After completion, the form should be printed and distributed as follows: The original copy should be sent to the Accounting Office, Management Services Center (MSC), Room 326. A copy should be retained by the department making the request. 

  2. Although it is not necessary to detail the types of expenses to be paid via honoraria, departments can limit the types of expenses to be paid. This can be done by specifying amounts in the "Breakdown of Expenses" portion of the form. Please note, however, if amounts are assigned to the Breakdown of Expenses categories, receipts will be needed to pay the honorarium and State maximum reimbursement rates will apply. This could result in payment delays and an inability to pay certain items if State rates are exceeded. 

  3. A W-9 should be submitted to the Accounting Office (MSC 326) with the honorarium, if they have not received honorarium in the past. 

  4. Honoraria are paid from an account's OTPS allocation.  In most cases, checks are issued directly to the recipient as stipend and reimbursement of costs.  If the total honorarium is only to pay for travel costs, the vendors providing the services can be paid directly by the University.

Normally, the recipient of an honorarium will receive a check in approximately three weeks.

Please note that honoraria can be used only in specific cases. Honoraria cannot be used to pay a person on a State payroll or students, regardless of term or amount to be paid.

Learn about paying Honoraria to non-US Citizens.  

11. Moving Expense Reimbursement

Moving expenses are reimbursable to a State employee upon initial appointment to a technical, scientific, educational, professional, or administrative position if there is a shortage of qualified candidates locally.

The employee must receive their first paycheck before the moving expense reimbursement can be processed. The University president and respective vice president must certify that this condition exists for moving expense reimbursements to be allowable.

A worksheet for moving expenses is available on the Forms page to assist new employee in keeping a record of moving expenses. This form does not need to come back to the Accounting Office.

The State will reimburse for the cost of moving household goods and personal effects from the employee's residence at the time of appointment to a residence located near the new place of employment.

Authorized Officials may determine the amount to be authorized, which is discretionary up to $3,000.00. In exceptional circumstances, offers in excess of $3,000 may be permitted with approval at the Vice Presidential or higher level.

This is intended to cover the following:

  1. The cost of loading, transporting, and unloading household goods and personal effects, including such items as pianos, refrigerators and deep-freezers. Household goods do not include automobiles, other motor vehicles or trailers other than house trailers used as the employee's residence. Moving costs associated with farm tractors, farm implements and equipment, live-stock, boats, belongings that are not the property of the employee's immediate family, belongings related to commercial enterprises, and building materials are not reimbursable. Also, no reimbursement will be made for household goods and personal effects in excess of 12,000 pounds. 

  2. The cost of packing or unpacking household goods and personal effects, if such services are provided to the employee by the carrier. 

  3. The cost of storage of goods in transit. Allowed costs include actual storage and required warehouse handling. Reimbursement will not be provided for storage or handling of goods in excess of 12,000 pounds. 

  4. Reimbursement of transportation costs for the employee and his/her family to move to the new location will be made at the rate currently paid by the State for the use of personally owned automobiles on official State business, regardless of the travel means used by the new employee. Mileage is measured by the shortest highway route between the two places of residence. Payment will be made at the mileage rate for one automobile, regardless of the number of vehicles used or actual method of transportation used. 
    The original bill of lading or freight bill specifying the gross weight of the effects moved, indicating that the items were moved in an acceptable manner and that payment was made, must be submitted for reimbursement. Other forms of documentation are unacceptable to the Office of State Comptroller and will not be acceptable for reimbursement.

If the employee does not use a commercial carrier, reimbursement will be made only for the cost of renting trailers and trucks from commercial establishments for moving the effects listed above. If a trailer or truck is not rented from a commercial establishment, the employee may be eligible to receive up to $200 to cover moving expenses, provided the claim is accompanied by documentation showing that such expenses were actually incurred.

Regardless of the costs being reimbursed, the claim for reimbursement must be submitted within one year of the appointment.

Required Forms and Related Documents

The forms required to process a moving expense reimbursement are listed below. All forms must be filled out completely before processing can be initiated. Please visit the Forms page to download forms.

Following is an explanation of critical data provided by each form:

  • Appointment Letter: A copy of the 'appointment letter,' signed by the University President or their designee must accompany all paperwork, with allowed dollar amount stated in the letter. 

  • Travel Voucher: Completed and signed. 

  • Statement of Automobile Travel (AC-160): Indicates the number of miles to be reimbursed at the standard mileage rate.

  • Request for Reimbursement for Moving Expense Agreement (AC-1099s): Compiles information for State Comptroller records and must be signed by both the employee and the appointing officer. This form accompanies the travel voucher to the State Comptroller

  • Paid Receipts

  • Bill of Lading 

III. IFR Billing and Collections 

This section of the manual describes the University's billing and collection procedures for Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR) accounts. IFR accounts rely upon the revenues they generate to fund their operations. It is essential that projects collect all funds due them to prevent a revenue shortfall.

These IFR Billing and Collection procedures provide assurance that bills are controlled and that projects are credited with the proper amount of receivables and collections. If the project director believes it is necessary to use other means for billing or payment, the Accounting Office should be consulted during the project development process.

1. Contracting to Provide Goods or Services

Arrangements to provide more than $10,000 worth of goods or services to another individual or agency should be put in writing and approved by University officials. Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) will be issued when other State agencies are receiving the goods and services. Revenue contracts will be issued for agreements with individuals and other non-State organizations. 

The agreement should identify the performance expectations of the parties and specify when and how the account is to be paid. A pro forma agreement form is available on the Forms page.

The proposed agreement, signed by the project director and dean of the respective campus unit providing the good or service, should be submitted to the Purchasing Office for review. Purchasing reviews the agreement, indicates approval of the terms, obtains the University Controller's approval and returns the document to the project director to obtain the receiving unit's signature.

Upon return of the signed agreement, Purchasing will forward the agreement to the State Comptroller for review and approval, if necessary. If acceptable, the Controller will sign as the authorized signatory of the State and return all copies to the Purchasing Office. Purchasing will notify the project director of the approval and provide copies to the Budget and Accounting Offices.

No goods or services should be provided by the University before the agreement is approved by the University Controller. Advance notice of at least three weeks should be given to the Purchasing Office to allow for adequate review of the proposed agreement.

2. Project Collections

For certain programs, it is more practical to collect funds at the time of service rather than issue an invoice. In these cases, specific approval is granted by the Accounting Office for the program to collect revenues directly.

Approval will usually be granted for the following types of activities:

  1. Collection of fees and fines

  2. Late receipts or event admissions

  3. Vending operations

  4. Conference fees

When collections are made at the time a good or service is provided, the following basic controls must be in place:

  1. Cash, checks, credit cards or money orders are acceptable forms of payment. All checks or money orders must be made payable to the "University at Albany" and indicate the IFR program and account number. 

  2. A cash register receipt or press-numbered receipt should be issued for each transaction, regardless of the form of payment. 

    If a press numbered receipt system is used, a receipt should be completed for each payment received. The receipts, receipt numbers, and transaction sequences should be maintained and controlled by the project director. The receipt forms should be duplicate, with one copy given to the client and one copy retained by the project as a record of daily transactions. 

    If a cash register is used, the journal tapes from the register should be retained by the project director as a record of daily transactions. 

    New York State laws require that receipts and/or cash register journals be retained for seven years. 

  3. Collections should be balanced daily to the total of the receipts issued. If possible, the reconciliation of collected funds should be done by someone other than the person responsible for collections. 

  4. All collections must be remitted intact to the Bursar, as specified in Income Fund Reimbursable - Invoice Change Notice, which is available on the Forms page.

  5. If necessary a small change fund may be authorized by the Accounting Office for the program to make changes using Change Fund Request Form, which is available on the Forms page.

3. Deposit of Project Collections
  1. All funds received should be safely stored until they are deposited with the Collections Office. Funds should be stored in a safe or locked drawer and the area should be accessible by designated personnel only. 

  2. Collections should be deposited intact, that is in the form received, on a daily basis with the Collections Office. Deposits may be made less frequently during slow periods, but in no case less than once a week.

    • Deposits can be made with the Collections Office from 8:30a.m. to 11:00 a.m. each day.

    • Deposit appointments can be made at other times to meet special needs or circumstances.

  3. When remitting collections to the Collections Office, an IFR invoice should be completed. The description should indicate "Conforming Deposit." 

  4. A signed listing of the items (checks and cash) included in the deposit should accompany the collections and a confirming invoice placed in a sealed envelope or other protective container and submitted to the Collections Office. 

  5. No more than 100 checks should be attached to one confirming invoice. 

4. Change Funds

Change funds are authorized for projects that need to collect cash and give change to clients. All change funds must be approved by the University Accountant. It is not appropriate to withhold collections for use as change funds.

The Change Fund Request Form is available on the Forms page.

  1. The form is used to request approval for the use of change fund and assign responsibility for its use and safe keeping.

  2. Once approved, the change fund should remain at a constant amount and reconciled daily. 

  3. Change funds should be controlled at all times and, when not in use, stored in a safe or locked drawer and in an area accessible by designated personnel only. 

  4. Any difference in change fund balances should be reported to the Accounting and Internal Audit offices immediately for review.

5. Returned IFR Checks

At times, a check submitted by a person or organization is returned unpaid by the bank, due to insufficient funds. Repayments for returned IFR checks should be made by certified check, money order or cash. If the repayment is made by personal check, it should be returned to the sender.

When an IFR check is returned as uncollectible, the Accounting Office sends the returned check to the Account Manager. The Account Manager should re-bill the customer and add a $20 bad check fee. 

6. Adjustments to Billed Amounts

Once an invoice has been issued, the amount owed by the person or organization becomes an accounts receivable of New York State and they are legally liable to make full payment of the receivable. The University has the responsibility to ensure the invoice is deposited, properly collected, and recorded. At times, however, it is necessary to adjust an outstanding invoice. Such an adjustment can only be made through an IFR Invoice Adjustment Form.

The IFR Invoice Adjustment Form should be used to record any adjustment to an outstanding invoice, such as an increase or decrease of a dollar amount, changes in customer information, complete invoice cancellation or cancellation of a partially paid invoice. In all cases, a clear explanation of why the adjustment is necessary should be written on the adjustment form and forwarded to the Accounting Office. If acceptable, the Accounting Office will adjust the outstanding invoice.

Adjustments to invoices will only be allowed when the issue is related to the situation at the time the original invoice was issued. Adjustments should not be used to reduce invoices, address collection issues, or offset amounts the project may owe to the person or organization.

7. Reconciliation

Account activity can also be monitored through system inquiry. Project records should match the official records of the University.

In addition to monitoring account transactional activity, the following items should be verified monthly by the project to ensure that account information is accurate. Any discrepancies should be resolved with the Accounting Office.

  1. All deposits made during the month appear in the Cash Receipts section in the IFR reporting module. 

  2. Departmental records of outstanding receivables should agree with the Accounts Receivable section in the IFR reporting module.

8. Other Procedures
  1. All revenues and expenditures should be processed through campus approved accounts. Bank accounts should not be maintained without University approval. 

  2. Unauthorized petty cash accounts/funds should not be established by the project for any reason. All expenditures must be made from approved accounts. 

  3. Unannounced reviews of an IFR account's operation may be done at the discretion of University administration. 

  4. Collection on billed items should be received directly from the client by the Collections Office. Projects that have been authorized to collect funds should deposit them on time and in the same manner as received. 

IV. Account Management 

This section provides information useful for administering University accounts. It describes how to move funds within and between accounts and outlines an account manager's responsibilities regarding the activity that takes place in an account.

Account managers should also review the annual allocation letter issued by the Office of Financial Management for the University's basic budgeting and operational processes.

1. Allocation Transfer

At the beginning of each fiscal year, funds are allocated to University accounts in accordance with the University's financial plan. 

Allocation is assigned to accounts in nine objects: Personal Service (IFR's only), Temporary Service, Supplies and Expense (S&E), Equipment, and the five Recharge Areas. Account managers are responsible for carrying out program activities within the amounts allocated to the objects. Over expenditure of the object allocations is not allowed. Account managers should ensure adequate funds are available in the appropriate object before initiating transactions to use the funds. Failure to do so could result in a curtailment of services.

Funds can be transferred into accounts or between objects through allocation transfers. Transfers can be achieved by using the Allocation Transfer Form or a memorandum providing the information required on the form.

The account manager submits State Purpose Allocation transfer requests are submitted by the account manager to the Accounting Office. Accounting Office staff review all transfers to ensure the transfer is in accordance with the account's purpose. IFR transfer requests are also reviewed by Office of Financial Management staff. The Accounting Office normally takes one week to process an allocation transfer.

Departments may execute transfers of funds between S&E and the Recharge objects or Equipment throughout the fiscal year. Transfers involving Temporary Service funds to or from S&Eor Equipment may also be done, but must be authorized by the appropriate vice president and received by the Accounting Office by June 1. Transfers to or from Temporary Service will be allowed after June 1 only in extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Office of Financial Management, the appropriate vice president and the account manager.

The Accounting Office monitors object balances throughout the year and, if warranted by the circumstances, may initiate corrective action to eliminate a deficit. In early June, the Accounting Office will clear negative balances in Supplies and Expense, Equipment, or the Recharge areas by transferring available allocation in any of the objects to the deficient object. Temporary Service funds will not be affected by this "drawdown" process and it is not intended as a surrogate for responsible account management. Account managers should monitor their accounts to avoid such drawdowns.

At the end of the fiscal year an analysis of each deficit is conducted to determine how the deficit occurred. A report of all deficits is provided to the vice presidents for their respective areas.

2. Expenditure Transfer

Occasions arise when it is necessary to transfer an expense from an account to one or more other account(s). Expenditure transfers are initiated by the account manager through a memorandum submitted to the Accounting Office. The memorandum should indicate the following:

  1. Date of Request

  2. Amount of Expense Being Transferred

  3. Account Transferring Expense

  4. Account Receiving Expense

  5. Reason for Transfer

  6. Authorized Signature of Account Transferring Expense

  7. Copy of Memorandum to Account Manager Receiving Expense

The account transferring the expense must have expenses in the object equal to or greater than the amount being transferred. Likewise, the account accepting the expense must have adequate allocation in the appropriate object to accept the expense. Accounts will not be placed in deficit to accept an expense transfer.

The following types of expense transfers cannot be done:

  1. Transfer from one object to another object (e.g. Temporary Service to Supply and Expense). 

  2. Transfer from current fiscal year to unexpended funds of the prior fiscal year. 

  3. Transfers to charge allocations in one fiscal year even though the costs were incurred in another fiscal year. 

Each transfer request must include a reason for the transfer. Following are acceptable reasons for processing an expenditure transfer:

  1. Distribution of temporary service payrolls. 

  2. Distribution of expenses to appropriate account or project. 

  3. Corrections of items erroneously posted to account. 

  4. Chargeback transactions. 

  5. Recharge transactions between IFR accounts. 

  6. Plant alteration projects.

3. Internal Control Program

The New York State Governmental Accountability, Audit and Internal Control Act of 1987 requires all State operated campuses of the State University of New York to establish and maintain a system of internal controls and an ongoing internal control program.

The University at Albany's Internal Control Program helps to ensure that daily operating practices and procedures are sufficient to minimize the possibility of operational failure, overspending, or other actions inconsistent with policy or in violation of law. The specific objectives of the University at Albany's Internal Control Program are to ensure:

  1. The successful achievement of the University's mission;

  2. The accurate capture, maintenance and dissemination of institutional data;

  3. The assets are safeguarded;

  4. The programs and operations remain effective, efficient, and economical;

  5. The University is in compliance with applicable law, regulations, policies, and guidelines.

The University's Internal Control Program provides for a formal evaluation of the effectiveness of these systems and their individual control mechanisms. Where gaps or non-effective controls exist, they are identified and addressed on a reasonable timetable. The status of all recommendations is monitored and updated on a semi-annual basis as part of the University's Internal Control Program.

These are many major internal control systems that support the University's planning and operational processes. Some examples of the University's major internal control systems follow:

  • Education and other applicable law, policies, and regulations

  • Administrative procedure manuals

  • Policy handbooks and memoranda

  • Organization charts and decision-making hierarchies

  • Budget development and approval process

  • Chart of accounts

  • Internal audit activity

  • Equipment inventory system

  • Institutional data coordination

  • Position descriptions

  • Formal statements and policies governing hiring procedures

The University at Albany's Internal Control Program incorporates the following processes:

  1. Classifying the program and administrative functions necessary for the University to carry out its mission. Functions identified through this process are called "assessable units" and provide the framework for the program.

  2. Using assessable unit risk assessment surveys, the University constantly monitors and evaluates its susceptibility to conscious or unintended abuses, accounting or reporting errors, and reduced operational efficiencies. The surveys are evaluated and assigned a rating of low, average or high risk and are considered when prioritizing the scheduling of internal control reviews. Surveys will be conducted at least once every five years for each assessable unit.

  3. Internal control reviews analyze the activities of an assessable unit to see if procedures and policies are functioning as intended and that they assure the successful completion of the unit's objectives and goals. Examples of procedures and policies that may be reviewed include planning activities, program evaluations, and the budget cycle. Internal control reviews will be performed at least once every two years on assessable units that receive a high risk rating. All other assessable units will be reviewed at least once every five years.

  4. Internal controls are the responsibility of all employees. Managers are responsible for the development, maintenance, documentation and supervision of internal control systems. Likewise, each employee is responsible for adhering to established internal controls. 

    Training is an ongoing component of the University's Internal Control Program. The University provides training in several formats, including formal training sessions, written guidelines and memoranda, training films, and reference materials.

V. Accounting Reports 

All Accounting information is currently available in the "All Funds" reporting module. Allocations, expenditures, disbursements and revenues are displayed. "All Funds" currently includes State Purpose, Income Fund Reimbursable and University at Albany Foundation data. To access your departmental accounts, please contact the Budget Office.