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Non-Compensation Approval Authorization Policy

Policy Number: CO.GA.03.01
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
Supersedes: Signature Authorization Policy
Responsible Officer: Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer

  1. PURPOSE
  2. The Non-Compensation Approval Authorization Policy supersedes the Signature Authorization Policy. This policy sets out the approval authorizations and procedures required for processing financial transactions within the University. The policy seeks to provide for efficient operations of the University and promote effective internal controls by outlining guidelines as to the appropriate approval authority required for non-compensation transactions utilizing internally or externally funded resources.

    Compensation expenditures should follow the Personnel Action Approval Authorization Policy.

    This policy does not address review, approval of or signatures necessary to enter into a contract for Covered Goods and Services with an outside entity. (See Purchasing Policy.) This policy does not address the delegation of authority for executing contracts on behalf of Drexel University or its affiliates. (See Delegation of Authority Policy.)

  3. APPLICABILITY
  4. This policy applies to all Drexel University Faculty and Professional Staff Members, and Student Workers. To the extent any transaction in this policy relates to a Volunteer or Unpaid Intern, or any other category of Non-Employee Associate, this policy relates to those individuals only to the extent of documenting their status in the University.

  5. IMPLEMENTATION
  6. Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Office of the Comptroller.

  7. ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT
  8. The Executive Vice President, Treasurer and COO is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.

  9. POLICY
  10. The Office of the Comptroller is responsible for establishing a sound internal control environment. Part of this responsibility is ensuring that any approval of financial transactions is made by an authorized individual. Approval authority differs from contract approval authority. The approver confirms that the financial transaction is appropriate but only a Faculty or Professional Staff Member with contract authority (See Purchasing Policy) or who has been delegated the authority to execute a contract as per the Delegation of Authority Policy can execute the transaction on behalf of the University.

    All individuals who are involved in financial transactions within the University have a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the assets of the institution and ensure the integrity of its accounting records. The approval of a financial transaction attests to its completeness, accuracy, and validity. System-executed transactions must carry evidence of approval in the form of the unique user id of the approver or some other auditable means of identification.

    An electronic or written signature must evidence the approval of all financial transactions. An authorized approver must submit a signature specimen at the time of initial authorization to be kept on file in an electronic database managed by the Office of the Comptroller.

    To add, change or cancel non-compensation approval authority on one or more funds, a Fund Request Form must be completed and submitted to the Comptroller's Office. To assign, change or cancel expenditure approval authority on one or more orgs, an Org Request Form must be completed and submitted to the Comptroller's Office.

    If an authorized approver transfers to another department or division, or other changes occur that affects their non-compensation approval authority responsibilities, the Comptroller's Office should be immediately informed using the appropriate request forms.

    Authority for accounting activities required to reconcile or cover deficits at fiscal year-end, such as corrective reversals and deposits, will be completed by the appropriate functional area (General Accounting, Budget and Planning, Bursar's Office) with timely notification to the affected parties.

  11. DEFINITIONS
  12. Approval authority: Permission given to expend budgeted university resources. This approval authority attests to the appropriateness of the transaction within the University's program objectives and budgetary authorizations.

    Faculty Member: Defined as an individual employed by Drexel University in a tenured, tenure-track or non-tenured track position who teaches at any college, school, center or institute in the University. A Faculty Member also is deemed to be exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

    Authorized Approver: An individual who has the authority to approve the type of financial transaction in question, the authority to approve the amount in question (where applicable) and authority over the relevant cost center.

    Internal Financial Transaction: Any exchange involving the transfer of money or property, currently or in the future, from or to the University. An internal financial transaction involves the spending of University funds. Examples of internal financial transactions include: Purchase Requisitions, Check Requests, Service Department Charges, Travel and Expense Reimbursements, Petty Cash Reimbursement, Journal entries to correct transactions or move funds to cover deficits may be completed by the appropriate functional area with notification to the impacted department.

    Non-Employee Associate: An individual who is not an employee of the University, such as a staff volunteer, independent contractor, visiting research professor, volunteer faculty member, or other person who will not be paid by the University, but needs access to Drexel online accounts or facilities.

    Principal Investigator: A holder of a grant administered by the University and the lead researcher for the grant project.

    Professional Staff Member: Defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

    Student Worker: An individual who is working in a part-time capacity for a department within the University at a undergraduate or graduate level and is enrolled at least part-time in courses at the University.

  13. PROCEDURES
    1. All internal financial transactions must be approved by an authorized approver.
    2. For each authorized approver to approve a financial transaction, a document must be on file in the Comptroller's Office containing a specimen of his/her signature, the maximum approval amount, and the funds, orgs and accounts over which he or she has approval authority. This information will then be housed within a central database accessible to the University community, including links to signature specimens.
    3. Business units have options when designing approval authority for their area. At minimum each fund or org must have one approver at the SSR100 to expend budgeted resources.

      The following are descriptions of the approval level designations:
      • SSR050: This role is the equivalent of the Requestor Plus role in the University's procurement system, Smart Source. This approval level provides for up to $5,000 of approval authority. If an individual is authorized as a Requester Plus in Smart Source they will automatically be given the SSR050 authority for other financial transactions (i.e. journal entries, deposits). Approval by an individual with SSR100 or SSR200 is required to grant Requestor Plus or SSR050 authority.
      • SSR100:This level may have two meanings depending on whether SSR200 approval authority is utilized. If SSR100 is the only approval level established for a fund/org combination, then SSR100 approvers have non-compensation approval authority up to their available budget. However, if the SSR200 level of authority is elected, then the SSR100 level cuts off at $25,000. An individual can be assigned to both an SSR100 and SSR200, if deemed appropriate. For direct reports of the President, authority should be granted by the President if the option to use only SSR100 is elected. Individuals reporting to other executives should have the most senior executive of their area approve their non-compensation approval authorization level. If the option to use both SSR100 and SSR200 is elected, then the typical assignment of authority at the SSR100 level would be to a department administrator and would be approved by the cognizant executive, senior or vice president of that area. An individual already approved as an SSR200 approver for a fund/org is appropriate to approve someone as an SSR100 approver when the two level method is utilized.
      • SSR200: SSR200 is an optional level for non-compensation financial transactions. If elected, the SSR200 approver is required to approve when the non-compensation expenditure exceeds $25,000. For direct reports of the President, authority should be granted by the President for this level of expenditure approval. Individuals reporting to other executives should have the most senior executive of their area approve. SSR200 approval authority role is not required.
      • A Principal Investigator of an externally sponsored award will automatically be granted either SSR100 or SSR200 depending on number of levels utilized by his/her school or college for approvals.
      • SSR900: SSR900 is equivalent to SSR100 or SSR200, but is a role that is not made a part of the Smart Source approval workflow. This role allows the user to be documented in the signature authorization hierarchy table as an authorized approver for other non-compensation financial transactions that may require their approver. This role would be reserved for Deans, Senior and Executive Vice Presidents and the President. Funds and Orgs must have at least one person at the SSR100 or SSR200 level to ensure coverage of approvals using the Smart Source procurement system.
    4. The following authorization approvals are established for SSR050, SSR100, SSR200, SSR900 approvers for each type of internal financial transaction. A "YES" listed in the approval category indicates that the transaction may be approved by that level of authorization regardless of amount.
    5. Type of Transaction SSR050 SSR100
      (One Level Option)
      SSR100
      (Two or Three Level Option)
      SSR200
      (Two of Three Level Option)
      SSR900
      (Optional)
      Purchase Requisition Up to $5,000 Yes Up to $24,999 Amounts Greater than $25,000 Will not be included in Smart Source Approval Workflow but can authorize amounts greater than $25,000.
      Check Request Up to $5,000 Yes Up to $24,999 Amounts Greater than $25,000 Will not be included in Smart Source Approval Workflow but can authorize amounts greater than $25,000.
      Service Department Charges Up to $5,000 Yes Up to $24,999 Amounts Greater than $25,000 Amounts Greater than $25,000
      Travel and Entertainment Up to $5,000 Yes Up to $24,999 Amounts Greater than $25,000 Amounts Greater than $25,000
      Petty Cash Up to $5,000 Yes Yes Yes Yes
    6. At least annually, each SSR100 and SSR200 (if two level option is elected) and SSR900 authorized approvers must review and approve a list, to be provided by the Comptroller's Office, of all individuals designated as SSR050, SSR100 and SSR200 approvers under his/her supervision.
    7. An authorized approver may not delegate his/her authority to approve internal financial transactions to another non-authorized individual in his/her absence. During such absences, the above authorized approver must arrange for an individual at the equivalent or the next higher level to provide the necessary approvals.
    8. Each person approving an internal financial transaction must affix his/her own signature or electronic signature to the appropriate document. Signing someone else’s signature is strictly prohibited.
    9. No individual at the university may authorize his/her own travel expenses. (See the Business Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy and Procedures).
    10. The Fund Request and Org Request forms are available on the Office of the Comptroller's website. This form must be used when authorizing someone to approve a financial transaction(s) or personnel action(s). This form can be used for these purposes:
      • New authorization
      • Change in Level of authority
      • Change or Add funds and/or orgs to authority
      • Remove authority
    11. A specimen signature must accompany the form whenever it is used, except to remove an individual's authority.
    12. The Office of the Comptroller will be responsible for maintaining the scanned images in an on-line database.
    13. The Office of the Comptroller will be responsible for creating and operating a computerized system which will provide each appropriate office with on-line access to the limits and fund, org and account numbers for each authorized approver, and for entering all data into the system.