Accounts Payable

The Accounts Payable Office is responsible for processing payments for goods, services and other non-salary expenses. Because all activity relating to these payments is identified with an individual or organizational vendor, the Accounts Payable Office also maintains the university's extensive vendor database.

Purchasing Authority

Towson University's budget, as approved by the state of Maryland, provides the authority for all expenditures. State and university policies regarding allowable expenditures apply to all purchases, regardless of method of payment (Visa procurement card or traditional billing process) or source of funds (state-support, self-support, grant, or contract).

While anything priced over $5,000 must be obtained by submitting a purchase requisition to the Procurement Office, every university department has a ‘spending authority' under which goods or services valued at $5,000 or less may be purchased directly from a vendor by using the procurement card or direct invoicing from the vendor.

All purchases (Purchase Orders, Invoices, or Procurement Card) go through an approval workflow in Stratus to ensure they are reviewed by the Cost Center Manager and Financial Steward for accuracy and for appropriate documentation.

Sales and Use Taxes

Towson University is a state agency and as such is exempt from sales tax collected by merchants on items purchased in the state.

  • Use tax refers to tax on items purchased from sources in other states that may also honor the exempt status. Ask out-of-state vendors if they will honor the tax exemption.
  • Always tell the vendor that your purchase is tax exempt.
  • A copy of the tax exempt number certificate can be obtained from Financial Services.

Invoice Processing

All invoices must be handled promptly. Timely processing of vendor payments is a high priority of the State Comptroller's Office who, along with the USM, monitors and reports late invoice statistics. Delayed payments are closely reviewed, and agencies are held accountable for late payments exceeding one percent of total volume processed. The State Comptroller's Office requires that invoices are processed and transmitted to the state for payment within 25 calendar days, resulting in a very tight five-day turnaround between Accounts Payable and the campus departments.

Once a department receives an invoice from either Accounts Payable or a vendor, the department has five days to review, approve and return the approved invoice to the Accounts Payable office for processing (assuming the department is not paying the invoice with a Procard). Once the invoice is processed through Accounts Payable, it is sent to the General Accounting Division in Annapolis where the invoice is reviewed, and the payment is finally issued. It can take between two and three weeks for a payment to be issued from the day it is processed in the Accounts Payable office, so it is of utmost importance that the campus review and approve invoices in a timely manner. If there is an issue with the invoice or there is a dispute, attach a memo to the invoice describing the issue and the date the issue was resolved to prevent the invoice from being identified as being late.

Tracking Payments

Payments can be tracked in both Stratus Financials or the state's online R*Stars system:

  • Employee reimbursements are transmitted to the same direct deposit bank as employee paychecks. The General Accounting Division (GAD) will not issue a paper remittance notification to the employee. Employees can monitor the payment process by accessing the Comptroller's one stop vendor payment inquiry system.
  • To view more information about payment data please see the Comptroller of Maryland's Vendor Payments website. On the website, click on “One Stop Vendor Payment Inquiry” and follow the registration process to use this method of viewing payment information through a password protected site.
  • Employees without direct deposit will receive a check in the mail.

Vendors Electronic Funds Transfer

Vendors who receive more than $50,000 or more than six checks per year from the state will be contacted by The Maryland State Comptroller's Office to sign up for electronic payments using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network. Electronic payments assure that vendors receive payment in their bank account within two days, eliminate post office delivery delays and reduce postage costs for the state.

Detailed payment information can be found on the Comptroller's website. Vendors can track the progress of their payments from processing by the state agency to transmission of the payment to the bank. Payments to vendors enrolled in the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) program are deposited to the vendor's designated bank account.

Participation is easy. To register for ACH payment, the vendor completes a GAD X-10 form and follows the instructions on the Comptroller's website under agency services/general accounting.  This site also provides the link to "One Stop Vendor Payment Inquiry" to view payment detail.

If you need assistance contact the Financial Services help line at 410-704-5599 (choose option one) or the Accounts Payable Office at

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