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 Accounts Payable.

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 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.

Types of Payments

Payments can be tracked in both Stratus Financials and the Relational Standard Accounting and Reporting System (R*STARS), which is the State of Maryland accounting 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.

To view more information about payment data for employee reimbursements, please see GAD’s Online Service Center 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 who wish to receive payment through Electronic Funds Transfer should 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 Electronic Funds Transfer Program 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.

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 GAD’s Online Service Center to view payment detail.

Vendors or Individuals receiving a check from the State of Maryland can expect to receive payment approximately 14 to 21 business days from the date the payment is transmitted to the state.

In most cases, the check will be mailed to the address listed on the invoice or payment request form. Please see GAD’s Online Service Center and follow the registration process to use this method of viewing payment information through a password protected site.

A wire transfer is a direct transfer of cash from one bank account to another to satisfy an obligation such as tuition, invoices, grants or scholarships, and registrations under limited circumstances. All wire transfers must include the following details below before submitting to Accounts Payable.

Outgoing wire transfers are used to pay a bill only if there are no other options available. If it becomes necessary to pay by outgoing wire transfer, information for the receiving bank must be provided to Accounts Payable.

An invoice must include:

  • Payee name and address
  • Invoice number and date
  • Amount due/payment amount
  • A valid purchase order (if applicable)
  • Cost center(s) and account number(s) to be charged
  • Vendors banking details (Bank name and address, Bank account number, ABA - bank routing number or SWIFT number if wire is international). If this information is not included on the invoice, additional back up will be required to verify the banking details.

A GAD X-9 Wire Payment Request form must be submitted with the invoice and include:

  • Vendor name and address
  • Foreign currency Type and Amount (if applicable)
  • USD Amount (if applicable)
  • Bank name and address
  • Account number and Swift Code
  • IBAN number if applicable
  • Correspondent bank information (if applicable)
  • Printed name, signature and date of signing by the vendor

If the invoice is in a foreign currency amount, a currency conversion sheet must be submitted with the invoice and GAD X-9 form, with the state-accepted currency conversion tool.

Please note that the information on the invoice must match what is entered on the GAD X-9 form. If it does not match, the wire request will be rejected. If you have a wire transfer you need to process, please fill out the appropriate Miscellaneous Expense Voucher for processing.

Wires are entered directly into R*STARS, the accounting system for the State of Maryland. Because of this, the payment may not immediately reflect on your budget. If a purchase order was created for the wire payment, the department will need to contact Procurement to manually close the PO. Please reach out to the buyer on the PO or  once you have confirmed the wire has been processed.

In an effort to stop wire transfer fraud against U.S. businesses, the State Treasurer’s Office will now compare previous wire transfer banking details for vendors. If the banking details have changed since the previous wire transfer and there is no indication on the documentation that the changes have taken place, Accounts Payable will need additional documentation from the vendor confirming the change in banking details.

In accordance with the State of Maryland General Accounting Division requirements, payments between State Agencies must be processed through R*STARS via an interagency transfer.

An invoice received from another State Agency should include the following R*STARS coding:

  • Agency Code
  • PCA (5 digits)
  • Object Code (4 digits)
  • Transaction Code (3 digits)

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