All university departments have the authority to purchase goods and/or services subject to established spending limits.
Once received in the Accounts Payable Office, each document is reviewed to assure the coding block is properly completed, the appropriate signatures are in place, and any supporting documentation is attached.
Invoices are sorted and assigned to an associate who enters the information provided on the coding block of each invoice into the university's financial system. The invoices are charged to the department or grant as indicated on the coding block except for purchase order commodity invoices that are charged to the department or grant designated on the purchase order.
The financial system generates a payment data file that is electronically transmitted to the General Accounting Office in Annapolis. The original of each invoice and all documentation is forwarded to GAD following the electronic file submission. A copy of each document is maintained on file in the university's imaging system.
The Annapolis General Accounting Office audits each invoice and reviews supporting documentation. Payment data is then transmitted to the State's Treasurer's Office where payment is generated to the vendor.
Reports are available through the nVision reporting system of all activity posted to each department budget code during the prior month. For information on receiving these reports, contact the Financial Systems PeopleSoft team through the help line at 410-704-5599 or psteam AT_TOWSON.
Departments may use their spending authority to purchase goods or services valued at $5,000 or less directly from a vendor and have an invoice sent to Accounts Payable, if the vendor does not accept the university Visa procurement card. The vendor must be given the department name and the department or grant number to be charged and must be instructed to send the invoice directly to the Accounts Payable Office.
If the department receives an invoice directly from a vendor, it is critical that the invoice be forwarded to Accounts Payable as quickly as possible. Apply a date stamp, apply and complete a coding block, obtain appropriate signatures and submit to Accounts Payable. Or, send the original invoice to Accounts Payable and request that it be added to the Image Now workflow for approvals.
Call the vendor immediately for disputed invoices. Fully document any invoice dispute by making note of the reason for the dispute and the potential date of resolution on the invoice and submit to Accounts Payable.
Departments have five days from the day they receive an invoice to approve and return to Accounts Payable for processing. Going over the five days could cause the invoice to become late, affecting the university's delayed invoice rate. Assign someone to backup the individual primarily responsible for processing and approving invoices so invoices do not lay in a mailbox when someone is out of the office.
Retain a copy of the invoice for your records for three years for audit requirements. If the invoice does not belong to your department, return/forward the invoice to Accounts Payable immediately.
Requisitions and purchase orders go onto the departmental budgets as open commitments of funding set aside for goods and/or services being purchased for the department. When a purchase order is utilized to buy goods and/or services, the resulting invoice is processed differently than invoices from direct purchases.
The purchase order remains on the departmental budget with the encumbrance amount being reduced as each payment is made by Accounts Payable.
Please note that it is essential that the coding block specify partial versus final payments in order to reduce the encumbrance amount. Service contracts often "run out of money" because the amount of the contract is an estimate of funds needed for the length of the contract.
Invoices received initially by Accounts Payable are routed to the department through the Image Now system or email to be coded, approved and signed to authorize the payment.
Turn around timeframe - all invoices must be handled promptly. Timely payment of vendor payments is a high priority of the State Comptroller's Office who, along with USM monitor and report late invoice statistics. Delayed payments are closely reviewed and agencies are held accountable for late payments exceeding 1 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 turn around timeframe between Accounts Payable and the campus departments.
The invoice coding block is a label that is attached to all invoices to summarize all the important information regarding payment of the invoice. The coding block identifies the department where the expenditure will be charged and the signature(s) on the coding block certifies that goods/services have been received and authorizes Accounts Payable to pay the invoice.
If an invoice was mailed directly to the department, the department must attach and complete a coding block before sending the invoice to Accounts Payable. If Accounts Payable receives the invoice directly from the vendor, they will affix the coding blocks to invoices before faxing them to the department.
Please attach the coding block label to the front of the invoice if space permits. If there is not enough blank space on the front of the invoice to attach the label without covering important text, fold the invoice over and attach the label to the back of the invoice.
Accounts Payable verifies that each invoice is signed by an employee authorized to sign for the department number that appears on the coding block and that the signature matches an authorized signature on file. See definitions nine and ten below.
Send the invoice to the Accounts Payable Office within five working days of receipt.
For the labels, please print the Code Block Form (PDF). The type of label used is AVERY 5163. If you need assistance, contact the Financial Services help line at 410-704-5599, option 1 or finservehelp AT_TOWSON.
See the following example of a coding block. Note that items 1-10 are required information. Definitions of these items are detailed below following the coding block:
INVOICE # (1) INVOICE DATE # (2)
PO # (3) Partial/Complete (4)
Dept/Grant # (5) Account # (6) Initiative # (7) Amount (8)
Department Approval: (9)
Department Approval: (10)