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									                       Accounts Payable Quick Reference Guide
As of 5/11/10

Invoices and Reimbursements

A Valid Busine ss Reason needs to be document ed for all expenses, if not obvious. For example a pers on
traveling to CA may write “t ravel to CA to conduct research collaborat ion”. Auditors need a more specific business
reason than this example provides. The example should read: “travel to UCLA for collaboration with Dr. Wong on
the ““Oceanic Sonic Readings”” research project”. Similarly, for business meals auditors need the specific topic of
discussion along with the full names of the attendees. For conferences and symposia please attach the flyer,
documentation or other literature for the event.

Segregat e out “Unallowable” Expense s (i.e. alcohol, entert ainment, meal/ticket overages) using an 8500 series

Gifts to an employee or customer worth $25 or more are considered tax reportable. Document business reason,
recipient’s name, home address and SS# by having the recipient complete a Form W -9. Do NOT give gifts to
vendors. Gifts exceeding certain thresholds require Supplemental Approval.

A P-Card can be used for payment of non-travel related small dollar purchases (generally under $2,500 per
transaction) for certain types of orders, supplies and equipment purchas es. Examples of P-card purchases are
online purchases, books, minor comput er equipment, software, and supplies.

A Purchase Order or EZP O IS needed before ordering supplies (except via Staples Advantage), equipment,
restricted substances, upholstered furniture, consultant services, and contract services. Do NOT sign contracts of
any kind - send them to Purchasing Dept. for review. New vendors will need to be validate in system prior to use.
For more info, go to:

A Purchase Order or EZP O i s NOT needed for honoraria, postage, registration fees, membership dues, courier,
subscriptions, individual books, reprints, printing services, short term rentals, advertisements, food and utility bills.

Only pay Current Activity on an Invoice. Obtain separate invoice for past due amounts. Do NOT subtract credits
from future orders - request a Credit Memo invoice from vendor instead. Credit Memos are processed in AP/CA R.

Honorarium s for non-CU individuals are sent to AP on a Check Request. Honorariums for foreign citizens are
processed on check requests and sent to HRP C. Honorariums for CU employees are processed as an Add-Comp
in WebSAF or sent on a paper SAF to HRPC.

All Petty Cash Fund creations, fund changes, and fund closings should be sent to the Office of the Controller using
the PC Administration Form. Fund replenishments are processed via AP/CAR. See PC web info page on AP site.

A Petty Cash Expense generally cannot exceed $80. Do not reimburse credit/debit card purc hases from your PC
fund. Also do not use PC for honoraria, subscriptions, fees, alcohol, advances or cashing of personal checks.

For Proof of Payment of an expense, all attempts should be made to present an itemized rec eipt with credit card
payment info or a cash receipt. As a last resort, an itemized receipt wit h credit card statement showing charge or a
cancelled check are also accept able forms of proof of payment.

Foreign Currency Conversion - use or equivalent write US dollar equivalency on each rec eipt;
calculate rates in effect when travel took place. Use conversion worksheet that is part of TBE R Excel Workbook.

Only Emergency Purchase s of supplies, simple equipment, or books should be reimbursed on a Travel or
Business Expense Report. Document reason for emergency. In excess of $500 requires Supplemental Approval.

Supplemental Approval also required for reimbursements abo ve thresholds, and for office parties, business or
first class air tickets, entertainment in a privat e home, and various other business expenses – please see policy.

Use a Separate Travel and Busine ss Expense Report for each trip. Don’t combine general business expenses
w/ trip expenses. The “last date of expense” for a trip refers to the date of return to NY C. Miscellaneous business
expenses not related to travel should be recorded on a separate T&E form and submitted at least bi-monthly.

Travel or Business Expenses Older than 120 days require Supplemental Approval and may be taxed.

AP/CAR Entries

Step 1 - Choose correct Vendor from Master Vendor File. If vendor info does not exist or needs to be modified, see
below “Creating a New Vendor.” When searching for a vendor, note the difference between a “corporate address”
and “remit payment address” i.e. double check the address in AP/CAR matches the payment address listed on the
invoic e.
Step 2 - Enter appropriate information from invoice, check request, or reimbursement report including any special
handling requests (i.e. Check Pick-up)
Step 3 - Enter proper departmental account information so that correct FAS account and sub-code(s) is charged.
Step 4 - Request proper DAF approvals - Save invoice. You will receive a Working Voucher Number at this point.
(Example: E-041-W00001) (Note: The “Manual Approver” designation in AP/CAR refers to a person being able to
manually approve payment on an invoice as well performing the electronic payment approval. In order to have
“Manual Approver” status one must apply and be pre -approved for this function by the A/P department.)
Step 5- Print out the barcode coversheet from AP CAR and scan the invoices to APCA R or mail the barcode and
original document to Accounts Payable. Please place a barcode coversheet on top of each invoice and make sure
to write the page count on the barcode sheet.
Step 6- You are still required to send all original paperwork to Accounts Payable after invoices have been scanned
at the department level or when sending to AP to scan for the department. Accounts Payable Dept - 615 West 131
street 3 floor - MC 8744 or via an AP/CAR drop-box. Use MC 8766 for already scanned docs.
Step 7 - DAF Approver(s) reviews invoice (also called a “voucher” at this point) through APCAR by pressing the
view documents button. If all looks fine, approver(s) accepts invoice and receives the Accepted Voucher Number
(AVN). If approver is “foreign” (in anot her department), processor will need to secure vouc her number from “Ready
to Secure Voucher Number” queue. (Not e: Wait for “foreign” approvals before completing final dept. approval.)
Step 8 - Monitor AP/CA R queues in case more information is needed by AP in order to complete the transaction. If
everything is in order, AP will produce a check for payment.

Searching for & Selecting a Vendor in AP/CAR: 1) Search using last name of individual or first word of business
name, or 2) Search for CU employ ees using E + Social Security Number (i.e. E123456789) or search for Non CU
Vendors using P+ Federal ID Number or SS# (i.e. P123456789). When system provides list of choices, select
listing that has the payment type you need (Check Reques t vs. Travel & Business) - Scroll to right of listing to view
this info. If info in system is not correct, email to modify listing prior to
completing invoice in AP/CAR. Special system generated vendor numbers (i.e. for foreign vendors) are formatted
as follows: F + 9 digit number (i.e. F123456789). If a vendor is listed more than once, it may be because of
multiple addresses or name spellings. A suffix of 01, 02, 03 etc. is added to end of the vendor number.

AP/CAR Follow-up
Monitor your queues at least once a week. Some important queues to watch:

“ Working” lists invoices that have been entered into CAR but are not yet ready to be submitted to Accounts
Payable. These invoices may lack required information or approvals, or they may include temporary errors (e.g. an
out of balance condition, in whic h the distribution line total does not equal the gross amount of the invoice). When
an item is in “Working”, an invoice p rocessor may edit or delete it.

“Restricted Funds Approval: WAITING” (or RE JECTE D) lists invoices awaiting approval from Sponsored
Projects Finance (SPF). Check with your SPF project manager for more information.

 “Payment Approval: WAITING” lists invoices that are awaiting approval from an authorized departmental
approver (a.k.a. a “DAF” approver). An error -free invoice reaches this state when the processor designates a DAF
approver. DAF approvers need to retrieve an item from this queue in order to complet e approval proc ess.

“Supplemental Approval: WAITING or REJECTED” lists invoices that need to be approved by a Supplemental
Approver – a division or school level approver who is specially designat ed to authorize exceptional requests.

 “Ready to Secure Voucher Number” lists invoices that are ready to be assigned an accepted vouc her number
by a foreign approver. An invoice reaches this state when it is error -free and has all required approvals.

“Accepted Awaiting Paperwork or Audit” lists vouchers that have reached an accepted state in AP/CAR. These
vouchers are ready for review by central AP, but AP has not yet received supporting paper documentation or has
not yet audited the documentation and released the payment.

“Returned by AP for Correction” lists vouchers that are being held by AP pending further action by the
departmental user. When the processor retrieves the invoice from this queue, a window will automatically be
displayed, detailing the required corrective action.

If an A & R Specialist places a voucher on “Hold”, it will be routed to the processor’s “Returned By AP for
Correction” queue. The processor must, therefore, routinely monitor his or her “Ret urned By AP for Correction”
queue. When a number appears in the queue, the proc essor can c lick on the “Total” box, highlight an item in the
drop down box in the lower part of the screen, click on the Correct Invoi ce button, and view the A&R Specialist’s
explanation. To the question, "Save Changes?", click Yes. This voucher will now appear in the “Correction
Returned to AP” queue where the Audit & Review Specialist will access it and either “Approve”, “Hold” or “Reject” it.

“Correction Returned to AP” lists vouc hers that have been corrected by the processor and returned to the
Accounts Payable division for further review.

“Rejected by AP” lists vouchers that have been rejected for payment by AP. When the processor retrieves the
invoic e from this queue, the rejection reason will automatically be displayed. Upon rejection of the voucher by the
AP division, CA R will automatically generate a reverse transaction. Vouchers will be displayed in this queue for 10

Rejecting a Voucher: a transaction can deleted by a processor in the working queue if it has a WVN. If an Audit and
Review specialist puts a voucher on hold, you can reply to an auditor in the Returned by AP for Correction queue
and request the voucher to be rejected by the audit or that put the voucher on hold. If you have received an AV N
number for the voucher and would like to have it rejected please cont act the AP Service Center and request that
the voucher be rejected.

“Checks Ready For Pickup” lists checks that are ready to be picked up. These are payments for invoices on
which the processor selected the special handling function “Check Pickup”.

Submitting Documents to AP: After a processor electronically submits items to Accounts Payable, he or she
should immediat ely drop off the paper back-up documentation in an AP/CA R Pick-Up Box or send to AP. Please
make sure you have labeled the interoffice envelope stating the documents have already been scanned. Also,
please write the date of the vouchers scanned and the mail code - 8744. Use MC 8766 for already scanned docs.
(If your department is not submitting documents electronically, ple ase send the vouchers to AP to scan)

Reading History Note s in AP/CAR: To review an event, select the history line by clicking on it with the mouse. If
further information exists about the event, the Review button to the right of the History table will be come enabled.
Click the Review button. Respond as required.

Creating a New Vendor

(Note: If you need to modify or add a listing for an existing vendor, email with pertinent information. Do NOT attempt to modify existing vendor
listings in FinSys. )

Step 1 - Log in to FinSys section of My. Columbia portal, select (new) Vendor Create. Review status of open
items. (Any item in WORKING status has not been released to AP for re view. Items that have been released have
been complet ed by AP if listing disappears.)

Step 2 - Click on NEW, to create a new vendor. Verify basic vendor information (i. e. is vendor an employee?) If the
vendor is not an Employ ee of the University or student, Non Resident Alien or Resident, Petty Cash
Reimbursement or Patient Refund to an Individual, please have them fill out a W9 form and fax to 851-7904. If the
vendor is foreign, it is required that the vendor fill out a W8 form, fax to 851-7904.
Step 3 - Answer questions about vendor. Be as accurate as possible.
Step 4 – Enter Tax ID Information.
Step 5 – Identify Payment Type for trans action (i.e. check request, or invoice).
Step 6 - Enter Ba sic Vendor Information, write in Notes box what type of service or goods vendor provides.
Step 7 – Verify information is correct.
Step 8 - Select Release for VM Approval and then Confirm this selection. (If you select Save, item is merely
saved to your pending items queue, but not released to AP.) Exit when done.
Step 9 – Log out of Vendor Create. Monit or your Pending Vendor Creation Requests queue. When item
disappears from queue, return to AP/CAR and process invoic e
Step 10 – Return to AP/CAR to fini sh processing of invoice.
Responding to Vendor Reque st Holds and Rejects: Select item in Pending Vendor Creation Requests queue.
Click on History button to read AP Reviewer comments. Respond as necessary.

Rush Requests

Step 1 - To request a Rush payment, enter the invoice information into AP/CAR. If you need to hand deliver or
overnight the payment to the vendor, select the “Check Pick Up” special handling function in AP/CAR.
Step 2 - Secure the necessary approvals and write down the accept ed voucher number on the invoice.
Step 3 – Please fill out the Rush request form at no later
than 12 pm.

Contacting AP
By Webform (preferred method)
Payment Status request (for voucher status):
Payment Operations web form (stop payments, check pickup & info):
Service Center web form (for general inquiries ):

By Email
Joe Labetti – Executive Director, AP            
Ellen Fleming - Manager, AP Service Center      
Tim Roan – Director, AP                         
Jean-P aul Moise - Stop Payment Clerk                     mj2031@c
General Vendor Management Inquiries             

By Phone (Please see up-to-date AP Directory located on our website)
- General inquiries: AP Service Center - 212-854-2122 (or
- Stop payments, voids and check reissues: Jean-Paul Moise - 854-4087
- AP/CAR system problems: AP Service Center 854-2122

1. Check AP online staff directory for the correct FA X number for the person you need to communicate with.
2. Email appropriate AP staff and confirm your intention to FA X prior to sending.
3. If sending a voucher to be audited, first respond to hold inquiry in AP/CAR.

Training Opportunities
Instructional classes on basic AP procedures and compliance issues and on how to use the AP/CAR payment
system are offered on a monthly basis. For a complete list of financial system training classes, visit our website and
click on the Training button.


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