Accounts Payable Policy


The primary responsibility of Accounts Payable (“A/P”) is the payment of the College's expenses. To accomplish its established mission within the guidelines of the College's and applicable federal government's guidelines, A/P reviews all invoices from external vendors as well as internal payments to students, faculty and staff. It is the responsibility of A/P to ensure that each expenditure that is paid by the College is represented by an authorized source document (traditionally an invoice or purchase order), has a proper account number, and is paid in a timely manner upon receipt in the office. A/P may at times need the assistance of the department incurring an expense to assist in identifying the business reason or other necessary information if not clearly noted on the invoice by the vendor or the department. In these instances A/P will generally return the invoice to the department to clarify the outstanding issue.

Valid Expenses:

The College's general policy is that funds should be expended only for essential College business. The College qualifies as a not-for-profit entity under Section 501(c) (3) of the IRS guidelines and therefore must be diligent in ensuring expenses qualify as a business expense. Additionally, the College receives grants and awards from the federal government and must be in compliance with the terms of the agencies supporting the College. The IRS also has strict guidelines for employee reimbursement requirements that the College must maintain to retain its accountable plan status.

General Guidelines

Payment by the College must be supported by a source document, which in most instances is an independent invoice. The original invoice represents confirmation from a third-party that a product or service was provided to the College. Since the College has a decentralized purchasing system, the majority of invoices are received within the department that requested the product or service. All requests for reimbursement must contain the underlying detail that comprises the total expense incurred. (This means items paid by credit card must include the charge receipt and/or statement, and the supporting documentation evidencing the actual payment) Upon receipt of an invoice it is the responsibility of the department initiating the product or service for the following:

Assess the validity of the invoice received. (Note: We pay from original invoices only, please mark any faxes or copies that may become necessary to use  as "Use as Original" so we know that the department has verified the authenticity of the invoice) This includes the vendor name and payment address, actual product or service description, delivery dates, terms, cost and mathematical accuracy. Any errors on the invoice must be clearly marked.

Have an approved individual of the department sign (original signatures are required), date and encode the invoice/purchase order with the appropriate full general ledger account number, including fund, department and object codes. This approval validates that the invoice represents a product or service with a business purpose.

Forward the approved invoice to A/P within an appropriate time to take advantage of offered discounts when applicable or to otherwise meet the minimum terms. An invoice received in A/P signifies that the approving department is validating the business expense and all data on the invoice.

Forward the purchase order, where applicable, to A/P attached to the invoice. 

It is the general policy of the College to directly mail checks to vendors from the Controller's Office. This policy is to establish effective internal controls over checks and reduce administrative time. 

If a circumstance exists where a copy of the invoice is required to be mailed with payment, this must be clearly marked on the invoice when sent to A/P. It is also the responsibility of the department forwarding the invoice to furnish a copy of the document that must accompany the payment. The original invoice must remain in A/P.

Any payments made to an independent contractor or an unincorporated vendor for services require the College to prepare and mail a Form 1099 after the calendar year-end. To assist in this procedure, it is the responsibility of the department utilizing this service to include a separate copy of the invoice when forwarding the original to A/P. 

Per IRS regulations the College must receive from a service provider either a completed and signed Form W-9 or a Foreign National Information Form to ensure proper tax treatment. The College's Request for Payment of Services Form has a field for a social security number or tax ID. The appropriate tax form must accompany the payment request form that is forwarded to the Controller’s Office, unless a W-9 is already on file for the specific provider. The Foreign National Information Form, if applicable, is needed for each time service is provided. If you are requesting a reimbursement to a foreign person or entity, please have the payee complete a W-8 Ben form, located on our website.

The form contains a section for notation of whether or not the service provider is a current or former employee of the College. Due to regulations, the College’s Office of Human Resources must determine if the provider should be paid through payroll, with applicable deductions, or though accounts payable. That office will forward the request to the Controller’s Office after review and approval.

Payment Cycle

In general, it is the policy of A/P to mail checks to the College's vendors with sufficient time to either take advantage of offered discounts, or to comply with the terms noted on their respective invoice. This policy is impacted by factors including the timely receipt of a valid, approved invoice in our office. While it is important to comply with the vendor's terms for continued favorable pricing and relationship maintenance, we are also cognizant of fundamental cash management and attempt to limit the time an invoice would theoretically remain “prepaid”. Generally, approval of an invoice and payment should occur after the product/service is received.

Per office policy, checks are issued each Thursday during a standard operating week. This schedule may be modified when necessary for business weeks containing a holiday or other events. The office strives to include all invoices received by our office that are currently due into the check run, however the timing of the receipt of invoices, volume of invoices received in any given week and staffing levels may prevent this at times. Therefore, the receipt of an invoice to our office prior to a check run does not guarantee its inclusion in that specific week's run. For that reason it is advised that invoices are approved and sent to the office as far in advance of their due date as possible.  Checks run on Thursdays cover all classifications of payees.


All payments for compensation of students, faculty and staff must be paid through payroll.  All new vendors should be completing a IRS Form W-9 which is linked to our forms page and directs you to this location We should not pay any vendor or individual without knowing their tax status. Payments to non-US citizens cannot be disbursed prior to the receipt of a completed Foreign National Information Form certifying foreign status, and any other applicable documents. This form is available in the Controller's Office, as well as on the Controller's website.

Reimbursements for travel and entertainment expenses follow the same general guidelines noted above for payments to vendors. Ensure that a valid business explanation is noted on the request. Generally, first-class and charter travel are not reimbursable. In the case of reimbursement for meals, ensure that a complete list of individuals covered accompanies the business explanation. Generally the cost of meals, travel and other expenses  for partners, spouses, or other companions not affiliated with the College are not allowable requests for reimbursement unless incurred for a valid business purpose.  This pertains to invoices paid directly to the vendor (restaurant) as well.  All requests for reimbursement must contain the underlying detail that comprises the total expense incurred.  For example, reimbursement for meals should contain the receipt from the restaurant detailing the items ordered, if possible. It is important to remember that travel and entertainment expenses should fit into the classification as required for events necessary to administer College business. To comply with these best practices, and at the advice of our auditors, all employees should retain a second review/signature by the Department Head that is in charge of the funds requested.

The following are generally not considered valid business expenses and are therefore not reimbursable (this list is not meant to be all inclusive):

Floral arrangements

Fruit baskets

General gifts for employees, other than those authorized by Human Resources

Holiday expenses including dinners, parties or gifts

Retirement expenses including dinners, parties or gifts

This policy is subject to periodic modification to coincide with changing business issues and external guidelines or regulations.  Any changes to the policy will be made directly within this on-line document, and only those modifications that are substantive in nature will require additional communication to the college community.

We appreciate your efforts to comply with the above procedures and are available to answer your questions. Please call extension 2803 with any questions that you may have.