Accounts Payable | Towson University

Purchasing Authority – Signature Authorization Form

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.

Department heads, responsible for the authorization of payments to be made by the
university, are asked to complete a Signature Authorization Form (PDF) designating departmental employees to have authority to approve financial documents
for payment. The required signatures must be obtained and returned to Financial Services
before transactions can be processed against the new budget.

The intent of the form is to protect campus departments from the possibility of unauthorized
or fraudulent expenses posting to department accounts. The signatures are used to
verify that the employee who has signed the invoice is authorized and the signature
matches the signature on the signature authorization form.

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.

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  • 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.

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Tracking Payments

Payments can be tracked in both the university’s financials reporting system (nVision)
or the state’s online R*Stars system:

  • The university’s nVision reporting system allows drill down capability to view accounting
    entries to check if a payment has been processed.
  • 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
  • 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 410-704-2209.


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