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Payment for Other Goods and Services

Overview

Procurement Card

Petty Cash

Direct Payment Request
Registration fees, subscription renewals, membership dues
Unplanned, emergency equipment repairs
Recurring payments such as rent or utilities
Research subject fees
Authorized contracted, direct-billed expenses

Honoraria

Foreign Currency and International Payments
Electronic Funds (Wire) Transfers

Payments to Individuals and Tax Considerations
U.S.Resident Independent Contractor Payments to Individuals
Non-U.S. Resident Independent Contractor Payments to Individuals

Non-travel Advance
Non-travel Advance for Employees 
Non-travel Advance for Graduate Students (Non-employees)

Express Check

Check Pick Up Locations

Personal Funds

Resources
Contact Information

 
Overview

It can be accessed from a link on the NUPortal webpage, on Purchasing and Payments tab.
The online voucher is for direct entry of the Direct Payment Request, Visitor’s Expense Report and Contracted Services form into NUFinancials with timely budget check and electronic workflow. 

Note:  Contracted Services form requires submission of original documentation and original signatures from appropriate contractors and approvers (Dept, Dean, PI, ASRSP, OSR, etc.) Submission of documentation electronically as an addition to the originals is optional.

Important Note

  • For the Direct Payment Request (DPR) and Visitor’s Expense Report scanned/attached signatures and supporting documents are preferred and acceptable.
  • For the Contracted Services form (US Residents) original signatures and documentation are required for review.  Grant-related expenses must go to ASRSP for review and approval first before routing to Accounts Payable. 
  • Certain processes such as petty cash and electronic funds transfers continue to use the paper Direct Payment Request.
  • While departments are encouraged to acquire scanning capabilities, fully completed and signed paper forms with attached documentation will be accepted by Accounts Payable.  Alternatively, departments can enter an online voucher and make a notation to AP that documentation will be submitted by campus mail. 
Type of Payment Request
Uses
Submission Method
Signatures Needed
Original?
Documentation Needed
Original?
Direct Payment Request Registration fees, subscription renewals, membership dues, unplanned, emergency equipment repairs, research subject fees, direct billed services (ex. staffing agency fees, hotel charges when hosting a conference), electronic funds  transfer, petty cash* Online Voucher with attached electronic documentation NUFinancials workflow approvals related to chart string
no
Invoice or other support for expense
no
Visitor's Expense Report Reimbursement of individuals who are not university faculty and staff, but who have incurred expenses for university approved, business related expenses, including transportation and lodging Online Voucher with attached electronic documentation Visitor, Department, Dean, or Principal Investigator, as necessary, on form, then NUFinancials workflow approvals related to chart string
no
receipts or other support for expense
no
Contracted Services form Payments to U.S. resident independent contractor individuals, honoraria Online Voucher and physical submission of supporting original signatures and documentation to OSR, ASRSP and AP as applicable (attachment of electronic copies is optional)  Contractor, Department, Dean, or Principal Investigator, as necessary
yes
Contract supporting expense
yes

Tips on Supporting Documentation

  • It is recommended that original documentation not submitted to Accounts Payable should be retained by departments for 3 years for audit purposes.
  • A Contracted Services Form, fully completed and signed, can serve as sole documentation, if appropriate.
  • PRS will be part of workflow approvals for all vouchers over 25K.
  • PRS will still require BD-1 or SSJ for Direct Payment Requests over 25K.

Scanning Tips

  • The recommended file format is .TIF and .PDF with a resolution of 200x200 DPI. 
  • You may attach one or more docs totaling no more than 1MB file size.
  • Manage scanned documentation for file size and legibility.  Illegible files will be returned by Accounts Payable.
  • Clear adhesive tape should not be placed on top of important information when prepping for sending or scanning.  Scanners and fax machines do not read through clear adhesive tape, thus anything under the tape, while legible to the human eye, is not legible to the scanner/fax. (ex. do not tape over cash register receipts as the print disappears.)
  • Receipts with faint print should be copied and darkened for scanning.
  • Tape small receipts to an 8 ½ x 11 white sheet of paper.
  • Be sure to tape all four sides to white paper.
  • Do not use dark-colored highlighters to mark names, invoice numbers or important information.  The highlights scan as blacked out.
  • Do black out sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers.
  • Make sure no staples are used.  Those can damage the scanner.

Procurement Card
Departments/schools are also strongly encouraged to use the procurement card for low value, low risk transactions (i.e. less than $500) instead of having a purchase order issued, unless the items are available from a preferred vendor in iBuyNU.  The procurement card can also be an efficient alternative to paying via the Direct Payment Request, particularly for registration fees, subscriptions, membership dues, and emergencies (products or services).  Though Internet and prepaid orders are discouraged, a procurement card may also be used to pay for Internet orders for items that are not available from any other source or in situations where the vendor insists on payment at the time of ordering.

For more information about the procurement card, refer to the Procurement Card Cardholder Guide and the Procurement Card website.

Petty Cash
The petty cash transaction threshold is being increased to $100, effective Monday, October 1, 2012. No single expenditure of more than $100 may be made from a petty cash fund.  Petty cash disbursements may be made for the following expenditures:

  • Emergency purchases
  • Freight, C.O.D.s, postage due
  • Authorized local travel or entertainment - $100 and under
  • Payment of research participants – up to $100 cumulative for the calendar year (with prior grant authorization from Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs) 
  • Petty cash fund total is limited to $300 with reimbursement of the petty cash fund to be done on a monthly or more frequent basis.
  • Food purchases - $100 and under (note that tax is not reimbursable)

An employee seeking reimbursement from petty cash should fill out a Petty Cash Pay-Out Form and submit it to the fund custodian with original detailed receipts.  The custodian will make the payout directly to the employee for approved requests.

Complete procedures for petty cash funds are outlined in Cash Handling Policies & Procedures. 

Direct Payment Request
The Direct Payment Request process is a way to request payment for services when the transaction does not warrant the issuance of an official Purchase Order to a vendor, or for direct-billed contracted services, for services for which it is the normal practice to pay in advance, and for certain special payments such as recurring or international and electronic payments.  The Direct Payment Request process cannot be used to pay invoices for the purchase of services that should have been ordered using a purchase order. 

Authorized categories of payments using the Direct Payment Request process are listed below:

Payment for these items is initiated with the online voucher or with an approved Direct Payment Request form submitted to Accounts Payable with the invoice plus any additional forms and documentation. 

Important Note

Honoraria

An honorarium is a rare type of payment used to confer distinction or to express respect, esteem or admiration for the recipient.  It is a token payment.  As honoraria are processed infrequently, it is recommended that departments consult with Accounts Payable before initiating this type of payment to ensure that appropriate documentation accompanies the payment requests. 

If payment has been negotiated with the recipient and is given in return for services provided, it should be considered a speaking fee or consulting payment requiring a completed online voucher for contracted services and a fully signed Contracted Services Form and/or invoice.

  • Grants normally do not allow for payments of honoraria 
  • Account Code 75010 should be used to pay for both honoraria and independent contractor and consulting services

Important Note about Honoraria

  • It is recommended that a flyer announcing the event or a detailed memo from the department is attached to the online voucher for all honoraria.
  • If payments to an individual (honoraria or otherwise) total $600 or more in any calendar year, the IRS requires the University to issue a 1099 tax form to the individual.  To issue the 1099 tax form, the University needs the information collected when requesting a Vendor ID.  For more information on adding a vendor: http://www.northwestern.edu/financial-operations/policies-procedures/purchasing/purchasingviewvendors.html
  • Because it may be difficult for departments to know if an individual has received payments from other areas of the University to track if the cumulative payments have reached $600, it is recommended to collect and submit all necessary information for the Vendor ID.  Accounting Services will distribute a 1099 tax form, as required.

Foreign Currency and International Payments
Accounts Payable (AP) can make payments to a foreign country by using a service provided by Travelex Global Business Payments, Inc. (formerly Ruesch International).  The payment can be in a foreign currency or U.S. Dollars and paid via a draft/check or electronic funds/wire transfer as required by the vendor.

To make an international payment fill out a Direct Payment Request form and, for wire transfers, also fill out an AP International Wire Transfer Request form.  Obtain all needed approvals, and send the DPR, AP International Wire Transfer Request (as required) and pertinent documentation either to Accounts Payable or, for sponsored projects, to ASRSP. For more information, refer to Accounts Payable International and Foreign Currency Payment Procedures.

Electronic Funds (Wire) Transfers
Wire transfers are monitored in Treasury Operations. 

For payments to a U.S. bank via electronic funds (wire) transfers in U.S. Dollars, complete the Domestic Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Request form and a Direct Payment Request form.  The forms require Accounts Payable (except for certain pre-approved regular transfers) and Treasury approval, and then the Bursar initiates the transfer of funds.

Emergency international transfers of funds may also be made via electronic funds (wire) transfers in U.S. Dollars by special request to Treasury Operations.  Complete the International Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Request form and a Direct Payment Request form.  The forms require Accounts Payable (except for certain pre-approved regular transfers) and Treasury approval, and then the Bursar initiates the transfer of funds.

Routine electronic funds transfers that have been pre-approved by Treasury Operations follow a modified process. Contact Treasury Operations for details.

Payment Requirements For Electronic Funds Transfers
In the event a payment that you are requesting Northwestern University to make to you by ACH is to be forwarded in its entirety from a U.S. financial institution to a financial institution in another country, please contact the Manager of Accounts Payable (see below for contact information).  In such cases, payment will have to be made by check.

Payments to Individuals and Tax Considerations
When making payments to individuals, be aware that there may be income tax considerations.  Two areas to note are:

  • Research subject fees to an individual of more than $50 per year
  • Additional pay to employees for mobile communications devices and service plans

NEW – Statement of Services form to determine method of payment. Refer to the Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual section on Work and Pay for details or contact HR Payroll to discuss individual situations.  Another reference is the the Engaging the Services of Individuals process map.

U.S. Resident Independent Contractor Payments to Individuals
U.S. resident independent contractor payments to individuals are initiated with both the online voucher and a contracted services form. A Statement of Services form is available to determine method of payment. A fully-completed and signed Contracted Services Form for U.S. Residents, an invoice or other pertinent documentation must be submitted with original signatures to ASRSP and/or OSR, if applicable, and to Accounts Payable via campus mail.  Before submitting the Contracted Services Form, the department/school may need to add the contractor as a vendor to NUFinancials through the NUPortal under the Purchasing & Payments tab.

Important Note

Non-U.S. Resident Independent Contractor Payments to Individuals
Payments to individual non-U.S. resident independent contractors are processed through Payroll except for travel reimbursements (without any associated speaker fees or honorarium), non-tuition refunds, or research subject fees of $100 or less.  A Statement of Services form is available to determine method of payment. Refer to the Payments to Non-resident Independent Contractors section of the Human Resources website.

Non-travel Advance
Authorized uses of non-travel advances are very limited for employees and non-employee graduate studentsAdvances cannot be used to pay invoices for the purchase of goods and services that should have been ordered using a purchase order. 


Non-travel Advance for Employees
Advances can be used for two basic types of transactions:

  1. Research subject fees
  2. Phonathons or like circumstances where participants receive a nominal fee

Nominal fees should not exceed $100 per subject or participant.  Employees can request a non-travel advance via the NUFinancials Travel Authorization/Cash Advance process.
Refer to the Non-travel Advance Policy and Procedures document for details.

Non-travel Advance for Graduate Students (Non-employees)
On an exceptional basis, graduate students may be allowed to obtain an advance if:

  1. S/he is named specifically on a grant
  2. Special circumstances arise and a faculty member or the departmental business office will ensure student submits required reconciliation promptly

If the graduate student is not a University employee, the request for the advance is made using the Direct Payment Request form.

Refer to the Non-travel Advance Policy and Procedures document for details.

Express Check
An express check may be requested, for emergency or special situations and for amounts of $10,000 or under only, by contacting Accounts Payable at 847-491-7339.  See the Express Check Policy and Procedure document  for more information.


Personal Funds
Individuals, as a general rule, should not advance their own funds to purchase supplies and services on behalf of the University.  If such a purchase is necessary, however, the immediate supervisor must first authorize the purchase.  Sales taxes are generally not reimbursable when an employee has extended personal funds for the purchase.  For reimbursement, the employee must create a NUFinancials Expense Report and submit the approved form with appropriate documentation to Accounts Payable.

 

Resources

Contact Information

Questions about…

Procurement card?

Contact Mary K Hallissey, Procurement Card Administrator,
847-491-5340 or m-hallissey@northwestern.edu

Petty cash?

Contact Polina Khait of Accounting Services at 847-491-3870 or p-khait@northwestern.edu, the Depository Services, or Accounting Services at 847-491-5337

Purchases for which no purchase order is required?  Direct Payment Request?  Contracted services payments to U.S. residents?  International/foreign currency payments?  Non-travel advances?  Express checks?

Contact Guy Wilson, Manager of Accounts Payable, at 847-491-4445 or gwilson@northwestern.edu

Electronic funds (wire) transfer procedures?  Emergency international wire transfers?

Contact Richard Emrich, Office of Treasury Operations, at r-emrich@northwestern.edu  or 847-467-0422.  Send approved EFT requests to Treasury_operations@northwestern.edu .

Independent contractor payments to non-residents?  Payments to individuals and tax considerations?

Contact Angie Gwinn, HR Tax Compliance Supervisor, at 847-491-7204 or a-gwinn@northwestern.edu