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Northwestern University

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Why do I get so many invoices returned to me for additional information? Can't someone else look up what they need?  

Invoices or check requests can be returned for a number of reasons, the most common being: the PO number is not valid, the PO is closed, the vendor listed on the invoice does not match the one listed on the PO, the invoice amount does not match the PO and is over the allowable tolerance, the lines on the invoice do not match the lines on the PO, the PO has not been received, or the invoice has already been paid.  Accounts Payable will only send back an invoice when we are unable to resolve the problem.  For example, a PO can only be modified by the department that issued it.                    

What is a 3-way match?

The three-way match consists of a purchase order, vendor invoice, and receipt.  These three items must match to initiate payment to the vendor.

How do I modify an existing order?       

Detailed instruction on how to modify an order is available in the Change, Cancel, or Close Change Requests Training Guide.

What is a receipt?  

A receipt is the department/school's way of indicating to Accounts Payable and Purchasing Services that the product has been received or the service has been provided, a required step before the PO invoice is eligible for payment.

How do I enter a Purchase Order receipt?          

Detailed instruction on how to enter a purchase order receipt is available in the Enter Receipts Using Add/Update Receipts Training Guide.

Reimbursements 

Where do I find the procedure for entering and submitting an expense report?              

Procedures for entering and submitting expense reports are available on myHR Learn: Employee or Graduate Student Visitor                                                  

How do I pay an employee for services outside their normal duties?    

This is done through the Payroll office, using the Additional/Special Pay Request Form.                 

Are Social Security numbers required for reimbursements?      

No, we do not request or use Social Security numbers.  If we receive a reimbursement request containing an SSN, it will be made illegible. If an online voucher is received containing an SSN, it will be denied and returned to the sender to have the SSN removed. The Voucher can then be resubmitted.                                                         

How can I find the current rate for mileage reimbursement?    

The current reimbursement rate for mileage can be found in the Travel Policy on the Financial Operations Travel Policies and Procedures website, under the "Private Automobile Transportation" section.

How long does it typically take to process a reimbursement request?  

Providing that the Expense Report has been properly completed and approved, and all required documentation has been attached, the standard turnaround time is 1 - 2 days. The payment method is the same as the one used for your salary.

Checks - Stop Payments and Reissues

I just found a check that is older than 6 months.  How do I go about getting a replacement?      

Contact AP Customer Service at 847-491-7339 and request that the check be voided and reissued. Since the check is no longer negotiable, there is no need to return it.                                                         

A vendor claims they have not received payment.  How do I request a stop payment and reissue of the check?               

Contact AP Customer Service at 847-491-7339. Upon verification that the check has not been cashed, it will be voided and reissued.                                                     

I have received a check which was advanced to make an authorized purchase.  I no longer need this check.  How do I go about getting the check voided, and the funds returned to my chart string?               

Return the check to AP Customer Service at 2020 Ridge Avenue, 2nd Floor, Evanston Campus, along with a note explaining the situation. Be sure to include your contact information and keep a copy for your records. Once the check has been voided, the funds will be credited to your chart string.

What do I do if I lose a reimbursement check? 

Call AP Customer Service and request that the check be voided and reissued.

Do I get my funds back when a check is rebated?            

Yes, the rebate transaction will automatically put the funds back into your chart string.                                                  

How long does it take to get a check reissued?

Standard turnaround time for reissues is 1 - 2 days, depending on the time of day it is received. The cutoff time for next day processing is 11:00 a.m.

I need a check to be held for pick-up.  How do I do this, and where do I pick up the check?        

You may request that a check be held for pick-up in one of two ways:  For paper requests, attach a pink "Hold-For-Pick-Up" slip. For online vouchers, change the handling code to "HE" (hold for Evanston) or "HC" (hold for Chicago). Put your name and telephone number in the "Instructions for AP" box so you can be contacted when the check is available for pickup.

What time are checks ready for pick-up?            

Checks are typically ready before noon, but the timing can vary depending upon the volume of checks being printed. AP will call the person requesting the check to let them know when it is ready.

What do I do if I need to enclose a document with a check?      

For paper requests, attach a pink "Hold-For-Pick-Up" slip, and check the box indicating that you wish to include an "enclosure". For Online Vouchers, change the Handling Code to "EN" (enclosure). AP will print a copy of the documentation and send it with the check.

Payment Requests

When do I use an "Payment Request" vs. a "Requisition/PO"?    

If you are paying for services, you can use the Payment Request.  Payments for all goods should be done through the Requisition/PO process.

How long does it take to get a Payment Request paid after it has been created and approved, and all required paperwork has been attached?

  • For regular Payment Requests (payments to vendors for services and, visitors' reimbursements), where all required documentation is attached, the standard turnaround time is 1 - 2 days. 
  • For Contracted Services Forms (CSFs) charged to non-grant chart strings, signed and approved CSFs can be attached to the Payment Request.  The standard turnaround time is 1 – 2 days.
  • For Contracted Services Forms (CSFs) charged to grant chart strings, the original signed and approved CSFs must be sent to ASRSP for their approval.  ASRSP then forwards the CSFs to Accounts Payable for approval.  The standard turnaround time is 1 - 2 days from time of receipt in Accounts Payable.

How many invoices can I pay on one Payment Request? 

Only one invoice can be paid on a Payment Request.  If you have multiple invoices from the same vendor, you must create a separate voucher for each one.

What documentation do I need for a Direct Payment Request (DPR) submitted on a Payment Request?               

When submitting a DPR as a Payment Request, attach a vendor invoice.  For requests that do not have an invoice, AP requires some type of documentation (such as a subscription renewal or registration form) that includes the purpose of the payment, the payment amount, vendor name and vendor remit address.                                                           

What documentation do I need for a Visitors' Expense Report (VER) submitted on a Payment Request?              

When submitting a VER on a Payment Request, attach a Visitors' Expense Report Form, which must include the visitor's signature and a supervisor's signature, and all receipts.

What documentation do I need for a Contracted Services Form (CSF) submitted on a Payment Request?             

  • For a Contracted Services Forms (CSF) charged to a non-grant chart string, attach a signed and approved CSF, and if available, an invoice, to the Online Voucher.
  • For a Contracted Services Forms (CSFs) charged to a grant chart string, the original signed and approved CSFs must be sent to ASRSP for their approval. ASRSP then forwards the CSFs to Accounts Payable for approval. AP will not approve a CSF charged to a grant chart string unless it has ASRSP’s approval.

What happens if I forget to attach the necessary documentation to my Payment Request?            

The Payment Request will be denied and sent back to the submitter with a request to attach the documentation and to resubmit the voucher.                                                            

When submitting an Online Voucher, do I also need to send a paper copy to AP?

No, documentation for DPR's, VER's and CSFs charged to a non-grant chart string can be submitted entirely online. Please attach scanned copies of the paperwork to your payment request.  Accounts Payable requests that you DO NOT send paper copies in campus mail, as extra invoice copies could result in accidental duplication of payment.

For a Contracted Services Forms (CSFs) charged to grant chart strings, the original signed and approved CSFs must be sent to ASRSP for their approval.  ASRSP then forwards the CSFs to Accounts Payable for approval. AP will not approve a CSF charged to a grant chart string unless it has ASRSP’s approval.                                                      

Is it still permissible to submit DPRs (direct payment requests) and VERs (visitors' expense reports) in paper form?               

No, the Payment Request process is the University standard. If you are having trouble with the procedure, please call AP Customer Service at 847-491-7339 for assistance.                                                      

Forms

Where can I find frequently used Accounts Payable forms?       

Frequently used forms can be found on the Financial Operations Policy and Procedure website.

How do I process a payment for a contracted service?  

The contractor fills out the Contracted Services Form (CSF), which must be approved by the hiring person. If the CSF is being charged on a non-grant chart string, the signed and approved form should be attached to the Online Voucher.  If the CSF is being charged to a grant chart string, the signed and approved form must be sent to ASRSP for their approval. Once ASRSP applies their approval, they will send the CSF to Accounts Payable.                           

I am trying to pay an individual for consulting services.  How long will it take before the check is issued?           

Providing that the Contracted Services Form has been properly completed and all required documentation has been attached, the standard turnaround time is 1 - 2 days.

What is the difference between a contracted service and an honorarium?         

If payment has been negotiated with the recipient and is given in return for services provided, it should be considered a contracted service. An honorarium is a token payment to confer distinction or to express respect, esteem or admiration for the recipient. Honoraria are sometimes given in lieu of reimbursing expenses.             

Why does the contractor need to sign the Contracted Services Form?  

The contractor's signature affirms that the person has not been paid as an employee of the University within the past twelve months and that the person will be responsible for all taxes due on the payment.                                                  

Why does the hiring manager need to sign the Contracted Services Form (CSF)?             

The manager's signature confirms that the contract meets all applicable requirements and that it includes only the services agreed to in the contract.          

When does the Contracted Services Form (CSF) require a signature from ASRSP (Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs)?        

An ASRSP signature is needed when the requested payment is from a grant or contract governed by the ASRSP office.  This ensures compliance with both University and sponsor regulations. Visit the ASRSP website for more detailed information.

Why does the hiring manager need to sign the Contracted Services Form (CSF)?             

The manager's signature confirms that the contract meets all applicable requirements and that it includes only the services agreed to in the contract.          

When does the Contracted Services Form (CSF) require a signature from ASRSP (Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Programs)?        

An ASRSP signature is needed when the requested payment is from a grant or contract governed by the ASRSP office.  This ensures compliance with both University and sponsor regulations. Visit the ASRSP website for more detailed information.                    

Invoicing - Payments for Goods & Services

How can I see if a vendor invoice or AP check request has been paid?  

The information is accessible via a number of different paths in NU Financials. The MyHR Learn View Payments guide offers a step-by-step guide to using these different tools.  If you cannot find all of the information you need, call AP Customer Service at 847.491.7339 for assistance.             

Occasionally, I receive invoices directly from vendors.  What should I do with them?   

All invoices should be forwarded to invoices@northwestern.edu or mailed to Accounts Payable at 2020 Ridge Avenue, 2nd Floor, Evanston Campus.                  

What if I have an emergency and need a check cut immediately?

Please contact Accounts Payable Customer Service at 847.491.7339 if the check request requires immediate action.                                                               

If I do not see an invoice posted in the system, should I resubmit it?    

Please contact Accounts Payable Customer Service at 847.491.7339. The situation will be reviewed to determine whether another copy of the invoice is needed.

Credits

I have just received a credit from a vendor.  How do I enter it into the system?

Credits should be forwarded to invoices@northwestern.edu or mailed to Accounts Payable at 2020 Ridge Avenue, 2nd Floor, Evanston Campus for processing.                                                 

How soon do I get my funds back when a credit is processed?  

As soon as the credit transaction is completed in NUFinancials, the funds are credited to your chart string.

Document Images (OnBase)

Can I get copies of invoices from Accounts Payable?     

Yes, please call Accounts Payable Customer Service at 847.491.7339.  The image copy will be sent to you via email.

Electronic Funds Transfers – Domestic and International

How do I initiate an electronic funds transfer, and where do I find the appropriate forms?        

To initiate an electronic funds transfer and to access all related forms, visit the Electronic Funds Transfer section of the Financial Operations Policies and Procedures website.                                          

Can I use an Online Voucher for an Electronic Funds Transfer? 

No, at present, electronic funds transfer requests can be accepted in paper form only.                                 

How can I check the status of an electronic funds transfer?        

For the status of an electronic funds transfer, contact Accounts Payable Customer Service at

847.491.7339.  

How long does it take for an electronic funds transfer to be completed?            

The normal turnaround time for domestic electronic funds transfers is 1 day  providing all needed information and documentation are provided. When Accounts Payable receives a request, the information is first verified. The forms are then sent to Treasury Operations where the electronic funds transfer is initiated. Treasury Operations sends Accounts Payable confirmation that the funds have been sent; this confirmation is then forwarded to the requester. For international electronic funds transfers, the normal turnaround time is 2-3 days, as it could take an additional day or so for the funds to be deposited to the specified account.                                                        

Do I need a vendor code for an electronic funds transfer?          

Yes, a vendor code is needed for all electronic funds transfers.                                                 

Are there charges associated with electronic funds transfers?  

At present, there are no charges for processing electronic funds transfers.   

How do I initiate a foreign currency check request?       

Unfortunately, this service is no longer offered.

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