You are here

University of Maryland Policy and Procedures for Authorized Signatories on Financial Documents

Consolidated USM and UMD Policies and Procedures


APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT 1 AUGUST 1991; Amended April 13, 1999

  1. Policy
    Where appropriate, Campus Unit Heads may designate persons authorized to approve financial documents on their behalf. The authority to sign documents with a financial impact imposes a certain level of accountability which should be considered when establishing and delegating signatory authority.

    Delegation of authority does not relieve the Unit Head of responsibility for the integrity of activities carried out on his/her behalf.

  2. General Procedures
    1. A file of all authorized signatures must be maintained by the administrative unit. Each department must complete an Authorized Signature Report form found in the Campus Form Book, and forward it to the appropriate administrative unit where it will be maintained. A copy of the form should be retained in the department's files.
    2. When a department changes personnel, the Chair or Director should send a memorandum to the administrative unit that is holding the signatures indicating which signatures should be deleted. In order to add new employees as signatories, new forms must be completed and sent to the administrative unit.
    3. Controls must be established by each department which minimize the possibility of fraud or conflicts of interest. In no case may an employee be signatory on a document which has direct financial impact on that employee. Should an authorized person not be available to sign a document, approval must be obtained at a higher level of authority.
    4. The Campus administrative units responsible for final processing of financial documents and Internal Audit shall conduct ongoing reviews of departmental transactions to assess compliance with this policy.
  3. Purchasing Related Documents
    In general, these documents should be signed by the Department Chair or Director or a designee. The person signing is financially responsible for expenditures made against an account.
    1. Purchase requisitions
    2. Reimbursement requests
  4. Invoices
    1. Invoices for payment

      Authority to approve invoices for payment may be delegated to a department clerk, provided the person did not approve the related Purchase Requisition or Small Procurement Order. Approval indicates that the goods have been received or services have been rendered. Persons approving invoices should have knowledge of these facts.

    2. Small Procurement Orders

      To obtain small procurement order forms, department chairs are required by the Department of Procurement and Supply to certify their acceptance of specific standards for control of this purchase authority within their departments. Signature authorizations for approving Small Procurement Orders should be consistent with this certification.

    3. Requests for Payment

      In general, these documents should be signed by the Department Chair or the Chair's designee. The person signing is financially responsible for the expenditures made against an account.

  5. Technical and Special Fees
    This document should be signed by both the Department Chair or the Chair's designee, and the Dean or Vice President or a designee.
  6. Travel Related Documents
    1. Out-of-state travel requests should be signed by both the Department Chair or the Chair's designee and the Dean or Vice President or a designee.
    2. Travel advances are normally signed by the Department Chair or a designee.
    3. Expense statements are normally signed by the Department Chair, except when unusual items are submitted for reimbursement such as meals in excess of standard allowance which require Vice President approval.
  7. Payroll Related Documents
    1. Payroll Entries
    2. Payroll Certification Journals
    3. Payroll Certification/One-Pay Cards

    All of these documents should be approved by the Department Chair or a designee. Approval may not be delegated to a clerk, a secretary, or the person preparing these documents or distributing paychecks.

    To maintain necessary internal control, three different persons must perform the payroll duties of Preparer, Approver, and Distributor.

    Approval of Payroll Entries, Payroll Certification/One-Pay Cards, Payroll Certification, Journals:

    1. Approval on the Payroll Entry signifies that the employee is authorized to be employed at the salary stated and the salary charges are being made to the proper account.
    2. Approval on the Payroll Certification/One-Pay card signifies that the employee worked in accordance with the terms of his or her appointment and is entitled to the amount shown for the pay period indicated. There should be a written agreement documenting the terms and conditions of the engagement. The Approver should be reviewing the One-Pay card and the written agreement simultaneously to insure that the payment is proper.
    3. Approval on the Payroll Certification Journals signifies that the employees named as payee:
      1. Have worked in accordance with the terms of their respective appointments, and
      2. The employee effort performed and related compensation amounts are proper charges against the account listed.
    4. Payroll Entries and Payroll Certification/One-Pay Cards must not be returned to the Preparer. The Approver will retain:
      1. The pink copy of the Payroll Entry
      2. The blue copy of the Payroll Certification/One-Pay Card
      3. he second and third copies of the Payroll Certification Journal