Payment and Purchasing Policy

It is the policy of Scripps College to adhere to all federal and state regulations regarding the purchase of goods and services.

The following policies have also been established to control expenditures and strengthen internal control by involving senior management in the approval of various documents used to expend College funds. It recognizes that the principal control mechanism is the CUConnect web reporting which compare current expenses against the approved budget.

I. Methods of Payment

In order to process a payment the following four methods are available:

  1. Request for check (RFC) – used for payments to vendors or other Claremont Colleges, and reimbursements to individuals for miscellaneous purchases (i.e.; supplies and entertainment)
  2. Travel report – used for reimbursements to employees following an approved business trip. Please refer to the travel policy section for requirements on reimbursable travel expenses. Journal voucher – used for transfers between Scripps College departments.
  3. Purchase requisition – used for capital expenditures or when a purchase order is required by a vendor.

The appropriate form must be prepared and submitted to the Scripps Accounting Team at the Office of Financial Services with sufficient documentation and proper approval(s). Sufficient documentation includes, but is not limited to, original receipts, invoices, proof of payment, and/or proof of receipt. If the previously mentioned documents or the original documents are not included a reason must be provided. The reason will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Services and evaluated against applicable federal and state regulations to determine whether other actions are necessary. Any form submitted with insufficient documentation with no reason for deficiency, incorrect account numbers, or improper approval(s) will be returned for correction. Please note that Financial Services will return the document to the individual who approved the payment, rather than the document preparer.

II. Approval Levels and Limits

  • Budget Supervisor of the account or their supervisor: up to $5,000
  • Vice President or Senior Staff member responsible for the department charged: up to $25,000
  • Director of Budgeting or Assistant Treasurer: up to $25,000
  • Treasurer, Comptroller, or President in his/her absence: over $25,000

III. Reimbursements to Individuals

Reimbursements to employees, other than for travel (see travel policy section), must be approved by their immediate supervisor. This may mean that multiple signatures would be required if the employee’s supervisor is not the budget officer of the account(s) being charged. Reimbursements to non-employees would follow the signature requirements listed above. The Treasurer or Comptroller must approve all reimbursements to the President.

It is not appropriate for any college employee to bear the burden of using personal funds to purchase supplies and equipment for the College. The reimbursement system is generally for travel and entertainment and should not be used as a means of circumventing the internal control system of the College. Payments for all other purchases should be made directly to the vendor whenever possible. Payments for any services provided to the College must be paid directly to the service provider by Scripps for tax reporting purposes. Reimbursement requests for payment of services will not be processed by Financial Services.

Reimbursements to individuals for expenditures less than $25 must be made from petty cash; requests for reimbursement of less than $25 will not be processed by the Office of Financial Services. Excessive reimbursements to individuals will be referred to the Treasurer for review.

A reimbursement request must be submitted on a timely basis, normally not more than 60 days after expenses were paid or incurred. Failure to submit these expenses on a timely basis will result in the reimbursement becoming reportable as compensation on the payee’s W-2 in accordance with IRS publication 463.

IV. Meals and Entertainment

All meals and entertainment expense must be charged to object code 5230. In general, unless otherwise apparent, a written statement of the amount, time, place/description, business purpose/benefit gained or expected to be gained and business relationship must be documented. Business relationship includes the occupation, name, title, or other description about the recipient. For meals, please indicate (if not apparent), what college employee was present during the meal.

V. Return of Original Receipts

Requests for return of original receipts to the payee must be stated on the RFC. This request will only be accommodated if the College is reimbursing a portion of the total expense on the receipt, or for rebate purposes. The original and a copy of each receipt you want returned, along with a self-addressed return envelope, must accompany the RFC. If copies are not submitted the originals will not be returned.

VI. Credit Cards

Purchases made on Scripps College credit cards must be for business expenses only. No personal charges are to be made on the college credit card. If this should happen accidentally, a personal check payable to the credit card company must be submitted with the RFC. The personal charges cannot be expensed to a Scripps account. Holders of College credit cards should not use their personal credit cards for college business purposes. Any interest or late charges are the responsibility of the cardholder, unless the reason for the late charge is due to a missed deadline by the Office of Financial Services. Interim checks will not be issued for credit card payments. If a credit card payment RFC is returned by the Office of Financial Services for lack of sufficient documentation with no explanation, incorrect account number, or improper approvals which results in a late charge, the charge is the responsibility of the cardholder. Any changes in credit limit should be requested in writing to department senior staff member then processed by the Director of Budgeting and approved by the Treasurer. Upon termination of employment, final receipts should be turned in to the department and the credit card turned in to the Director of Budgeting or Human Resource Office.

VII. Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures are assets with a useful life in excess of one year. They are recorded as assets or expenses in accordance with the College’s capitalization policy. Normally, assets with an original cost of less than $25,000 are treated as an expense. All approved capital expenditures must be reviewed and approved by the Director of Budgeting or Assistant Treasurer. It is therefore inappropriate to use College credit cards or the reimbursement system for such expenditures as it circumvents the approval process. The Director of Budgeting reviews these documents for appropriateness of account number and budget amount, conformity with the agreements on file, and to assist him/her in the preparation of monthly financial reports. The initials of the Director of Budgeting do not signify approval.

VIII. Charges and Credits to Balance Sheet Accounts

Normally, cash disbursements of the College are charged to an expense account. The preservation of this principal is critical in order to protect the validity of the monthly financial reports. Charges to all balance sheet accounts, which include but are not limited to, construction in progress, prepaid expense, petty cash and advance accounts must therefore be approved by an authorized person and have appropriate supporting documentation. Approval authorization limits are as follows:

  • Director of Budgeting or Assistant Treasurer: up to $25,000
  • Treasurer, Comptroller, or President: over $25,000

Credits to student accounts receivable are prepared by the Student Billing Manager and the Director of Financial Aid and approved by the Director of Budgeting, Comptroller or Treasurer. Credits of over $10,000 are approved by the Treasurer or President.

IX. Journal Vouchers

Journal vouchers are used to record transfers between College accounts and to adjust or correct account balances. To the extent possible, they should be avoided. For purchases that affect multiple accounts, the charges should be reflected on the original RFC.

The college department must complete and submit a journal voucher form to the Office of Financial Services supported by sufficient documentation and proper approvals. Catering invoices should be sent to the Office of Financial Services where they will be accumulated and one journal will be prepared, each month, to record the payments by the various departments. The approval limits are as follows:

  • Budget Supervisor responsible for the accounts charged: up to $5,000
  • Senior Staff responsible for the department charged: up to $25,000
  • Director of Budgeting or Assistant Treasurer: up to $25,000
  • Treasurer or President: over $25,000

Inter department journal entries of $50 or less will not be booked. Intra departmental entries will not normally be booked. Departments that are concerned with the historical accounting data can submit a master journal entry in July when the fiscal year books are being closed.

All journal vouchers must have the final approval of an officer of the corporation. Approval limits are as follows:

  • Assistant Comptroller: up to $10,000
  • Comptroller: up to $25,000
  • Treasurer or President: over $25,000

This policy excludes routine journal vouchers where a subsidiary ledger exists such as student billing, payroll, development, or where there is a custodial relationship such as the investment pool where the journal voucher is made to reflect current trading and income with reconciliations prepared on a periodic basis.

X. Petty Cash

A petty cash fund is a small cash fund kept for minor or unexpected expenses. Due to the risk of theft and the labor cost of managing these funds, each vice president will designate one petty cashier for his/her area. The person designated as the petty cashier is responsible for the operation and funds of the petty cash. In the event of turnover in the petty cashier position, the petty cashier must close the funds and the department must establish a new fund and designate a new petty cashier. In an emergency, any petty cashier can provide funds for a legitimate College purpose. The charge to the department being accommodated can be made upon replacement of the fund. Payments to individuals for any type of service to the College must not be made from petty cash.