Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office

Procedure CR2054 - Processing and Scanning Accounting Documents

Office of the Corporate Controller

Policy Steward facilitating procedure: Associate Vice President for Finance and Corporate Controller

Table of Contents:


GENERAL:

Accounting Operations, in conjunction with the Bursar, provides quality customer service on behalf of the Office of the Corporate Controller in the disbursement of customer payments, while maintaining the appropriate records to support these transactions. The day-to-day handling of these functions has been specifically assigned to the Accounts Payable/Files Department.

On a daily basis, Accounts Payable/Files processes accounts payable (A/P) vouchers and their corresponding support documents (received in paper form), then mails the A/P checks to the appropriate vendors/payees. Once payments are disbursed, documents are scanned and indexed. While being indexed, documents are quality-control checked. Paper documents are held for five weeks after being scanned, at which time they are recycled.

This procedure documents the steps by which A/P support documents are prepared/batched, processed, mailed, scanned and indexed.

PROCEDURE:

PROCESSING OF ACCOUNTS PAYABLE DOCUMENTS

General

Accounting Operations receives a variety of financial documents which request payment for goods received, services rendered, or expenses incurred while doing University business. These vouchers, their corresponding A/P checks, and support documents are processed for payment. Upon processing, they are forwarded to Accounts Payable/Files, pending further action (below).

Each morning, Accounts Payable/Files receives A/P Checks, printed and signed by the Bursar. A staff assistant will do a cascade search in the Electronic Document Distribution System (eDDS), accessing the applicable reports summarizing the payments to be processed on that day. The types of payments processed will vary throughout the year; however, the normal workload revolves around the following:

  1. Checks Over $100,000 (various vendor numbers)
  2. Checks With Backup From AVCH (00xxx – 11xxx Vendor numbers and 92xxx Vendor Numbers)
  3. Advance Vouchers (90xxx Vendor Numbers)
  4. SRFCs, Special Handling (93xxx, 94xxx Vendor Numbers)

Payment activity is recorded on a Daily Worksheet (Exhibit "A"), categorized by vendor number. Staff assistants will take a batch from the processing area table and record their initials and the check numbers corresponding to that batch in the Assistants applicable vendor number area of the Daily Worksheet.

Handling of Checks Exceeding $100,000

A/P checks exceeding $100,000 must be counter-signed by the Associate Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Corporate Controller, or the Senior Vice President for Finance & Business. Using eDDS, the Checks Over $100,000 Listing (Exhibit "B") will be printed out each day by Accounts Payable/Files, specifying the applicable checks in need of management review and counter signature before such checks can be disbursed.

When A/P checks are received from the Bursar, checks exceeding $100,000 will be pulled from the group, using the Checks Over $100,000 Listing (Exhibit "B")). Copies of the corresponding vouchers and support documents will be made and attached to the applicable check. These documents are transported by mail courier to the authorized individual(s) for review and approval signature and then returned to Accounts Payable/Files. The A/P checks, vouchers, and support documents will then be processed as discussed in "Processing Vendor Payments."

Handling of ACH Transactions

On a daily basis, Accounting Operations receives an encrypted file from Auxiliary and Business Services containing a listing of vendors participating in the LionCash program. Each file consists of those vendors needing to be paid for prior day transactions. Accounting Operations also has a select number of vendors having signed up to receive payments via ACH. On any given day, a particular vendor may be added to the ACH file before the file is submitted for payment.

All vendor ACH transactions occur through TreasuryEdge, a secure website designed by the BNY Mellon Treasury Services. This site is password protected and requires a secure token as a second layer of security. Each day, a file is uploaded into TreasuryEdge that contains the vendor name, banking information, and amount to be paid. If the total amount of the transactions within the file are less than $100,000, the Director of Accounting Operations or the Manager of Accounting Controls have the authority to release the file to pay the vendors.

If the total amount of the transactions within the file exceed $100,000, an email requesting that the file be released is sent to the staff in the Corporate Controller’s unit along with a detailed description of the contents within the file. A member of the Corporate Controller’s Office (Corporate Controller, Assistant Treasurer or Manager Financial Analysis and Cash Management) must approve the file and release the payment. An email notification to indicate that the file has been released is sent to Accounting Operations.

Processing Vendor Payments

00xxx – 11xxx Vendor Numbers

Payments associated with this vendor number sequence relate to eBuy+ purchases. After Procurement Services receives the items as well as the invoice from the vendor, the payment process is initiated, resulting in the generation of an Accounts Payable (A/P) check, along with a corresponding AVCH Listing (Accounting Vouchers, Copies & Holds) (Exhibit "C"). The checks and AVCH Listing are passed on to Accounts Payable/Files as a result of this process. While checks are being generated, the applicable support documents are passed on to Accounts Payable/Files for payment processing and scanning.

The appropriate vendor/vendor number is assigned when an Accounting staff member verifies and approves the vouchers for payment. eBuy+ vouchers are received in Accounting Operations twice daily via an electronic file from Purchasing. The electronic file is accessed in IBIS by using the function "BVPV" and choosing the "PRCH" source. Voucher numbers have automatically been assigned by the system. It is the responsibility of Accounting Operations to access each voucher and verify the accuracy of the payment information (PO #, invoice #, amount). Additionally, check for back-up and summarize indicators, as well as assign the correct corresponding vendor # from the list of established vendors (or in some cases create a new vendor number).

The following business day, Accounts Payable/Files receives the A/P checks from the Bursar. A staff assistant will print out the AVCH Listing (Exhibit "C") via eDDS, and pull these checks for processing. The check number sequence for the checks pulled will be entered to the appropriate vendor number category on the Daily Worksheet (Exhibit “A”). Using the AVCH Listing (Exhibit "C"), the Accounts Payable/Files staff will match the original checks to the corresponding support documents. The check and the appropriate back-up (such as an invoice copy) will be secured in an envelope. Envelopes are placed in a mail bin and forwarded to Mailing Services for mailing to the payee. All remaining support documents are retained for scanning, as documented in “Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents”.

90xxx Vendor Numbers

Activity here involves payments, submitted and processed on an IBIS Special Request for Check (SRFC), that settle travel and group meal reimbursements, as well as 0204 (salary), 0206 (short-term) and 0207 (long-term) advances. Each business day, these checks are forwarded to Accounts Payable/Files. The corresponding Advance Vouchers Listing (Exhibit "D") summarizes those checks needing to be processed on any given business day will be accessed on eDDS and printed out.

A staff assistant will pull these checks and the Advance Vouchers Listing (Exhibit "D") for processing. The check number sequence for the checks pulled will be entered to the appropriate vendor number category on the Daily Worksheet (Exhibit "A"). Using the Advance Vouchers Listing (Exhibit "D"), a staff assistant matches the A/P check with its corresponding backup, following any special handling instructions notated on the backup (such as mailing the payment to an address other than the address listed for the employee). The check and the appropriate back-up will be secured in an envelope. Envelopes are placed in a mail bin and forwarded to Mailing Services for mailing to the payee. All remaining support documents are retained for scanning, as documented in "Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents".

91xxx Vendor Numbers

Payments issued in this vendor number sequence represent travel settlements handled through the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS). A/P checks and copies of these checks (referred to as the "lasers" because they are printed out on a laser printer) are forwarded to Accounts Payable/Files. To process, a staff assistant will do a cascade search in the Electronic Document Distribution System (eDDS), accessing the Cash Disbursements List for the applicable business day. The staff assistant will scroll to 91xxx vendor number section to view the payment activity for this category and record the corresponding check numbers listed to the appropriate vendor number category on the Daily Worksheet (Exhibit "A"). The original check will be secured in an envelope and mailed. The “lasers” are retained for scanning, as documented in “Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents”.

92xxx Vendor Numbers

Payments associated with this vendor number category involve Purchase Orders processed by the University Library, The Hershey Medical Center and the Dickinson School of Law. The appropriate vendor/vendor number is assigned when the document is created. These transactions are processed in the same fashion as “00xxx-11xxx Vendor Numbers” above.

93xxx, 94xxx Vendor Numbers (Special Handling SRFCs)

These IBIS documents have been programmed to be routed to the applicable central desk in Accounting Operations, depending on whether or not the submission/review of paper backup is required before payment.

Processing SRFCs Having No Paper Backup

If no paper backup is required, such SRFCs are routed to central desks &ACT or &A9T, as applicable to the nature of the payment request. These SRFCs are handled by the Accountant or Manager of Accounting Controls. Once reviewed and approved, A/P checks are generated for payment. Copies of these checks (“lasers”) are routed to Accounting Files for scanning, as documented in “Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents”.

Processing SRFCs Having Paper Backup

The handling of SRFC payments having paper backup comprises the biggest part of the daily work conducted by Accounts Payable/Files. These relate to payments that require "special handling," such as mailing payment to an address or person different from the payee, holding/notifying instead of mailing, or sending an invoice copy along with a check. After their preliminary processing by Accounting Operations (below), SRFCs/backup are passed on to Accounts Payable/Files for payment processing and scanning.

Those SRFCs requiring submission of paper backup before payment is issued are processed differently than those not requiring backup. They are routed instead to central desk &ACB. Departments are instructed to mail a copy of such SRFCs and all backup (commonly, an invoice) to Accounting Operations. SRFCs are held in this central desk and not pulled up for processing until the paper documents are physically received in Accounting Operations. As SRFCs are processed, the IBIS system automatically assigns a “miscellaneous vendor number” to each SRFC (as opposed to the permanent vendor numbers for long­time, established vendors reflected in the eBuy+ Vendor List in IBIS, discussed in “00xxx – 11xxx Vendor Numbers”).

For control and tracking purposes, the starting and ending vendor numbers corresponding to those SRFCs processed on a given day are recorded to a batch log. In preparation for each day’s activity, the staff assistant uses the SMVN (Start Miscellaneous Vendor Number) function. This results in the generation of the first batch number, which the staff assistant records to the appropriate column of the daily batch log. Once recorded, processing will begin.

Using the document number on the paper copy sent, the corresponding SRFC is pulled up in IBIS for processing, using the IGFM (Get Form) function. When the document is opened, a “miscellaneous vendor number” is automatically assigned/affixed by the IBIS system to that SRFC. The staff assistant verifies all information recorded on the SRFC against the backup received, for accuracy and correctness. Additionally, the authorized use entered in the “Purpose” field is checked against the object code entered on the “charges” page (Page 2 of 3) to insure it correctly corresponds. Once all information is verified as correct, the miscellaneous vendor number is written in RED on the paper copy, and the form is APProved (F9 key). This will initiate the generation of an accounts payable check and SRFC Special Handling Listing (Exhibit "E"). However, if errors are found, the staff assistant will, instead, record what information needs to be corrected in the notepad area, and “REJect” the document. The department must then submit a new SRFC with the correct information, at which time the above process will be repeated.

SRFCs processed for payment are kept in miscellaneous vendor number order, and packaged in bundles of fifty (50). These bundles are placed on a table in the processing area in Accounts Payable/Files, pending receipt of their corresponding A/P checks for further processing.

The following business day, Accounts Payable/Files receives the A/P checks,and retrieves the SRFC Special Handling Listing (Exhibit "E") via the eDDS System. Staff assistants will take a batch from the processing area table, record their initials, and the check numbers corresponding to that batch in the applicable vendor number category of the Daily Worksheet (Exhibit "A").

Using the appropriate listing and group of A/P checks, the staff assistants will (1) match each check to their entry on the applicable listing and (2) verify the following information against each check:

  1. Payee
  2. Amount
  3. Insure that an invoice number has been entered in the invoice column on the check stub
  4. Review for special handling requests, then provide the handling that is requested (extra invoice copies, or contact a particular person, for example)

Once all information is verified as correct, staff assistants will secure the original check and the corresponding backup into an envelope. All envelopes are placed in a mail bin and forwarded to Mailing Services for mailing to the payee. All remaining support documents are retained for scanning, as documented in “Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents”.

97xxx Vendor Numbers (Student Refunds)

These payments represent student refund checks not direct deposited into a student’s checking account. The ORIGINAL check stays with the Bursar; only a copy of the check (“laser”) is forwarded to Accounts Payable/Files. To process, a staff assistant will do a cascade search in the eDDS System, accessing the Cash Disbursements List for the applicable business day. The staff assistant will scroll to 97xxx vendor number section to view the payment activity for this category and record the corresponding check numbers listed to the appropriate vendor number category on the Daily Worksheet (Exhibit "A"). The "lasers" are retained for scanning, as documented in “Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents”.

Detection and Subsequent Processing of Vouchers Having Discrepancies

Errors

If voucher detail does not agree with the information appearing on the A/P check, the original check, voucher, and support documents are removed from that particular vendor group and forwarded to the Accounting Operations Supervisor for resolution. A check copy, however, is retained with the vendor group, marked "VOID" with a brief explanation of the error, and scanned/indexed with the other vouchers in the vendor group. This is necessary so that the sequential continuity/accountability of checks can be maintained.

Credit Balances

Credit balances are controlled and monitored in the University accounting system by vendor number, via an automated function which totals and compares all vouchers having the same vendor number as vouchers are being processed for payment. Credit balances will be identified during this process and are reported on the daily A/P Cycling Detail Report. If the total balance for the vendor shows a negative amount due, an A/P check will not be generated. Nonetheless, the voucher and any support documents will be scanned/indexed. If inquiries are made after the fact, voucher detail can be accessed by Accounting Files via the eDDS System, locating such detail in the A/P Cycling Detail Report for that day.

Scanning/Indexing/Quality Control of A/P Documents

The scanning/indexing process, while a repetitive task, is important in maintaining an accurate audit trail for a variety of reasons, ranging from answering vendor questions, to assisting auditors and management in tracing transactions after the fact. DocFinity is the software program utilized by Accounts Payable/Files personnel in the scanning and indexing of A/P documents.

Scanning

All documents coming into Accounts Payable/Files for processing stay with the applicable batch they were placed in when arriving in Accounts Payable/Files. Each document in a batch is kept in order and fed into a high speed scanner. The staff assistant doing the scanning will assign a batch number to each batch scanned. After being scanned, the batch is passed onto another staff assistant for indexing.

Indexing

Batches are indexed using the "Power Index" feature of DocFinity. Using the batch number assigned during the scanning process, the staff assistant will located the batch in DocFinity and pull up the image of the first number (by voucher number, check number, or document number order, as applicable). A folder will be created for each batch containing the department name, fiscal year, type of document and numbers in that batch (voucher number, check number, or document number, as applicable). The first number will be entered as "User Key 1," marking it as the first number of the batch. The staff assistant will arrow through each successive page, thereby assigning that page the next number in the batch sequence.

Once all images have been reviewed, the batch number and the date of indexing are recorded to an Index Log.

Quality Control

While indexing, documents are viewed for quality control purposes. Each page in a batch has an image number assigned to it as a result of the scanning process. If, while indexing, an image is discovered to be unreadable, the corresponding paper document is pulled from that batch and re-scanned. The good image will be inserted in place of the bad image, replacing the image number/image of the bad image with that of the good image.

AUDIT COORDINATION - FINANCIAL AND PROCEDURAL

The Financial Officer is responsible for ensuring that procedures pertaining to the accountability and safeguarding of all cash receipts, cash funds, and other assets are established and followed in accordance with approved University policies and procedures. Regular audits relating to advances, cash, travel, equipment accountability, and other expenditures provide a means to protect University assets. The Financial Officer is responsible for working with Internal Audit when audits are being performed in the administrative area, as well as performing an annual audit that is submitted to the Assistant Controller.

RECORD RETENTION, DISPOSITION AND DESTRUCTION:

Record retention must be managed in accordance with Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management, and records schedules approved by the Records Management Advisory Committee, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the President. These retention requirements are the University's retention criteria, either derived or based upon federal, state, and local statute or regulations, industry standards, and business needs. Retention beyond recommended time periods require justifiable reasons and warrant review by the Records Management Officer or designee. All documents must be maintained in such a manner so as to provide ease of access for review, and to provide a suitable audit trail for all transactions.

Upon expiration of a stated period of time, documents must be discarded and/or destroyed, unless permission granted by Records Management Officer or designee to retain the records. Archival records created more than 20 years prior to the current date must be reviewed before destruction. Units should also contact the University Archivist before discarding any document which may be of permanent or historical value to the University. To safeguard the privacy of individuals, documents that contain salary information, personally identifiable information (PII), or student records must also be shredded. See Policy AD53 - Privacy Policy and AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for additional information regarding privacy and the protection of an individual's personal information. For documents that must be shredded, departments may arrange for Blue Bag service by contacting the Blue/White Shredding Program of the Office of Physical Plant. Exceptions to the practice are as follows:

Additional questions may be directed to the University Archivist or the Records Management Officer.

EXHIBITS:

CONTACT INFORMATION:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this procedure, please contact the Associate Controller.

CROSS REFERENCES:


Procedure Status:

Date Approved: 04/13/15

Most recent changes (and effective date):

Revision History