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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

for Business Office

1) Purchasing Cards
How do I get a card?
The requirements for issuing, using, and cardholder responsibilities can be found in Board Policy
7.3.3 located at If you want to receive a
purchasing card, contact the purchasing card administrator in the Business Office. The
administrator will send you an application that must be signed by you, your supervisor and the
Chief Financial Officer. You will need to review the guidelines and requirements of the card
holder, sign the Cardholder Agreement, and send that to the Purchasing administrator. After the
administrator receives the signed application, the application will be submitted to USBank. When
the card arrives, the administrator will send the card to you to activate and use.

What if I cant make a charge on the card?

Each purchasing card is set up with a single transaction limit and a monthly total charge amount
limit. You may be exceeding one of these limits. If that is not the reason, contact the Purchasing
Card Administrator in the Business Office.

How do I make changes to the limits on the card?

You can request an increase or decrease in your limits with prior authorization from your
supervisor. The purchasing card administrator needs to be contacted and, once the administrator
receives this information, the change can be requested and processed by US Bank.

What if I have issues with completing my transaction log or dont have the proper documentation?
These questions are handled on a case-by-case basis by the purchasing card administrator in the
Business Office.

What if I have a dispute on a charge?

You should contact the vendor and attempt to resolve the dispute. Complete a Dispute Form
(found at: detailing your
actions and vendors response. Return the Dispute Form to the Business Office, who will then
contact US Bank, if necessary.

How do I cancel my account?

Contact the purchasing card administrator. The administrator will work with you, and will put in a
request to US Bank to cancel your account. Your encumbrance will then be released from the
master purchase order.

2) Chart of Accounts
How do I get a new cost center set up?
The Request for New Cost Center Form is available on the Business Office website located at: This form needs to be
completed and submitted to the Financial Planning & Analysiss Budget Director. After the cost
center is set up, you will be notified of the cost center number.
A delegation of authority must also be completed, and approved, before the cost center can be used.

Can I stop using a specific cost center?

Yes, cost centers can become inactive. After two years of inactivity, the cost center will be
eliminated from our system.

3) Payroll
Who do I contact with payroll questions?
a) Timesheets, amounts deducted and/or paid and timesheet processing.
Send an email to You will either receive a return email or be
contacted by someone to discuss your issue.
b) Benefits should be directed to your appropriate HR representative.
When do I need to submit my timesheet?
Timesheets are submitted on the last Friday of the pay period. If you will be on leave at that time,
then submit timesheet beforehand.

As a supervisor, when do I need to approve timesheets?

Timesheets should be approved by noon on the last Monday of the pay period. Supervisors can
approve timesheets that have not been submitted as long as they are current.

4) A/R Invoicing
Why do I have to use the Business Office process for sending out an invoice? Why cant I just do
it myself?
Board Procedure 7.6.2, located at states
Accounts receivable is a significant asset for the colleges, universities and the system office.
Accounts receivable must be carefully managed to ensure efficient and effective collection of all
debts owed to the college, university or the system office. And requires that The receivable must
be entered into ISRS at the time the account is first established.

How do I get an invoice set up?

You will need to fill out an Invoice Request Form, located on the Business Office forms website
In general, invoice requests will be processed and the invoice sent out within a week.

Who can I contact to see if we received payment on the invoice?

Reference the following web site, and click on the link How to View Transactions Payments

5) Purchasing Requirements
What do I have to do to make a purchase?
State Statute and Board Policy 5.14.5 contain the requirements: The Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities are required to follow the purchasing requirements as defined in Minnesota State Ch.
471.345, Uniform Municipal Contracting Law, or other authority granted in Minnesota Statutes
Chapters 16A, 16B, and 16C and referred to in the following subparts.
The dollar amount of the purchase determines what steps are required prior to encumbrance. Please
see Part 4:
The Requisition for Purchase is found on the Business Office web site and needs to be
completed/signed and submitted to the Purchasing Technician prior to encumbrance:

6) Prepayments
What can be prepaid?

State Statute 16A.41 and Board Policy 5.14.5 state we can only make prepayments for software or
software maintenance contracts for state-owned or leased computer equipment6, sole source
maintenance agreements, exhibit space, subscription fees for newspapers and magazines,
registration fees where advance payment is required or advance payment discount is provided and
the Library of Congress services. Questions on specific situations should be directed to the
Business Office Manager.

7) Encumbrances
Do I need an encumbrance in place before I obligate funds?
State Statute 16A.15 and Board Policy 5.14.5 require that Funds must be encumbered prior to
making an obligation through an authorized employee certifying that the accounting system shows
sufficient allotment or encumbrance balance in the fund, allotment, or appropriation to meet it. An
expenditure or obligation authorized or incurred prior to encumbering funds is in violation of state
law and ineligible for payment until made valid and is in violation of Minnesota Statutes 16A.15,
Subd. 3. An employee authorizing or making the payment, or taking part in it, may be liable to the
state for the amount paid. A knowing violation of Minnesota Statutes 16A.15, Subd. 3 is just
cause for the employees removal. The state cannot agree to indemnify third parties or hold them
Only under certain circumstances are encumbrances not required. For more information, please
reference the Purchasing Procedure, which can be found at:

8) Contracts
What form do I need to use when processing a contract?
Board Policy 5.14.5 requires Purchases must be prepared on forms approved by the system office
to assure that they include all state required contract language. Any modification of forms
approved by the System office or the use of a non-system office form requires the review by the
system legal counsel and approval of the vice chancellor-chief financial officer. System legal
counsel includes either the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities General Counsel or the
Minnesota Attorney Generals Office.
Approved contract templates can be found at:
What has to happen for a contract to be executable?
The procedures and checklist for completing a contract are located on the Business Office website
located at: under the section
titled: Contracts Consultant/Professional Technical Contracts.
9) A/P payment processing
How long does it take the Business Office to pay the invoice?
State Statute 16A.124 requires State agencies must pay each valid vendor obligation so that the
vendor receives payment within the vendors early discount period. If there is no early payment
discount period, the state agency must pay the vendor within 30 days following the receipt of the
invoice for the completed delivery of the product or service.

Although the statute gives us 30 days to make payment, we typically process payments within 7 -
10 days. Items or issues that may create delays in payment processing are discrepancies with
amounts, billings that might not agree with contract language or purchase orders, lack of supporting
documentation, inadequate encumbrance and 16A infractions, and non-delegated approvals. All

effort will be made to receive early payment discounts. Please contact Accounts Payable with any
expedited payment requests.

How do I know if an invoice was paid?

Those with ISRS viewing access can see the payments that were made. Otherwise, you should
contact Accounts Payable in the Business Office to inquire.

10) Who to contact for questions on:

a) Purchasing Cards New cards and changes to the account = Business Office Manager,
Purchasing Card Administrator.
b) Purchasing Cardholder log = Purchasing Card Administrator.
c) Chart of Accounts = Auxiliary Accountant
d) A/R Invoicing = Accounting Officer
e) A/P Payments = Accounts Payable
f) Encumbrances = Purchasing Technician
g) Receipt of Funds = Purchasing Technician
h) Employee Expenses = Accounts Payable
i) Leave Balances = Employee Self-Service at:
j) Reconciliations = Accounting Officer
k) Grants = Grants Accountant

11) Copies of documents

Where do I go if I need copies of documents given to the Business Office?
The Business Office advises keeping copies of all approved documentation submitted to the
Business Office. Copies can be requested, at a later date, from the appropriate person listed above,
but may or may not be available.

12) Business Office Forms

Where can I find the forms that I need to use for Business Office processes?
The forms are located at:

13) Business Office Procedures

Are there procedures for the Business Office?
Yes, the links to available procedures are at:

14) Travel Management

How do I get reimbursed for my business travel?
Board Procedure 5.19.3 defines the process for seeking prior approval and what types of expenses
are reimbursable, see:
The Business Office Guidelines for submitting and being reimbursed for your expenses is located
at and the form to use
is located on the same web page.

15) Out of State Travel

Is there something special I need to do for out of state travel?
Board Procedure 5.19.3 Travel Management,
defines the conditions and limitations involving out of state travel. Prior approval is obtained by
completing an Out of State Travel Authorization form, which can be found at:
4 . A copy of the
approved form should be submitted to the Business Office.

16) Special Expenses

What types of expenses require prior Special Expense approval using the Special Expense form?
Board Procedure 5.20.1 located at defines the
The Special Expense Form can be found on the Business Offices Forms web page at
Special expenses require both your supervisor and the Business Offices approval before the special
expense is incurred.

17) Delegation of Authority

How do I obtain delegation of authority?
Delegation of Authority is addressed in Board Procedure 1A.2.2. The link to this policy is at Forms for requesting Delegation of
Authority are located at
When you have submitted a delegation of authority request, and it is reviewed, you are notified of
the result by the CFOs Executive Assistant. Additional questions on delegation of authority should
be directed to the CFOs Executive Assistant.

18) Budget Management

How do I move funds from one center to the other?
System office budgets are set up by the Financial Planning & Analysis unit and, under certain
circumstances, can be moved from one cost center to another. The form to move budgets is located
at and is called Budget
Transfer/Increase Request.
Questions on budgets should be directed to Financial Planning & Analysiss System Office Budget

19) Tax Exempt

Are the purchases made by the System Office tax exempt?
Yes, on most items.
The Tax Units web site at: can
provide further clarification.
MnSCUs Certificate of Exemption (ST3) forms for each campus and the system office are found
at:, and can be printed.