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Glenn Hegar  ·  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Expenditure Approvals and Certification

Issued: Feb. 11, 2009
Updated: Apr. 3, 2009

FPP B.007

Table of Contents

Overview

Applicable to

State agencies and institutions of higher education releasing payment batches into the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS), the Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System (USPS) or the Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System (SPRS).

Background

An individual approving an expenditure for an agency or institution must be properly authorized to approve expenditures. An individual who is not an officer or employee of a state agency may not approve and may not be designated to approve that agency’s expenditures.


The online release of a batch of documents for processing into USAS, USPS and SPRS constitutes the electronic approval and certification of all those documents.

For more information, see Certification of Expenditures, Approval and Release of Documents by Non-Employees, and Unapproved Expenditures.

To add or remove agency staff authorized to approve expenditures and release payment batches, both voucher signature cards and system security profiles must be updated. For detailed policies and procedures, see Establishing and Removing Authority and Security to Approve Expenditures.

Note: For the purpose of this procedure, the term “expenditure” includes USAS payment documents, USPS and SPRS payroll documents, and vouchers submitted to the Comptroller on paper. All individuals with authority to approve expenditures must be properly listed on an agency’s voucher signature cards and deemed to have the authority to approve each type of payment voucher. Limiting the type of payments an individual may approve must be done by specifying the authorized payment types on the individual’s security profiles in each system.

Legal Cites and Rules

Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §§2101.035(a), 2103.032(a), 2103.032(b). 403.071(a), 2103.004, and 2155.322-2155.323. 34 TAC §5.61.

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Certification of Expenditures

An individual (an officer or employee of a state agency) releasing a batch of documents for processing is responsible for the truth and accuracy of the following statement with respect to each document and transaction in the batch:

I approve each purchase, travel and payroll document in this batch. Employees at my state agency have determined the following: (1) each document within the batch complies with applicable law, including the General Appropriations Act and the rules of the Comptroller of Public Accounts; (2) the goods and services covered by the batch correspond in every particular with the contracts under which they were purchased; (3) the invoices for the goods and services are correct; and (4) each document that involves the payment of compensation to a state officer or employee is correct and unpaid. My state agency has authorized me to make this statement for the agency, and I accept responsibility for it.

The chief fiscal officer of a state agency must ensure that each individual who releases a batch for the agency understands the legal significance and potential legal consequences of the release. No procedure exists for an individual to release a payment batch for processing without being bound to the statement. If an individual does not want to be responsible for the statement about a batch, then the individual must not release the batch.

Approval and Release of Documents by Non-Employees

An individual who is not an officer or employee of a state agency may not approve and may not be designated to approve that agency’s expenditures. This includes contractors, temporaries, outside accounting staff, and officers and employees of other state agencies.

Under certain circumstances, the Comptroller will allow an individual who is not an officer or employee of a state agency to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents, based on approval of the agency’s expenditures by authorized or designated agency individuals. The agency must contract with the non-employee or entity for the release of its payment batches, and the Comptroller must approve that contract before the non-employee or entity will be allowed to release.

The contract must meet the requirements of Texas Administrative Code, Title 34, Section 5.61(q)(6)(C) before the Comptroller may consent to the contract. Those requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • The agency must agree in its post-payment audit contract with the Comptroller that the release of USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents, as applicable, does not constitute their approval and certification.
  • The agency must prove to the Comptroller’s satisfaction that the agency has established an internal system for properly authorizing or designating individuals to approve the agency’s expenditures before their release.

Please consult Texas Administrative Code, Section 5.61(p)-(q) if your agency needs to enter into this type of contract.

Payments resulting from batches released into USAS, USPS or SPRS by a non-employee in the absence of an approved contract are unapproved.

If your agency needs to submit a contract to the Comptroller for approval under Texas Administrative Code, Section 5.61(q), please contact Roslyn Harris at (512) 463-4258 or roslyn.harris@cpa.texas.gov.

Unapproved Expenditures

If the Comptroller determines an individual approved an expenditure after the individual’s authority or designation to approve it has ended, the Comptroller may take any necessary steps to prevent a warrant from being issued or an electronic funds transfer from being initiated until the expenditure is properly approved. If the Comptroller is unable to prevent a warrant from being issued or an electronic funds transfer from being initiated, then the Comptroller may take any necessary steps to prevent the warrant from being honored or to reverse the electronic funds transfer. The state agency whose unapproved payment, USPS or SPRS document results in the warrant or electronic funds transfer shall cooperate fully with the Comptroller per Texas Administrative Code, Section 5.61(f)(3), (k)(6).

Only users listed on an agency’s voucher signature cards (an officer or employee of a state agency), or non-employees/entities authorized by a contract to which the Comptroller has consented, have release capabilities for payment voucher batch types. Any person who releases transactions for more than one agency must have the authority to approve payment vouchers for all the agencies whose batches the person is releasing.

Non-employees may not be designated to approve an agency’s payment vouchers. Therefore, persons who are not employed by a state agency may not be listed on an agency’s voucher signature cards. However, as previously stated, arrangements can be made where non-employees release vouchers for an agency based on approval of the agency’s expenditures by authorized or designated agency individuals.

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Procedures for Establishing and Removing Authority and Security to Approve Expenditures

Who may make changes to the agency’s voucher signature cards (i.e., designate and/or revoke individuals as authorized to approve agency expenditures)

If the agency is headed by a governing body

The governing body as a whole may make changes to the agency’s voucher signature cards.

The governing body may also authorize its presiding officer and/or the agency’s executive director to make changes to the agency’s voucher signature cards. The authorization can be given for the position or for the individual who currently occupies the position. If the governing body decides to allow its presiding officer or executive director to change the agency’s voucher signature cards, the Comptroller must be notified in writing of that fact before the officer or the director may make changes to the cards.

The written notice must:

  • state in substance that the governing body has authorized the presiding officer or executive director, as applicable, to designate individuals to approve the agency’s payment and USPS or SPRS documents; and
  • state an effective date for the authorization.

The notice must take the form of:

  • a certified copy of the minutes of the meeting of the governing body during which it made the authorization, or
  • a letter, memorandum, or other writing.

If the notice consists of a copy of the minutes, the copy must be certified and signed by the presiding officer of the governing body or the member of the governing body who is responsible for keeping those minutes.

If the notice is in the form of a letter, memorandum, or other writing, it must be signed by the presiding officer of the governing body.

Send the notice to the Comptroller’s office:

Attn: Signature Card Analyst
Fiscal Management, 9th Floor
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 E. 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78774-0001

 

Removing an individual from the agency’s voucher signature cards (i.e., revoking the authority to approve expenditures), if removal is not due to termination, must be done by:

  • the governing body,
  • the person who originally made the designation, or
  • a person holding a higher position than the person who originally made the designation.

For example, if a presiding officer designates an individual as authorized to approve expenditures, then an executive director may not revoke that designation.

Note: Any officer or employee may notify the Comptroller to remove an employee from the agency’s voucher signature cards if that employee has terminated employment.

 

If the agency is headed by an elected or appointed official

The elected or appointed official may make changes to voucher signature cards (i.e., designate staff as authorized to approve agency expenditures and may revoke that authority).

Note: “Appointed official” does not include an official that was appointed by an agency’s governing body (e.g., department, board, commission or board of regents) to run the agency, such as an executive director, president or chancellor. Examples of appointed officials are chief justices of state of Texas Courts of Appeals or an agency director that is appointed by the governor or by the Legislature.

The elected or appointed official may authorize the agency’s chief deputy to make changes to the agency’s voucher signature cards. The authorization can be given for the position or for the individual who currently occupies the position. If the elected or appointed official decides to allow the chief deputy to change the agency’s voucher signature cards, the Comptroller must be notified in writing of that fact before the chief deputy may make changes to the cards.

The written notice must:

  • contain the head of agency’s original signature,
  • state in substance that the head of agency has authorized the chief deputy to designate individuals to approve the agency’s payment and USPS or SPRS documents, and
  • state an effective date for the authorization.

Send the notice to the Comptroller’s office:

Attn: Signature Card Analyst
Fiscal Management, 9th Floor
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 E. 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78774-0001

 

Removing an individual from the agency’s voucher signature cards (i.e., revoking the authority to approve expenditures), if removal is not due to termination, must be done by:

  • the elected or appointed official,
  • the person who originally made the designation, or
  • a person holding a higher position than the person who originally made the designation.

For example, if an elected official designates an individual as authorized to approve expenditures, the chief deputy may not revoke that designation.

Note: Any officer or employee may notify the Comptroller to remove an employee from the agency’s voucher signature cards if that employee has terminated employment.

How to add individuals to the agency’s voucher signature cards (i.e., designate individuals as authorized to approve agency expenditures)

1. Draft a letter to the Comptroller’s office that includes:

  • a list of all individuals designated to approve the agency’s expenditures, including the individuals to be added,
  • a statement that the individuals who are to be added to the agency’s voucher signature cards are designated to approve the agency’s expenditures,
  • the name of the person who made the designations,
  • the effective date of the designations, and
  • the signature of the person who actually designates the individual(s) to approve the agency’s expenditures (e.g., executive director, presiding officer, agency head or chief deputy). If a governing body designates a person to approve expenditures, the presiding officer of the governing body must sign the letter. The signature on the letter must be original and may not be stamped, copied or made by anyone other than the required person.

Note: In lieu of a letter signed by the presiding officer of a governing board, the Comptroller may accept minutes of the governing body’s meeting in which the decision was made if they are certified and signed by either the presiding officer or the person responsible for keeping the minutes of the body’s meetings.

2. Prepare voucher signature cards for individuals to be added.

Each person newly designated to approve expenditures must sign the voucher signature card. Requirements for voucher signature cards are:

  • The signature must be original and may not be stamped, copied or made by anyone other than the required person.
  • The signature must reflect the person’s current legal name.
  • The person’s payee identification number must be printed on the card.
  • If the person has a user ID, it must be included on the voucher signature card; however, it is not a requirement for a user to have a user ID to be listed on a voucher signature card.

Note: A new set of voucher signature cards does not automatically replace the previous set. Therefore, you must specifically state whether employees are to be removed or added, or whether they should remain listed as on the previous set.

3. Send the letter, voucher signature cards and any related documentation to the Comptroller’s office:

Attn: Signature Card Analyst
Fiscal Management, 9th Floor
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 E. 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78774-0001

The person who signs the letter of authorization will receive a confirmation letter from Fiscal Management after the voucher signature cards have been processed. Voucher signature cards that do not satisfy the above requirements will not be processed.

How to remove individuals from the agency’s voucher signature cards (i.e., revoke an individual’s designation to approve agency expenditures)

If removal is not due to termination

Within 10 days of the effective date of the revocation, send a letter to the Comptroller’s office that includes:

  • a list of all individuals designated to approve the agency’s expenditures, including the individuals to be removed,
  • a statement that individuals who are to be removed from the agency’s voucher signature cards are no longer authorized to approve the agency’s expenditures,
  • the name of the person who is making the revocations,
  • the effective date of the revocations, and
  • the signature of the person who actually revokes the individual’s authority to approve the agency’s expenditures (e.g., executive director, presiding officer, agency head or chief deputy). If a governing body revokes a person’s authority to approve expenditures, the presiding officer of the governing body must sign the letter. The signature on the letter must be original and may not be stamped, copied or made by anyone other than the required person.

Note: In lieu of a letter signed by the presiding officer of a governing board, the Comptroller may accept minutes of the governing body’s meeting in which the decision was made if they are certified and signed by either the presiding officer or the person responsible for keeping the minutes of the body’s meetings.

If the only change to the voucher signature cards is that a person’s authority to approve expenditures is being revoked, new voucher signature cards are not required.

Note: This letter is not a request to remove an individual’s access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents. See "How to revoke access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents."

Send the letter and any related documentation to the Comptroller’s office:

Attn: Signature Card Analyst
Fiscal Management, 9th Floor
Comptroller of Public Accounts
111 E. 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78774-0001

 

If removal is due to termination

Within 5 days of the effective date of the termination, send notification to the Comptroller’s office.

Any officer or employee of a state agency may notify the Comptroller about the termination of employment of an employee who has been designated to approve expenditures. The notification may be in any form, including email, fax, a memo or letter, as long as the notification states the effective date of termination. Therefore, a state agency should not wait until it submits new voucher signature cards to the Comptroller before the agency notifies the Comptroller of a designated employee’s termination.

There is no need to submit new voucher signature cards just because a person has terminated employment.

An individual’s termination of employment is an automatic revocation of any designation of the employee to approve expenditures — this requirement should be documented in internal agency policies/procedures.

Note: This letter is not a request to remove an individual’s access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents. An employee may not retain security to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents past the effective date of that employee’s termination. See "How to revoke access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents."

How to request access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents

Only your agency’s security coordinator may submit requests for security access to Comptroller systems.

One of the following two conditions must exist before the Comptroller will grant a security coordinator’s request for an individual to have the security to release a state agency’s payment or payroll documents.

  • The individual has inherent authority to approve the agency’s expenditures, and the Comptroller has received a valid voucher signature card that contains the individual’s original signature.
  • The individual has been properly designated to approve the agency’s expenditures, the Comptroller has received proper notification of the designation, and the Comptroller has received a valid voucher signature card that contains the individual’s original signature.

Note: To assist agencies in obtaining release capabilities for non-payment documents, security coordinators may assign specific batch types to a user’s release capability. A user may have release capabilities for batch types other than payment voucher batch types without being on their agency’s voucher signature cards.

The security coordinator’s procedures for requesting access are available in the Security Coordinator Reference (login required). This guide is only available to authorized Security Coordinators (Comptroller user ID required).

Note: A person may not intentionally or knowingly disclose a person’s user ID or password to another person so that the other person may release batches of payment documents (or perform any other function) in any system. A violation of this prohibition is a crime under state law.

How to revoke access to release USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents

An agency’s security coordinator must request the removal of an individual’s security to release payment batches no later than the day an individual’s authority to approve expenditures is revoked (due to termination or any other reason).

For example, if an individual’s authority to approve expenditures is revoked as of Jan. 1, 2009, that individual may not have release capabilities for USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents beyond Jan. 1, 2009.

Agencies must ensure security coordinators are informed about revocations in a timely manner to ensure access is removed in accordance with this policy.

Only your agency’s security coordinator may request security changes for an employee’s access to Comptroller systems. The security coordinator’s procedures for requesting access are available in the Security Coordinator Reference (login required). This guide is only available to authorized Security Coordinators (Comptroller user ID required).

Note: Any payment resulting from the release of a USAS payment and USPS or SPRS documents by an individual after the effective date of the revocation of the individual’s designation to approve documents is an unapproved expenditure.

Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Questions? Contact statewide.accounting@cpa.texas.gov
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