Policies and Procedures


1. Payment of Invoices
2. Payment of Staff Expenses

3. Payments in Advance
4. Request for Payments
5. Payment of Self Employed Individuals
6. Petty Cash
7. Internal Requisitions and Journal Transfers
8. Supplier Database
9. Authorised Signatory Database



1.1 General
1.2 Invoice Registration
1.3 Manual/Foreign Payment of Registered Invoices
1.4 VAT
1.5 Discounts
1.6 Inventory
1.7 Payment Timings
1.8 Year End Procedures


1.1 General

All invoices are paid centrally by the Finance Department, Payments Office, using Qfis on-line payment arrangements.  Purchase Order Processing and Registration has, for most Schools and Departments replaced the previous Invoice Authorisation and manual processing method.  School/Departmental offices responsible for accounting arrangements, should be consulted for clarification and guidance on the operation of these procedures.


1.2 Invoice Registration

Where a Qfis purchase order (see Section 14 Purchasing of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual) has been raised for the supply of goods and services the following procedure should be followed to raise the payment:

When goods/services have been received the procedures, detailed in the Purchasing regulations, should be followed (see Section 14 Purchasing of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - paragraphs 8 and 9). 

The invoice should be matched with the delivery note, which should have previously been checked to the physical supply and purchase order to ensure that the correct quantities were received and prices charged.  Any discrepancies should be investigated and where necessary a credit note obtained.  Only when satisfied that the details are correct should the invoice be authorised for payment. 

In normal circumstances invoices should be processed for registration and payment immediately on receipt to comply with suppliers’ standard terms and conditions of supply and to ensure accurate financial system information.  Details of any invoice that is not processed within 60 days should be notified, together with an explanation, to the Payments Office. 

The official invoice authorisation stamp should be applied to the invoice taking care not to obscure any of the detail.  The boxes must be completed before being signed by a person authorised to sign invoices on behalf of the project paying for the goods/services, remembering that the person who authorises the invoice for payment should not, under any circumstances, be the same person who signed the original Purchase Order Requisition. 

The authorised invoice should be registered on Qfis against the original order and the system generated registration number written in the designated box stamped on the invoice.  The registered invoice should then be forwarded without delay to the Payments Office for payment of the supplier. 

The procedure detailed will result in payment by system generated sterling cheque or electronic direct credit to the suppliers designated bank account by BACS.  The bank account details are held within the payments system.  It is therefore important that the correct supplier is used in the registration process and any changes, particularly to banking information, are communicated immediately to the Payments Office, as failure to do so may result in the wrong supplier being paid.

1.3 Manual/Foreign Payment of Registered Invoices 

Payment of UK suppliers, by manual cheque or CHAPS bank transfer, or overseas suppliers in foreign currency or in sterling to a bank account located outside  the UK and Ireland, should be processed using the alternative procedures detailed below: 

In these circumstances a variant Request for Payment form (Appendix A of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual) should be used to record the payment instructions.  The form should be attached to the invoice and the registration number inserted in the designated box.  Specific payment details of the currency and method of payment required should also be detailed on the form.  Clarification of the payment options available may be obtained in advance by contacting the Payments Office.  Failure to complete the payment instruction with the necessary information may result in the request being returned. 

Options available are:

i) Sterling Cheque – for credit to UK bank accounts only.

          ii) Euro Cheque – for credit to Republic of Ireland bank accounts only.

          iii) Dollar Cheque – for credit to USA bank accounts only.

iv) Foreign Draft – available in main currencies for credit to bank accounts in most countries. 

          v) CHAPS electronic sterling transfer – for credit to UK bank accounts only.

  vi) Foreign electronic transfer – designated currency for credit to overseas bank accounts.  (For transfers of less than equivalent of                 £25 please enquire)

 Please note: Depending on the type of payment required it may take up to 7 working days to arrange.


1.4 VAT

Appropriate VAT codes should be applied at the Purchase Order stage and any subsequent change at registration requires amendment to be made to the original order. 

Information on VAT codes and their use is detailed in Sections 7 VAT and 14 Purchasing of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - paragraph 3. 

1.5 Discounts

Adjustments for available discount must be made at the registration stage by altering the original order.  Discounts should only be assumed where appropriate time, in accordance with the suppliers’ terms and conditions, is available to process the payment. 

1.6 Inventory (see Section 14 Purchasing of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - paragraph 13)

If equipment purchased falls within the definition of an inventory item, a completed Inventory Register form must accompany the invoice forwarded to the Payments Office.  The relevant box on the Invoice Authorisation Stamp should be completed to indicate whether an Inventory Register form has been attached.

1.7 Payment Timings

Cheques/Remittance advices are posted 2nd class to suppliers once a week on a Thursday.  BACS electronic transfers are normally paid directly into the suppliers bank account on a Friday.  Only registered invoices received by the Payments Office by Thursday of the previous week will be included in the payment cycle. 

These arrangements are subject to change due to public holiday/holiday closures details of which will be advised in advance via the Communications Office all staff bulletin. 

1.8 Year End Procedures

Old year invoices received by the Payments Office up to 4 weeks after the financial year end 31st July, will be included in the old year. It is therefore essential that all invoices dated 31st July or before are registered and forwarded to the Payments Office as soon as possible after 31st July in order that they can be posted in the correct financial year.




Where members of staff are required to go on a trip on University business the major items of expenditure such as flights and accommodation will normally be arranged via a University appointed agent and paid direct by them to the supplier of the service. This should minimise the amount of money that staff are out of pocket. Where a trip is for a prolonged period it may be possible to arrange an advance payment.

Advances will be limited to the amount of the anticipated expenditure normally in excess of £100 but less than £1,000. These should be estimated and detailed on an Advance Request Form, available from the Payments Office, which must be authorised in accordance with the staff expenses procedure. Full details must be given together with location purpose and date of the proposed activity. Advances are given on the understanding that the staff member will keep all relevant receipts for submission to the Payments Office immediately on return from the trip. The details should then be summarised on a Staff Expenses Form and the original payment deducted indicating the net balance to be paid/repaid. A copy of the advance request should be attached to the claim. If the balance shows that not all the advance was used any unspent funds should also be returned to the Payments Office. Failure to comply with this procedure will result in all future claims being disallowed until the advance is fully accounted for.

If such a payment is required please contact the Payments Office ext 3029, well before the advance is needed, for approval and clarification of the procedure to be followed.

Advance payments may be also be made for field trips where a member of staff is expected to fund subsistence for a group of students. In such a case the claim for the advance should be made on a Request for Payment Form (see Appendix A Section 6.4 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 6.26) and clearly marked “ADVANCE - Receipts to Follow”.



4.1 General
4.2 Forms
4.3 Competion of Standard Request for Payment
4.4 VAT
4.5 Payment Timings
4.6 Year End Procedures

4.1 General

The Request for Payment (RFP) form is used to process all payment requests other than the payment of:

i) Invoices in respect of goods and services received to be registered against a Qfis Purchase Order as described in Section 6.1 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual
ii) Staff expenses which must be processed using a Staff Expenses Claim Form as described in Section 6.2 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual.

A Request for Payment Form may be used for the payment of student awards, refunds, recruitment expenses and other miscellaneous charges. A Request for Payment Form will normally be paid by Qfis produced cheque. However, payment can also be requested in the form of a Manual Cheque, Petty Cash Cheque, Foreign Payment (e.g. Cheque or Foreign Draft), or Direct Bank Payment (e.g. Chaps or International Money Order).

4.2 Forms

Two types of Request for Payment Form are available:

i) The standard form (see Appendix A Section 6.4 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 6.26) which is used in most circumstances.
ii) A multiple form may also be used to process a number of similar payments (see Appendix B Section 6.4 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 6.27). However, this form should only be used after checking first with the Payments Office that it is appropriate. It may only be used to process single transactions for each payee with one VAT and project code. Furthermore, it must not be used to pay a mix of personal expense and salary type payments.

4.3 Completion of Standard Request for Payment

The following information should be completed on the form:

  • From and School/Department - Provide details of whom is requesting the payment and note any references.
  • Method of Payment - Include a preferred method of payment. (cheque, foreign payments/CHAPS etc.)
  • Purpose of the Payment - Provide a reason for the request for payment. This should be ‘backed up’ with supporting documentation such as invoices, receipts, etc.
  • Sign and Date - The request should be signed and dated in the Department/Unit by someone with appropriate authority.
  • Date - Enter the invoice date, ie the tax point per the invoice. If the payment does not relate to an invoice enter the date of the transaction.
  • Supplier ID/Staff Number - Enter the supplier ID if known or staff number (if the claim is to be paid to a staff member), otherwise leave blank.
  • Payment Currency - Enter the currency in which the payment is to be made.
  • Payment Amount - Enter the total amount to be paid in the currency in which the payment is to be made.
  • QUB Order Number * - If an order has been raised, enter the order number.
  • Supplier Invoice Reference - Enter the supplier’s invoice reference.
  • Date of Order - Date of order if applicable.
  • Total Order Value - Order value if applicable.

If an order was raised, the following boxes should be completed to confirm that:

  • Price checked - The price has been checked and agreed to the purchase order.
  • Total checked - The invoice calculations have been checked and are correct.
  • Goods received - The goods/services have been received.
  • Order complete - The purchase order is or is not complete.
  • Request Detail - Individual items on the payment request should be summarised and grouped together then entered onto each line determined by VAT code, account and project. A sub-analysis may also be entered if applicable.
  • Authorised and Date - Is for completion by Finance Department personnel only.

* This method of payment request should not be used where a Qfis order has been raised. (See Section 6.1 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual for the correct procedure)

4.4 VAT

Each line must be allocated a VAT code and the codes available are as detailed in Section 7 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 7.1.

The net amount (i.e. excluding the VAT) and the VAT amount are shown separately for each line on the Request for Payment. The system allocates the VAT amount to an account code automatically, based on a combination of the VAT code entered and the project.

Where an invoice has a number of goods, some of which contain a VAT element and some of which do not, then these items should be grouped by VAT category and shown on separate lines of the payment request.

To give an example:

An invoice has two items. One item costs £40 and is zero rated. The other item costs £80 + £14 standard rated VAT. Both items relate to the same account code and project code.

The items should be entered on two separate lines using the same account and project codes. One line will contain £40 with no VAT and be coded as Z, i.e. Zero Rated. The other line will contain £80 plus £14 VAT and will be coded as S, i.e. Standard Rated.

VAT should not be paid on goods imported by the University from outside the UK. However, the University is obliged to charge VAT on such goods as if they had been supplied by a UK supplier and pay the appropriate amount to HM Revenue & Customs. The code to be entered for these items should be selected from codes with equivalent UK VAT status (see Appendix 1 Section 7 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 7.6).

4.5 Payment Timings

Requests for Payment are processed on a weekly basis. The requests must be received by the Payments Office by mid day on a Thursday of any week to ensure a cheque is prepared and posted on Thursday of the following week. Requests in respect of research and other services projects (R, S & T projects) must be sent 5 working days in advance of this deadline to allow time for checking and authorisation.
These arrangements are subject to change due to public holiday/holiday closures details of which will be advised in advance via the Communications Office all staff bulletin.

4.6 Year End Procedures

Requests for Payment received up to four weeks after the year end 31 July, in respect of expenditure incurred prior to the financial year end, will be included in the old year. Staff should ensure that authorised RFP’s relating to old year expenditure are dated 31 July and sent to the Payments Office within this period in order that they are recorded in the correct financial year.



5.1 General
5.2 Self-Employed Status Confirmation
5.3 Taxable Employments

5.1 General

The term ‘self-employed individuals’ can be used to cover any individual providing services to the University, not under a contract of employment with the University. This may include for example consultants, freelances, and any individuals claiming that their services are supplied by another company/partnership, or sole trader. Before engaging any self-employed individual to perform services for the University the following procedure as outlined in paragraph 5.2 below should be followed.

5.2 Self-Employed Status Confirmation

Full details of the proposed terms of engagement should be notified to the Finance Department in writing before a payment request is presented in order that the individual’s employment status may be agreed in advance. An employee or self employed individual's checklist (see Appendix A Section 6.5 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 6.29) should be completed as part of this determination. In addition the individual should be asked to obtain confirmation of their self-employed tax status from their HM Revenue and Customs tax office or Accountant.

Failure to provide this information in advance will result in tax and national insurance being deducted from the payment request.

The Finance Department will assign an ID number in respect of all individuals whose employment status has been approved for payment without the deduction of tax. This unique tax reference may then be used, if appropriate, to raise a University order for the supply and the subsequent payment of invoices.

5.3 Taxable Employments

The list below, although not exhaustive, gives examples of categories of employment where payment of fees/work done will be subject to taxation and national insurance, and processed through the Salaries Office:

  • Extra Demonstrators
  • Visiting Professors
  • Visiting Lecturers
  • Teaching Assistance
  • Student Assistants
  • Studentships
  • Casual Employments
  • International Fellowships
  • Research Fellowships



6.1 New Petty Cash Float
6.2 Petty Cash Float
6.3 Purchases from Petty Cash
6.4 Reclaiming Petty Cash from the Finance Department
6.5 Prohibited Expenditure
6.6 Other Floats

6.1 New Petty Cash Float

Where a new float is required or increased, an application should be made in writing, to the payments accountant, stating the amount and circumstances in support of the request.

6.2 Petty Cash Float

In the interests of efficiency, departments should not have to spend excessive time making claims for small items of expenditure. Therefore, it is permissable to hold sufficient cash to meet one month's expenditure on such items, provided this does not entail having so large a sum in the department that it constitutes a security risk. The total petty cash float balance is known as the imprest balance. In general only one float will be allowed in each department to service all projects except where location dictates that this is impractical and an additional petty cash float is authorised by the Head of School/Director.

6.3 Purchases from Petty Cash

Departments are permitted to make small purchases from petty cash. The limit of such transactions should not exceed £20 for a single purchase, but may, at the discretion of the Head of School/Department, be for a sum of up to £40 provided that this does not impose an undue strain on the petty cash float.
In order to make a payment from petty cash a receipt must be obtained. The person who administers the petty cash should mark this receipt as 'paid' when the cash is given to the purchaser.

6.4 Reclaiming Petty Cash from the Finance Department

When the level of petty cash is low a claim for replenishment should be made to the Payments Office, Finance Department. A claim form (see Appendix A Section 9 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 9.2) should be completed detailing all expenditure and including receipts for all items above £10. Receipts for items less than £10 must be retained in the department. The form should also indicate which projects and accounts are to be charged together with sub-analysis if appropriate. It should be signed by an authorised signatory who should ensure that items of expenditure are reasonable and legitimate.
At any time the sum of the amount of cash remaining and receipts for items paid (before replenishment from the Finance Department) must equal the imprest balance (i.e. the total float value before expenditure).
The petty cash should be administered by someone other than the authorised signatory. When the cash is received that person should sign and date the reclaim form and ensure the total agrees to the amount of the Petty Cash Float issued and recorded on Qfis.

6.5 Prohibited Expenditure

Petty cash must not be issued for personal purposes, for the cashing of personal cheques or for the payment of salaries or wages. It also cannot be used to make payments on which income tax must be considered such as travel expenses, working lunches and subsistence. However, it may be used to provide light refreshments for business meetings when it is not possible to use the University’s catering faciltities.

6.6 Other Floats

Provision of floats for other purposes, for example change, deposit refunds, temporary floats etc are not administered under the petty cash arrangements. Requests for floats are considered on a cash by case basis by contacting the Payments Office and separate control arrangements apply.



7.1 Internal Requisition and Charging
7.2 Journals - transfers between projects and accounts
7.3 Transfer Journals (Departmental)
7.4 Journal Voucher Information
7.5 Coding of VAT
7.6 Accounting Journals

7.1 Internal Requisition and Charging

An Internal Requisition and Charging Form (IRCS), obtainable from the Top, should be used to order goods and services from the following units:

  • Catering Department
  • Information Services
  • Audio Visual Services
  • Biological Services Unit
  • Estates Department

The form should contain the following information:

  • Name of service unit
  • Date
  • Account and project code to be charged
  • Delivery address
  • Description of goods/services required
  • Signature by an authorised signatory
  • Sub-analysis (if applicable)

The two top copies should be sent to the appropriate service unit. It will price the goods/service and send back one of the copies on which the cost will be marked. This should be matched to the department's copy of the order and kept on file. The file should be reviewed periodically by the authorised signatory to ensure reasonableness.

Any queries with regard to the use of the IRCF and procedures should be directed in the first instance to the service unit concerned.

7.2 Journals - transfers between projects and accounts

A journal is the term given to the transfer of an amount from one project and/or account code to another. Within the University there are two distinct types of journals.

  • Transfer journals (departmental) - these are initiated by departments and are used to transfer costs from one project to another or to recharge another department for services provided (eg estates recharge).
  • Accounting journals - these are initiated by members of the Finance Department and are used to make accounting adjustments to ensure the financial accounts give a true and fair view. Such adjustments will include capitalisation and depreciation adjustments, control account reconciliations and accounting for deferred capital grants.

7.3 Transfer Journals (Departmental)

A transfer may be made between university projects or accounts using a Journal Voucher. Journal vouchers are obtainable from the Payments Office. The standard journal voucher must be used at all times and copies can be obtained from the Payments Office, Finance Department.
Any section regularly producing multi-line journals should collate the data in a spreadsheet and submit it electronically to the Financial Services section of Finance. Details of the format required and further information can be obtained from the Financial System section, Finance Department (ext 3055).
When charging another School or Department it is essential that the School or Department is aware of the charge about to made, whether by sending a photocopy of an internal requisition (see paragraph 1 above) or by sending a copy of the journal voucher.

7.4 Journal Voucher Information

Each journal must show the following:

  • Project code for each account code to be debited (charged)
  • VAT code for each amount (see paragraph below)
  • Amount to be charged or transferred
  • Description of the transfer
  • Date
  • Originators signature and contact number
  • Authorisation signature (appropriate authority within the School or Department)
  • Resource number (staff number) if applicable
  • Sub-analysis (if applicable)

Any journal voucher which does not contain all the relevant information will be returned to the originator.

The original voucher should be forwarded to the Payments Office for review and processing. all journals are reviewed and signed by the Payments Accountant. A copy of the journal voucher should be retained by the School/Department. The originating department raising the journal should ensure that the transaction is correctly processed in Qfis by agreeing details on the journal voucher to monthly Qfis statements.

Each department should maintain two files for Journal Vouchers. One should contain all Journals raised by the departments and kept in date order. Copies of journal vouchers raised by other departments should be kept on a separate file.

7.5 Coding of VAT

Each line of the journal voucher must quote an appropriate VAT code. The exception to this relates to salary accounts (6100 - 6179) which do not require a VAT code. Further guidance on the VAT codes required for journal vouchers can be found in Payments Office

7.6 Accounting Journals

Journals raised by the Finance Department as part of the month and year end reporting cycles are treated separately from departmental transfer journals and have a specific transaction type. Each journal should be raised on a standard journal voucher and should include the details listed above. Journals must be signed by the originator and authorised by one of the following: the Head of Accounting Services, the Head of Financial Services, the Assistant Director of Finance or the Deputy Director of Finance. Authorised journals will be processed by the Financial Systems section who will also retain the original copy.

Section 7, paragraphs 7 and 9 of the Financial Procedures and Regulations Manual - page 7.1


8.1 General
8.2 Setting up a New Supplier
8.3 Adjustment of Supplier Details

8.1 General

The purchase of all goods and services must follow University purchasing regulations and be made via a Qfis Purchase Order or a Purchase Card. Further details of these requirements may be obtained by consulting the Purchasing Office website and the School/Directorate’s Nominated Buyer/Qfis clerk/Purchase Cardholder.

To raise an order on the financial system a valid approved supplier must exist on the Qfis Supplier Database. Each supplier has a unique ID number which links the supplier to standing data necessary to raise the order, register subsequent invoices, and make the necessary payments. This information includes; addresses for the purpose of ordering and making payment, details of Vat and tax status, and payment details including bank account information required for making settlement by BACS.

All requests to set up new suppliers or to revise details of existing suppliers must in the first instance be made through your School/Directorate’s Nominated Buyer/Qfis clerk.  

8.2 Setting up a New Supplier

In order to set up a new supplier it is necessary to complete a ‘Qfis New Supplier Request Form’.  The form may be downloaded from the Top.  The completed form, should be emailed, faxed or sent (hard copy) to the Purchasing Office who will agree whether the new supplier is appropriate and authorise it to be added to the Supplier Database. 

The Purchasing Office will contact the department should they wish an alternative supplier or an alternative payment method to be used. 

When the Purchasing Office have agreed the opening of a new supplier they will forward the authorised form to the Payments Office . The Payments Office will email the originator of the request to confirm that the new supplier has been entered on to the Supplier Database and will provide an ID reference number to be used to raise the purchase order and register invoices for the supplier.

8.3 Adjustment of Supplier Details

It is important that any change in a supplier’s details are amended as soon as possible to avoid any payment problems arising.

To adjust a supplier’s details a ‘Qfis Supplier Amendment Form’ should be used.  This form may be downloaded from the Purchasing Office website.  The form, once completed, should be emailed, faxed or sent (hard copy) to the Purchasing Office. 

Once authorised, the amendments will be processed by the Payments Office who will email the originator to confirm that the Supplier Database has been updated.

Purchasing Office website



 9.1 Authorisation Framework for Transactions with a Financial Implication

9.2 Authorisation Framework -  Financial Transaction Matrix 

9.3 Setting Up a New Project

9.4 Amendments to Authorised Signatories


9.1          Authorisation Framework for Transactions with a Financial Implication

The University Operating Board approved in June 2011 a number of proposals for a revised, and more robust, authorisation framework to enhance existing governance arrangements and ensure that appropriate financial controls are in place across the University. 

The main principles underlying the authorisation framework are as follows:-

1.            All financial commitments must be authorised by staff at Grade 7 (or AC2) or above, thereby ensuring that staff have the appropriate level of responsibility and understanding of the budgetary process.

2.            With the exception of research and externally-funded grants, authorisation to be at Cost Centre level (ie by School, Directorate or Unit), rather than by project code, thereby reducing bureaucracy and simplifying the maintenance of authorisation records. 

3.            In respect of research and other externally-funded grants/activities, authorisation will continue to be managed at specific grant level and would be restricted to the PI, CI, Head of School (and nominee), with all signatories being grade 7 (or AC2) or above.  Given the nature of these grants, the current list of signatories will remain as at present and the revised arrangements will therefore apply to all new grants established with effect from December 2011.

5.          The number of authorised signatories, per cost centre, should be 5.

6.            Appointment and changes to the authorisation signatory arrangements  must be approved by the Heads of School/Director .


9.2          Authorisation Framework -  Financial Transaction Matrix

Authorised By Grade 7 or above:

  • Requisition (Purchase Order)
  • Invoice
  • Request for Payment
  • Petty Cash
  • Journal (Internal Transfers or Internal Charging Forms)
  • Purchase Card Payments (monthly reconciliations)
  • Staff Expenses (by higher more senior grade than the claimant)
  • Business Travel (see Travel Policy) (prior approval to be obtained by a more senior officer than traveller)

Authorised By Head of School/Director only:

  • Electronic Post Approval Form  (epaf)
  • Payments made through the Non-Staff Payments System

Each staff member included as an authorised signatory on the database is required to complete and sign an Authorised Signatory Card. Only one card is required for each member of staff. The cards are kept in the Payments Office for the purpose of checking physical signatures.

All Authorised Signatory requests must be approved by the Head of School/Director.

Nominated Buyers must be appointed in consultation with the Purchasing Office.

The authorised signatories for a cost centre /project may be viewed through the Qfis/ Personal Menu/Authorised Signatories/Signatories . 


9.3 Setting up a New Project

Under the new Framework arrangements  authorised signatories are maintained at Cost Centre level. When a new Project is opened it will automatically take on the authorised signatory profile of the Cost Centre to which it reports


9.4 Amendments to Authorised Signatories

It is the responsibility of the School/Directorate to ensure that the Payments Office is advised of changes necessary to maintain the accuracy of the Authorised Signatory Database. To amend authorised signatories, details of the change, authorised by the Head of School/Director should be sent to the Payments Office for update of the database.