Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to get a bill paid? 

Code (provide legible fund/org to charge), approve and submit your bill to your assigned Accounting Liaison. The Accounting Liaison will review, make any additions necessary for compliance and submit to the Accounts Payable department.

Any non-invoice should be accompanied by a payment request form.

Requests are submitted by the Accounting Liaison via email to the appropriate AP inbox.

How long does it take to get a bill paid once submitted to AP?

Payment for any completed and ready to process request submitted to AP should be issued within 7 business days of the day received in AP. The request is vouchered (entered into Financials) by AP within 5 business days. Payment files are completed and submitted to the bank daily. The bank will process payments from the pay file within 2 business days.

What could cause delay in payment processing time?

If AP needs to make payment to a payee not yet in the system (new supplier), setting up that payee will take up to 2 business days provided all necessary information for that setup is included with the request.

If the request is for payment to an individual for services there must be an approved ICD (Independent Contractor Determination) on file. If not, payment will be delayed until that approval is obtained.

Requests for payments greater than $5000.00 are required to have an approved contract or purchase order. When payment requests are not submitted with an unexpired signed contract by both parties or a purchase order number; payment will be delayed until a contract is executed or a purchase order is issued. Also, AP cannot increase amounts or change any GL codes on a purchase order. For more information regarding contracts please click here. For more information regarding requesting a purchase order please click here

Requests for payments to an international payee require additional approval from the Tax office. This can take up to 5 business days unless additional information is needed.

How can I request a payment be expedited?

Since, processing time is no more than 5 business days and payments are processed daily; rush requests should be very limited. There must be a valid business reason to expedite any payment request.

A rush request should be submitted with “RUSH” as the first word in the subject line of the email, the business reason for expediting and the date needed should be included on the request.

A new supplier request should be submitted with “NEW VENDOR” as the first word in the subject line of the email.

Provide Financials Supplier ID number in the body of the email or on payment request

What is required for reimbursement of meal and entertainment expenses? (Learn More)

All Meals and Entertainment expenses must be properly documented to be reimbursed. Documentation required:

  • Appropriate approvals 

  • Business purpose: business reason derived or expected to be derived as a result of

  • Business relationship: name and title or designation of all individuals involved to establish business relationship to SMU

  • Detailed receipt with date, location address, name of place and time

Reimbursements to employees must be requested through Concur.

Can I get reimbursed for purchases I make on behalf of the University? What is the dollar limit?

Single full payments for locally purchased goods and materials not exceeding $5000 can be reimbursed by payment request. Procurements in excess of $5000 must be substantiated by a purchase order in advance of the financial commitment by the University.

Can I request payment of invoices billed to a third-party?

No.  Invoices are to be billed to Southern Methodist University. Third-party invoices will not be paid with university funds

Our department is having a celebration. Will the University reimburse expenses associated with it?

If the celebration is primarily for students or is for the entire University community and is approved by the authorized parties. Office social events and celebrations for select groups of faculty and staff may not be paid from University funds unless an exception to policy is authorized by the President or vice president.

What is the school policy regarding gifts to friends of the University?

Gifts to friends of the University are permitted when a legitimate business reason for the gift exists (e.g., custom, appreciation) and the transaction is approved by the President, a vice president, an athletic director or a dean. Gifts may be reportable and must be reviewed by the Tax Office prior to being made to ensure appropriate tax treatment. See University Policy 3.10.

Can University funds be used for staff morale-building events such as retreats and staff gatherings?

Employee cultivation events such as retreats and staff gatherings or other events to build morale, build group development, or show appreciation may be paid from University funds only if approved by the President, vice-president, athletic director or dean.

Can University funds be used to purchase flowers and cards for celebration of birthdays, holidays, etc. or as expression of sympathy?

Use of University funds to pay for decorations, floral arrangements and greeting cards for holiday occasions, sympathy, and celebration of birthdays, births, graduation and other accomplishments is not permitted except as described in University Policy 13.5. 

Can University funds be used for donations to charitable organizations or not-for-profits?

University Policy precludes the use of University funds, regardless of their source, for donations of any kind, including donations to non-profit or charitable organizations or to other causes. However, the President may permit exceptions to this policy if it's determined that participation in an event will promote the relationship between the University and the community. Occasionally there are business reasons for expenses that may incidentally involve making charitable contributions. For instance, some portion of the cost of tables or seats at community sponsored events that University representatives attend for fundraising or community involvement may be considered a contribution. These tables and other nominal charitable contributions to other institutions may be made if there is a business reason for the expense and the exception is approved by the President or a vice president of the University. 

What is required for faculty and staff awards/recognition?

All faculty and staff awards and/or recognition must be approved by the President or vice president and reviewed by the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance or designee prior to making the award to ensure appropriate tax treatment. Student awards in addition to financial aid must be approved by the manager fiscally responsible for the budget account to which the expense will be charged and reviewed by the Vice President for Business and Finance or designee for proper tax treatment.

What is a procurement card and how do I use it?

Click here for information on procurement cards. 

What tax considerations should we be aware of?

• Southern Methodist University is a Non-Profit Educational Institution and exempt from Texas Sales and Use Tax for supply purchases pursuant to the exempt purpose of the University. 
Hotel Occupancy Tax Exemption Certificates should be completed and submitted for in-state hotel accommodations. 
• First time invoices for services: payable to individuals, doctors, dentists, lawyers or other professional organizations must have an IRS form number W-9 attached.
• The Payroll Department is responsible for all payments to international persons, ensuring the University is in compliance with tax requirements.
• Payments to individuals are to be made payable to the legal name (as shown on the social security card) not to a nickname or alias.
• Stipend payments are considered financial aid to currently enrolled SMU students, there is no work requirement.
• Payments for services to an individual, LLC, DBA and LLP must have an approved Independent Contractor Determination Form (ICD) attached to the payment request before payment can be made.
• Extra compensation to employees is to be paid by the Payroll Department.

What is the Independent Contractor Determination Form and what do I do with it?

Click here for information on the Independent Contractor Determination Form

The general rule in determining the status of using the ICD is that an individual is an independent contractor (IC) if the company for the services are performed has a right to control (or direct) the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result. Existing SMU employees may be an IC; however, they must be paid through Payroll, not through Accounts Payable.

Guidelines for Determining ICD Status
No, I do NOT need an ICD if:

  • The suffix “INC” or “Inc” is used.

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) usually starts with the number “75”.

  • Research study participants

  • Fellowships/Stipends—monies for tuition only. Absolutely no services can be tied to it. This means no teaching, no grading papers and no research.

  • Royalties

  • Products—examples like rentals of tables, purchase of merchandise and printing of brochure/event programs.

Yes, I need an ICD if:

  • Any individual, company or consultant performing services (or work) for SMU.

  • W-9 Classifications—if any of the following boxes are checked on the W-9: Individual/Sole Proprietor, LLC, DBA, or LLP.

  • Reimbursement of services—faculty or staff asking to be reimbursed for paying of a service (e.g. transcription service). Faculty/Staff must complete the checklist and W-9.

  • Some common examples: Presenters, Honorariums, Musicians, Graders, Designing or creating sculptures, brochures, websites or writing. Also included is engraving, polishing, repairing, general contractor, and massaging consultant.

Click here for information on what to do with an ICD

Can an SMU employee/student pay someone for services out of their own pocket?

The Department of Human Resources and Office of Tax Compliance agree than an employee/student should not pay for services. The request for reimbursement will result in taxable income to the faculty/student member. The faculty/student member will need to submit an Independent Contractor Determination Form (ICD) and W-9.

What if a student provided the service to SMU?

The ICD procedure would apply to the student. If the student is an employee as well, then this would become extra compensation and would need to be processed through Payroll. Same process would apply to a regular faculty/staff member.

How do I request entertainment expense reimbursement particularly if I lost the receipt?

If you are missing a receipt you must fill out the Missing Receipt form for those expenses less than $75. IRS does not allow reimbursement for expenses greater than $75 with a missing receipt form.

What is required for memberships?

To add a new organization to the approved membership list, complete the membership approval form and forward to the designated approver for memberships for your area (Athletic Director, Dean, President or Vice President). Only complete the form if the organization is not listed on the approved memberships list.

Why is a W-8 required on foreign entities?

Reporting requirements differ from U.S. entities. The Form W-8 is required to establish that the vendor is a non-US entity and to allow SMU to assess its withholding requirements. Refer to the Foreign Payees FAQs for additional information.

How to send a Wire Transfer?

To send a wire transfer, you will need to include the following before submitting to Accounts Payable.

  1. Wire transfer form

  2. Payment request form

  3. Invoice 

  4. W-8 or W-9

  5. Any other supporting documents: Foreign National Information Form, Visa, etc.

If you have further questions, please contact Accounts Payable.