Frequently Asked Questions

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

Invoices should be sent by the vendor directly to Accounts Payable to be processed through Docusign for approval. Vendors should include this information on their invoice. Once fully approved, it will be processed for payment.

If you receive a vendor’s invoice within the department, please forward that invoice to Please ask the vendor to send directly to Accounts Payable going forward. 

Any non-invoice should be accompanied by a payment request formIt should also be sent to for approval routing and processing. It may be sent to the appropriate academic or non-academic accounting liaison for processing, if already approved.

Fully approved invoices/requests are ultimately delivered to the appropriate AP inbox for payment processing.

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

Payment for any completed and ready-to-process request received by AP should be issued within 7 business days of the day received in AP, provided that the requested payment is due or will be due within the next 7 days. 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 are required to have an approved contract or purchase order. When payment requests are not submitted with a fully executed and unexpired contract 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 Foreign Nationals approval. This can take up to 5 business days or longer if 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. 

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

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

  • Appropriate approvals 

  • Business purpose

  • Attendee list (include name and association with the University)

  • itemized receipt that includes date, time, location, name of establishment, and proof of payment.

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?

Yes, 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. 

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

No. 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.

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

In general, no. 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 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. 
  • The Foreign Nationals Office within Payroll is responsible for the review of all payments to international persons and foreign entities, to ensure the University is in compliance with tax reporting and withholding 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 can be no work requirement associated with the payments.
  • Payments for services to an individual or sole proprietor must have an approved Independent Contractor Determination Form (ICD) attached to the payment request before payment can be made.
  • Most travel expenses paid for student travel are considered taxable. Exceptions must be substantiated by the student certification for business related travel form and may also require review by the Tax Compliance Office.
  • Extra compensation to employees is to be paid through Payroll.

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

Click here for information on the Independent Contractor Determination process.

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

No, the Department of Human Resources and Tax Compliance Office agree than an employee/student should not pay others on behalf of SMU for services provided. Any such request for reimbursement may result in taxable income to the faculty/staff employee or student.

What if a student provided the service to SMU?

The ICD procedure would apply in this case and will likely result in the request being paid through Payroll.

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. Expenses greater than $75 will not be reimbursed without a receipt.

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).

Why is a W-8 required on foreign entities?

Reporting requirements for foreign entities differ from that for 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?

Follow the same process as all other invoices or payment requests except you will include a wire transfer form as the first document in your submission.

If you have further questions, please contact Accounts Payable.