Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

Answer:

1. How do I order supplies? See External Purchasing
2. What do I use a Check Request for? See Check Requests
3. Do I need prior approval before I purchase supplies or equipment and pay for it out of pocket? Yes, External Purchasing
4. If I need to pay someone for services, can I pay them and be reimbursed? NO! Please see Payment for Outside Services or Payment of Stipends.
5. Do I need to fill out an Expense Report for reimbursement or can I use a Check Request form? You must use Expense report with proper signatures.
6. What if I lost my receipts or do not have receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. Can I still be reimbursed? Yes, we will need any documentation you have, as well as an explanation as to why receipt is not available.
7. Can I be reimbursed from the Business Office petty cash? Only if the amount is $50 or less. See Petty Cash Reimbursements.
8. If I am the Department Head or Chairperson and requesting reimbursement, who needs to authorize or approve my Expense Report? Your immediate supervisor.
9. How much does the College pay for mileage? The amount allowable by IRS (See Mileage and Per Diem Rates)
10. How long does it take to issue a reimbursement check? How long does it take to issue a check submitted on a Check Request? Any check request or expense reimbursement submitted with all necessary signatures and supporting documentation will be paid within 7 working days of receipt in the Business Office.
11. When can a vendor expect payment? How quickly will their invoice be processed for payment? We typically pay vendors within 30 days of invoice date. Should the invoice be past due, we will process it in our next check run (as long as it has all necessary approvals and is not over budget.)
12. How do I know if you have made a payment against a P.O.? Check GaelXpress. If the amount is no longer in the "encumbered" column and reflects in the "actual" column, it has been vouchered for payment. (The date a check is cut may be later than the date it is vouchered.) Contact Accounts Payable if you need check date information.
13. If I have received an invoice or statement from a vendor, do I need to forward it to the Business Office? Yes, please submit any invoices you receive as soon as possible. Please note the PO number and initial the invoice to verify acceptance of goods or services.
14. Will payment be made automatically using a PO or does the Business Office need the invoice as well? Payments against PO's are made automatically if the items are received through the Warehouse. We still need an invoice, and the invoice must reference the PO number. You will be contacted if the invoice amount exceeds PO amount by 10%. If it is a second request you have received please indicate this on the invoice.
15. What types of purchases require additional approvals other than my Department Head or Dean? Purchases of computer and technology equipment require the approval of CaTS. The Business Office must approve all requisitions $1000 and above.
16. For meal reimbursements, do I need to attach a receipt or can I just claim the per diem? If you are claiming the per diem, then receipts for meals need not be included. However, if you are claiming a meal expense in excess of the per diem, then a receipt for this meal must be attached.
17. Do I have to use Sodexo for all catering needs? Are there any exceptions? Sodexo is the College's Food Service Provider, and has exclusive catering privileges for the College. Sodexo is very flexible and can accommodate any of your food service needs. Outside food service providers may be used in Hagerty, Delphine, the Brousseau Atrium, classrooms, and outdoor spaces but are subject to the College contract procedures.

Questions related specifically to Purchasing:

1. What is the purpose of a PO? Why do I need one? A Purchase Order (PO), is used to encumber funds in your budget and have in place all necessary approvals. This "reserves" these funds for the intended/committed purpose so that they cannot be used for anything else.
2. How quickly can I get a PO? PO's with proper signatures can be obtained the same day.
3. What approvals are required to process a PO? See External purchases.
4. What if the vendor does not accept PO's? The college still requires you to obtain a PO. The purchasing office can then place the order and pay for the purchase using a corporate credit card, or a check request can be processed with the invoice.
5. When is a PO not required? Cash advances or miscellaneous out of pocket (petty cash) related expenses. Sodexo purchases $1000 or under can also be done directly without the use of a PO.
6. Does the requesting department or the Purchasing Department place my order with the vendor? Should be noted on the requisition request, either department may place the order.
7. What if I get an invoice, but a PO was not obtained for the purchase. Do I request a PO after I get the invoice? Obtaining a PO after an invoice has been received defeats the purpose of the PO; there is no longer any need to encumber the funds. However, you may be required to provide a written explanation for the noncompliance of purchasing procedures signed by the department head/dean.
8. What happens if the invoice dollar amount is more than or less than the PO dollar amount? Will I be notified? We notify you when the difference exceeds 10%.
9. I have obtained a PO, but the vendor requires a deposit. What does the Business Office need to issue a deposit check? You complete a check request for the amount of the deposit and reference the PO number on the check request. A copy of the vendor's request for a deposit should also be attached to the check request.

Questions related specifically to Finance:

1. How do I transfer funds from one account to another? Budget reallocations may be directed to the Director of Finance or Assistant Director of Finance by sending an e-mail request. Transfer of funds to another department for reimbursement or to co-sponsor an event may be directed to the Director of Finance, Assistant Controller/Budget Officer, or Accounting Manager.
2. If my budget account is over budget, should I use a different account that is not over budget? Does it matter? The most important thing is that costs are accurately classified in your departmental budget. Please do not code an item to a budget line because that line has money. Should the appropriate line be over budget, submit a budget transfer request in writing or by e-mail to the Director of Finance or Assistant Controller/Budget Officer.
3. I have a question regarding my budget when viewing GaelXpress. Who do I talk to? The Director of Finance, Assistant Controller/Budget Officer. the Accounting Manager, or the Accounts Payable Supervisor are able to assist you with questions you may have regarding items reflected in GaelXpress.
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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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