Frequently Asked Questions
Accounts Payable Questions
Q - Where can I find Division of Finance Forms?
A - Forms can be found on the Division of Finance's website or in the Finance tab in BengalWeb.
Q - What do I do if I do not have access to the Finance tab on BengalWeb?
A – Complete a Banner Access Request Form (BAR) through Information Technology Services (ITS).
Q - I have an invoice: how do I get it paid?
A - If a purchase order was not required for the items listed on the invoice, you will need to complete a Direct Payment Form. Attach the original invoice to the completed, approved Direct Payment Form and send it to Accounts Payable. The Direct Payment Form is located on Finance and Business Affair’s website under on-line forms.
If the invoice is related to a purchase order, you must first ascertain that the purchase order number is referenced on the invoice and then send the invoice to Accounts Payable. If the invoice is for a service, or if the items were shipped directly to the department, you will need to complete a receiving report found on the Purchasing Office website. Do not use a Direct Payment Form if a purchase order was issued.
Q - What is a Direct Payment Form and how and when do I use it?
A - The Direct Payment Form, located on the Division of Finance website, is the medium used to initiate transactions for which a Purchase requisition or purchase order is not required. Examples would include subscriptions, petty cash replenishments, honorariums, memberships, utility bills, Inter-library loans, refunds, expenditure reimbursements, accreditation fees, postage meter refills, cash awards, independent contractors etc. Direct Payment requests must have original backup documentation that confirms the requested payment is a legal liability of the University and must include original signed signatures. Include a contact phone number on all requests.
Q – Will copies of backup documentation for payment suffice paid?
A - No. Only original documentation will be accepted as backup for payment. Accounts Payable management must approve any exception.
Q - Is it necessary to pick up a vendor check from Accounts Payable?
A - No. In fact the preferred method is that all checks be mailed directly to vendors from Accounts Payable.
Q - Does the Accounts Payable Staff issue payroll checks or student stipend checks?
A – No. Payroll and student stipend checks are issued by the Payroll Office.
Q - Can I be reimbursed for purchases I make on behalf of the University? What is the dollar limit?
A - Single full payments (not partial payments) for purchased goods and materials not exceeding $500 may be reimbursed through Chrome River as an Employee Reimbursement. Procurements in excess of $500 must be transacted using a p-card or purchase order in advance of the financial commitment by the University.
Q - How do I request reimbursement for expenses incurred out-of-pocket on behalf of ISU?
A - Complete an Expense Reimbursement through Chrome River. If the correct expense code is not available, you must complete a Direct Payment form.
Q - Does Accounts Payable issue checks for all reimbursements?
A - Employee reimbursement requests for less than $100 can be submitted in person to the Cashier’s Office on a Cash Voucher.
Reimbursements greater than $100 should be submitted to Accounts Payable through Chrome River. Any employee reimbursement should have the original receipt attached.
Q - I will be traveling for several days; may I receive a cash advance?
A - Yes. Complete a Pre-Approval through Chrome River including travel details and estimated expenses, along with the advance request. Once the pre-approval is approved, the advance will be generated 60 days before the departure date.
Q - What is the mileage reimbursement for travel and conferences?
A - Mileage is reimbursed at the rate established by the State of Idaho and is periodically updated. The current rate is listed in the travel sections of the Division of Finance website.
Q - Where can I find out more about the University's Travel policy? For example, what kind of Travel expenses does the University reimburse?
A – The University Travel policy can be found on Finance and Business Affair's website or through a direct link on the Finance Tab in Bengalweb.
Q - Can Accounts Payable make ACH or Wire transfer payments?
A - Yes. Accounts Payable can make these types of payments for foreign vendors if all required information is provided. Please contact Accounts Payable to obtain details on how to do this. Please note that the cost of ACH or wire transfers will be billed back to the requesting department.
Q - Can I request payment of invoices billed to a third-party?
A - No. Invoices are to be billed to Idaho State University. Third-party invoices will not be paid with university funds.
Q - Can University funds be used to purchase flowers and cards for celebration of birthdays, holidays, etc. or as expression of sympathy?
A -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 MAPP policy 03.A.2 “Non-Travel Meals, Refreshments’, Entertainment, and Gifts.”
Q – What do I do if an invoice was submitted to Accounts Payable, but the Vendor claims they have not been paid?
A - First, check the Banner system to see if the invoice has been processed through Accounts Payable. You can access this information on the Finance tab in BengalWeb under the Financial Information Channel. Select the document query and input the required information. If it has been processed, allow 5 business days from the posting date for the check to be issued. If it is not posted, or the 5 day period has elapsed, please contact Accounts Payable with the pertinent information such as vendor/payee name, invoice number, dollar amount, the contact person and phone number.
Q - What do I do if I submitted an invoice with the wrong FOAP (reference) numbers?
A – First, check the Banner system to determine if the invoice has been processed as submitted. If the invoice in question has been submitted to Accounts Payable, but not paid, contact Accounts Payable so the coding can be corrected prior to a check being issued.
If a check has been issued, you will need to submit the correction by completing a Journal Voucher (JV) form found on Finance and Business Affair’s website or on the Finance tab in BengalWeb.
Q - What are W-9 forms, why are they necessary, and where can I find them?
A - The W-9 is an information form required by the IRS when the University makes payments to individuals and unincorporated companies that provide us with services. The form provides us information for submitting our 1099s at year-end so we are in compliance and can avoid penalties. W-9 forms can be found on both the Finance and Purchasing tabs on BengalWeb. If you do not have access to these tabs, the forms can be found on both departments’ websites.
Q - What is the University's Employer/Tax ID number?
A - If you need the University's Employer/Tax ID number, which is used similarly to your personal social security number, contact Accounting.
Q - What is a Banner ID number?
A - The Banner ID number is the 8-digit ISU ID number assigned to all faculty, staff, and students upon employment or enrollment at ISU.
If you do not know your Banner ID number, use your Bengal ID number on all correspondence with the Division of Finance.
Only use the Banner ID number when a request is payable to faculty, staff or a student.
Q - What is a FOAPAL?
A – The General Ledger is the core subsystem of the Banner Finance system and is fully integrated with each of the other subsystems that make up the Finance system. A FOAPAL is a unique Banner acronym that represents the key account elements of this system.
The letters in the acronym are described below:
- Fund – Designates where the funds came from (the source.)
- Organization: Identifies who (what unit or department) is spending the funds.
- Account: Tells what the funds are being spent on.
- Program: Identifies the ISU objective, such as Instruction or research.
- Activity: Details what is being accomplished (not a required element.)
- Location: Identifies the physical site (not a required element.)
Q - Where can I get a list of Banner Account Codes?
A - Most current account codes are listed by account type under the Finance Tab on BengalWeb or the Division of Finance website.
Q - How do I review the transaction detail for organizations I manage?
A - You can “drill down” to individual transactions and their detail by using the “Budget Queries” available in Self-Service Banner for Finance. Using either the “Budget Status by Account” or “Budget Status by Organization Hierarchy” queries, you can click on any highlighted colored figure (budget, actual or encumbrances) to view its associated transactions and related systems documents. With most queries and drill down results, you can download returned information to Excel. If you do not have access to the Finance tab on BengalWeb, please contact the Division of Finance.
Q - What is a Commodity Code and how do I create a new one Commodity Code?
A – Commodity codes are used in place of accounts codes on all purchase orders. Commodity codes give a more detailed description of the item being purchased. To create a new Commodity code send an email to email@example.com in the email include a detailed description of the nature of the items to be purchased.
Grant Accounting Questions
Q - What is my Grant Code?
A - Your Grant Code is the Index Code for that account. To find your Index Code, you can go to the ISU Crosswalk via BengalWeb and enter you old ISU 8 digit account number and get the new Index Code. Grant Codes will begin with an R -- so will look like RBIO51, or RGEO51, or REGR51, etc.
Q - How do I get paid on my grant?
A – Getting paid from your grant project funds is much the same as it was on our Legacy system. Once you receive sponsored project funding that will pay part or all of your salary, you will need to complete and submit a PR form setting a portion of your salary to the grant account. If your project starts during the academic year, you can submit a Temporary Change in Payroll Account Distribution form. This form can be accessed from the Finance tab on BengalWeb. For temporary employees and students, their payroll needs to be distributed on a PARTS form (Personnel Action Request Form for Temporary and Student Workers). That form is also accessible from BengalWeb through the Human Resources page.
Q - How do I see the status of my grant account?
A – You can see the status of your grant account via the Finance tab on BengalWeb by performing a query in the “Check Budget and Expenditure Information” link. There you can enter a query for the parameters you want to see on your account. Queries can be saved so you can run it easily when desired. You can also designate 5 accounts to be displayed graphically on the main page of the Finance tab. This will quickly show your available balance information when you enter the page.
Q - What do I do if I see something charged to my grant account that shouldn't be there? What if a charge isn't there that I was expecting?
A –When you are at the Check Budget and Expenditure Information link and are in a query of the account, you can “drill down” into the source documents that resulted in the charge to the account. This will give you specific information on what the charge is for and who initiated the charge. You can then check with the ReqMaster who entered the requisition and account information. That would be the first place to investigate erroneous or missing charges. You will also be able to see the Purchase Order number that you can use to inquire of the Purchasing Office if necessary.
Q - What do I do if my grant budget is wrong?
A –Contact the Grants and Contracts Accounting office at 282-3899. Grant Accounting staff can make sure the budget entered for that grant code is the appropriate budget for that project.