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Everything Invoices

On this page

  • Coding an invoice: There are three ways
  • Guidance for department invoice approvers
  • Check pick up policy

Coding an invoice: There are three ways

Before submitting any invoice for payment, you should always highlight on the invoice:

  • Amount to be paid (sometimes invoices include a past due amount which should not be included)
  • Invoice # (this is the # assigned by the vendor)
  • Remit to address (where the mailed check should be sent)

You should also write on the invoice:

  • Vendor # (see Financial Resources webpage --> “Vendor List - Active”)
  • Amount to be paid (it should be highlighted on the invoice and written again to confirm)
  • Coding (see three options below)

1) 14-digit Operational Budget Code

  • When to use operational budget: Operational expenses include professional development/training, general professional services/contracted support, tech/equipment purchases, office supplies, utilities. Any department operating expenses that are not part of a project (see "7-digit project number below")
  • Where can I get a year to date operating budget report: On Financial Resources webpage --> "Eden how to: Running an Expenditure Status Budget Report for an Operating Budget"
  • What happens at the end of the fiscal year: Operating budget does not roll over at the end of the fiscal year. July 1 = new budget for the year. Note: For special funds (603, 205, 206), do not think “use it or lose it!”. Unused operational budget for non-General Fund just goes back into that fund’s fund balance.

operating budget

2) 7-digit Project #

  • When to use project #: Eden project #’s are set up to track capital projects, typically anything that would be in the CIP as a project. When they are set up in Eden, Finance will tie the project to a special fund (e.g. gax tax (206), building fund (603), etc.). When you code an invoice to a project #, you are not affecting a fund’s operational budget.
  • Where can I get a year to date operating budget report: On Financial Resources webpage -->"Eden How To: Running an Expenditure Detail Report for a Project"
  • What happens at the end of the fiscal year: Project budget does roll over at the end of the fiscal year. Projects are set up to cross-fiscal years. There is no “use or lose it!”

project number

3) 5-digit Purchase Order (PO) #

  • When to use a purchase order #: A purchase order should be made anytime there is a contract for services or a purchase or construction, and there is a need to encumber funds. Encumber = to hold funds for a specific purpose. To set up a purchase order, provide a copy of the contract or quote to Admin/Finance, as well as either a 7-digit project # or a 14-digit operational budget code the expense shall be charged to. A 5-digit purchase order number will be generated that you will code the invoices to when they come in.
    • For construction contracts: Purchase order amount shall be the full Council-authorized amount. E.g. construction award (bid) + Council authorized contingency
    • For professional service contracts: Purchase order amount shall be the full contract amount.
  • Where can I get a year to date operating budget report: On Financial Resources webpage -->"Eden How To: Running an Expenditure Detail Report for a PO"
  • What happens at the end of the fiscal year: Purchase order budget does roll over at the end of the fiscal year. Purchase orders are set up to cross-fiscal years. There is no “use or lose it!”

purchase order

Guidance for department invoice approvers

Our Finance Department Accounts Payable (AP) goals are to secure that City vendors get paid on time while enforcing public budgetary rules and regulations. Our process to achieve this requires departments’ knowledge and understanding of the financial rules and expectations.

Our process is the following:

Each department is allocated General Ledger (GL) funds for specific purposes such as supplies, services, reimbursements etc. When documents are received by a department and entered into our system (Eden), they will go to a First-Level approver within the department. First-Level approvers review invoices to ensure they have the correct GL accounts, remittance address, invoice dates, invoice numbers and dollar amounts. After that, invoices come to the Finance Department for a final last review and to process payments.

Within these steps we have encountered certain recurring issues we would like to address. These common issues have generated double payments, sending checks to wrong addresses, and allocating funds to wrong accounts, which in turn create issues and auditing concerns that are avoidable.

The following scenarios are the most likely to create issues:

  1. The person entering invoices is not aware of the distribution of funds and thus inputs the wrong GL accounts. The First-Level approval overlooks this and approves this document.
    Finance Department-Level approval does not know each department’s GL funds, so if it is matching what is written on the invoice, we approve it.

In this scenario, it is the responsibility of the first approver to oversee that GL funds are entered correctly. If recurring, this can cause other issues apart from using other funds, such as running out of funds early or overspending.

  1. The person entering invoices has a typo error, either on the invoice date, invoice number or the amount, or forgets to select the correct remittance address.

In this scenario, it is mainly the first approver’s responsibility to catch these errors and to notify Finance if something needs to be noted, like a check needing to go to a different address that is not on file in the system. Just one of these can cause a variety of issues, such as double payments, late payments, check returns, checks getting lost.  Each of these issues also has its own consequences that create more work for all of us and can an upset vendor.

  1. There are many invoices for the same vendor within one department (PG&E, for example) and often with other departments for the same pay period. If in the invoice, it is not noted or specified that a check should be sent independently, the system will combine all payments from all departments to the same vendor into one single check.

In this situation, if vendors want an individual check and that did not occur, they will contact AP and will return the check. We will have to void all the payments and reissue checks individually. This can be avoided by adding your department’s initials in the check group area. You can add it yourself, ask the person who enter the invoices to do it, or leave a note on the physical invoice for the Level 3 person to do it.

We kindly ask that each First-Level Approver thoroughly oversee the following:

  • Review GL accounts, invoice number, invoice date, invoice amount, and remittance address, and add a note for specific singularities with the invoice.
  • It is imperative that First-Level Approvers approve invoices while reviewing the physical backup. Invoices should not be blindly approved, and Finance cannot guarantee proper oversight if First-Level Approvers do not follow this requirement.
  • Finance/AP also requires that people entering invoices highlight the invoice date, invoice number, and remittance address. This makes the auditing process easier for both Level 1 and 3 approvals.

We kindly ask you to reinforce these guidelines in your department.

Check pick-up policy

Download the Check pick-up policy document

Generally, Accounts Payable must maintain physical possession of each check and must mail the check directly from Accounts Payable to the payee.  However, in certain situations, the new Check Pick-Up Policy authorizes City staff to complete and submit a Check Pick-Up Request Form to pick up the check--in exceptional circumstances and when approved by his or her department director.

Below are the following exceptions in which City staff may submit a Check Pick-Up Request Form:

  • One-Time enclosure document requirement
  • Urgent payment
  • Payment that must be hand-delivered
  • Payment to vendors that require prepayment at the time of services
  • Settlement requests

Other exceptions will be handled by Accounts Payable on a case-by-base basis and will be approved at the discretion of the Accounting Manager.

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