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Certified Invoices

The purchase of goods and services at the University of Toronto can be made using a number of different methods, depending on the type of purchase and the value.
For purchases of goods and non-consulting services under $10,000, you have the following options:

  • Use your departmental Purchasing Card
  • Issue a departmental purchase order. (Note: This type of purchase order will not be reflected in the University’s financial system through the normal purchase order process)
  • Place your order with the vendor and request an invoice for payment (this section)
  • Use your Petty Cash fund for purchases up to $100
  • Use your Imprest Bank Account for purchases up to $500

Contractual arrangements (e.g. leases) may exceed $10,000 but do not require a purchase order in the University’s financial system and are an exception to the general rule above. In the case of contractual arrangements, refer to the below section Invoice Payments Associated with Contractual Agreements.

For those situations where you place an order for goods and/or services with a vendor and request an invoice for payment, and since there is no FIS purchase order related to the order, the invoice must be “certified” by the department. This means that the invoice must include information relating to the G/L account to charge, source of funding, cost allocation, tax status and authorization for payment.

The following sub-sections deal with specific guidelines surrounding certified invoices:

Certified Invoices – Authorization

Invoice Payments Associated with Contractual Agreements

Invoices from Individuals

Foreign Currency Payments (including Outgoing Wire Payments)

Irregular Invoices

Certified Invoices – Authorization

For purchases of goods under $10,000, the issuance of a purchase order is optional, though the department may have internal processes which could require a departmental purchase order. The supplier’s invoice is processed directly into FIS after being approved, consistent with local departmental procedures. The department should authorize payment of the invoice by entering a certification on the invoice. Prior to processing, certification would involve entering the following information directly on the invoice:

  • general ledger account
  • funding source (fund and/or fund center)
  • cost allocation (cost center or internal order)
  • tax code based on the HST status of the supplier (included in invoiced amount, or exempt):
  • print name and signature of person authorized to approve the invoice for payment.

Ensure that the invoice has all information necessary for payment processing:

  • the full name and mailing address of payee,
  • the goods or services are clearly identified and described: quantities, prices and delivery date(s),
  • an invoice number or, if no invoice number is supplied, the account number that the supplier uses to identify the department or the University.

The preconditions for issuing a payment to a supplier for goods and services are:

  • the goods and/or services have been received,
  • the buying department is satisfied with the goods and/or services,
  • the invoice for these goods and/or services is accurate with respect to items, quantities and prices, and
  • written or electronic approval has been given and recorded.

Where required to specifically authorize payment of an invoice, proceed promptly so as to avoid unnecessary payment delays

Where problems exist, follow-up with the supplier until satisfactory service is obtained or a credit/refund is received.

For entry into FIS, refer to the appropriate FIS Accounts Payable Reference Guide.

Invoice Payments Associated with Contractual Agreements

When a department enters into arrangements for the leasing of equipment, photocopiers, rental of space, etc., it is very important that the University is not put into a detrimental situation with respect to the terms and conditions of the contract. The guidelines in the Guide to Financial Management are pursuant to the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.

Some specific guidelines to remember:

Contracts and documents must be signed by those specifically identified under the above policy. Such contracts can be signed by individuals other than those specifically identified in the policy only under expressed approval, a copy of which is to be maintained with the Governing Council Secretariat.

  • The currency of a contract must generally match the currency of the country in which the supplier is located. For example, a lease with a Canadian supplier must be in Canadian dollars.

Refer to Managing Risks – Insurance and Contracts for more information on handling contracts.

Invoices from Individuals

When purchasing services from an individual, the buying department is obligated to determine:

  1. The type of service provided: Consulting vs Non-Consulting services. For more information on the procurement process for each, refer to the Procurement Policy Thresholds table
  1. Whether an employment / independent contractor relationship exists as defined under the Income Tax Act. Refer to the following reference materials for guidance:

If after reviewing the above documents, it is determined that an employment relationship does not exist, the department must certify this. There are few exceptions. Please contact Human Resources via email, or call 416-978-4838, for further clarification and instructions for processing.

Foreign Currency Payments (including Outgoing Wire Payments)

For guidelines on payments in a currency other than Canadian dollars, including outgoing wire payments, please refer to the section Foreign Payments.

Irregular Invoices

An irregular invoice is one which does not meet the general business norms for such instruments. This would include any hand-written invoice which lacks one or more of the following:

  • an official letterhead
  • an invoice number
  • a clear and complete statement of goods or services

In these cases, the existence of a business operation is not clearly established and, therefore, the department is cautioned to consider:

  • Are the services rendered employment services under the Income Tax Act as discussed earlier, rather than consulting or other services? If so, the payment should be processed through the Payroll Department unless services were rendered outside Canada by a non-resident.
  • If the buying department is conducting business with someone who does not have a formal business establishment, it is advisable to clarify why this arrangement has been made, disclose the arrangement, and get approval where a conflict of interest exists. Refer to the Statement on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment.

When it has been established that the invoice is valid, proceed to process the invoice in FIS. See the FIS reference guide Invoice Create.

Last revision June 2020