Signature Authority for Internal Transactions
Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 10.2(4)
Contact: Controller's Department
This policy applies only to transactions conducted between a buying unit and a selling unit, both of which are within Iowa State University. This policy does not apply to contracts and other agreements with external entities or employees.
Committing university funds requires knowledge of and compliance with Board of Regents and university policies. Signature authority for authorizing and approving financial transactions, whether in written form or electronically through on-line systems, should vest in persons possessing sound administrative judgment and knowledge of the transactions and the department.
Transactions conducted within the university may be made only under the authority of a responsible administrator or the administrator's delegate.
Many department chairs and directors find it necessary to delegate approval authority to other individuals either during an absence or permanently. The individual to whom authority has been delegated must sign his or her own name or be an authorized proxy when approving transactions on-line. If necessary for the receiver's understanding or acceptance, the signer may write "signer" for "delegator" (for example, "Jane Doe for Mary Smith"). In some cases, the receiver may wish to confirm that the dean/department chair/director has indeed delegated signature authority to the signer. It is not acceptable for the delegated signer to sign the name of the dean/department chair/director as if it were her/his own (for example, Jane Doe may not sign "Mary Smith" or "Mary Smith/JD"). When someone other than the dean/department chair/director has signed, it should be apparent that the dean/department chair/director was not the signer.
If the department chair or director delegates responsibility for authorizing and approving transactions to other staff, the department must develop and maintain written documentation indicating what authority and approval responsibilities have been delegated. Documentation should be updated to reflect changes in department chair appointments and delegations of authority.
When emergency authorizations are required and a designated individual is not available, the next higher administrative level is authorized to sign documents without written delegation of signature authority.