UCR Policies and Procedures

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Campus Policy Number: 200-80

Signature Authorization (or Cancellation)

Policy Owner: Accounting Office
Effective Date: 2/18/94

    • PURPOSE *

    For the purposes of delegating authority to originate and approve departmental transactions, as well as canceling an existing authority delegation, the University of California uses a standard form entitled "Signature Authorization or Cancellation". The purpose of this policy is to explain the rationale of and procedure for documenting signature authority delegation.


    • Department Head: for the purposes of this policy, the head of any teaching, research, or administrative organizational unit that administers a budget.

    • POLICY

      • Flow of Authority

      The Chancellor's approval of the department or sponsored project budget in essence constitutes a delegation of the Chancellor's authority to expend as planned and as part of the campus overall objectives the funds budgeted for the given activity. Consequently this authority bestows upon the department head, program administrator, or principal investigator the authority to spend the approved budget in accordance with the plans for which the budget was created.

      The department head or program administrator may redelegate this authority to departmental representatives within the Policies presented in this section.

      • Responsibility Attendant to Delegated Authority.

      The authority to expend budgets bears with it the responsibility attendant to good, prudent disbursement of funds budgeted. State fund expenditures must be in compliance with certain requirements embodied in the control language of the State Budget Act. Similarly, expenditures of endowment funds must conform to the terms and conditions of the bequest(s) involved. Expenditures of sponsored project funds must be made in accordance with the terms of the award, the budget for the project as approved by the sponsor, and any other applicable sponsor requirements.

      Refer to section III.D. below for information on the specific responsibilities one assumes when signing various University forms.

      • Signature Authorization

      Before a fund can be expended, a record of the signatures of those authorized to conduct departmental business must be provided to the campus Accounting Office. A Signature Authorization or Cancellation Form (Form U242) is required to place the department head's, program administrator's or principal investigator's own signature on file, as well as to document redelegations of signature authority approved by the department head.

      There are two categories of departmental transactions for the purposes of delegation of signature authority:

      Category 1: Departmental delegations to approve department requisitions, payroll transactions, travel bills, invoices and service bills, and similar transactions.

      Category 2: Delegations requiring approval of next higher officer -- delegations to approve academic personnel transactions, budget forms, and all department business transactions. (This category of signature authority is normally only redelegated by the department head to acting or vice chairpersons or comparable positions in the professional series. Academicians retain responsibility for approving all academic personnel actions.)

      Department heads have authority to approve all Category 1 and 2 departmental transactions.

      Persons delegated signature authority by department heads

      1. Must be UC employees.
      2. May not redelegate signature authority, i.e., the department head must sign as authorizing officer on all Form U242's.
      3. May not approve transactions for themselves or transactions that directly benefit themselves. Such transactions must be countersigned by another authorized person, usually the person of next higher authority.
      4. Should not also be the person responsible for reconciling/verifying the expenditures appearing in the DEXPAC ledgers.
      • Specific Responsibilities Associated with signature authority

      When one is delegated the authority to approve various University business transactions, one becomes responsible for various internal control functions. The following is a brief discussion on the control functions an employee takes on when he/she signs as the approver of various transactions.

      1. In the case of a purchase requisition, interdepartmental order, or Personnel Action Form (PAF), the signature indicates that the approver has deemed that the material or service is needed by the department, that the charge is proper against the fund source designated on the document, and that the acquisition of the goods/services is in compliance with UC policy.
      2. In the case of an invoice, check request form, or other document authorizing a cash payment, the signature indicates that the approver has deemed that the materials have been received in proper condition or that services have been rendered in a satisfactory manner.
      3. In the case of a payroll time sheet or payroll expenditure transfer, the approval signature indicates that the approver has personal knowledge of the transaction or a system of internal procedures that provides for review of the transaction by a responsible subordinate to ensure that the information on the form is correct, true, and the payment is in compliance with UC Policy.


      • Departmental Responsibilities - Preparation of the Signature Authorization or Cancellation Form.
      1. The department prepares a U242 form to document the department head's own signature (appropriately approved by the next higher official) as well as to document delegations of signature authority approved by the department head. Department heads sign all signature authorization forms, including those executed for themselves.
      2. A U242 form must also be promptly processed by the department to cancel any authorizations upon separation or transfer of an employee, or upon a change of duties within the department (e.g., appointment of new department chairperson).
      3. Specific instructions for completing the form and samples are provided in Attachment 1.
      4. The department forwards the first four copies of form to the campus Accounting Office, retaining the fifth copy for departmental files; or if Category II delegations are involved, forwards the first four copies to the approving officer at the next higher level, who retains the fourth copy and then forwards the first three copies to the campus Accounting Office.
      • Accounting Office Responsibilities
      1. The Accounting Office maintains an alphabetical file of all current Form U242 submitted to their office. This file is available to all central administrative offices and service departments for reference.
      2. The Accounting Office will annually distribute a listing or computer diskette to each department office showing the current signature authorization forms on file for that specific department.
      3. The Accounting Office will semi-annually distribute a listing or computer diskette to service departments showing the current signature authorization forms on file for all campus departments.
      • Service Department responsibilities
      1. Service departments will use the listings received from the Accounting Office (discussed in IV.B.3 above) to verify the authority of those approving recharges or requests for goods/services.
      2. If a recharge or request for goods/services bears the approval signature of an unauthorized individual (e.g., one whose name does not appear on the U242 form list), the department should be contacted and a proper approval signature should be obtained.



    1. Accounting Manual Policy D-224-17, "Delegation of Authority -- Signature Authorization".


Box 1.

Action: Check the "Authorization" box to initiate a delegation of authority by the department head. Check the "Cancellation" box to terminate a delegation of authority.

Box 2.

Effective Date: Enter the date or period for which the authorization is to be effective. When only one date is shown, then the delegation is assumed to be indefinite, and a cancellation form must be submitted when the authority ends. If a period of authority is cited, the cancellation will become effective the day after the last day cited.

Box 3.

Name: Enter the name of the person to whom signature authorization is being delegated. The name should be cited in the same form as appears on the employee's Personnel Action Form (PAF).

Box 4.

Payroll Title: Enter the payroll title of the person to whom signature authorization is being delegated. The title should be cited in the same form as appears on the employee's Personnel Action Form.

Box 5.

Type of Delegation: Check the "New" box if this is a new delegation of signature authority. Check the "Replacement For" box if the delegation takes the place of one for an employee previously in this position, and enter the preceding employee's name and payroll title.

Box 6.

Accounts Covered by this Authorization: Cite department official title, department code (first two characters of the department recording number), campus location code, account, fund and sub numbers for which this employee will have signature authorization. If all accounts, funds, or subs are to be included, cite "ALL" in appropriate columns.

Box 7.

Department Delegations (Category 1): Check the appropriate box to indicate the various Category 1 transactions the employee is delegated authority to approve.

Check the "Requisitions" box to delegate authority to approve the following requisitions: General purchase requisitions, printing orders, sub-purchase orders, construction and repair (C&R) orders, and storehouse orders.

Check the "Payroll" box to delegate authority to approve payroll forms, including: Payroll Time Reporting Worksheets (UPAY 644A,B,C), Payroll Expenditure Transfers (UPAY 646), Payroll Time Reporting Adjustment Worksheets (LX/RX) and (UPAY 644D), etc.

Check the "Travel Bills" box to delegate authority to approve travel advances. airline ticket invoices, and travel vouchers.

Check the "Staff Personnel Transactions" box to delegate authority to approve Personnel Actions Forms (PAF's) for staff employees.

Check the "Other" box and cite the specific transaction for which approval authority is being delegated. Examples: Recharges, Acquisition of Controlled Substances, Student Fee Waivers and Deferments.

Note: Department heads may redelegate approval authority for Category 1 departmental transactions to a responsible departmental employee, except where prohibited by specific policy. Examples of approval authority the department head may not redelegate include: orders for telephone credit cards, entertainment expense orders and vouchers, and Non-Payroll Federal expenditure Cost Transfer forms.

Box 8.

Delegations Needing Approval of Next Higher Officer (Category 2): This category of signature authority is normally delegated to department heads, or redelegated by department heads to acting or vice chairpersons or comparable positions in the professional series.

Check "Academic Personnel Transactions" to delegate authority to approve Personnel Action Forms (PAF's) for academic employees.

Check "Budget Forms" to delegate authority to approve Transfers of Funds, Detail Budget Worksheets, and other transactions involving the budget.

Check "All Department Business" to delegate authority to approve all Category 1 and 2 transactions.

Box 9.

Signature Specimen. The form should be signed as the signature will appear on all documents authorized.

Box 10.

Department Head Signature. Department head should sign for all redelegations or cancellations of authority in Category 1 and 2.

Box 11.

Higher Officer Signature. The appropriate Dean, Vice Chancellor, or Executive Officer should sign for all delegations or cancellation of authority in Category 2.