UCR Policies and Procedures

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Policy Title:                  Signature Authorization or Cancellation

Policy Number:            200-80

Responsible Officer:

Associate Vice Chancellor of Business & Financial Services and  Controller

Responsible Office:

Business and Financial Services – Accounting Office

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:


Date of Last Review:



Guidance Concerning Signature Authority

  I.        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.


II.         Definitions

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


III.      Policy

           A.              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 re-delegate this authority to departmental representatives within the Policies presented in this section.


           B.               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 below for information on the specific responsibilities one assumes when signing various University forms.


           C.                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 re-delegations 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.

Note:  This category of signature authority is normally only re-delegated 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.


               D.           Persons delegated signature authority by department heads

·                     Must be UC employees.

·                     May not re-delegate signature authority, i.e., the department head must sign as authorizing officer on all Form U242's.

·                     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.

·                     Should not also be the person responsible for reconciling/verifying the expenditures appearing in the UCRFS ledgers.

               E.           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.

·                   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.

·                   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.

·                   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.


IV.      Procedures

             A.             Departmental Responsibilities - Preparation of the Signature Authorization or Cancellation Form.

·             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.

·              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).

·            The department will email the completed U242 form to the Accounting Office.


             B.               Accounting Office Responsibilities

The Accounting Office maintains an alphabetical file of all current Form U242 submitted to their office. This signature information is available to all central administrative offices and service departments for reference upon request to the Accounting Office.


             C.              Service Department Responsibilities

Service departments can use the signature information requested from the Accounting Office (discussed in IV.B.3 above) to verify the authority of those approving recharges or requests for goods/services. 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.


V.         Forms/Instructions

·               Signature Authorization or Cancellation Form (Form U242)


VI.       Other Policy References

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