African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

Finances

Handbook introduction

This Accounting Handbook outlines the policies and procedures involving all accounting transactions within Black Studies, which consists of the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS), the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (WCAAAS), and the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Development (IUPRA).  They apply to all funding established in University accounts and are subject to the rules set forth by the College of Liberal Arts, the University, and the State of Texas.

The main goal of the Handbook is to promote procedures to ensure that faculty and staff are in compliance with these rules and make efficient use of finance team staff time.  The procedures also promote best practices for purchasing, travel, and HR practices.

All policies are subject to change as needed to comply with policy changes issues by the University and College of Liberal Arts.  Those changes will be communicated by the Financial Manager for Black Studies as necessary.

Guidelines regarding Budget funds

All units are allocated funding for day to day activities through various sources each year including the Office of the President, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the College of Liberal Arts.  Funds are allocated within each unit at the discretion of the chair/director.  Items that are budgeted annually include:

  • Operational expenses towards each unit’s normal activities including office supplies, equipment rental, mailings, etc.
  • Salaries for student workers
  • Salaries for faculty/staff
  • Program-specific expenses for regular annual projects
  • Faculty research support
  • Undergraduate/Graduate student support

The University’s annual fiscal year runs from September 1st to August 31st of the following year.

AADS allocates funding on an annual basis from its budget for salaries, maintenance and operations, programming, faculty research, and student support.  Funding allocated from this operational budget that is not used by August 31st is returned to the budget for use in the next fiscal year.

Funding from external sources for research, startup, or program funding will roll over to the next fiscal year if the funding is designated for use in multiple years.

Funding Requests and Additions to Standard Budget

Faculty and staff may request funds towards purposes not included in a unit’s regular budget.  Current requests are addressed at each unit’s regular budget meetings.  The chair/director of the unit is ultimately responsible for approving requests after discussion.

All requests for funding should be addressed to the chair/director.  Requests will be addressed at the earliest possible budget meeting time, and a response will follow shortly after unless further discussion is required.

Purchasing procedures

Funding within Black Studies may only be used for purchases allowed by the University and the College of Liberal Arts.  In most cases, specific purchasing methods must be used.  The University allows the following centrally billed methods for purchases on our accounts:

  1. Purchase order: This is the preferred method for most transactions, especially those of high dollar amount.  Competitive bidding is required for purchases of more than $15,000.
  2. Business Contract: This is used for specialized purchases, including those providing services affecting copyright (photo/video services and website design services for example).
  3. Procurement Mastercard: This is used for many low-dollar common purchases.  The maximum single transaction amount for our card is $999.99.
  4. UT Market: The University has contracted with some vendors to provide a marketplace for units to shop for what they need and generate a purchase order directly to the vendor from those needs.  One of the vendors includes Office Depot/Officemax, who holds an exclusive use contract for office supplies with the University.  All office supplies must be purchased through this UT Market portal or by visiting a local Office Depot/Officemax location with the procurement Mastercard.

Reimbursement of expense

Where allowable, the University can reimburse personal funds for the purchase of goods and services.  However, this can only be done for specific items.  Items that are currently allowed for reimbursement include:

  1. Books/research materials: These can be reimbursed as needed without restrictions.  Any sales tax incurred is not reimbursable.  Books purchased from online outlets should be shipped before providing a receipt.
  2. Dining expenses for programming/recruiting/meeting needs (termed by the University as “entertainment”): These include meals with guests of Black Studies including prospective faculty/donors/speakers.  The maximum spending per person including tax/fees/gratuity cannot exceed $65.  The maximum gratuity allowed is 20% of the pretax total.

Reimbursements are NOT allowed for the following purchases:

  1. Office supplies which must be purchased via UT Market or with the procurement Mastercard at Office Depot/Officemax.
  2. Computers and computer peripherals, which must be purchased via purchase order or procurement Mastercard
  3. Office furnishings/equipment, which must be purchased via purchase order or procurement Mastercard
  4. Payments to individuals or businesses for services performed.  Depending on the service, there could be special implications requiring use of a business contract.  Individuals and businesses conducting services should be paid directly by the University and should have a payment method (business contract or purchase order) established prior to services performed.  Individuals conducting services must sign a form which must be approved in advance of services performed by the College unless the service requires a business contract.  All paperwork must be complete prior to services performed.
  5. High dollar purchases over $15,000 that are not in these categories above, which usually require vetting by Purchasing for bids.

All receipts must be turned in to the Financial Manager within 45 days of the date of purchase.  Office of Accounting will not process receipts that are received beyond 60 days from the date of return.

Procurement Mastercard

The procurement Mastercard is a credit card that is issued by the University for the purpose of making low-dollar day-to-day purchases as needed.  Items and services purchased with the card are to be used to benefit the University and Black Studies.

The card is issued under the Financial Manager’s name and can be checked out on a first-come first-served basis.  By signing the check-out sheet, they assume temporary responsibility for the card and activities associated with the card until its return. 

 

Transactions with the procurement Mastercard are to be exempted from State of Texas sales tax.  The Financial Manager can provide a copy of the tax exemption certificate issued by the State.  Present this certificate to the vendor and follow any specific requirements they have in order to ensure the exemption is applied to your purchase.  Transactions which include sales tax must be corrected as soon as possible either through the vendor or reimbursement of the tax amount to the University. 

Each transaction must be documented (including original purchases and returns).  Please make every effort to get an itemized receipt from the vendor.  Return the card, all receipts, and the Black Studies Procard Form to the Financial Manager within 3 days of purchase.  If a purchase is made for which the vendor does not provide a receipt, a memorandum on department letterhead is required which includes the date, vendor, amount, and an explanation why no receipt was provided. 

Each procard is reconciled after the billing cycle concludes monthly.  Cycles begin on the 4th of each month and conclude on the 3rd of the following month.  Cycle dates are modified during fiscal year end activities in August.

 

Services Performed by Individuals

Individuals may be contracted for unique short-term services that cannot be completed within the realm of faculty/staff duties.  These services include:

  • Editing/Copyediting
  • Trade services
  • Production needs
  • Anything that is a unique trade or craft that is beneficial to Black Studies

The University authorizes and makes payment for such short-term services through either a business contract or an Authorization for Individual Services (AIS) form.  Short-term services are defined as any service of two weeks or shorter.  Services spanning a longer time frame will likely be noted on a business contract.

For any individual performing services, we must have a Payee Information Form on file, which includes their name, address, citizenship, and Social Security Number (SSN).  All of these are required by the IRS in documenting business income for individuals classified as independent contractors on their 1099-MISC each year.

All information about the individual and their contracted duties must be on file PRIOR to the start of service.  The University reserves the right to deny payment should the appropriate paperwork be request after services begin.

In determining method of payment, the University will use a checklist provided by the IRS to classify them as either an independent contractor or a casual employee.  Individuals classified as independent contractors generally have no current or past relationship with the University within 12 months before their work.  Individuals classified as casual employees are either current faculty/staff/students or have ended an assignment with the University within the past 12 months.

If the University classifies the individual as an independent contractor, he/she will be paid via Accounts Payable and will be issued a 1099-MISC for tax purposes at the end of the year.

If the University classifies the individual as an employee, he/she will be paid via payroll with taxes deducted subject to the rules for payment to casual employees.  Casual employee payments usually include a 30% deduction in gross salary to the individual.

HR Positions Procedures and Policies

Hiring a research or student assistant is permitted in most cases depending on the type of funding used.  All assignments for student positions are subject to federal and state law. 

If you are hiring a student for hourly work, we must provide the following required information in advance:

  • Name
  • EID
  • Position to be filled
  • Total to be paid to assistant which could include:
    • Wages
    • Insurance
    • Tuition Benefit Assistance
    • If student is a first-time employee of the University (includes work for other departments)
    • If student will be paid as a work-study and have a work-study award from the Office of Student Financial Services (applies to student assistants)
    • Dates the student will be employed…Fall semester employment dates can be between September 1st and January 15th…Spring semester employment dates can be between January 16th and May 31st, Summer full employment can be between June 1st and August 31st.  Work-study assignments dates will differ from these standard dates.

New student employees who have not worked for any other unit on campus in a paid HR assignment must have documentation on file PRIOR to starting work (I-9, W-4, etc).  If you are hiring an international student, additional rules and requirements may also apply.

All students working in academic positions (Research Assistants and TAs) in the Fall and Spring semesters must be enrolled for 9 credit hours each semester.  Students with these positions in the Summer must be enrolled for 3 credit hours during the session they plan on working.  Graduate students must also meet other requirements to be eligible for hiring.  Requirements are listed at http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/employment/conditions.html.

During the summer, graduate students who are being paid a gross salary of less than $2,500 total AND working for less than 80 hours total can be exempted from the enrollment requirement via petition.  Faculty who wish to hire students under these circumstances should petition the Graduate Dean for approval, and notify the Financial Manager.

Academic HR assignment are designated for monthly salary are paid on the 1st of each month.  On some funding, the account is charged for matching fringe expenses between 8 and 30% of gross wages.  The rate will depend on the employees eligibility for benefits at the University and if they elect optional insurance coverage.

Hourly Payroll

 

Hourly student positions are paid twice per month for hours worked, once for the first part of the month, once for the second part of the month.  They must keep track of the hours they work and submit electronic time sheets by the appropriate payroll deadlines in order to be paid on time. 

Student workers hired by any unit who are not working as part of a work-study award are eligible to work for up to 20 hours per week in any semester.  Student workers who are working their position for a work-study award are eligible for up to 19 hours per week in any semester.

The electronic Time Sheet Report divides each pay period by week.  There are at least 3 timesheets per pay period.  The student’s supervisor must certify their hours on each week’s report.  Time sheets that are not certified cannot be added to payroll.

In most pay periods, payroll is due by the 2nd business day following the end of the pay period, designated by Payroll Services as the Document Deadline.  All time sheets for hourly payroll in Black Studies must be approved by supervisors no later than 12:00pm on the Document Deadline in order to be added to payroll. 

Late time sheet policy

Time sheets approved after the deadline date and time will be added to a future payroll cycle up to and including the last pay period in the employee’s current assignment.  The Financial Manager has sole authority over when the time sheet is added.  This will be based upon individual circumstances, time sheet performance, and other subjective factors. 

Departmental Student Worker hourly rate policy

 

Student workers are defined in this part of the policy as eligible undergraduate or graduate students who work for AADS, WCAAAS, or IUPRA in a non-academic position as defined by UT Human Resources. 

The standard hourly rate for student workers is $10 per hour.  Rate adjustments can be made for students performing specialized duties.  Adjustments are subject to review by the Administrative Manager.  Adjustments for longevity/experience will be made annually so long as your supervisor requests it, and the Administrative Manager approves the rate.

Travel

The University permits expenses related to business travel for faculty, staff, and visitors for activities that benefit the University’s mission.  These include business meetings, conferences, recruiting activities, and other functions. 

Faculty/staff/student business travel authorizations

For all business travel by faculty, staff, or students, a Travel Authorization Request (TAR) must be completed for any UT business travel regardless of who is funding your travel.  An TAR must be on file BEFORE the travel period AND BEFORE any travel expenses can be authorized.

If a faculty member who teaches a course will travel on a regularly scheduled class day, another faculty member must be designated to cover the class in their absence.  This includes Lecturers, Sr Lecturers, Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Professors.  University policy prohibits Teaching Assistants and Assistant Instructors to be named for covering classes.  A full or part-time member of the faculty from any UT academic department must be named. 

Faculty who teach original AFR courses (not courses cross listed from a different original department) must request approval from the AADS Chair for travel during these course times.  The AADS Chair must approve a plan for class coverage before the TAR can be approved.  To request approval, please complete the Travel Approvals and Arrangements Form at https://jfe.qualtrics.com/form/SV_0qtBnjkO2WUNt2t.

Faculty teaching courses in a semester who travel during the first week of class, the last week of class, and/or final exam dates are required to request approval from the AADS chair.  Faculty with at least a half-time assignment with AADS must make their request with the AADS Chair.  This request and the appropriate approval must be documented via email.  The request must include the following:

  • How class(s) or final exam(s) are being covered.
  • Disposition on final grades including when they will be sent (if it involves travel during finals) and
  • Communication with students during the travel period.

Faculty that are also department or center administrators (such as Chair or Director) must also declare how administrative duties will be handled in during the absence.  Administrators are permitted to perform duties electronically (email or phone) with the appropriate staff member(s) while on travel if they wish.   Administrators who travel during the first week of class, last week of class, and/or final exam periods must request approval from the College of Liberal Arts.

Visitor business travel authorizations

Visitors to the University for which Black Studies pays for travel or honorarium expenses must have a Payee Information Form (PIF) on file prior to the travel period.  Requests for travel for visitors must include the dates of travel, the reason for their travel, and their affiliation.  The authorization document will vary depending upon the expenses associated with the visitor.

Airfare/rental car direct billing

Black Studies partners with Anthony Travel to make travel arrangements for business travellers including faculty, staff, and visitors.   

In order for airfare to be directly billed to our accounts for approved business travel, the appropriate forms must be completed in advance.  No air itinerary can be ticketed without prior approval via a Travel Authorization Request or Authorization for Individual Services or a Speaker Agreement. 

All flights are booked at the lowest cost available for economy class travel.  First and Business Class fares are prohibited unless deemed medically necessary or with a fully executed Speaker Agreement where First or Business class fare is included.

Anthony Travel can also make rental car arrangements at the current State of Texas contract rates.  While they can book the rentals, they cannot direct bill these costs to our accounts.

Pursuant to University policy as of May 20, 2013, ALL business-related car rental must be arranged through a contracted company (currently Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National).  Reimbursement is permitted for rentals from any contracted agency.

Anthony will charge a booking fee (currently $25.75 for domestic travel, higher for international tickets) for all travel arrangements made with them.  This fee is subject to change, nonrefundable, and added to the total cost of the ticket.  Please account for these fees in your budget for the travel period.

 

We regret that we cannot direct bill hotel or lodging expenses for any business travel outside of Austin.

Reimbursements

For faculty, staff, and student business travel, you must submit original receipts or scanned copies of receipt for reimbursement upon your return.  Reimbursements are NOT allowed without an approved authorization. 

Faculty, staff, and students may be reimbursed for any of the following expenses subject to available funding:

  • Airfare
  • Ground transportation, including taxi, shuttle, or rental car through a contract agency
    • You may also be reimbursed for mileage in your personal vehicle between cities within Texas.  If you drive your vehicle out of state, you can only be reimbursed up to the cost of round trip airfare to your destination(s).
  • Mileage in a personal vehicle round trip between a residence or UT main campus and ABIA (for visitor travel this can include travel to ABIA to pick up a guest of Black Studies)
  • Incidental expenses including registration fees for a conference, tolls, parking, copy charges, etc.  Contact the Finance Manager if there is a question about something in particular.
  • Lodging and Meals
    •  An original itemized hotel folio with the room rate paid plus taxes and incidentals is required and must show that the bill was paid (must have a “zero balance”).  Travel booked through 3rd party sites are usually prepaid and do not show proof of stay.  Proof of stay can include an incidentals folio or email confirmation from the hotel manager of the dates of stay.
    • The University is exempt from paying the Texas state occupancy tax of 6% for in-state lodging.  Office of Accounting will NOT reimburse this tax.  Hotel occupancy tax exemption forms are available from the Financial Manager by request.  If a hotel refuses to honor the tax exemption, please let the Financial Manager know.  All other occupancy taxes including city, county, and municipality are reimbursable for all locations.
    • You may claim a maximum meal allowance of $51.00 per day for the travel period.  No receipts are required for meals.
    • On most reimbursements for domestic travel, federal regulations limit the total meals and lodging rate combined per day (less hotel occupancy taxes) based on the location you travel to.  These limits are established by the IRS and are reviewed annually.  Please note that you may claim less of a meal allowance per day in order to be allowed a higher lodging rate per day up to the maximum limit listed.  The rates for all locations are listed at the US General Services Administration website http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100120.  If you have a question about the rates for a particular location, please consult with the Finance Manager

 

All receipts must be turned in to the Financial Manager within 45 days of the date of purchase.  Office of Accounting will not process receipts that are received beyond 60 days from the date of return.

Visitor travel reimbursement

While every effort is made to direct bill all visitor travel expenses to our accounts, not every foreseeable expense can be covered.  Visitors who need to be reimbursed for approved travel expenses should send their receipts to the Financial Manager to be reimbursed promptly.

While there is no time requirement for visitor travel receipts, every effort should be made to turn in receipts as soon as possible.  Any receipt received after 60 days may become taxable to the guest.