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Signature authority

A page within Business Services

Signature authority defaults to the account WISER manager unless otherwise delegated through the use of the Signature Authorization Form.  Use of this form assists the Business Services staff in verifying signatures on various transactions and will be updated annually and as staffing or signature delegation changes occur.  Signature authority does not apply to externally sponsored agreements or contracts. 

Signature Authority Policy


The purpose of the Signature Authority policy is to promote the University’s internal control environment through specifying persons who are authorized to approve purchases and charges (transactions) to institutional budgets, the criteria for delegating approval authority, and the limitation on approval authority for Business Services transactions.


WISconsin Data Mart, or WISER is the University’s web-based financial reporting system. Department IDs (UDDS) are assigned to a WISER manager who is responsible for reviewing the financial transactions for the department. This policy applies to WISER managers and their delegates who seek to approve certain Business Services transactions within the University. Signature Authority defaults to the WISER Manager unless otherwise assigned to a delegate(s). This policy does not apply to externally sponsored agreements or contracts with the University and is separate from the university’s “Contracting Personnel” list.


A. It is the responsibility of the WISER manager to review and approve the financial transactions for their department. Delegation of signature authority is appropriate where the delegation will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency while maintaining accountability.

a. Each authorized person approving a transaction must affix his or her own signature to any documents that are required to be signed. In certain situations, approval may be accepted via email at the discretion of Business Services.

b. Stamped signatures will not be accepted. At this time, electronic signatures are not accepted. Each authorized person approving a transaction must physically sign any document they are approving.

c. For invoices that are encumbered by a purchase order, because the purchase requisition has been approved by the WISER manager prior to the creation of the purchase order, the requestor of the purchase requisition or the end user(s) noted on the purchase order can review and approve the invoice for payment as well as the WISER manager or delegated authority.

B. A delegation of signature authority shall commensurate with the employee’s role within the organization as well as the department’s business procedures. Individuals who receive delegated signature authority shall have sufficient knowledge of the University policies, rules, laws, regulations and procedures to ensure compliance.

a. Individuals with delegated signature authority are responsible for assuring the following:

i. An understanding of what is being approved.
ii. The business purpose is obvious to an unrelated third party or, if not, is indicated in writing.
iii. The information and supporting documentation is accurate and complete.
iv. The transaction is allowable, reasonable and justified.
v. The funding source is appropriate for the expenditure.

C. It is the responsibility of the WISER manager to maintain proper control and management of their department; the WISER manager remains accountable for all actions taken by the delegate.

a. WISER managers may only delegate signature authority for the following transactions and amounts. However, business managers are authorized for an amount up to $25,000.

i. Food Expense Approval Forms prior to event & corresponding invoices after event
ii. Invoices < $5,000
iii. Revenue/Expense Transfers
iv. Payment to Individuals < $5,000
v. Purchase Requisitions < $5,000
vi. Student Billing

b. Delegate limits may be adjusted by the University Controller at the Controller’s discretion and shall commensurate with the employee’s role within the organization as well as the department’s business procedures.

c. Delegates may not approve transactions for themselves, their relatives, or approve transactions that directly benefit themselves, their relatives, an unrelated third party, or in any way, create a conflict of interest with the delegate’s responsibility to the University. Such transactions should be signed by the WISER manager.

d. Delegation of expense reimbursement requests is not covered by the signature authority form. The University Controller may approve such delegation as needed.

  1. The Business Services office will initiate the annual collection of Signature Authorization Forms at the end of August each fiscal year.  Business Services will email each WISER manager a link to the blank Signature Authorization Form as well as a list of department IDs (UDDS) they are assigned to.  
  2. Each WISER manager will record their signature, including any delegate signatures if necessary, on the Signature Authorization Form and return form to Business Services within one week of receipt. 
    1. Signature authorization can be assigned for a range of UDDS numbers.  For example, 07240X - meaning all accounts from 072400-072409 are assigned to the same individual.  This is noted on the form where the Department ID is written. 
  3. Forms will be reviewed by the Controller for appropriateness and passed along to the Assistant to the Controller.
  4. The Assistant to the Controller will send a confirmation email to the WISER manager and delegates confirming their form was received in Business Services.
  5. The Assistant to the Controller will record WISER managers and their delegates on a master spreadsheet used by the Business Services staff to verify signature authority.  
  6. Signature Authorization Forms will be then be passed on to the Office Manager to scan into ImageNow for record retention.

What is the difference between Signature Authority and Contract Authority?

Signature Authority pertains to WISER managers and delegates having the ability to sign off on various financial transactions for their department.  Examples of such transactions are: food expense approval forms; invoices under $5,000; revenue/expense transfers; payment to individual reports (PIRs); purchase requisitions under $5,000 and student billing.

Contract Authority pertains to individuals with authority to sign UW-La Crosse contracts on behalf of the Board of Regents.  Under the provision of the UW Board of Regents Policy 93-1, the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the Board of Regents has been delegated to the UW-La Crosse Chancellor who, in turn, has delegated contract authority to a limited number of UW-La Crosse officers.  No UW-La Crosse employees other than those with specific Chancellor delegation may sign UW-La Crosse contracts or agreements.  Please refer to the current list of authorized contracting personnel. 

Can a WISER manager delegate signature authority on a temporary basis?

If a WISER manager plans on being out of the office for an extended period of time for a vacation, medical leave, etc., it is recommended that said WISER manager delegates signature authority for that period of time to allow normal business processes to continue in their absence.