Signature authority defaults to the account WISDM 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.
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.
WISconsin Data Mart, or WISDM is the University’s web‐based financial reporting system. Department IDs (UDDS) are assigned to a WISDM manager who is responsible for reviewing the financial transactions for the department. This policy applies to WISDM managers and their delegates who seek to approve certain Business Services transactions within the University. This policy does not apply to externally sponsored agreements or contracts with the University.
A. It is the responsibility of the WISDM 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. Each authorized person approvaing a transaction must physically sign any document they are approving.
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 written on the documentation.
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 WISDM manager to maintain proper control and management of their department; the WISDM manager remains accountable for all actions taken by the delegate.
a. WISDM managers may only delegate signing authority for the following transactions:
i. Food Expense Approval Forms
ii. Invoices < $5,000
iii. Revenue/Expense Transfers
iv. Payment to Individuals
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 transactiions 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 WISDM manager.
d. Delegation of expense reimbursement requests is not covered by the signature authority form. The University Controller may approve such delegation as needed.
- 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 WISDM manager a link to the blank Signature Authorization Form as well as a list of department IDs (UDDS) they are assigned to.
- Each WISDM 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.
- Signature authoritzation 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.
- Forms will be reviewed by the Controller for appropriateness and passed along to the Assistant to the Controller.
- The Assistant to the Controller will send a confirmation email to the WISDM manager and delegates confirming their form was received in Business Services.
- The Assistant to the Controller will record WISDM managers and their delegates on a master spreadsheet used by the Business Services staff to verify signature authority.
- 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 WISDM 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 requistions 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 delgated 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 WISDM manager delegate signature authority on a temporary basis?
If a WISDM 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 WISDM manager delegates signature authority for that period of time to allow normal business processes to continue in their absence.