Accounts Payable - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of these procedures is to outline the process of payments to external suppliers of the University. This includes the approval of payment vouchers and the processing of transactions using the UniFi Accounts Payable system.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Accounts Payable – What the University owes another party for goods or services delivered.

Adjustment Note – An adjustment made by a supplier that can be issued as a debit or a credit to the University.

Delivery Docket - A document produced when goods are received into the company/factory.

FX - Foreign Exchange

Invoice - Document which shows the supplier charges for goods delivered or work done.

Purchase Order - A commercial document issued by the University to a supplier, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the supplier will provide to the University. Sending a purchase order to a supplier constitutes a legal offer to buy products or services.

Supplier – An entity from which the University buys goods or services.

Tax invoice - A type of invoice document which shows the supplier charges for goods delivered or work done and is required from Australian suppliers. It shows the price of a sale, indicating whether it includes GST, and may show the amount of GST. It must show other information, including the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the seller.

Terms - Agreed upon rules governing the number of days between delivery and payment, discounts for early payment and penalties for late payment.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all University staff who participate in the payment cycle on behalf of the University.

These procedures do not apply to payments made through the HR system (Aurion), or one of the University's Corporate Cards programs.

4. Procedures Statement

The Accounts Payable process commences upon receipt of an invoice in respect of goods or services provided to the University.

Low value items (with a value of less than $5,000) are to be purchased using a University Corporate Credit Card. Refer to PPL 9.10.09 Corporate Credit Cards for further instruction.

All other goods and services purchased by the University from external providers should be purchased using a requisition, which once approved is dispatched to the supplier as a Purchase Order. Refer to PPL 9.40.05 Purchasing for further instruction.

When the goods or service is delivered the requestor (or their agent) enters the goods receipt in UniFi.

When the three-way match is achieved (Purchase Order, Goods Receipt and Supplier Invoice) the supplier can be paid automatically according to the terms established in the UniFi system.

Where there is a discrepancy between the source documents payment cannot proceed.

5. Payment Process

5.1 Process overview

The raising of orders in the UniFi system facilitates the authorisations necessary for organisational units to track the processing of an order and the subsequent supplier invoice in UniFi. It is vital that purchasers check their open orders in the UniFi system to ensure the receipt of any goods ordered is reflected in UniFi. Unless an order is receipted, the relevant invoice cannot be processed for payment.

It is imperative that operational units establish a receipting process whereby all staff within the unit enter their own goods receipt in UniFi or, where the responsibility is assigned to a specific role, staff within the unit are aware that the assigned staff member must be advised of any goods received against an order, and the UniFi system updated accordingly.

Prompt attention by the buyer or designated officer in the absence of the buyer is essential to avoid late payment.

Once supplier invoices have been sent to FBS, or directly to UQ’s Locked Bag (Computershare, Locked Bag 2002, South Brisbane QLD 4101), they are scanned and uploaded to Viewpoint, the University document archive system. The progress of the invoice can be monitored by checking the requisition life span, Purchase Order document status or Purchase Order activity summary in UniFi.

All invoices should be submitted to UQ’s Locked Bag as frequently as possible to ensure timely payment of suppliers. Successfully processed vouchers will be paid on the next payment run when due.

5.2 Details required on an invoice

Invoices that do not meet the below detail requirements for payment will not be accepted for processing and will be forwarded to the organisational unit to follow up or rectify.

  • The document must be an invoice. Accounts Payable are not able to process quotes, purchase orders, statements, delivery dockets, dispatch advices or remittance advices. If you are unable to obtain an invoice and have been provided with an alternate document, please forward it to, attention Accounts Payable Supervisor. Alternate documents are reviewed on a case by case basis and need to be approved before Accounts Payable will process.
  • Invoices must be addressed to the University.
  • Clearly identifies the supplier, their business name, address, the value of goods/services provided, description of goods and services provided, and value of any charges relating to the supply of goods/services.
  • The relevant purchase order number shown prominently on the invoice.
  • On all invoice/statements, such as telephone accounts, only the current amount invoiced can be paid.
  • Invoices payable by the University from an Australian supplier must be a tax invoice in accordance with GST legislation. For information concerning what details are required on a tax invoice go to PPL 9.65.01 GST - Section 7 Tax Invoice.
  • Faxed, scanned or copied invoices are acceptable.
  • The goods specified on the invoice should have been received in the required condition, quality and quantity. 

5.3 Payment terms

Invoices are paid on 30 day terms. This is the University's preferred payment terms.

Timely processing of payments and their submission on a regular basis will assist in prompt payments.

If urgent payment of an invoice is required send your request to with supporting paperwork and authorisations. The Manager, Accounts Payable has the discretion to decide the terms under which each supplier is paid.

5.4 Payment methods

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) - EFT domestic payments are processed twice a week only, except where the University is closed for Public Holidays.

FX Payments - Overseas payments are processed twice a week only, except where the University is closed for Public Holidays.

Cheque - The preferred payment method of the University is EFT. However, where cheque payments are made, these procedures must be followed:

  • Cheque runs will only occur on a monthly basis.
  • UQ cheques are "Not Negotiable".
  • All signed cheques are to be accompanied by a remittance advice when issued.
  • Cash cheques are not permissible under any circumstance.
  • If a payee advises in writing that a cheque in payment of an amount due has not been received, or, after receipt, has been lost, stolen or destroyed, a Stop Payment Notice on the cheque is to be issued immediately and acknowledged by the bank prior to the issue of a second cheque to replace it. This is to be done through Accounts Payable only.
  • All spoiled, expired, or cancelled cheques that have been issued by UQ should be returned to Accounts Payable, FBS Division.
  • Under the Cheques Act 1986 a “stale cheque” is defined as a cheque that has been drawn but not presented within fifteen (15) months of the date appearing on the face of the cheque.
  • Section 89 of the Act provides that where a cheque becomes stale, the duty and authority of the drawee's financial institution to pay the cheque is terminated, unless there is an agreement to the contrary between the financial institution and the drawer.

5.5 Purchasing equipment with trade-in

Special procedures apply where the purchase of an asset involves a trade-in. Refer to PPL 9.20.19 Trade-Ins.

5.6 Credit adjustment notes

If an examination of the invoice indicates some discrepancy, this should be clarified with the supplier immediately. In these situations, the organisational unit should endeavour to obtain a credit adjustment note from the supplier. Original invoices are NOT to be amended.

Credit adjustments are processed against the original purchase and cannot be allocated to other chart strings.

5.7 Disputed invoices

Most queries can be resolved between the organisational unit and the supplier. Often the reason for non-payment is that the goods supplied or services rendered did not agree exactly with what was ordered, or the goods/services have not proven satisfactory. These situations must be resolved between the two parties, resulting in the account being paid or a credit note (full or partial) being provided by the supplier.

6. Internal Controls

The key responsibilities and accountability regarding the Accounts Payable function is summarised as follows:



University Staff

  • Certify requisition, purchase order and receipting of goods and services to approve payment process.
  • Obtain necessary information to set up new suppliers

Procurement Unit

  • Set up new suppliers

Accounts Payable Unit

  • Ensure the accuracy of payments
  • Process invoices
  • Process payments

7. Trade Payables

Trade payables are recognised at invoice of goods or services ordered and are measured at the agreed invoice price, gross of applicable trade and other discounts.

Amounts owing are unsecured and are generally settled on the University's terms.

Payment must not be given unless the goods or services have been received in satisfactory condition unless a pre-payment agreement has been made.

8. Purchasing Accruals

When the University has a liability to pay a supplier for goods or services that have been received or supplied by a customer, but have not yet been paid, invoiced or formally agreed with the supplier, an accrual needs to be made for this expenditure and this will appear in the accounts as a liability.

At the end of each month a purchasing accrual journal is generated which is reversed in the following month.

At the end of the year the Accounting and Reporting Section within FBS moves all purchase accruals to the relevant accounts.

9. Queries

Organisational units are the principal point of contact in dealing with suppliers. FBS’ role is to process and distribute the payment to the correct destination. Accounts Payable cannot assist until a valid accounting form is received, and even then the section's role is limited to that of issuing the payment.

Organisational units that are in contract with a supplier are agreeing to accept the terms of payment negotiated. Organisational units must have procedures that ensure that accounts are paid within those agreed terms. All debts of the University must be settled.

Chief Financial Officer Mrs Gail Jukes
Chief Financial Officer Mrs Gail Jukes